Clag study (Beinn Liath Mhor - apparently!)

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Liath Mhor
Date walked: 08/04/2019
Distance: 14.9km
Ascent: 1117m
Views: 16

A' Chioch - but not Beinn Bhan

Date walked: 06/04/2019

Time taken: 5.75 hours

Distance: 8.5km

Ascent: 775m

After yesterday's superb afternoon it was bound to be less than ideal today; and so it was. The forecast is for the tops to be in cloud all day, so I decide to go for the a Chioch route to Beinn Bhan.

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

I am in no hurry to get off, so a leisurely breakfast and pack-up for the day sees me arrive at Drochard Mhor shortly before midday. The ridge top is in cloud, but it still looks pretty inviting.

A' Chioch is clearly visible, not that far away. Notwithstanding the low cloud it looks pretty tasty!
Image20190406-115808-2. There's an obvious path heading up into the-apparently-unnamed-glen-in-which-Loch-Gaineamhaich-sits, which I follow for about 1.5km until reaching a modern footbridge;
Image20190406-121018-2. ...at which point I turn off left, approximately north west, on to a pretty minimal sheep track that soon disappears, and head directly for a' Chioch.

Image20190406-123708-2. The pulse definitely quickens as I approach the start of the ascent :D .

Image20190406-124346-2. The cloud suddenly clears, and I get a view - albeit brief - of the entire ridge, and the sensational Coire na Feola. This is looking good!


Image20190406-125959-2. Nearly there...

Image20190406-130852-2. The first bit of scrambling. Not necessary - it could be circumvented; but it's a good warm up for what's to come.

Image20190406-132007. But most of this first part of the ascent is just rough bouldery ground, rather than scrambling...

Image20190406-132045-2. ...though up nearer the top there are some tasty bits :D .

Image20190406-133938-3. And generally this mix of rough and scrambling options continues to the top of the first section:

Image20190406-135257-2. Rough, and...

Image20190406-140724. ...Scrambling.

Image20190406-140816. The view back as I approach the summit of the first peak merits a look back for five minutes to absorb the views, Lochan Coire na Poite (lower level version) in the foreground, and Loch Gaineamhach in the background.

It's a fine ridge walk/scramble from here, with superb views in all directions.

Image20190406-145548. Near the actual a' Chioch summit, looking approximately NNW: A'Phoit in the foreground, Sron Coire an Fhamair in the background.

Image20190406-150027-2. And ahead the final pull up to the Beinn Bhan ridge (the pic is slightly misleading because the bottom third of the pic is the ridge I'm on - the ascent to Beinn Bhan is in the background behind). It doesn't look too problematic from here, with plenty of apparent lines for the ascent, albeit probably necessitating some traversing, and route-finding perhaps a challenge.

This zoomed shot gives a clearer idea of the complexity of the terrain - which is, of course, much harder to orientate oneself in when once on the face.

And this pic (not mine) gives an even clearer impression.

First the descent into the bealach - no problems.

Image0190406-150404-2. Inspiring views of the dark and brooding waters of the higher level Lochan(s?) Coire na Poite, and A' Phoit itself on the way down.

Image20190406-151443. Typical terrain on the ridge.

Then it's down to the bealach, and up on to the final ascent to the Beinn Bhan. Initially conditions don't seem too bad: true, the snow is soft and wet, and the turf extremely soggy, and not feeling very stable. But I manage to ascend 100m or so (up to the level of the a' Chioch summit) without too much difficulty. However, after this the slope becomes very steep, making - in combination with the extremely slippery conditions - for a distinct feeling of insecurity :shock: . I proceed VERY carefully and slowly, getting a really strong plant with my axe prior to every step. I weigh up more than once whether to don my crampons, but am a bit concerned that this might give a false sense of security on the turf, which more than once gives way under my feet. In order to try to find a route up, I try a few traverses, eventually ending up at the bottom of the jammed boulder gulley. Looking up, it's not clear whether there'll be a route around the boulder, and the climb up to it looks like more very slippery terrain. I stop and ponder the alternatives. One of which seems like it could be an uncontrolled slide down a very slippery and almost vertical slope :shock: .

And decide to be sure of living to scramble another day :roll: .

I return the way I've come, applying the same very slow and careful technique I used on the way up, until I get to the point where the slope eases off a fraction, and where I can think of something else other than survival. And can relax sufficiently to take this pic looking back at A' Chioch.

The next two pics give an idea of the conditions in the less steep area: nothing too problematic if conditions are reasonably dry or well frozen, but rather anxiety-inducing when the turf and snow are both wet and sloppy (at least for this wimp! :oops:-) ).


Not sure how easy it would be to self-arrest if one once got sliding down these slopes... :roll:

Once safely down at the bealach, I see that a descent direct down into Coire na Feola looks reasonably straightforward, and this is the route I take.

There are some rather fine views of the ridge on the way down...

Image20190406-171122. And back up into Coire na Feola.


Image20190406-172302-2. A final farewell before I drop down off the terminal morain and back down to the car.

On the drive back to the WH meet I wonder whether I've been a bit of a wuss in backing off. And I still wonder. However, each of us has his/her own risk level tolerance, and I was close to mine on the Beinn Bhan face, so on balance I think it was right to call a halt.

But I do hope to be back in better conditions!


Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 15

Carn Liath to Moruisg Ridge

Attachment(s) Munros: Moruisg
Date walked: 05/04/2019
Distance: 14.3km
Ascent: 1041m
Comments: 10
Views: 533

Coire Mhich Fhearchair again - even windier this time!

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Date walked: 21/03/2019
Distance: 13.8km
Ascent: 661m
Views: 27

Beinn Alligin veiled in white

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)
Date walked: 16/03/2019
Distance: 9.62km
Ascent: 1284m
Comments: 11
Views: 858

Ben Lomond

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Lomond
Date walked: 14/03/2019
Distance: 12.6km
Ascent: 1096m
Views: 27

Bleak & rough: the Hirnantau on the warmest Feb day

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Foel Cedig, Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd, Foel Goch (Hirnantau), Foel y Geifr, Pen y Boncyn Trefeilw
Date walked: 26/02/2019
Distance: 32.6km
Ascent: 1496m
Comments: 5
Views: 299

Sub 120 hbpm walk in Snowdonia: scrambling to Moel Meirch

Attachment(s) Date walked: 14/02/2019
Distance: 15.7km
Ascent: 1225m
Comments: 6
Views: 319

Day walk from Leamington Spa

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Date walked: 26/01/2019
Distance: 34km
Ascent: 260m
Views: 27

Yr Aran Round

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa, Y Lliwedd, Yr Aran
Date walked: 12/12/2018
Distance: 14.5km
Ascent: 1665m
Comments: 5
Views: 408


User avatar
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)
Activity: Scrambler
Pub: The Bell, Trysull
Mountain: Cuillin Ridge
Place: Glen Brittle
Gear: Compass
Member: None
Ideal day out: Heavy ridge walk with plenty of scrambling and height gain - eg Welsh 3000ers, Wastwater Circuit, Cuillin Ridge

Munros: 165
Corbetts: 28
Wainwrights: 71
Hewitts: 195

Filter reports



Trips: 9
Distance: 156.02 km
Ascent: 8955m
Munros: 5
Hewitts: 5


Trips: 21
Distance: 543.6 km
Ascent: 37641m
Munros: 26
Corbetts: 10
Hewitts: 49
Wainwrights 26


Trips: 21
Distance: 550.1 km
Ascent: 44412m
Munros: 32
Corbetts: 6
Hewitts: 79
Wainwrights 26


Trips: 12
Distance: 301.1 km
Ascent: 23240m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 4
Hewitts: 8


Trips: 8
Distance: 233.6 km
Ascent: 22109m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 4
Hewitts: 36
Wainwrights 21


Trips: 9
Distance: 197.93 km
Ascent: 20114m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 2
Hewitts: 10
Wainwrights 7


Trips: 1
Distance: 18.9 km
Ascent: 2772m
Munros: 4

Joined: May 25, 2013
Last visited: May 20, 2019
Total posts: 2552 | Search posts