Munroless end of the north Glen Coe ridge. November 2008

Date:Sun 30th Nov 2008
Distance: 10.2km
Ascent: 730m

Extremely cold night in Lochaber. Beautiful clear skies and a good forecast. Wanted out early. Options included Meall Mor Glen Coe for the view along the glen, the E end of the N Glen Coe ridge or something further S inversion hunting.

Plumped for the N Glen Coe ridge – expectation of a direct view of dawn plus Alpenglow.

We reported this walk last year. At the time we thought it would be a cracker for a good winter’s day. Basically it involves following the WHW Devil’s Staircase from Altnafeadh to the ridge top then heading west along the ridge. Last time we went as far as Am Bodach, this time was just a bimble to the 903m point.

The layby was an ice-sheet on arrival. By the time boots were on had about 40mins til dawn. Light to the SE:

Buachaille Etive Mor pre-dawn:

Quick march up the Devil’s Staircase, incipient dawn evident. Just made the bealach as the Alpenglow hit the Mamores.

Loch Treig pair:

Mamores:

Binnein Mor and Na Gruagaichen:

Binnein Mor:

Sun-up:

Mamores across snow:

Started moving up slope as the red light became more syrupy. Across to Mamores:

At this point some cloud streamers were extending from the west. We lost the sun for about 40mins. Looking across to the Etive Mor:

From under the cloud we could see out along the road to Rannoch with low mist hugging the Lochans

Sun returned as we reached the nose of Sron a Choire Odhair-Bhig.

The cloud that had been streaming in began to sink and break a bit – drama to the north:

Easy progress to the 903m top. We really dragged our feet, just too much to look at. Nice snow patterns at the 903m summit.

Approaching the 903m summit.

The temp at 903m was 2C – it had been -5C in Glen Coe (and was when we got back). Temperature inversions are the dog’s wotsits.

Sat at the summit for an hour or so just relaxing – could see walkers on the big Glen Coe summits. We’d had the whole ridge to ourselves and completely pristine snow from Stob Mhic Mhartuin.

The cloud streamer came and went and to the south it looked as though the inversion had risen above 900m.

Stob Dubh:

Bidean nam Bian:

Aonach Eagach:

Considered heading on but the mist was consistently lapping on the further ridge so picked up feet and headed back.

Blackwater reservoir stretched out to the east:

Lairig Eilde:

Met a couple of walkers as we neared the WHW. Everyone enjoying the day.

Etive Mor from descent:

Used our new Kahtoola Microspikes for the walk down the WHW. Lots of feet had already turned snow to ice so a good chance to try them out – worked a treat.

Still -5C back at the car. Headed south with a far better drive than Friday night. The solace for Friday came on Rannoch which was as beautiful as I’ve ever seen it – the freezing mist had hoar-frosted all the vegetation.

Stopped for a few pics:

Great day – list ticks –nil, achievements – nil, dangers overcome – none on the hill, sense of satisfaction – a bucket full.

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