Monday, March 02, 2015

172. Meall Glas (199) 28/02/2015

The conditions weren't exactly forecast to be good, but they ended up being worse with continuous precipitation and strong winds higher up.

Walking up the glen, we had intended to come around the hill and climb from the SW, but we saw a good line from the track and decided to save a bit of time by ascending directly. Once a bridge was found, a couple of deer fences were scaled, a smaller river was forded and many large mysterious man-made holes were avoided, the going became easier. Until the final climb to the ridge, the higher slopes were quite gentle and the only difficulty was the cold sleet, which was permeating most of our clothes. Fortunately this turned to (the far preferable) snow at about 700m, but that was plenty of time for it to make us quite cold.

The final approach to the ridge was interesting in that we had to ascend a steep snow slope, not knowing much about the top. We trod carefully and kept our axes at the ready, being wary of potential overhangs, but in the end the section we had chosen wasn't steep enough for that. We found the ridge and battled our way into the biting wind for half a mile to the top. No photos were taken here - it would not have been good for our health. Some consideration was given to continuing to the neighbouring munro, but in the end discretion prevailed and we retraced our footprints all the way back to the track. 

We had a further go at the other munro the following day, but were turned back by even stronger winds and blizzard less than a mile from the top.

 When hiking it is important to maintain the latest fashion in socks.

Things became rather white... 

Yes, that's quite a lot of snow in the rucksack

171. Stuc a'Chroin (182) 27/2/2015

A great wintery walk in the hills. The weather conditions were better than expected - not too much precipitation and only cloud later on. There was a bit of wind, but not enough to slow us. In fact, it was a pity we didn't have time to try something a bit longer given the conditions that followed in the subsequent days. However, we had spent the previous night in Penrith, so only an 11am start was possible.

Walking from the Glen Ample side of the hill took us over the corbett called Beinn Each and along the complex south west ridge of Stuc a'Chroin. The snow was nice and deep and whilst there were a few slightly steep sections, nothing was beyond our abilities. We were also climbing from the best direction for having the wind at our backs and having solid non-avalanchy-snow to climb. After the corbett, we had the hill to ourselves and the landscape was a beautiful unspoilt blanket of white. This was close to the most snow I've seen on Scottish mountains and we made good use of our axes - both for safety in negotiating obstacles and occasionally for aiding our playing in the snow.

I would have been even happier had I not put my foot through some ice into a patch of bog before the final climb, but I had to keep Joe company in the soggy feet department. Something which I repeated on the following day equally joyously.

It was rather chilly at the top and we didn't hang around long, but we were able to get some idea of the steep descent over the cornices towards Ben Vorlich, but couldn't see far in the cloud.

A sleety drizzle accompanied some of our descent off the side of the ridge, but we were soon back on the path down Glen Ample. A 6hr round trip shows the going was a bit slower in the deep snow.

Joe and his North Face.

Coming over Beinn Each

Nice hat!

The summit cairn, constructed from fence posts