Monday, 16 April 2012

Lochaber scrambles, 13-15 April'12

Over the weekend from Friday 13 April to Sunday 15 April we had organised 3 days of ridge scrambling in the Lochaber area. The Aonach Eagach traverse was held on the Friday, Complex Bidean nam Bian and the Lost Valley on the Saturday and Ben Nevis via the Carn Mor Dearg Arete on Sunday. With our eye continually on safety, we limit the group size to 4 for the Aonach Eagach and 6 to the other two days. As we had booked 8 people on the Friday, we needed two guides and Jim and Martin took on the challenge. Saturday and Sunday had less people booked on, so Martin lead both these days. Below is Martin's report, with photos by him and Jim, enjoy....

Friday - Aonach Eagach
Jim and I met our 8 clients at the Clachaig Inn and then drove up to the Am Bodach Carpark to begin the ascent of the hill to the start of the ridge. The weather was cold with a few high clouds the visibility was excellent. The group came from all corners of the UK and all keen to complete the Aonach Eagach and the 2 munros either end of the ridge. We made great progress and the group members slowly relaxed scrambling up down and over the ridge and its pinnacles. We made the descent down towards the Pap and then down to the road and the final walk back to the Inn.

Saturday - Bidean nam Bian
I met Chris and Eric at the carpark beneath Ant-Sron, like yesterday it was a cold start with high clouds well above the tops. We followed the path to the ridge leading up to Bidean which was in the snow line. Path gentleman moving well after having completed the Aonach Eagach ridge yesterday. After a quick stop to take in all the views we carried on up the first summit of Bidean nam Bian the highest in Argyll at 1150 meters. The walk continues along the fine ridge which leads towards Bidean's second Munro of Stob Coire Sgreamhach. At 1072 metres, this peak was promoted in 1997 to become Bidean nam Bian's second Munro summit. We then headed to the headwall of the Lost Valley which we descended,steeply initially, in snow and then into the open meadow. This was used to hide rustled cattle by the Macdonald's of Glencoe.

Sunday - Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg
Today was the last of my three days on the hills and was to be a special ascent of Ben Nevis via the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. I had arranged access to the top car park in the Allt a’Mhuilinn were started our walk. After about 1km we broke off left start the easy angled ascent to Carn Dearg Meadhonach and Carn Mor Dearg. Carn Mor Dearg's summit. This is the ninth highest Munro at 1220 meters. Here we stopped for some food and water and we put on our crampons ready for the aretes sharp winters airy crest which curves round from Carn Mor Dearg to link with Ben Nevis. All day the weather had been clear giving great views to the Bens North Face. At the end of the arete we stopped at the abseil posts and then up the final 200m to the summit of the Ben. Still a lot of snow at the summit, we walked down the tourist path to the half way lochan and then over the shoulder back to the top carpark.

Some photos of the trip taken by Jim and Martin are on our Flickr site.

Our next Aonach Eagach trip is on the 26 April and there's a place available, details here.

Our next Ben Nevis via the Carn Mor Dearg arete trip is on the 1 May, details here.