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Connecting ridge impassible?

Connecting ridge impassible?


Postby benno » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:17 pm

Route description: A'Chralaig and Mullach Fraoch-choire

Munros included on this walk: A' Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire

Date walked: 13/04/2009

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I attempted these two hills this month. About half way along the excellent ridge leading up to Mullach Fraoch-choire I got stuck at what appeared to be a step, with a drop-off of more than one body length. Two other guys were also stuck at the same point and had been for a few minutes.

That evening I met a guy over a pint in the Cluanie Inn who had been up the same hills that day and had got stuck in the same place. His response was that there had been some sort of landslip - the path had simply fallen away leaving the ridge impassible without ropes.

The hill is definately feasable by it's NW ridge, and I intend to go back and take it from there another time.

Has anyone else been up there recently and found this? Part of me wonders whether I just missed the path altogether, but it seems unlikely that 3 other people on the hill that day could be in exactly the same position.
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Re: Connecting ridge impassible?

Postby Paul Webster » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:28 pm

Benno

If it helps, the bypass path is (or was) on the right hand side of the ridge and avoided the worst difficulties. I'd be keen to hear if anyone else heads up that way.... I think there were some bits like you describe if you stuck exactly to the ridge line.
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Re: Connecting ridge impassible?

Postby ConnieW » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:13 pm

This is interesting. I was there on Easter Monday and had to turn back. In my books (SMC The Munros and Cicerone Walking the Munros) it was described as a path without difficulties but half way along the ridge, where it turns right around a tower, the path was covered in snow and there was a step that I thought I could just about manage up, but possibly not on the way back. My dog then started to slip on the snowfield below. That decided it. Luckily he was wearing a harness so that I could haul him up without strangulating him. My friend managed to reach the summit by scrambling over the tower, but that was not possible with the dog, I had looked at that before I tried the path.

I certainly thought it looked more difficult then I had been led to believe from the route descriptions.

I was gutted. As enjoyable as the ridge walk is, the climb up the grassy slope at the beginning is the soul-destroying sort of slog that I absolutely hate. So I thought I deserved to bag two munros for the effort. Climbing Mullach Fraoch-choire from the other side looks like an even worse slog with a boring walk in, I'm not sure I can bring myself to do that.
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Re: Connecting ridge impassible?

Postby mountain coward » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:02 am

Well of course the only thing we can do is send Paul W. back up to see if it's changed! :lol:

I think one of the problems is that all the books underrate/underestimate the problems ridges and mountains as they are generally written by people with nerves of steel (or no nerves at all) and a great head for heights. Many of them are climbers and can't understand people being afraid of heights on narrow ridges when they meet anything other than perfectly straightforward (people like me). I found everything I did in the Kintail area horrific due to everything's excessive steepness... and I've still got all the worst ones to do! :(
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Re: Connecting ridge impassible?

Postby benno » Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:00 pm

I was surprised by it as nothing is really mentioned in the SMC guide (either the early 80s one or the up-to-date one), and that book has never let me down before. Thanks for your comments!
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Re: Connecting ridge impassible?

Postby Paul Webster » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:05 pm

Was there snow on the side of the ridge benno? If so, I think the problem is most likely that the usual path round on the right was banked out. As it faces northeast and is very high up it would probably hold snow up until about now. Crossing the pinnacles without the benefit of the usual bypass path really would be more difficult and could turn most hillwalkers back (our route description mentions that even the bypass path has a little bit of a scramble - it doesn't presume you go over the pinnacles). I think this is probably more likely than rockfall or a landslide, as you would normally be able to see the freshly broken rock - it stays a different colour for as long as a couple of years after rockfall. You can still see fresh-looking rock scars in the Cuillin from rockfalls that happened a decade ago.
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Re: Connecting ridge impassible?

Postby benno » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:54 am

Yes there was a bit of snow on the NE side of the ridge. This could explain it, but I would be interested to read people's comments on the ridge as the snow disappears.
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Re: Connecting ridge impassible?

Postby sootybob » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:53 pm

I did this on Saturday 18th April. There was still a bit of snow up there, but nothing that was impassible. I am not a climber, just a novice walker and had to use my hands to steady myself in a few places, but there was nothing difficult about the route at all
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Re: Connecting ridge impassible?

Postby seve68 » Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:37 pm

Did it today and there are no problems, path is quite clear around pinnacles. Really enjoyable route with stunning views! Enjoy :D
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