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The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....

The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....


Postby Jaxter » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:28 pm

Route description: Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh

Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan

Date walked: 11/04/2018

Time taken: 6.38 hours

Distance: 12.63 km

Ascent: 1328m

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I had been reading Alteknacker’s report in preparation for this as I was planning to pretty much follow his route, hopefully in similar conditions. I enjoyed reading about his catalogue of disasters and with the naiveite of (relative) youth assumed that my day would go exactly as I’d planned :lol:

I hadn’t got away as early as planned but other than that it was an easy journey and I arrived at the Falls of Cruachan at just before 9. It was a beautiful day; the sun was out as I put my boots on and set off up the steps and passed through the underpass.

It was a steep climb and already I was regretting the number of layers I had on. However, the view was totally worth it 8)
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I passed a couple of people on their way down who had been camping by the reservoir – it sounded like it had been a windy night :lol: I managed to get over the wobbly stile directly above a big drop :shock: and came out on the track with a view that was definitely worth the effort
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The locals were out to greet me as I walked by…
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Climbing up the side of the dam – it was huge :shock:
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Climbing up the awkward and very steep metal ladder I was on the top of the dam! The sky over Cruachan looked blue and the cloud was blowing in and out but the other side of the reservoir was thick grey clag….
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It was also super windy – the corrie was acting as a big wind tunnel so it was time to get going – the easy track meant that I covered distance quickly and before long I found myself at the end of the reservoir
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The path was a bit boggy initially but was generally in relatively good nick. There was the odd patch of very wet snow but nothing difficult. Soon enough a river crossing was required….there was quite a lot of water in the burn so I was having a look for a good place to get across….I spied one just upstream…
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However....disaster struck :shock: I reached up to pull myself over a wee bump and the boulder I’d grabbed came away in my hand and came flying downwards smashing into my shoulder and ribs on its descent and sending me flying.

Of all the things to say “Oh s**tballs” were the words that came out my mouth :shock: :roll: :crazy:

Fortunately nothing seemed to be broken :thumbup: Or if it was, it wasn’t broken too badly :lol: I was going to have some awesome bruises in a few days though :lol: I could go back down or I could carry on…. I decided that my confidence was a bit shaken and the ridge wasn’t going to happen but it would be nice to get to the top of Cruachan at least….I slowly continued up the path
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Finally I reached the snow level….it was very slippery and wet and it was steep ahead so on went the crampons. Turns out putting crampons on when your left shoulder can’t really move and you may have broken ribs is kind of hard :crazy:

Geared up I dragged myself the back wall of Coire Dearg until I finally reached the bealach. It wasn’t a pleasant climb – the snow was awful, like walking on wet sugar and I hoped it improved as I climbed higher!

Looking back down – the other side still in clag

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At the bealach I turned right and headed up the ridge. There was a short snow-less section which I managed to pick my way across without removing my crampons before I was back into it. There was clag ahead but as it was so windy it kept blowing through fairly quickly allowing glimpses of clarity.
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The continuation of the ridge
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My next target
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There were some big cornices to avoid and it was steep. Breathing hurt, moving hurt, I was tired. My slip had shaken me more than I’d thought. The snow still hadn’t improved and was horrible and slippery :shock: I wasn’t looking forward to coming back down this section!

Finally I was up the final ascent and standing on the top :thumbup: The view was….non-existant :roll: But I figured if I waited….
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Wahey 8)
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A bit sore and precariously balanced for my usual pose…
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Looking down towards the reservoir
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It was cold and windy, I was in pain and it didn’t seem to be clearing any better so I figured I’d better start heading down. It always seems to be worse going down but at least I could follow my footprints back down. I met a guy shortly after leaving the summit who thanked me for leaving him footprints to follow :lol: After a chat we went our separate ways.

Looking back up
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Look at that cornice!
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Back up the ridge
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Back at the bealach, I didn’t really fancy going back down the corrie as the snow was so horrible. Why not go back over Meall Cuanail? While I was considering this another guy arrived at the bealach – he’d made it up without crampons :shock:

As I climbed up Meall Cuanail the views back the way started to open out a little – maybe I’d get a view from the top :thumbup:

Looking back
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Ahead – the sun was really trying to break through 8)
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There were some rocky bits on the ascent and I realised scrambling is hard with injuries :shock: But looking back was a good distraction :thumbup:
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Reaching the summit there was an impressive cairn but no views. Look, I found Santa :lol:
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From here it was an easy case of following the fenceposts downwards. Soon I ran out of snow and had to remove my crampons (also painful) but it was nice to have them off as I managed to keep catching the points in my trousers. It was just going to be one of those days wasn’t it…. :roll:
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Follow the fenceposts – it’s like being in the Borders :lol:
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Eventually I started to come out of the clag and I could see wee Lochan na Cuaig with Loch Awe behind 8)
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Stob Diamh is really trying to clear…
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Looking back up to Meall Cuanail
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The worst of the descent done I cut left down beside a burn to reach the track alongside the reservoir. There had been plenty of footfall here so it must be a recognised route.

Back at the dam Beinn a’ Bhuiridh was clear :shock:
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I had to stop to remove some layers here – it was very warm. I’d forgotten my clothes were all covered in green slime from my fall; I must have looked a right sight :lol:

Safely back down the step ladder it was a very warm but nice walk back down….
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Impressive waterfalls
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I managed to nearly go flying a few times on this last section and then stood in a poop some dog owner hadn’t bothered to clear up :-x so it was just one of those days….

Loch Awe
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Back at the car I chilled for a while before driving home – turns out it’s quite hard to drive with limited movement in my shoulder :lol: One visit to Minor Injuries later, it seems I’ll live :lol:

Still, despite the long list of calamities I had an good day. And I’ll be back to do the full traverse another time :thumbup: (in 4-6 weeks when my ribs are sorted :lol: )


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Jaxter
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Re: The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....

Postby malky_c » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:56 pm

That was a quick write-up! Obviously hasn't harmed your photo-sorting/typing abilities too much :lol:

It's always the silly bits where this sort of thing happens - when I saw your original post, I had visions of you sliding away down some steep icy hillside - glad that wasn't the case.

Hope the ribs feel better before too long - not much you can do about them really, other than wait (I did the same during a misguided attempt at surfing once).
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Re: The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:51 pm

Ouch!

Having bruised my ribs badly doing silly things on (or technically off, unexpectedly) two wheels, and then having to ride just a few easy miles home, I'm impressed you kept going. Some nice images between the cloudy ones! Hope the ribs improve quickly, they're literally not a laughing matter, if you're like I was! :lol: :lol:

Cruachan has somehow eluded me. Every year I think about adding it to the itinerary of our annual winter trip, but somehow it escapes my mind when it comes to the actual planning of the week. Probably because its the wrong side of the Great Glen.
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Re: The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....

Postby past my sell by date » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:05 pm

Well done :clap: :clap: - I think only YOU would have kept going after that. I still have Meall Cunail and the Taynult peak ( Stob Dearg) left to do : Doing all the eleven tops in a day is only for the likes of AK I think..
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Re: The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....

Postby Jaxter » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:27 am

malky_c wrote:That was a quick write-up! Obviously hasn't harmed your photo-sorting/typing abilities too much :lol:

It's always the silly bits where this sort of thing happens - when I saw your original post, I had visions of you sliding away down some steep icy hillside - glad that wasn't the case.

Hope the ribs feel better before too long - not much you can do about them really, other than wait (I did the same during a misguided attempt at surfing once).

I was supposed to be spending the day on the sofa so might as well do something useful :lol:
Fortunately I was relatively lucky despite the pain - just gotta wait it out :roll:



Mal Grey wrote:Ouch!

Having bruised my ribs badly doing silly things on (or technically off, unexpectedly) two wheels, and then having to ride just a few easy miles home, I'm impressed you kept going. Some nice images between the cloudy ones! Hope the ribs improve quickly, they're literally not a laughing matter, if you're like I was! :lol: :lol:

Cruachan has somehow eluded me. Every year I think about adding it to the itinerary of our annual winter trip, but somehow it escapes my mind when it comes to the actual planning of the week. Probably because its the wrong side of the Great Glen.

Yeah "ouch" just about covers it :lol: I think it was sheer stubborn-ness :roll:
I had the same with Cruachan - it's not that far but had just never quite happened. Definitely worth the effort though - I'll definitely be back 8)



past my sell by date wrote:Well done :clap: :clap: - I think only YOU would have kept going after that. I still have Meall Cunail and the Taynult peak ( Stob Dearg) left to do : Doing all the eleven tops in a day is only for the likes of AK I think..

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Ribs? Who needs them :lol: I think in better conditions it wouldn't be too bad but when the snow is like that... :shock:
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Re: The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....

Postby katyhills » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:08 pm

Oh b****er!
As I've just recovered from badly bruised ribs (about four weeks) I know only too well how sore it is. These things can happen so easily. I missed getting the axe in properly coming off a hill and did a nice long slide down the ice. Chipped a bit of bone off my humerus (nothing funny about it :lol: ) and wrenched muscles in my shoulder. Currently having physio for it.
I exfoliated my face nicely too. I don't recommend it as a method, but on the plus side, I'm considering entering the Luge at the next Winter Olympics....:roll:

Hope you haven't done any other damage though. Did you get checked out afterwards?

Cracking report though, and well done for carrying on! The round including Stob D is great on a good day - views are lovely across the loch. I loved Cruachan and would like to go back again - although it may have to wait a while :lol:
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Re: The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:54 am

Well done for keeping going and writing up a great report :clap: , and I hope you mend soon! Rocks coming off in my hand is a fear of mine (why, I've no idea - if I had an accident from pulling on a rock, I can't even remember it!), so I've found I naturally push on things rather than pulling when scrambling, and test stuff like a risk-averse nutter before pulling up. You've tons more experience than I, of course, and you're braver, but if it's a helpful habit to keep you out of A&E, it's all yours. :D
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Re: The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:48 pm

Heck, you really did have a narrow miss! You really did do well to keep going! Hope the shoulder mends quickly.

Some great pics, notwithstanding the injured shoulder :clap: :clap: :clap: :D ; I love the "Wayhey" ridge pic; and nice for me to re-live walking the ridge, which must be one of the finest around.
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Re: The Cruachan Curse - not quite an Awe-some adventure....

Postby Jaxter » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:13 am

katyhills wrote:Oh b****er!
As I've just recovered from badly bruised ribs (about four weeks) I know only too well how sore it is. These things can happen so easily. I missed getting the axe in properly coming off a hill and did a nice long slide down the ice. Chipped a bit of bone off my humerus (nothing funny about it :lol: ) and wrenched muscles in my shoulder. Currently having physio for it.
I exfoliated my face nicely too. I don't recommend it as a method, but on the plus side, I'm considering entering the Luge at the next Winter Olympics....:roll:

Hope you haven't done any other damage though. Did you get checked out afterwards?

Cracking report though, and well done for carrying on! The round including Stob D is great on a good day - views are lovely across the loch. I loved Cruachan and would like to go back again - although it may have to wait a while :lol:

Ouch :shock: :shock: Sounds like you got it a lot worse than I did! I did go to Minor Injuries the next day and they told me I'd live :lol:

I definitely look forward to going back (to Cruachan, not Minor Injuries :lol: :lol: )



EmmaKTunskeen wrote:Well done for keeping going and writing up a great report :clap: , and I hope you mend soon! Rocks coming off in my hand is a fear of mine (why, I've no idea - if I had an accident from pulling on a rock, I can't even remember it!), so I've found I naturally push on things rather than pulling when scrambling, and test stuff like a risk-averse nutter before pulling up. You've tons more experience than I, of course, and you're braver, but if it's a helpful habit to keep you out of A&E, it's all yours. :D

Thanks - I'm getting there! I do usually check things before pulling on them, I guess it was big enough that I didn't think of it, to my cost :lol: I'm assuming the freeze and thaw and big melt has loosened everything up :shock: I'll definitely check everything in future though :roll:



Alteknacker wrote:Heck, you really did have a narrow miss! You really did do well to keep going! Hope the shoulder mends quickly.

Some great pics, notwithstanding the injured shoulder :clap: :clap: :clap: :D ; I love the "Wayhey" ridge pic; and nice for me to re-live walking the ridge, which must be one of the finest around.

Thanks dude - yeah it was awesome to see it clear and took my mind off pain for a few seconds :lol: :lol:
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