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.

Sharpen Your Crampons for Bruach na Frith

Sharpen Your Crampons for Bruach na Frith


Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:33 pm

Route description: Bruach na Frithe

Munros included on this walk: Bruach na Frithe

Date walked: 04/02/2018

Distance: 13.2 km

Ascent: 868m

8 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

This was our third ascent of Bruach na Frith and our first visit to Skye in the winter. The weather was almost perfect with plenty of winter sunshine and very little wind. The snow line started at about 600m and was immediately well consolidated. Despite the mountain being well banked out with snow, higher up there was just a thin top layer of snow over very hard Ice. Despite the good weather and snow conditions,and Bruach na Frith being the easiest summit on the Cuillins, the route still felt quite challenging and exposed.
We followed the standard walkers route up and down with a slight diversion to miss the steepest ground on our descent.
0ABA38A6-264E-4438-B16B-845F2BF43CA5.jpeg
The Route

Setting out from the small lay-by at 08:30 we did a slapstick act as we stepped out onto the tarmac which was deceptively icy after the hard frost :lol: . The good path made for an easy walk in, even avoiding the ice, which covered every puddle and smooth rocky surface.
The first treat of the day was the sun rising between the Red Cuillins,
355C5CCE-0EDB-4687-80EF-8BF2592AF933.jpeg
Sun Rising Behind Red Cuilins

and snowy summits against the blue skies.
ED0031AF-7CE2-4F8B-A3B3-1425DEE13505.jpeg
Pinnacle Ridge

I have to confess to paying very little attention to the waterfalls and pools of the Allt Dearg Mor, I was too busy focusing on the white mountains and the route ahead. As the path wound upwards we encountered the first traces of snow, with some patches being hard enough to require step kicking, but it was the views of Fionn Choire and Am Bastier that really set the heart racing.
B0365056-5BD0-4855-93B7-16B2342E3F6B.jpeg
Fionn Choire

Bruach na Frith was also looking imposing
6F7392C3-92CE-43AC-A390-DE99CF633E1B.jpeg
Bruach na Frith

We followed in the footsteps of two walkers in front of us, deep into the Choire and the steps they had kicked across the steeper sections of the path made our life a lot easier :D.
4EC14CF4-3527-4C48-A442-046FAD4008AE.jpeg
Walking into Fionn Choire

At the back of the Choire we stoped to put on crampons and ensure our ice axes were readily to hand before the steep ascent. In summer conditions we would be probably slipping and sliding up the loose scree, but today it was snow laying over ice, shimmering in the sunlight and unbelievably beautiful.
6ACF0A5D-B83A-4780-A505-F41AFEE9E233.jpeg
Back of the Choire

The smaller crags, as well as the scree and the boulders were all hidden under the deep snow but as we gained height their was only about an inch or so of snow on top of very hard Ice. I was very pleased we had sharpened our crampons, and they seemed to grip well, but the spike on my ice axe was just bouncing of the ice. Given the level of exposure and the super slippery surface we were soon daggering our way up :roll:. This made for a slow and tiring ascent, but it seemed the safest way to manage the conditions. Following the footsteps in the snow, which in turn followed the line of the path we progressed slowly but steadily towards the ridge, trying not to think about the decent.
8D8C0E74-8F21-44A5-B774-7221E7E3EC25.jpeg
Daggering Our Way Up

My calves were burning and I was getting spasms of cramp in my thighs, but eventually we reached less steep ground and it felt safe to stand upright.
It is very easy to stop thinking about the route you are taking when following footsteps, and I am fairly sure we climbed higher up Sgurr a Fionn Choire than was absolutely necessary :lol: as we had to descend down onto the summit ridge.
6427F2BC-BCDF-48BD-B0F3-5D03893FD74E.jpeg
The Summit Ridge

The main section of the ridge was narrow but straight forward walking, although the rocky outcrops did pose a bit of a challenge with the snow obscuring any bypass paths or obvious ways to tackle them. There was an exposed bulge to squeeze pass and a further exposed step to negotiate, but fortunately the difficulties were short lived.
C38C73B0-7134-46FB-8142-003E07BBE289.jpeg
Rocky Step

My other half went down the step first and kindly cleared me a little ramp to traverse along :D.
The top was now in sight a good view of the north west ridge and some brave climbers making their way along it.
09745FC5-4DF8-423E-A6CE-D7EDF2E675FD.jpeg
NW Ridge Bruach na Frith

I don’t think I have ever been so happy to touch a Summit Cairn. I am not sure if it was the sense of achievement, the relief at still being in one piece or the just the sheer wonder of the situation that was behind my grin.
1C99F5A7-D236-4B16-A26A-F0CF2081302A.jpeg
12:45 On The Summit

The air was still and the sun was shining but the Cuillin Ridge was looking moody, surrounded by swirling clouds.
5CCB79CB-5826-4BD2-9A47-F3427752F461.jpeg
Balmy Weather

6DCDDF1B-6B44-4C6B-8E0C-EAC160549F1C.jpeg
Rime on the Trig Point

0E34E2D8-449C-4B63-9C75-551BC1BB8BE0.jpeg
Cuillin Ridge

We were anxious about the descent and it was tempting to make a quick turn around but after all the effort it seemed a crime not not to linger and soak up the atmosphere 8). So we put the kettle on,
9CD653D2-D79B-4BF0-86BC-6BF4E84B20CE.jpeg
Summit Brew

chatted to the climbers who had now arrived on the summit, admired the view,
97545022-07E8-45BC-BAEF-F975D73B80E9.jpeg

E987DF93-63D6-4C2F-96B9-B250867286F3.jpeg

and eventually thought about the descent. Studying the map at home we had identified a less steep route on the Choire wall and decided to have a closer look at it.
First we had to negotiate the rocky steps
1A286F32-85CB-475B-8D3E-6FC60D63B5AB.jpeg
Back Along the Ridge

which were just as exposed in reverse, :wink: .
Shortly after the rocky section we scanned the slopes for a decent route.
36340163-A2FB-4975-BBEA-B757DDB2F941.jpeg
Looking for the Descent

We spotted the line we were looking for and it looked manageable, especially as many of the crags were banked out with snow, so we began to zig zag our way down. If the snow had not been so well consolidated I think this slope may well be prone to avalanche and there was a steep section, including a traverse which we daggered along backwards but the difficulties were less sustained than on the ascent and we made it down with our nerves still intact.
D53172AC-0496-45F3-897F-0715BACEA160.jpeg
Still Steep but Manageable

44CC7238-833C-433D-92C6-0EA74E515A4D.jpeg
Now I Can Breathe

329BFFFF-ED8B-4BC8-BF1D-F34F0DD623F2.jpeg

With the difficulties behind us it was a pleasant walk out, but by the time we reached river crossing it was 16:00 and we had not eaten all day so we stopped for a break and to muse over our adventure.
2BCA7689-DD29-4B5C-88D2-2C16E7D7E1F1.jpeg
Enjoying Noodles and a View

Our dalliance also meant that we finished our walk as the sun was setting and reached the road at 17:30.
BF211988-6AF9-4EC5-9787-2A7ABFB480AD.jpeg
Setting Sun

A day I will remember for a long time to come, both for its beauty and its challenges.
Last edited by Cairngorm creeper on Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 695
Munros:144   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

Re: Sharpen Your Crampons for Bruach na Frith

Postby dav2930 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:10 pm

Excellent stuff; what a treat to get on the Cuillin ridge in conditions like that! You picked a great day for it. :clap:
Seems the effort of sharpening your crampons paid off :wink:
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1459
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:14   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:164
Wainwrights:214   Islands:2
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Sharpen Your Crampons for Bruach na Frith

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:21 am

dav2930 wrote:Excellent stuff; what a treat to get on the Cuillin ridge in conditions like that! You picked a great day for it. :clap:
Seems the effort of sharpening your crampons paid off :wink:

Thank you,, The Wather Gods were in a very good mood :D
I have to confess to keeping an eye on the crampon points after one of your comments on an earlier post about descending icy slopes with blunt crampons. :thumbup:
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 695
Munros:144   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

Re: Sharpen Your Crampons for Bruach na Frith

Postby malky_c » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:30 pm

Brilliant 8)

Cuillin at this time of year is brilliant if you can just manage some decent conditions. I have good and bad memories of being on the ridge in winter, but the good ones were some of my best hill days out ever.
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 6010
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:276   Hewitts:269
Wainwrights:122   Islands:36
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow/Inverness

Re: Sharpen Your Crampons for Bruach na Frith

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:56 pm

malky_c wrote:Brilliant 8)

Cuillin at this time of year is brilliant if you can just manage some decent conditions. I have good and bad memories of being on the ridge in winter, but the good ones were some of my best hill days out ever.

Definitely one of our best days :D .The snow was in such good condition that I think it will take a considerable thaw to shift it, so it may be a lucky year for anyone who can get to Sky. The rest of the ridge looked amazing, I just regret not having the ability to do anything harder in winter conditions.
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 695
Munros:144   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

8 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).




Walkhighlands community forum is advert free


Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dogplodder, PaulAgnew, Shrink Proof, WullieG and 60 guests