Saturday, 29 September 2012

Lochaber Scrambles, Sep'12

This long weekend was billed as a three day Munro bagging spree based in the Lochaber and Glencoe area, taking in some of the finest scrambles on offer.

Our first day saw our group head up the 'Ring o'Steall' - a circuit on the southern side of Glen Nevis with rock-scrambles on An Gearanach and the 'Devil's Ridge'. We had a hardy group, game for just about anything ! Up past the magnificant gorges and pools on the River Nevis to Steall, our first challenge was crossing the river by means of a wire bridge. Some opted for a tiptoe higher upstream, but those crossing the wirebridge had great fun ! Next up, the water at the foot of Steall Waterfall - the guide carefully spotted and helped folk across, some boots getting wet in the process ! At last, all that presented us was a hike up to the summit on a fine stalker's path !

Some rock-scrambling took us along a crest, then up to Stob Coire a'Chairn. Weather began to deterioate, but we continued without much fuss up Am Boadach, Sgurr an Iubhair and along the 'Devil's Ridge' to Sgurr a'Mhaim. Some excellent screes took us down onto grassy slope back down to Glen Nevis, where Steven ran back up the glen to sort our transport for everyone !

Ben Nevis via Ledge Route and the Carn Mor Dearg arete was the trip organised for the following day. Cloud hugged the summits, but a warm start from the North Face car-park hinted at the improving conditions. Up to the CIC Hut, we glimpsed in to find a chap doing some maintenance of the cookers. Up into the dark coires of Ben Nevis, Martin lead the group, talking about some of the history in the area and pointing out some of the famous climbs. The group were ecstatic to reach the summit in clear conditions, smug knowing they'd climbed up a route much more rewarding than the tourist route most people had taken that day.

With our timings and with the group fitness, we had plenty of time to continue around the Carn Mor Dearg arete to Carn Mor Dearg - just a pity the weather didn't hold ! Not wet, just very misty all the way. Still, everyone enjoyed themselves and all looked strong back at the car.

Our third day was supposed to be the Aonach Eagach ridge. However, heavy rain and galeforce gusts were forecast, so we had to cancel. If we have to cancel, we'll either give people a full refund, or an alternative range on the day. Some folk still wanted to head out, so Stob Coire Sgreamhach and Bidean nam Bian via the Lost Valley were offered.

The NTS were still re-building the bridge to access the Lost Valley, so a mucky start for the day going over wet detours. Up into the Lost Valley is a awesome experience - quiet and quite foreboding ! We hiked up to the crest and bagged Stob Coire Sgreamhach, but when we about-turned to aim for Bidean, the wind gusted snow into our hoods. Unanimously, everyone wanted to head for the relative safety of the Lost Valley and we returned back to Glencoe ! More photos of the weekend are on our Flickr site !