walkhighlands

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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.

Ben More

Ben More


Postby seamus0 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:37 pm

Route description: Ben More and Stob Binnein

Munros included on this walk: Ben More

Date walked: 29/12/2010

Time taken: 6.5 hours

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This is a decent hill to do in the winter as you start along the A85 so its very accessible. I did this on the 29th Dec, when the snow was starting to thaw. Visibility was poor, and the snow had become quite slushy. the walk starts just before Benmore farm, where you can park along the road. A small wooden sign can be seen from the road indicating the start of the Walk to Ben More. There was little snow around below 500m, however the track was pretty icy and slow going to start with.
PC290528.JPG
Benmore Farm Track-no snow!

PC290531.JPG
Slippy!

Reading previous reports the NW ridge just above the crags is normally the way to do this mountain. However I decided to walk along the track further and attack it from the west, just south of the crag for a bit of variety. My first time up this one, so I had been told its a bit of a slog! I decided to start going up where the stream meets the track at 420251. Following this frozen stream led me straight to the crags.
PC290533.JPG
Ben More Crags on NW ridge

At this point the snow was getting deeper, and about 700m I had to give in and put on my crampons as it was starting to get steep and the snow was getting harder.
PC290536.JPG
Deeper snow, intended route past the crags

At around 800m i was aware how absolutely knackering this hill is on your lungs and calf muscles...and how unfit i was! the hill is unrelenting. Every step had to be kicked in, followed by the ice axe to pull u up.
PC290539.JPG
Ben More Gradient

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Snow Depth

I was aware of how slow progress this was, and was aware of the time, as again I didnt have a decent torch with me I didnt really want to come off in the dark. So I plodded on....toward the top it got steeper and steeper and was faced with a wall of snow.
PC290544.JPG
wall of snow

I knew this was the final last hurdle before the steepness finally started to decrease. Finally reached the top at 1pm. Took me 3.5 hours!
PC290540.JPG
Easier going finally!

I met a chap at the top who said he saw me coming up the west face, and thought i was a bit mad doing it the 'hard' way. He wasnt wearing crampons, and no axe. So he must have had an easier time of it.
I think next time, I'll start from the NW, and see if there's any difference.
After a spot of lunch and no visibility, I again decided to follow my steps back again. this was a bit harder than expected, as I had to downclimb most of the way. It was easier on the legs as could just do large strides down the snow, but tiring on the back. It wasnt until I reached the crags again, I could contemplate walking down normally. All-in-all a knackering day! 3.5 hrs going up and 2 coming down, got back to the car just at sunset knowing I had burned off several xmas dinners! Just as well :-)
seamus0
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Posts: 132
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Re: Ben More

Postby monty » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:54 pm

That sounded painful Seamus0. It is a tough hill anyway never mind adding to the difficulty with hard snow. well done :D
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Re: Ben More

Postby rockhopper » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:58 pm

As monty said, it's a hard climb but worth it when you get there - well done for getting there :thumbup:

seamus0 wrote:I met a chap at the top who said he saw me coming up the west face, and thought i was a bit mad doing it the 'hard' way. He wasnt wearing crampons, and no axe. So he must have had an easier time of it.
This is deja vu for me in a way. We also came upon two walkers albeit in slightly different conditions with no axes or crampons when we went up Ben More / Stob Binnein .....the other way of looking at it is that you were prepared for the conditions and who's to say that they wouldn't be needed ? :D
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Re: Ben More

Postby seamus0 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:14 pm

Yup, I dont think I would venture into the hills without at least an axe in winter. The axe was essential up this route, but I could have gone without the crampons...i was just conscious of the time and it would be faster with them on. I felt a bit daft forgetting my torch as it really shortens your day, and your options. I think doing this in summer would be interesting to get a different perspective on it, and to get some views would be nice too!
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Posts: 132
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