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Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off


Postby Stretch » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:48 pm

Route description: Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnein Beag, Mamores

Munros included on this walk: Binnein Beag, Binnein Mor, Na Gruagaichean, Sgurr Eilde Mor

Date walked: 29/08/2010

Time taken: 23 hours

Distance: 20 km

Ascent: 2000m

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I had planned on doing this route/wildcamp the day after I climbed Ben Nevis via CMD, however, after my experience on that outing I changed my mind. I'm actually glad I did now, because it gave me time to get a few more bits of kit for my overnight adventure. On Sunday the wind was ridiculous - a tree blew down on a car on the A85, and more were upended along the way through Perthshire - but I stuck with my plans with the belief that the wind would die down as the forecast predicted. I arrived at the Mamore Lodge at 3:30 and after paying my parking fee I was off by 4, up the track and around to Coire an Lochain. At this point the north wind hit me, yikes! Believing that I could find a sheltered place to put up the tent I carried on. It's a rather quick ascent up Sgurr Eilde Mor from here, but for me it was a quick stay at the summit as the wind was pretty wicked. The views were extensive though! I quickly got back down to the lochan and began to look for a place to pitch the tent. I chose basically the lowest spot I could find near the water and started unpacking. The windchill started to take its toll and I had to put on my fleece while I set everything up. It was a real pain trying to set up the tent in 40mph wind and I wasn't sure the small stock tent pegs that came with my Terra Nova Laser Comp were going to hold up. Eventually got the tent up and my stuff inside and by that point it was well after 9pm and I wanted to get warm. Into the new Alpkit Skyehigh 800 it was. Wow, that thing was warm, maybe too warm with my fleece and such on, but all night I never got cold. Sleep on the other hand, wasn't so easy to come by. The tent was punished all night by the wind and I only managed 2 hours of sleep. At one point during the night I almost packed up and walked out in the dark with my headtorch, but I just couldn't bring myself to leave knowing Monday's forecast looked superb. At 6am I got up, ate quick bite, and peaked outside. Nice and calm, a few clouds, and a lot of sun already - excellent.

Light fading over Ben Nevis.jpg


Glencoe hills from Coire an Lochain.jpg


Good Morning Binnein Beag.jpg


Coire an Lochain campsite.jpg



After packing up I headed down the path and over to the small lochan below Binnein Beag. Here I dropped my pack and ran up the slopes, easy stuff. Great views of the Grey Corries from here. Even got a nice view of Ben Nevis, the view I didn't get a few weeks before. But the view toward Binnein Mor, my next target, sort of worried me. I was by myself, carrying a fairly heavy pack, and I just didn't like the look of the few routes up from the north and northeast face of the hill. It looked like a lot of work for someone going on 2 hours of tough sleep. I nearly decided to just do the two hills and head back. I stared at my choices as I came down Binnein Beag, and when I got back to my pack I remembered I had the WH print out for Binnein Mor. After reading about the path up via Sgor Eilde Beag my spirits lifted and I made my way back to where the path for the ascent starts. It may seem like some unnecessary backtracking and ascent, but it was really easy going. The path up Sgor Eilde Beag gently zig-zagged up and in no time I was on the ridge - from there it's 5 mins to the minor top. From here I dropped the rucksack and practically ran over to the summit of Binnein Mor. What a viewpoint from here - the Grey Corries, Binnein Beag, Sgurr Eilde Mor, Nevis, the Aonachs, the Mamores - amazing. After soaking in the sun and views I collected my pack and made the easy stroll over to Na Gruagaichean. Excellent panorama of the Mamores from here and the scenery really made me want to do the Ring of Steall fairly soon.

Binnein Mor 2.jpg


Binnein Mor.jpg


The Grey Corries.jpg


Binnein Mor from Binnein Beag.jpg


Easy path up Sgor Eilde Beag.jpg


Binnein Mor with Nevis behind.jpg


Ben Nevis from Binnein Mor.jpg


Binnein Beag and the Grey Corries from Binnein Mor.jpg


An Gearanach.jpg


Mamores from Binnein Mor.jpg


Sgurr Eilde Mor.jpg


Na Gruagaichean.jpg


Binnein Mor from Na Gruagaichean.jpg


Ben Nevis from Na Gruagaichean.jpg


Mamores and Nevis from Na Gruagaichean.jpg



Having had a brilliant day that almost didn't happen I decided to head back to the Mamore Lodge - saving some of the other hills for another day seemed like a good idea at that point. I have to say that the worst part of the whole walk was the descent off Na Gruagaichean. I followed the WH suggestion to descend via the Leachd instead of coming off between the minor top of the munro and Stob Coire a'Chairn. There was a path for a ways, and then it vanished. Soon I was just grinding it out down the rough slopes back to the track. Maybe it was my poor direction, who knows, but it took forever and I actually came to a fence that I had to climb over before going down more rough bits until I reached the main track back to the lodge. Shew!

Overall I really enjoyed my overnight trip, it was my first proper wildcamp and I was able to test out all of my new gear. The Laser Comp held up brilliantly, hard to believe though as it doesn't look like it can handle that kind of wind. The Alpkit sleeping bag was cozy, long enough for a giant like myself, and very warm. My new OMM Villain rucksack carried all my gear easily, and I'm pretty sure I took too much stuff. I really like the exterior compression strap device on the pack - great for holding my tripod and jacket. Can't wait to head out for another high camp, next time with maybe a bit less weight though. The Mamores are fabulous and I'm really glad I toughed it out and kept with my plans.

Stretch

The Mamores and Ben Nevis Pano.jpg



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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby mountain coward » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:13 am

I can imagine how glad you were you stayed on with photos like that - those are superb! When I went from Binnein Beag to Mor (admittedly with a normal walking bag), I just went up onto the ridge you see on the right in your photos - was pretty easy but pathless until you got onto the ridge... if you took the path up the back of Sgurr Eilde Beag (or the side facing you on Binnein Beag) - that's a lovely track isn't it? I don't think it's well used as most people go up the huge zig-zag on the 'front' (Kinlochleven side).
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Alastair S » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:20 am

Superb stuff there Stretch :D
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby malky_c » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:45 am

Brilliant - this and Alastair's recent report show the Mamores at their summer best. Handy little path onto Sgor Elide Beag that - I only discovered it on my second visit up there.
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Astronick » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:00 am

That is a quite superb set of photos! What a place to have weather like that. A short night's sleep seems like a small price to pay to have those hills to yourself. I did these earlier in the year in clag for most of the day (until the cloud blew away once I was on Binnein Mor). You mentioned not liking the northern approaches to Binnein Mor - I can't quite believe the route I took, which can be seen in the photo titled "Binnein Mor from Binnein Beag.jpg" - basically a full frontal assualt! Looks like that path could be handy on a return visit though. This is definitely high on the "places to wildcamp" list. Thanks for sharing!

P.S. Was that the first time with a Laser Comp? I've only had mine out once so far but really enjoyed the experience. I have supplemented the toothpick pegs TN supply with some v pegs from Alpkit and also got a couple of stakes for other ground conditions.
Last edited by Astronick on Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby magicdin » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:07 am

Great report and photographs - and what a great place to camp

The Mamores are wonderful hills :D
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Alastair S » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:14 am

Astronick wrote:I can't quite believe the route I took, which can be seen in the photo titled "Binnein Mor from Binnein Beag.jpg" - basically a full frontal assualt!

I didn't think the [almost] frontal assault was too bad - certainly a lot shorter, if steeper, than Stretch's route - but probably not one if you have a full pack like Stretch. Here's the route we look the other week:

Binnien Mor route.jpg
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Stretch » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:15 am

Thanks everyone!

Knowing what I know now, if the wind is blowing fairly strong from the north and I was looking to wildcamp, I'd probably do Sgurr Eilde Mor last. Meaning, I'd go up Sgor Eilde Beag via the path I've shown and camp on a nice flat spot that you reach once you make the ridge, this spot was out of the breeze on Monday so I'd say it was more sheltered than down by the lochan. You would also wake up with an amazing view of the Glencoe hills. You could then do Na Gruagaichean and Binnein Mor and circle around to get the other two hills on your way back to the lodge. This would make the final descent a breeze.

These are superb hills and I'm certainly eager to get back and do the rest of the range.

Astronick - that was my 1st go with the Laser Comp. The pegs looked small when I first opened the tent after delivery, but surprisingly they held up. I am going to upgrade to something that goes a bit deeper into the ground though. Sadly, at some point the carrying bag blew away so I have to replace it as well.
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Astronick » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:01 am

Alastair S wrote:
Astronick wrote:I can't quite believe the route I took, which can be seen in the photo titled "Binnein Mor from Binnein Beag.jpg" - basically a full frontal assualt!

I didn't think the [almost] frontal assault was too bad - certainly a lot shorter, if steeper, than Stretch's route - but probably not one if you have a full pack like Stretch. Here's the route we look the other week:

The attachment Binnien Mor route.jpg is no longer available


Yeah, that route looks ok. I've drawn mine in blood red. It was exciting! I watched a couple of other folks take a walk into the coire to the north. They found a nice winding track up the headwall onto the northern ridge. I arrived at the summit first though :lol:

Binnien%20Mor%20route-of-death.JPG
My route in red, another option in green


Fantastic mountain though, whichever way you approach :D
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Stretch » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:07 am

I debated that green path for a long time, but from that angle I just couldn't tell how narrow and tricky it was so I opted to go back around to Sgor Eilde Beag. I wasn't in any hurry and actually made a hot chocolate down at the low point of the path at the stream and just relaxed for a bit. But I think with a light pack I'd do the green path or the one Alastair did and I'd certainly descend that way.
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Graeme D » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:35 pm

A cracking read and pics as always Stretch - my kind of outing! :D
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Barnety2000 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:01 pm

AMAZING report and pics! This report has really enticed me to get on and get up the rest of the Mamores, and not just repeatedly go up Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean as I have done for the past 2 years! A fantastic camping spot too.

But just one question, and sorry if I sound stupid, but what is a Laser Comp?
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Alastair S » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:08 pm

Barnety2000 wrote:But just one question, and sorry if I sound stupid, but what is a Laser Comp?

While I'm here I can answer that - its a small lightweight tent
Image
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Barnety2000 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:13 pm

Ohhhh OK - didn't know it was as simple as that. :lol: Thought maybe it was some high-tech GPS gear or something. :lol: Thanks!
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Re: Eastern Mamores - Perseverance Pays Off

Postby Stretch » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:21 pm

Cheers Graeme and Barnety! Don't forget to check out Alastair's report on two of these hills, classic pics.

A Laser Comp is actually a device I'm hoping to use to take over the world, but it's not quite ready yet, so for now I just sleep in it :lol:
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