Thursday, 26 February 2009

Wild on the West Coast

Have recently returned from a mildly frustrating week on the mainland in very wet weather. The trip was planned as a winter mountaineering holiday, and whilst the rest of the country has been in the grips of the coldest winter for decades, I was working at home and looking forward to a break. When the time came, the weather warmed up, and we spent most of the week trying to plan walks that avoided river crossings, with all but the tiniest of streams running as full mountain torrents for days.
We headed up to Kintail, and spent a few days bagging peaks such as A'Chralaig and Carn Ghlusaid. It was great to be walking somewhere new, and we were treated to fantastic views of ptarmigan and snow bunting, but sadly no summit views- the peaks were permanently swathed in mist. The picture above shows views of Loch Cluanie (Loch Cluanaidh), lit up by a rare break in the clouds.
A promise of at least one cold day tempted us to Glencoe, where we climbed Central Gully on Bidean Nam Bian. This route was mostly banked out with snow, and the cooler conditions meant that the slush of earlier in the week had firmed up. However, there was a bare section at the start which was hard, and when we gained the ridge, we saw that most other routes had big hanging cornices with tasty cracks waiting to plop off. On the left is a picture of the easier snow lopes high up in the gully. Our route choice was a good one- there wasn't much else that could be climbed safely. Below is a view of Bidean Nam Bian taken from Stop Coire nam Beith as we walked off in the afternoon.

1 comment:

David Ellis said...

Hi Lucy, great blog. I've got one going and a gallery or two for my mates to share. If you visit my gallery page you'll see our trip up Bidean central gully in April. Perhaps a bit thinner than you were there, and the first little step up the crack was a bit interesting and loose (with rock). Plus a great trip up Number Two gully on 'The Ben' the next day.

My blog is here if you're interested?

I'm coming to Arran on the 5th July for 5 days if you fancy catching up. (I presume you remember me from Lyon Equipment?).

Have fun and it would be great to hear back from you. You can mail me from my website, but don't forget to remove fleas!