Snow-Rock-Ice Liathach - my 200th Munro
by Mountainlove » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:00 pm
Route description: Liathach, Glen Torridon
Munros included on this walk: Mullach an Rathain (Liathach), Spidean a'Choire Leith (Liathach)
Date walked: 18/03/2015
Time taken: 7.45 hours
Distance: 11 km21 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).
Liathach rising steeply the night before the climb
The starting point is a short 5min drive from the campsite and having slept at the foot of the mountain the previous 2 nights, made it even more special to finally climb it. I arrived at an empty car park just before 9pm and the steep sandstone cliffs of Liathach reflected the morning sun in a warm glow. A wee cairn indicated a lovely path up the mountain.
The wee cairn and path up
The sun was warm and within the first half an hour I had stripped down to my T-shirt. With the burn to my left the walk was a pleasure. Taking my time the path climbed higher and higher until I reached a curved wall of rocks. Stopping for the first time I looked in the valley far below.
The road looked tiny and was even more dwarfed by the big mass of Seana Mheallan at 437m which looked like a small lumb of a hill from my viewpoint.
I continued up the hill and by the time the path forked to the right an hour had passed from leaving the car. The path was now leading past some big snow patches and a few scrambles were required to climb the hill. Steeper and steeper the path climbed until I had reached the the ridge. 830 meters ascent in 1.7km is quite a climb.
Closer up, just before the path turn towards the right
Looking back down and the lump of Seana Mheallan
The first 3 peaks. The first Munro is the furthest away one
I walked along the ridge and the views were as amazing I had hoped them to be. Beinn Eighes Sail Mhor rose steeply from the valley floor and the path I had walked around the previous day, was clearly visible. Lochans reflected the dark blue sky and some lovely looking Corbetts could be seen across Wester Ross. Forcing my eyes away from the view I looked down and saw that the ridge was covered in soft snow. No need for crampons yet and walking along, I stopped many times to take in the view and take photos. It was certainly a day to be enjoyed.
The first wow views ahead towards Beinn Eighes Sail Mhor and path to climb it
The views ahead
Looking into the distance
The first peak was climbed quickly and standing at the top Stob a Choire Liath Mhor looked magic. Covered in snow with a line of footprints right next to the razor sharp edge with steep drops to either site. Time to put on the crampons and get my ice axe out.
View from the first summit back along the ridge
Towards Beinn Eighe
Towards Ben Alligin and some lovely Corbetts
And towards Stob a Choire Liath Mhor
Geared up I walked along the rocks, before I reached the snow. My crampons made screeching sounds on the rocks and I felt like a right winter mountaineer. With a grin on my face I walked on, so glad that I waited for a perfect day to climb this hill.
With crampons the walk up the hill was easy, but looking down the snow slope, left my stomach in a knot and made me grip my ice axe that wee bit harder. A fall would be pretty serious! With jelly knees I took some photos and decided not to look down for the rest of the climb ...ignorance works sometimes! I felt relieved when I stepped on the summit of Stob a Choire Liath Mhor and was able to see the first Munro of the day ahead of me.
Down to the left
Down to the right
At the top of Stob a Choire Liath Mhor looking back
Walking along the summit I reached a steep cliff. Considering if it would be easier to take the crampons off, I looked down and saw crampon marks down some rather steep looking snow slope. It looked doable.Gripping the rocks I lowered myself down the edge and realized that most of the snow was frozen solid. Kicking my feet in as hard as I could it was pretty scary and I remembered reading that some rock climbing moves might be required. I certainly did not look like a climber, while god knows what moves I made , I inched myself down the rock. It was scary and I was relieved when I reached the bottom. As usual looking up the bit I just climbed up looked like nothing grrrr
Walking along the top with the Munro
The first Munro of the day - looking lovely
The down climb, looking rather easy from the bottom
The scary part was soon forgotten when I looked up the Munro. The nearly frozen snow glistened in the sun and I started the climb. It was steep and pretty frozen solid and by the time I reached the summit I was drenched in sweat. At the top I met 2 climbers who had came up one of the snow gullies and were as surprised as me that we seemed to be the only people on top of the mountain during such a beautiful day.
Snow turned to ice
A fine slope
Close to the top looking back down
From the summit looking back
and ahead whats yet to come
Saying good bye to the climbers, I saw the Fasarinen looming dark and uninviting ahead of me. The north face was pure rock and they seem to climb vertical from the valley below and ice cold wind blew in my face when I inched myself over the edge to look down below.
Over the edge towards the north
Back down to the road
Towards the distance
Close to the edge
Let the walk begin
The south side was the complete opposite. Away from the wind the sun was warming the rocks and the snow had melted and left a carpet of coarse grass, still brown from the lack of oxygen and air, yet inviting for a scroll. Putting my crampons away, I stepped on the so called bypass, which even though avoids most peaks still climbs across some and makes the going along a lot quicker. Out of the wind I was soon back in my T-shirt and enjoyed the steep drops to my left. Things changed when I encountered my first snow covered gully.
Urgh! There were some footprints across, but with the melt in the previous days I could also see some cracks in the snow. Getting my ice axe out again - there was no way on earth I would walk across it without it. I tried the first step which seemed solid. But what a drop to the valley below. Deciding that looking down was not a good idea, I pushed my ice axe deep into the snow and using it as a handle made my way across the gully. Scary! Needless to say , I was pretty relieved when I reached the other site and the path again.
It started to look like summer
Eeek the first gully to cross
Head for heights is required
Looking down the gully
First gully done there was a lot more ahead
But with views like that the hardship is easily forgotten
Still on the bypass
From one of the other gullies looking down
The last of the Pinnacles
Walking along the path wound it self around the Fasarinen and I had to cross 6 more snow covered gullies until I finally stepped on a grass covered meadow. The final climb towards my 200th Munro could begin.
The grassy slope felt like a red carpet after the steep cliffs, snow covered rocks and snow filled gullies and with ice axe and crampons tucked away and was able to stride towards the summit.
The final Munro ahead
Nice and easy
But still breathtaking views towards the right
In the distance the ocean glittered in hazy sunlight and I was able to spot my campsite, the walk now easy was soon over when I placed my hand on the cairn...200 Munros completed. Yeah! Taking some pictures of myself with my self timer, I sat down and had lunch while enjoying the views towards Beinn Alligin and Beinn Dearg. In the far distance I spotted 2 other walkers, but had the summit for myself.
Views towards the ocean and Beinn Alligin
Looking back towards the ridge
Enjoying the sunshine I stayed for 45min until I managed to drag myself away. Time for the down climb. A downhill slope of scree greeted me and it was back to reality...this would not be fun. More sliding than walking I struggled down the hill until half way down the the path resembled a path again. From there it was a pleasant walk back to the road and back to the car again...Liathach I will be back!
The down climb
When the worst bit is over
A gentle walk back close to the bottom
On the road back to my car
by kev_russ » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:10 pm
by basscadet » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:24 pm
Well done on reaching the 200 mark, over 70% of the way to compleation - yaay!
by Alteknacker » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:36 pm
I would almost say, as others have done, that Beinn Eighe is even better - because you get the best views of Liathach from there!!!
You had such a BRILLIANT day for it - I envy you, especially being a relatively short drive away!
Well done on your 200-up!
by Graeme D » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:38 pm
by The Rodmiester » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:44 pm
by larry groo » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:23 pm
Well done on the 200!
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by martin.h » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:37 pm
Congratulations on your 200 and what a mountain to do it on.
Thanks for sharing your achievement.
by gammy leg walker » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:18 pm
by Huff_n_Puff » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:04 pm
by hopper68 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:31 pm
by Mountainlove » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:12 am
The mountains of Torridon are amazing and I certainly can't wait to climb some of them again.
by Petr Dakota » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:33 am
Nice photos from beautiful area...it was really great sunny day yesterday. I am planning Torridon and especially the Liathach for my 100 Hope the weather will be good enough to enjoy all the views around
by Beaner001 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:07 am