Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Winter Holiday Part 1: The Yin and the Yang

Winter conditions followers will find this update too tardy to be of use, but I've just got back from a ten day break walking on the mainland so I'm going to post what I've been up to in nice tasty chunks.  This is from the first couple of days of our trip, and we saw the best and the worst of Scottish winter weather squeezed in to just 36 hours. I have to remind myself that we need the grim days so we can appreciate the blue sky ones!

Friday 3rd of Feb was a cracker, and I've seen photos all over the mountain blogs of blue skies and crisp snowy vistas from this day. We were in Glen Spean, and headed up two Munros to the south of the Glen, above the hamlet of Fersit. The first, Stob Coire Sgriodain, rises up steeply from the bog and overlooks Loch Treig. Its brother, the rounded hump of Chno Dearg, is less spectacular, but easy to take in as part of a pleasant round trip.

Just a little bit of cloud clinging to the crest of Stob Coire Sgriodain, which soon burned off. 

We found a continuous line of good neve in a groove to the left of the crest.  Steep but straightforward and over all too soon. 

Approaching the summit. 

Dazzling views of Loch Treig and the mountains to the west (Stob a Coire Mheadhoin and Stob Coire Easain)

Wally on the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain.

The rounded hump of Meall Garbh that lies to the south of the two munros turned out to have a steep side with a curly cornice.

Wally on the summit of Chno Dearg which means "red nut" in Gaelic. 

On the second day, with tired legs from the day before and an unfavourable forecast, we decided to head in to the Northern Corries for some skills practice. In Coire an t-Sneachda we found gale force winds and vicious spindrift.  

 Even in full body armour basic tasks were difficult, and visibility was minimal. We stopped at the first deep patch of snow we came to, a pillow of easy angled windslab, and dug a pit to look at the quickly accumulating layers of snow. Then we had a tinker with some snow anchors. A couple of buckets and a snow bollard or two later we'd had enough and packed up. In the hour or so we were burrowing, about 15cm of snow had built up on and around our kit. Scary rates of deposition!

No comments: