Cairngorm Winter Odyssey

Date walked: 06/03/2020

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 13km

Ascent: 1065m

Early March 2020 and winter was in full swing :D YA WEE BEAUTY!!! So a trip was planned to coincide with our brothers 42nd birthday. For this special occasion we decided to go large and head for Torridon to climb some easy gullies on Beinn Alligin and Beinn Eighe. Our planned routes were Friday - up Deep South Gully and an anticlockwise traverse of 2 horns to get the Beinn Alligin Munro summits. And Saturday - up Morrisons Gully, over the summit of Sail Mhor, head diagonally left down towards the base of the triple buttress and ascend again up Fuselage Gully; an adventurous way to bag the Beinn Eighe summits :wink:

The weather forecast was looking really good too and we were buzzing at the prospect of these dream routes, until the day before leaving when Scotland again kicked us in the goolies with forecasted winds over 60mph and zero visibility. Having experienced similar conditions on the Horns of Alligin last winter we decided this time to play it safe and find a plan B. Torridon is such a long way to go if the prospect of coming home empty handed is so high.

Plan B was made. By me. On the fly. A last minute drive to the Cairngorms for a route with a name- Over the Back from the book Scotland's Winter Mountains with one axe by Garry Smith. Up Aladdin's Couloir, across the plateau, down Diagonal Gully, past Loch Avon, then up Castlegates Gully and back across the plateau - three atmospheric gullies through a stunning winter landscape. The forecasted conditions were perfect too with just a gentle breeze, clear blue skies, and stable snow conditions on all aspects.

And so off we went with a spring in our step and a song in our hearts to the Cairngorms, and it was there, on March 6th 2020, that Scotland gifted something for our brothers birthday that was very very special indeed. I sincerely hope you enjoy :thumbup:

Music is by the reclusive and elusive Scots duo Boards of Canada who legend has it records at a secret studio in the Pentland hills.

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Heading towards Aladdin's Couloir centre of picture in the early morning light

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A look over to Fiacaill Ridge which we retread from at the crux in poor snow last November

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A look down Aladdin's Coulior

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Top of Aladdin's Couloir. A great start to the day!

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Dreamscape. The Cairngorm Plateau on a stunning winters day

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Diagonal Gully. One of my crampons came loose at the start of the descent then came off near the bottom. Not cool!

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Onwards to Castlegates Gully. Living in a fantasy!

An atmospheric approach to Castlegates Gully

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Loch Avon basin looking really really lovely

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Triple Trouble! Paul the birthday boy, Stevie and Muzz

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Activity: Stravaiging
Gear: Scarpa Marmolada boots

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Trips: 1
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 1065m


Trips: 3
Distance: 11 km
Ascent: 1110m
Munros: 3


Trips: 1
Distance: 14.5 km
Ascent: 1145m
Munros: 2

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Last visited: Jan 11, 2021
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