walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Seeing lost souls..

Seeing lost souls..


Postby weedavie » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:25 pm

Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Chlamain

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Mheadhonach

Date walked: 26/01/2018

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 1220m

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This was a standard route but hey, there was incidental interest. I'd decided to carry snowshoes. They add a couple of kilos to a winter pack but I wouldn't need crampons or ice-axe. The snowline was about 600 metres and only one person had been ahead of me since the fall. Judging by the depths of his steps he could have used the snowshoes. I was skipping along the frozen surface.
pic 1 690.jpg

Anyway I left the track to go straight line and then with a variable surace, it was worth putting the snowshoes on. I met a handsome ptarmigan before the summit.
pic 2 690.jpg
From about 600 metres away I could see someone leaving the summit. At the summit I tried to get a photo of a Brocken spectre but it wouldn't quite form.
pic 3 690.jpg
I could also see two figures in the distance heading west as I intended to go.

The mist now closed in and I took off the snowshoes and belatedly took out my compass and started counting steps. From time to time I came across the footsteps of the two figures I'd seen. Then just before I started dropping into Glen Mhairc they disappeared, and I never encountered them again. I suspect they were the two walkers who were benighted and then rescued on Saturday morning.

As I dropped into the glen I was stumbling. So it was snowshoes on again and from there to the summit of Beinn Mheadhonach they really paid their way.
pic 5 690.jpg
Hard snow, soft snow and drifts as I got lower down just got glided over. Last time I crossed the burn in winter, it was tricky with iced rocks. Now there was an ice bridge and the distributed weight on the shoes gave total confidence.
pic 4 690.jpg
Going back up, I eased over drifts, then the crampon and the nifty device for raising my heels made the ascent like going up a staircase.

You could barely see across the glen from the summit and there was no urge to linger. As I descended an eagle rose from the glen then did a majestic exit towards Beinn a'Ghlo. I took off the snowshoes, located the hobbit bridge, then stumbled back to my bike at the Marble Lodge bridge.

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weedavie
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Jul 15, 2011

Re: Seeing lost souls..

Postby dogplodder » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:53 pm

I've never used snowshoes and thought they were useful on the level but not so much on any kind of gradient. Did you find any difficulty when the slope steepened? I suppose it would depend what kind of snow it was. 8)
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dogplodder
 
Posts: 3357
Munros:218   Corbetts:51
Grahams:15   
Sub 2000:22   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Seeing lost souls..

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:09 am

Very interesting & timely report - I'm just considering whether to get some snow shoes. Sounds like they really worked for you.

What type are they?
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Alteknacker
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Posts: 2462
Munros:162   Corbetts:28
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Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Seeing lost souls..

Postby weedavie » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:13 am

dogplodder wrote:I've never used snowshoes and thought they were useful on the level but not so much on any kind of gradient. Did you find any difficulty when the slope steepened? I suppose it would depend what kind of snow it was. 8)
The only consideration about snow is that you need enough. They're fantastic going steeply uphill because of the crampon
pic 1 690.jpg
and the little bar you can raise that keeps your feet level while the shoe is pointing up.
pic2 690.jpg
I've never really worked out how you traverse a steep slope. While going steeply downhill is good it does take care, practise and a bit of nerve (you feel they're going to act like skis.)

But they're good in soft snow, excellent in powder and really satisfying on breakable crust, as they distribute your weight and let you glide where others are plungeing through.
weedavie
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Jul 15, 2011

Re: Seeing lost souls..

Postby weedavie » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:20 am

Alteknacker wrote:Very interesting & timely report - I'm just considering whether to get some snow shoes. Sounds like they really worked for you.

What type are they?
They are MSR Lightning Ascent, which it looks like you can get for under £200, less than I paid 8 years ago. They weigh about 1 kilo each and they're bulky, though my Deuter 45 litre bag has fittings for them which takes away annoyance. They're dead easy to step into, of the four straps you see, only the heel is a bit footery.
pic 3 690.jpg
It means they're not the pain to take off and put on that crampons can be. As I've noted elsewhere, I chiefly use them walking solo because of the resentment that builds up because I'm faster and not breaking snow.
weedavie
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Jul 15, 2011

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