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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.

Our first scottish winter (kind of) - GlenCoe & Fort William

Our first scottish winter (kind of) - GlenCoe & Fort William

Postby Daymoth » Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:07 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis, Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag)

Date walked: 23/02/2018

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My first WH report, hopefully those like me that are just starting to learn winter hill walking will find it useful.
We did a winter skills course earlier in the year and wanted to put it to practice by doing some easy routes. People here in the forum gave me very good suggestions.
I live near London so took half of Friday off work, flew to Glasgow, hired a car and was on Saturday morning in Fort William´s Cotswold Outdoor picking up our rental crampons and ice axes.
We were lucky to have glorious weather (to the point I don´t know if this counts as winter) and low avalanche risk so we head for the hills.

Day one - Buachaille Etive Beag
This was a really good recomendation. The terrain is steep but with no scary run outs. The views were spectacular. Was my first time walking on crampons (we didnt have good snow on the course) and it was a great place to learn. Once you get to the saddle it does get very windy.
We did start very late though since we had to go get our gear, and as newbies, we honoured our turnaround time, not getting to the summit of Stob Dubh.

Day two - Ben Nevis mountain path
As it seldom happens, the day was perfect and the views incredible all the way up. With a cloudy day Ben Nevis seems to be quite a slog. We did Ben Nevis instead of other more interesting routes in Glen Coe because we had booked a guided ascent. I recomend this so if the conditions are not perfect at least you know you can go to the hills with somebody that can keep you safe.
Some of the slopes had run outs that made me freak out quite a lot (Im scared of heights and like mountains unfortunaltely) but the way up itself is not too steep, so on a good day at a steady pace I think its a good option for beginers.

Day three - Going back to the flat southeast.
We did go up the GlenCoe mountain ski resort on the chairlift. Once you get off you go west and can go up Creag Dubh with very nice views. Also the slopes of Creag Dubh are used for snow school and are great if you want to practice your self arresting and other technique.

Other tips:
These are a list of routes on the area I had to pick depending on conditions, in case you find the list useful:
For good conditions, in addition to the above mentioned munros:
- Beinn a´Chrulaiste

Lower altitude in case conditions are not perfect:
- The pap - it does have a very steep section at the top though, but summiting is always optional!

Very low altitude in case hill conditions are not beginer friendly:

Short and low altitude in case the conditions call for going to the pub more than going to the hills:

For avalanche reports I used the Scottish Avalance Information Service mobile app. Really handy.

For gps I used the walkinghighlands tracks, they are worth gold.

Now lets see if I can make the photos show up! I think it worked.
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Re: Our first scottish winter (kind of) - GlenCoe & Fort Wil

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:23 am

Great report of what sounds like a very successful trip!

If you are in that area again, another slightly easier option is the Loch Lochy Munros - https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=60964 - very safe and quite easy, but with fantastic views.

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Re: Our first scottish winter (kind of) - GlenCoe & Fort Wil

Postby Daymoth » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:44 pm

Thanks for adding those to the list!

I hope to go back at least once or twice per year :)
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Joined: Jan 14, 2018

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