Friday, 11 February 2011

Scottish Mountaineering Action

I've had two great days out in the Scottish Mountains this week. Weather and conditions have been mixed but I managed to make the best of the week getting out on Tuesday to Beinn a Chaorainn and on Thursday to Ben Nevis.

Ben a Chaorainn is a fairly unremarkable mountain from the west but its east side is home to some high corries and fine ridges. Bryn, T and myself decided that with a high avalanche risk an ascent of the east ridge would be a good option. A tactical slow approach through deep snow allowed us to be overtaken and relieved of trail breaking duties!. Once on the ridge we enjoyed good weather and interesting scrambling right to the summit of the mountain. I would definitely recommend this as a fine mountaineering day out.

Bryn at T at the start of the East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn

A tricky step on the ridge

Yesterday I got up really early and drove over to Fort William to meet Bryn for a day on The Ben. It was forecast to be a beautiful day and as we made the long walk in the early morning cloud disappeared to reveal blue sky. We headed for the Douglas Boulder and climbed a short route called Faulty Towers that went at about grade 3. Conditions were a little thin and some of the ice was rotten after the recent thaw. We had a relaxed lunch then abseiled off into Douglas Gully. We really wanted to get on a route were we could enjoy the sunshine so a traverse across Coire na Ciste lead us on to ledge route. This is another great mountaineering route that takes you all the way to the plateau with sustained interest. The route was in great nick and we quickly soloed up into the sunshine. On the summit plateau we stopped to soak up the sun for awhile before making the long descent back to the valley. When you get days like this Scotland is a very special place - often though you have to put up with bad weather and many frustrating days to get a really good one... it was worth the wait!

Ledge Route climbs up to and follows the sunny ridge to the summit

Bryn on the approach up no. 5 gully

Bryn on the ridge leading to the summit

A rare perfect day on top of The Ben

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