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Beinn a'Chaorainn East Ridge

Beinn a'Chaorainn East Ridge


Postby Cairngorm creeper » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:01 am

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chaorainn (Glen Spean)

Date walked: 24/06/2019

Distance: 16.1 km

Ascent: 882m

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From Roughburn the east ridge is rather a circuitous route by which to reach Beinn a'Chaorainn, but if you enjoy scrambling the rocky aretes make it well worth the extra effort.
We really wanted a dry morning for this route as the rock was schist and could be very greasy in the wet, but, the met office forecast couldn't make up its mind up and rather than cancel our plans we had our fingers crossed that the rock would be dry and any showers would hold off at least until we reached the summit but took a rope just in case things turned out to be harder than expected. We parked overnight at Laggan Damm and although our van is nicely done up were surprised by the number of tour buses that turned up a regular intervals to photograph us. Perhaps it was Paparazzi hoping to catch us in our pjs.
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At 8:20 the next morning we set off under cloudy skies for the short walk up the road to Roughburn.
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The Route

The first 5km of the walk was along forestry tracks, thankfully it was a Sunday, so free from logging lorries as there was a considerable amount of felling and even some quarrying underway in the first patch of forestry.
The second area of forest, was completely different and very pleasant almost appearing natural with wild flowers growing along the verges including flowering cowberries, foxgloves, and large butterworts. The air was full of birdsong and we met a handsome toad.
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The Forst and The Allt Ban

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The Forest Track

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The Toad

Emerging from the forest we headed upwards and due west picking our way across boggy ground towards the ridge.
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Approach to the East Ridge

The East Ridge is probably more popular as a winter climb than summer scramble, but it is a fine looking ridge leading directly to the summit.
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The East Ridge

We followed the crest of the ridge but the rock on the lower section was uncomfortably loose and given that it was all avoidable I would bypass it if we were repeating the route.
One particularly memorable moment was having to step onto a large block that despite looking stable was crumbling at the point it was attached to the crag.
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Unavoidable Loose Block

Higher up, the scrambling and the rock was much better.
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Looking up the crest

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Better Scrambling higher up

It was quite steep in places with some big steps for shorter people but there were lots of holds. Sticking to the crest route finding was fairly straightforward and although care was required as there was still some loose rock, it was more avoidable. The book graded the scramble as a 1/2 which felt fairly accurate as most of the harder sections were avoidable on steep grass.
At the top of the ridge there were a series of delightful rocky aretes just below Beinn a'Chaorainn summit.
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Series of Aretes
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On Good Rock
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Staying on the Crest

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Topping out

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Across to Creag Meagaidh

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Looking Down The East Ridge

Having admired the ridge from above we strolled across to the summit to admire the views over lunch.
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Very Short Walk to the Summit

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13:00 On Beinn A'Chaorainn


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Windy Enough for Jeremy Jetboil to need his new windshield

The rain had held off 8) and although it was a bit breezy on top it was just enough to keep the midges at bay. This was our second time on Beinn a'Chaorainn and I think it must have been in cloud last time we were here as I don't recall just what great views there were across Lochaber to Ben Nevis.
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After having the east ridge to ourselves all morning it was nice to meet and greet other walkers as we wandered across to the south top
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Meet First other walkers of the day on the way to the South Top
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South Top

As we headed downhill towards the forestry black clouds were gathering overhead but the rain never came.
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Storm Clouds are gathering for the descent

Chatting and inattentive we initially headed too far right and almost missed Meall Clachaig, then had a brainstorm and thought we should be going down the south ridge and headiing for Meall Bhaideanach! :roll: Our navigation seems to be at its worst in excellent visibility. Fortunately we realised the error of our ways and despite getting my foot stuck in a hole and falling flat on my face in a bog we made it safely back to Roughburn by 16:00 happy, muddy but mainly dry!
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 677
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Nr. Grantown-on-Spey

Re: Beinn a'Chaorainn East Ridge

Postby zatapathique » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:08 pm

Nice scramble and great pictures!
I walked the "normal" route a bit more than two weeks before you did the scramble, and I saw the ridge you climbed up:
Image
It looks quite difficult from this perspective, but good to know that it's feasible.
Well done!
User avatar
zatapathique
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 61
Munros:72   Corbetts:4
Hewitts:5
Joined: Sep 3, 2014
Location: France

Re: Beinn a'Chaorainn East Ridge

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:27 pm

zatapathique wrote:Nice scramble and great pictures!
I walked the "normal" route a bit more than two weeks before you did the scramble, and I saw the ridge you climbed up:
Image
It looks quite difficult from this perspective, but good to know that it's feasible.
Well done!

Thank you, nice picture of the East Ridge. It is very doable and like other scrambles that lead up to a summit, nicely satisfying! :D
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 677
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Nr. Grantown-on-Spey

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