Saturday, 11 April 2015

Black Mount Munros, Apr'15

Richard was leading an icy day over the mountains that overlooked the Black Mount and Rannoch Moor. Here's his tale of the day.....

We met up early at the Glencoe Ski Centre leaving some cars there as we headed round to Victoria Bridge to begin our traverse of the Black Mount Munros. It was a cool morning with haze and sunshine so looked very promising indeed. The going was good on the tracks low down and we were soon stripping layers off as we climbed towards Stob a'Choire Odhair with the mist lifting as we gained height. A few Ptarmigan were trying to stay on the snow patches near the summit though in the warmth and sunshine these patches were shrinking quickly. As we reached our first summit the winds had got up and became very chilly, so layers came back out whilst we sheltered behind some rocks for a good refuelling break.

It didn't take long for us to descend to the wild beallach beneath the ever impressive Stob Ghabhar which held a great quantity of snow in Coirein Lochain along with numerous recent avalanches visible. The route from here is very steep and was delightfully free of snow once we got far enough round to see our line up, but as we weaved our way up the snow that was there was icy hard patches that took time to negotiate with some steps. There was a large barrier of snow guarding the crest of the ridge, but it proved straightforward as we emerged back into the cool winds. The views were sensational as we scrambled over the short narrow ridge to reach the summit slopes of Stob Ghabhar.

The wind dropped and warmed up as we enjoyed a late lunch in the sunshine by the summit cairn. Whilst we chatted and soaked up the views it became obvious that we weren't going to manage our full traverse as planned as time was running away from us. After a quick discussion we opted to head out along the wild west ridge of Stob Ghabhar instead to make the most of the height we had gained. It was lovely as we donned crampons to cross the ridge to Sron a'Ghearrain and then Stob a'Bhruaich Leith where we enjoyed another rest in the sun. We could see Ben Nevis in the north with the Grey Corries and to the south Ben Lui and Ben Cruachan were looking fantastic. It was a glorious afternoon topped off with an Golden Eagle soaring overhead as we enjoyed the scenery.

It didn't take us long to descend using a few good bumslides before picking up a good track back to the start at Victoria Bridge. We had been out nearly 10 hours and that was before we had returned to Glencoe to retrieve the cars left there earlier in the day. It was a wonderful day and there are certainly some fresh sun tans out there now!

More photos are up on our Flickr page !