Friday, 16 July 2010

Buachaille Etive Mor (Stob Dearg) July 2010

Today didn't go as planned......

We had arranged to climb and walk along the Aonach Eagach Ridge (my 5th time), going from Allt na reigh cottage all the way along to the Pap of Glencoe. However, when we met up at the Green Welly in tyndrum, we had to change our plans on account of the mingin' weather. Trying to walk along the ridge is a nervy affair on a good day, so to do it in this muck, high winds, low cloud and hissing rain would have been a bit silly. Our back bottoms would have been twitchier than a rabbits nose. So we resigned ourselves to doing the Buachaille, specifically up Coire na Tulaich (CnT) and up to Stob Dearg. The weather wasn't going to permit a full traverse along to Stob na Broige today. There should have been 6 of us today. 2 had called off in the early hours. I'm guessing they saw the weather report and thought f*** that!!! So four it was going to be. Except it wasn't. Me and Jim met at the welly for Breakfast and when the others arrived, they decided they weren't brave enough to to go up something considering the weather. They decided to do a low level walk along to Loch Tulla. That left me and Jim to go vertical. we parked at Altnafeadh and it was raining heavily, with very low cloud. But onward and upward.

By the time we had passed Lagangarbh and were approaching CnT we were pretty much soaked. Once inside the gorge of CnT we became quite sheltered from the rain and wind which made the climb alot more comfortable. The path was strewn with debris from recent rock falls which hampered progress.

About halfway up we decided to leave the path and cut across to the right to accend hugging the edge of the CnT wall to the Bealach. This proved a nightmare underfoot. It was scree of all shapes and sizes, covered in a primeval ooze of alge and moss.Loose, slippy and sharp. Reaching the Bealach was a relief. After a moments rest we turned to climb towards Stob Dearg. This is a fairly easy and straightforward climb, despite low cloud and poor visibilty.  We reached the summit from the bealach in around 20 minutes and admired the absence of any views what so ever!!

Visibility was around 8 - 10 metres in all directions. Shame. Normally your heart and mind fills with euphoria at a summit, but we were brought crashing down to earth when we noticed the summit carirn (see photo).

 To remember two climbers who died recently, someone had positioned two white roses among the rocks of the cairn. A reminder of how dangerous our mountains can be.
This was my fourth time on this summit, having done the whole of the Buachaille ridge (2 munros and 2 other peaks) once as well. Each time having been done in 'summer' weather, so at least i knew what the view should have been like.

Having seen this simple memorial, the decent was a bit nervy, every step becoming a 'what if'. On the decent from the Bealach the rain stopped and the cloud began to lift, clearing all the nearby summits, in cluding Stob Dearg. Sods law!!!
All in, it took us a little over 4 hours for the return trip to climb Stob Dearg today. I always enjoy this mountain.Never boring, always Iconic.

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