Return to Stuchd an Lochain
by SMRussell » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:10 pm
Route description: Stuchd an Lochain
Munros included on this walk: Meall Buidhe (Glen Lyon), Stuchd an Lochain
Date walked: 28/01/2012
Time taken: 5.5 hours
Distance: 16.9 km
Ascent: 1311m2 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).
SaL 3 hours 20 minutes
MB 2 hours 15 minutes
Some of you may have read my walk report of our ill-fated attempt to bag these two back in December last year (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=17306) when bad luck with the car and strong winds left us heading home, tails between our legs.
With the weather for Saturday looking good we thought we’d return and conquer these two before the snow left and we’d be faced with many a bog monster.
The plan was much like our last attempt – get the more arduous SaL out of the way first. We set out late in the day arriving at the parking place near the damn at around 10.50. As we kitted-up we could see the outline of two fellow walkers on the side of SaL and another pair of walkers just began their ascent of MB about 5mins before we were about to head up SaL. We began our ascent of at 11.10.
The ascent, with the absence of deep snow was much quicker than our previous attempt. We made it to the 800mtrs point in just shy of an hour and took a short photo and food break. The views to the Ben Lawers traverse were great – made all the better knowing we had the whole set in the bag. We then had to consider the ascent of the steep section to the 888mtrs point. We had caught up with the walkers we had seen beginning their ascent as we kitted up and noticed they were putting on their crampons. We considered the conditions and promptly did the same – well Roy put on his crampons and I donned my microspikes. As we did so the fellow walkers went over the top and continued towards the summit. This short ascent was quite a challenge for my spikes and I had to revert to a bit of an ice climbing approach whacking my ice axe into the snow and pulling myself up with it. Once up I had a little wonder as to how the hell the spikes would manage to descend that stretch but then thought ‘I’ll deal with that later’.
The summit of SaL soon came into view and looked stunning with a large cornice around the Coire an Lochain. We continued to march along noticing some cloud appearing and feeling the wind picking up. We were soon on the heels of the other walkers and up on the summit. Thankfully the cloud kept away and we were able to take in the views. But being aware of out late start we didn’t hang about and were soon hot-footing it back down the hill – well actually I indulged in a bit of bum sliding … Roy wasn’t too impressed with my disregard for safety…
The march back was uneventful except for my descent down the steep section from earlier. Two other walkers and their dog were having a seat not far from where we had taken our photo and food break earlier – ‘Oh great, an audience’ I thought! I considered my route, Roy disagreed with my choice and headed his own way. I was carefully descending when suddenly my spikes lost grip and I was flying down on my back – instinct made my attempt to plunge the spike of the axe into the ground and then my rational mind kicked in – I spun myself around and whacked the pick into the icy snow as hard as I could and thus came to a halt. The walkers below were looking on in horror! Weirdly I felt fine and just thought ‘well that was a bit of a jolly!’ and pulled myself back up and carried on with the couple below shouting for me to keep to the right. A little later it came to me that my little jolly could easily have ended very badly if I hadn’t been able to stop. I headed over to the couple and their dog to thank them for their concern and received a very loving welcome from their gorgeous black lab.
The rest of the descent was a straight forward trudge. Once back at the car we realised that the number of light hours had depleted and the bagging of MB would have to be brisk. As we ascended we passed the couple who had been heading up MB as we were kitting up. As I looked around I began to regret our late start as it was clear the views were just going to get better and better but we didn’t have the time to take it all in.
We bumped into two very friendly walkers at the cairn at 917 mtrs so stopped for a chin wag before continuing over the plateau to the summit cairn. The cloud had really come in over the plateau but thankfully cleared enough for some summit shots. Obligatory summit photos taken and it was a knee breakingly swift descent back to the car to ensure we made it back with some daylight.
Two great hills these and pleased to have returned and triumphed – and stopped myself from flying down the side of a mountain! Photos (not full quality) and videos (can be watched in HD) below!
Some excellent photos. I was up s&l not so long ago and had fun glisading down the icy slope. Good fun when it works
Good effort bagging m&b also.
by SMRussell » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:57 pm
by SusieThePensioner » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:29 pm
by SMRussell » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:56 pm
SusieThePensioner wrote:A great report, loved it, and some fantastic photos, glad you succeeded this time
Cheers Susie! We were glad also. Our knees have been resting up today mind - in fact we are about to tuck into the 3rd course of tonight's dinner tucked up in bed watching 'Deadwood' - I say this with NO shame!
by ChrisW » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:29 am
by quoman » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:18 am
Those microspike's are fine but you need the crampons.
by Fudgie » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:20 pm
by SMRussell » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:08 pm
ChrisW wrote:Great stuff SMR, looks cold as hell though glad you got back there successfully but the description of that slide suggests it could easily have been a different tale good to hear you maintained your head and did it right, great report
Actually, aside from the summits, it wasnae that cold! Yes, that slide might have been the end of me or at least the breaking of my pride and a few bones! I'm glad I'd read up on winter skills earlier in the year and got in a good few practice arrests early in the snow season. Actually my first 'for real' ice axe arrest was during our first attempt at this hill - perhaps it had it in for me
quoman wrote:Well done on completing the two this time cracking pic's.
Those microspike's are fine but you need the crampons.
Cheers quo. I must confess I've been pondering how to scrape some funds together for some C1s, but I'd also new boots as mine aren't compatible Darned expensive hobby this hiking malarkey!
kevsbald wrote:Photo 8 is stonking!
Fudgie wrote:The photo of the dam with the hill reflecting i the water is a belter. That was a good effort to do those two hills in such a short space of time.
Oh you're too kind - they're not even the full quality versions. Must confess I was pleased with is one also
by jonny616 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:07 pm
by dooterbang » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:13 am
Glad you managed them this time.
Nice lumi top you have - MR would have no problem spotting you
by SMRussell » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:32 pm
jonny616 wrote:Great report & pics. I did these two a while back. MB on the friday night & cooked my tea at the summit then camped by the dam & did SaL the next morning.
Cheers Jonny! I like the thought of cooking-up some grub on a Munro summit but they're almost always so darn windy! Perhaps some hot soup in a flask for the next one Some camping out will definitely be on the cards soon as we are running out of Munros within a drivable distance.
by SMRussell » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:38 pm
dooterbang wrote:Nice lumi top you have - MR would have no problem spotting you
For sure! I realised everything I was wearing up in the hills was back and with the addition of my black balaclava I was becoming "Darth Hiker"! Decided to be a bit more safety conscious (and distance myself from the darkside) so I got my hands of a few 'striking' garments