Thursday, 6 March 2014

Etive freebie, Feb'14

Steven led a group up Stob Coir' an Albannaich on a very snowy day at the end of February. Here's how it went....

We'd been out in November on the hills of Etive and had to cut our journey short due to the weather. Out of 5 Munros, Meall nan Eun and Beinn nan Aighenan still needed bagged, so we returned on the last day of February, hoping to sort things out.

On the summit
There were seven of us, all kitted out in preparation for a day's winter mountain walking. We met near the end of the road in Glen Etive and merrily began our hike. It wasn't long before we stopped to take a layer off - near sea-level, temperatures combined with effort were making for sweaty work ! Further on, we gradually began walking on snow, a little at first, deeper the higher we went - layers back on ! We've a new member of the team, John Walker and this was his first time heading out on the hills with us - keen to show the way, he took the lead, punching his feet into the snow. A hare scurried past, still in its winter colours.

Fun on the lower slopes
Up to the col and into the wind, we turned and aimed for Stob Coir' an Albannaich. Ice-axes to the fore, we plodded on. Higher up, our boot edges weren't gripping, so a decision was made to get the crampons on for the last 100m of ascent. Up to the crest, we were in a light white-out, the edge of the cornice just visible. And what a massive cornice it was, circling around the rim of higher part of the mountain. With a cold wind blasting us, a decision was made not to hang around - just a few photos then back down to the col.

Golden colours in Glen Etive
Upon returning to the col, we found a sheltered area behind a snow-bank, the wind having hollowed it out. Time to get some food in and take in the occasional views. Below us lay evidence of a sizable avalanche coming off Glas Bheinn Mhor. There was talk of trying some winter skills, however, we couldn't fine a steep enough area with a safe run-out nearby. So, after food and blether, we began our return, on the way finding a slope to have some fun sliding on ! We returned to Glen Etive, the sun creating some glorious landscapes as it hit on the clouds and golden hills.

A great day ! More photos are on our Flickr site.