walkhighlands

Keen to be on the hill

Route: Mount Keen from Glen Esk

Munros: Mount Keen

Date walked: 06/01/2024

The great forecast saw us pack up the camper on Friday evening and head up to camp in Glen Esk. It was a slippery drive up the Glen - the previous week(s) had clearly been wet and the road kept going from 'just fine' to 'shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite' depending on where the water over the road had stayed liquid or become solid. A -5 camp was in store, with stargazing under a clear sky.

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr
ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

We were out on the hill reasonably promptly - not as keen as some, but we felt better to wait for the rising sun before getting going. More brews needed....
ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr
ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

The cycle in was really beautiful and while feeling a bit crazy skittering on the ice, the forecast was to warm and melt at valley level.

We crossed the few fords without too much effort until the larger burn behind Glenmark House, which proved a more challenging cross with a layer of ice and more water in than the previous burns. Only one damp toe however...

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr
ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr
ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

We pushed the bikes up as high as the snow line and left them hidden in the heather.

Immediately we had our Nortec spikes on. Notably we saw three other people (of about 30) all day with any form of crampons or spikes on, and we appeared to be the only ice-axe carrying people as well. I know it is an 'easy' and accessible hill, but it was noticeable that many on the hill really did not seem to be well prepared at all... That said, it was a cracking day for a winter hill.

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

All the snacks were found hiding in my rucksack...

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

Once off the track the hard frozen snow become softer and deeper, but only at the final summit cone did we encounter a combination of deeper drifts and hard sheet-ice surface under.

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

The usual summit photos, hide in the shelter for a quick bite to eat and extra layer, and we were descending before midday.

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen winter conditions by Matt, on Flickr


Even so, as we got back to the bikes the shadows were already lengthening and the roll back down the, now mainly thawed, glen was cold on the hands. That said, having the bikes really made the end of the day a doddle.

ImageMount Keen by Matt, on Flickr

And of course being a cold end, my wife decided that last nights custard and brownie meal had to be revisited before we left. Luxury, wearing her 'slippers match the bus' Christmas present. Never has hillwalking been so luxurious, and if anyone is thinking of a small camper for hills then we would heartily recommend it!

ImageIMG_0808 by Matt, on Flickr
ImageBus comfort by Matt, on Flickr

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matt_outandabout


Activity: Wanderer
Pub: Yes.
Mountain: The next one.

Munros: 81
Corbetts: 29
Fionas: 22
Donalds: 26
Wainwrights: 176
Hewitts: 191
Sub 2000: 35
Islands: 41



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Statistics

2024

Trips: 1
Munros: 1

2023

Trips: 7
Munros: 9

2022

Trips: 6
Distance: 32 km
Ascent: 2150m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 1

2021

Trips: 6
Distance: 41.5 km
Ascent: 1490m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 2
Donalds: 1

2020

Trips: 8
Distance: 57.5 km
Ascent: 1316m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 1
Fionas: 1
Donalds: 2

2019

Trips: 1
Distance: 14 km
Munros: 4

2018

Trips: 1

2017

Trips: 4
Munros: 5

2016

Trips: 3
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 180m
Munros: 2

2015

Trips: 1
Distance: 14 km
Munros: 2


Joined: Nov 03, 2013
Last visited: -
Total posts: 552 | Search posts