Thursday, 16 February 2012

Winter Holiday Part 3: Anticyclonic Gloom

How can you top a three day hike on and around Braeriach in pristine weather and conditions? The answer is, you can't and even after a wee rest, the "anticyclonic gloom" forecasted so ably by MWIS settled and it was a little bit of a comedown. However, we were on a logbook mission, and the weather wasn't that bad, so we had a couple of munro/navigation days around the Roybridge/Meagaidh area.
On day 1, (10th Feb) we headed up the track to Coire Ardair in misty and mild weather, to climb the Window and come back over the top of Stob Poite Coire Ardair and Carn Liath.

 The lochain in the coire was still frozen, but it was clear that a general thaw was taking place.

 Wet but fairly stable snow persisted on the north side of the window, on the other side, much of it had been stripped already. There was lots of avalanche debris below the crags around the window, where cornices had been tumbling.

 On to the ridge of Stob Poite Coire Ardair. We took advantage of the misty weather to practice our navigation around the tops of the coires and gullies on either side. 

On the second day, similar mild and gloomy weather hung low in the glen.  We headed up Stob a Coire Mheadhoin from Fersit- this time on the west side of Loch Treig. We'd seen this peak in all its glory from Stob Coire Sgriodain the week before (see Part 1). Today it was a different mountain, brown, and boggy, with patches of snow clinging on to coire rims and the steep north ridge.

 The north ridge of Stob a Coire Mheadhoin. Spot the two red deer on the horizon!

 Steep snow on the north ridge. 

 Despite being a ridge, it was another good place to work on the nav skills. 

 There were still some wicked cornices hanging on to the scarp slopes. 

 Looking across to the next munro, Stob Coire Easain. This had originally been part of our plan, but the "anticyclonic gloom" wasn't doing much for our motivation, so we decided to have a bit of fun instead and practice our shelter building. 

Working on a "shovel up" a wee snow shelter built around our rucksacks that were shoved in a survival bag.  The snow was piled on top, and the sacks eventually removed leaving a little howf big enough for a person (just!). 

Who says you can't have fun on a wet mizzly day in the hills?

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