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Beinn a'Chaorainn East Ridge
by 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: 882m6 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
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.
At 8:20 the next morning we set off under cloudy skies for the short walk up the road to Roughburn.
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.
Emerging from the forest we headed upwards and due west picking our way across boggy ground towards the 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.
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.
Higher up, the scrambling and the rock was much better.
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.
Having admired the ridge from above we strolled across to the summit to admire the views over lunch.
The rain had held off 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.
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
As we headed downhill towards the forestry black clouds were gathering overhead but the rain never came.
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! 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!
by zatapathique » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:08 pm
by Cairngorm creeper » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:27 pm
Thank you, nice picture of the East Ridge. It is very doable and like other scrambles that lead up to a summit, nicely satisfying!
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