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Topped Ben Vorlich but cramped out Stuc A Chroin

Topped Ben Vorlich but cramped out Stuc A Chroin


Postby DonnyW » Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:49 pm

Route description: Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin

Munros included on this walk: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Stuc a'Chroin

Date walked: 31/01/2010

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 13 km

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Saturday 30-1-10
Conditions..perfect
Walking by myself

Unfortunately there are very few days in the year like Saturday. The forecast promised freezing temperature, clear skies, and a wind gusting up to 30mph. I knew there was still plenty snow on the top half of the mountains so the alarm clock was set for 6.30am.

I decided to go to Loch Earn, climb Ben Vorlich and perhaps take in Stuc A Chroin if I had any energy left. I haven’t been out on the hills much lately so guessed my stamina would be low. Only one way to find out though :D

I was the third car to park at Ardvorlich House. It was just after 8am and Ben Vorlich looked magnificent with its top still covered in snow. My breath froze in the still morning air as I locked up, a quick check in the rucksack to make sure I had most things I would need and I was off up the farm track towards the rising sun

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It wasn’t long before the views of the surrounding hills started to open as I quickly gained height. The first being the view north to the Ben Lawyers range

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Reaching snow level, I stopped to put on crampons. I expected the snow and ice to be solid due to the recent thaws and refreezes of the past couple of weeks. I wasn’t disappointed, the snow and ice were in perfect condition all the way round my hike, its just a pity that I wasn't. I headed upwards onto the access ridge and looked north east for this view

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As the path steepened, I stopped and took three photos of the Crianlarich hills and joined them together for this panorama view. Stobinien and Ben More dominate the scence just left of centre

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Approaching the steep section of the ridge to the summit of Ben Vorlich I stopped to check avalanche conditions. I do this by watching for other walkers. Yup..I saw one on the steep slopes heading directly for the summit. I watched a while, saw the snow was in perfect condition so decided to made a more direct route to the summit as there were no cornices on the top ridge. I have circled the avalanche indication which proved to me the snow was in perfect condition in this photo.

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Topping Ben Vorlich on the ridge 1 turned and took the statutory photo of the summit cairn to prove I was there. The views were stunning.

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Another couple of walkers appeared and I waited till they were on the east ridge end before taking this snapshot.

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I had time for only a couple more photos as the wind was gusting and my hands were beginning to go numb without gloves on. This one is looking towards Stirling across the south face of Ben Vorlich.

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Although those views were beautiful, it was Stuc A chroin that really held my attention. I was eyeing up the north buttress which gives access to the summit

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I started the descent down to the bealach between Vorlich and Stuc A Chroin. It was steep but the snow was excellent. I was confident the crampons would do their job. However I was beginning to feel I was running out of strength in my leg muscles. They began to stiffen as I started the climb up Stuc A Chroin. I stopped for a rest and took this photo of the south side of Ben Vorlich. I could see why my leg muscles were stiffening. It was only the crampon points that penetrated the frozen snow so I had used a lot of energy trying to keep my ankles straight on the steep downward slopes. I guess my legs were not as strong as my mind

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Before starting up the scrambling part of the north buttress, I traversed around to the east of Stuc a Chroin to get a view of the snow covered cliffs.

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I had just started the scramble up these rocks when I felt a tightening of the muscles in my left knee. I immediately relaxed my leg and was grateful when the cramp eased. I knew it would be foolish to go on in this condition. :(

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Once I was back at the bealach I rested and had some lunch before starting the traverse back round Ben Vorlich, to save going over its top again. By the time I reached the north side of Ben Vorlich again my ankles were at a point of collapse. Traversing on solid snow at approx 30 degree angle for a good couple of miles took its toll on muscles I hadn’t used in ages. Im glad I turned back when I did

However it was a great day on the mountains regardless and my legs are fine again today ..just a little stiff. Thanks for reading my walk report
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DonnyW
 
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Re: Topped Ben Vorlich but cramped out Stuc A Chroin

Postby johnnyaztec » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:16 pm

Lol,i liked the new avalanche detection system you used for this walk,ingenious!Im heading up Scafell Pike tomorrow,i hope we also have an avalanche detector ahead of us.

But seriously some great views and a good report,thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Re: Topped Ben Vorlich but cramped out Stuc A Chroin

Postby NevJB » Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:21 pm

Great pics - I am envious - what a gorgous day you had - wonderful light!
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Re: Topped Ben Vorlich but cramped out Stuc A Chroin

Postby mountain coward » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:46 pm

Some fabulous photos there! Great report thanks :D
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Re: Topped Ben Vorlich but cramped out Stuc A Chroin

Postby DonnyW » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:34 pm

Thanks for your comments Johnnyaztec, NevJB and Mountain Coward, they are greatly appreciated. :D

For some strange reason the photo of the south face of Ben Vorlich has turned into a red cross ? So I have attached it again below ..and I have added a couple of other views.

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This one has another walker which helps give some scale to the buttress. He disappeared over the top, followed a little later by another lone woman walker. They both overtook me on the path back to Ardvorlich so were far fitter than me

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I rested at this point until the cramp eased. Taking the photo took my mind off it, the view was lovely.

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Thanks again to all for looking
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