Snow on Chno Dearg
by Redrock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:51 am
Route description: Chno Dearg and Stob Coire Sgriodain
Munros included on this walk: Chno Dearg, Stob Coire Sgriodain
Date walked: 13/01/2012
Time taken: 7.7 hours
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 1018m4 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).
The Munros I have still to climb are getting further away from the central belt - so it was up early and a long drive up the A9 then along Glen Spean so that I could tackle Stob Coire Sgriodain and Chno Dearg on what I hoped would be a fine winter's day. The forecast was good and I was hopeful of excellent conditions - but I have been disappointed before! I set off from the fine wee hamlet of Fersit at about 9:30am.
There was a group of walkers, also from Fife, set off about the same time as me - and I was to cross paths with them a few times on my journey. Going east through Fersit, I was soon out on the open moor and I could see Sron na Garbh-bheinne, my route to the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain, rising up to the south.
I made steady progress over the partly frozen boggy landscape (but not quite frozen enough to take my weight! ) Soon I was looking up at the imposing prow of Sron na Garbh-bheinne. I was getting close to 600 metres and the snow beds were getting more extensive. It looked like I would soon have to tackle snow on the climb onto the ridge! I headed for the gully just to the left of centre which seemed a likely way up!
To the west there were great views of the Easains.
Behind me Creag Meagaidh stood out boldly in the clear air.
Heading up the gully, I soon discovered that there was a fair build up of snow at its head. I decided to cut a few steps with the ice axe across a narrow section on the east side and then I scrambled up the bank onto easier ground above. The other group of walkers donned crampons at the foot of the snow and made their way up the steep bank.
Soon I had the crampons on myself as it became easier to use the snow slopes as my route onto the ridge. The snow was an ideal consistency - firm enough to take my weight but yielding enough for a good grip with the crampons (very different to my experience on Sgiath Chuil the previous week! ). Higher up I came across some fresh boot prints (and maybe a dog's paw prints) which suggested there might be less icy ways up!
The ground became progressively whiter as I approached the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain. The sunshine was glorious!
The summit proved to be an amazing place and I lingered there a while.
Loch Treig lay far below beyond a tumble of broken boulders.
The twin peaks of Stob Coire Easain and Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin rose up proudly to the west.
Beinn a' Chlachair and its partners looked impressive to the north-east.
Whilst Chno Dearg - my next Munro of the day - looked a much gentler hill to the east.
My way forward was along the ridge south east from the summit - towards the south top of Stob Coire Sgriodain. It proved to be complex ground with hummocks and minor ridges running at an angle to the main ridge. I imagine it could be challenging in poor visibility! But today it was beautifully clear!
Heading along the Easains looked impressive.
And there were some good views towards Glencoe to the south.
The snowfields gave great walking for crampons.
But I can't help feeling that I look like an old man with a walking stick coming across the snow! Well if the cap fits - wear it!
From the col I headed off the regular route to take in the Munro Top of Meall Garbh. I was rewarded with views of Ben Nevis emerging from behind the Easains.
Schiehallion showed up well to the south-east.
I was at the top of Meall Garbh (I try to visit the Munro Tops too when it is practicable - but it tends to make for a longer day! ) - but I still had Chno Dearg waiting in the background to be climbed.
Chno Dearg has a bit of a reputation for being a rounded and rather boring hill but I've always rather liked the sound of the name. Perhaps it is best climbed in winter. As I walked towards it I noticed evidence of a past avalanche. "It can't be that tame a hill if it can do avalanches" I thought. Perhaps in another few thousand years it could have a fine corrie on its east side! (But perhaps that will need another ice age to complete! )
As I started my ascent of Chno Dearg I noticed the other group of walkers following me up the slopes.
It didn't take long to reach the summit dome with views towards the Easains and the Grey Corries opening up.
It was time to perch myself on the cairn and pretend for the camera that I had been sitting there for ages.
But time was pressing on - it was time to head home. The snow fields north of the summit provided a good route down with crampons on my feet.
by Redrock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:11 am
Glen Spean and Loch Laggan looked fine in the late afternoon light.
- Glen Spean and Loch Laggan
By now the day was moving on and the sun was setting over the ridge of Stob Coire Sgriodain.
- Sunet over Stob Coire Sgriodain
Creag Meagaidh was a fine sight in the sunset light as I made my way quickly down the mountain.
- Creag Meagaidh at sunset
Soon I was below the snow line and looking back at the ridge that had started my day. I was intrigued by the burn which actually split and went two directions below the waterfall. It rather confused me and left me crossing more than I needed to. I also learned a handy lesson - stand on the rocks just below the water in freezing weather - those above will be covered in ice and are deadly to stand on!
- Waterfall on Allt Chaorach Beag
I was down to the path above Fersit with just enough light to see my way. I made my way through the village in the fading light and arrived back at the car a little after 5pm. What a day it had been! You don't get days like this very often and I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it! And I'd got my timing just about right this time too! So all in all it was a great day on the hills! I'd love more days like these!
by ChrisW » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:24 am
by Alastair S » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:57 am
by Collaciotach » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:01 am
by Redrock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:29 pm
by Bod » Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:21 pm
A great start to the year for you, hills in January this year - we're doing well!
by Redrock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:15 pm
by Alan S » Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:48 pm
You just cannae whack they pics of loch treig
by Redrock » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:17 pm
alan s wrote:Great report redrock
You just cannae whack they pics of loch treig
Aye, it's a great place, Alan. It's just like looking down on a fjord - I imagine!
by Redrock » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:18 pm
monty wrote:Great set of photos Redrock. It was pea soup when i was up there. Is that real Chno
Chno, really! It's so much better when you can see the views, Monty!
by Blue Bear » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:54 pm
by Redrock » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:10 pm
by jonny616 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:48 pm