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There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)


Postby ronofcam » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:02 pm

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Beag (Alder), Beinn Eibhinn, Ben Alder, Carn Dearg (Loch Pattack), Geal-charn (Alder)

Date walked: 18/08/2012

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 55 km

Ascent: 2695m

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I'm posting this up really for my own benefit, as I can use it as an aide memoir in future. However, if I'm going to post it up then I ought to put a few bits and pieces with it... :?

For me, one of the joys of walking in the Scottish hills in late summer is the little pockets and patches of snow that can be encountered. Currently, the amount of hills in Scotland where snow is still present can be counted on a couple of hands. One such patch, on Aisre Cham on Geal-charn, was my intended target for the day. This patch, the last in Scotland to persist to winter outwith the Cairngorms or Nevis range (in 2000), had looked pretty big in photographs, and I wanted to visit it before it went by way of the Dodo. I didn't really have any inention of going any farther than the summit of Geal-charn, but that changed...

With trusty bike under my bum I set off from Dalwhinnie at 7.15am. Locked up the bike at 8.15am at Culra and was on the summit of Carn Dearg by 9.15am. I realised that I had been far too generous with my timings, and that the snow was likely to be visited before 10.30! I had allowed extra time due to a night out in Stirling with friends, but I'd be back down much too early.

Anyway, the snow was visited, photographed and measured for historical posterity.

Aisre Cham snow-patch, 18th August 2012
Image

For those who are interested there are some more snaps here.

I decided that time was with me and that I would take in another few hills whilst I was there, so I did the rest of the ridge walk to Beinn Eibhinn. This proved straightforward, and time still was with me. It was still only about 12.30pm, so "what the heck". Ben Alder it was! Dropped down to the Uisge Labhair and then back up onto Ben Alder before having a big lunch and admiring the scenery. At this point it was 50-50 for time, so I decided to exit the summit via a route which looked do-able on the map. Hmmm... this proved to be interesting to say the least. The exit gully (here) was very steep indeed, and called for some slow and deliberate movements. Short cuts can make for long delays, but this one proved very short. Anyway, back at the bike and off to Dalwhinne. 4.30pm at the car, and a cracking day to boot.
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby ScottishLeaf » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:42 pm

Last snow I was saw was on the Tarmachan Ridge in June!
Need to see if it's still there lol

Image
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby ronofcam » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:40 am

The Tarmachan snows typically go in May or June, just like in your picture.

Still quite a bit of snow around. Two days after my jaunt of the 18th I did a walk round of Ben Nevis, Carn Mor Dearg, Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor to see the snow there, too. Observatory Gully in Ben Nevis still holding a bit...

Image

More pictures here.
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby Fudgie » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:48 am

I'm looking for an excuse to get out the mountain bike so I'll keep this one in mind. I would probably have to stay overnight somewhere bu I really fancy this for a big day out.
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby ronofcam » Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:54 am

Fudgie wrote:I'm looking for an excuse to get out the mountain bike so I'll keep this one in mind. I would probably have to stay overnight somewhere bu I really fancy this for a big day out.

A reasonably fit cyclist could bike to Culra in an hour and traverse the four main hills (i.e. Munros) in 4 hours. However, the big effort in this walk (assuming you want to take in Ben Alder et al), both physically and mentally, is dropping way down from the summit of Beinn Eibhinn to the Uisge Labhair and back up onto Ben Alder. It's very tiring, and I had to stop frequently. That said, once on the plateau it's very easy going.
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby Fudgie » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:43 pm

Cheers. I would probably split it into two journeys and do Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil on one trip and then come back at a future date for the others. I think the whole lot in one go would be too much :wink:
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby Johnny Corbett » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:46 pm

Fudgie wrote:Cheers. I would probably split it into two journeys and do Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil on one trip and then come back at a future date for the others. I think the whole lot in one go would be too much :wink:
You could kip in the bothy for a night, Culras a great bothy :D That was a great read ronofcam :D
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby Fudgie » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:04 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:
Fudgie wrote:Cheers. I would probably split it into two journeys and do Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil on one trip and then come back at a future date for the others. I think the whole lot in one go would be too much :wink:
You could kip in the bothy for a night, Culras a great bothy :D That was a great read ronofcam :D


I'm tempted but I like a comfy bed :lol:
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby Clach Liath » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:13 pm

I saw you whilst you were at the snow patch. I was in the process of climbing Lancet Edge and could see a little black spot against the snow. At first I thought it was a rock, but then it had disappeared when I next looked.

Here is a shot which coincidentally has your snow patch on it. The shot was taken from near the summit of Sgor Iutharn and taken at 10.30am. Perhaps you were still there!

IMG_4703.JPG


I was at Culra when you locked up your bike. I must have been inside because I missed you. Pity because I enjoy bumping into other WH'ers when out in the hills. Your descent route off Ben Alder looked not only steep, but sustained and unpleasant!
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby ronofcam » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:52 am

Clach Liath wrote:I saw you whilst you were at the snow patch. I was in the process of climbing Lancet Edge and could see a little black spot against the snow. At first I thought it was a rock, but then it had disappeared when I next looked.

Here is a shot which coincidentally has your snow patch on it. The shot was taken from near the summit of Sgor Iutharn and taken at 10.30am. Perhaps you were still there!

Fantastic to know I was spotted, CL! There were a couple of guys from Sheffield that had spent 2 or 3 nights at the bothy, and I chatted to them for a while before departing. They had a little baby-buggy attachment on their bike that they had used to transport their gear. Ingenious!

If anyone else is up here in the near-future then I'd be interested to get photographs of the snow. My guess is that it will disappear by the end of the first week in September.
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby Clach Liath » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:40 am

ronofcam wrote:There were a couple of guys from Sheffield that had spent 2 or 3 nights at the bothy, and I chatted to them for a while before departing. They had a little baby-buggy attachment on their bike that they had used to transport their gear. Ingenious!


Indeed - here they are departing the bothy!

IMG_4685.jpg
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby luibnaclach » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:31 am

love reading these posts :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

im an old wanderer :wink: any hoo looked at the distance and time :!: 55k and 9 hrs,thought good grief whats this lad on :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

then realised a lump of it was biked, grand stuff
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby Mountainlove » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:16 am

Just makes me realize once more that I need a mountain bike...and a bike rack for the car!!
Love the snow pictures...I saw my last bit 2 weeks ago on Aonach Mor...was wondering if it will actually stay until winter.
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Re: There's snow place like west Drumochter (groan...)

Postby ronofcam » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:16 pm

Mountainlove wrote:Love the snow pictures...I saw my last bit 2 weeks ago on Aonach Mor...was wondering if it will actually stay until winter.

Unlikely... :) This photo was taken on Monday, and most of the snow will already be gone...

Image
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