Thu 15th Jan - Sun 18th Jan, 2015
Lagangarbh Hut, Glencoe
Present: Colin Maddison, Andy Stratford, Jim Symon, Lester Payne, Stuart Hurworth, Steve Graham, James Barrington, Kieran Cummings, James Meakin, Geri Mihalkova, Ben Slater – plus half a tick for James Williams and Mark Pilling who were there earlier in the week.
Figure skating isn’t easy but Andy was inscribing some impressively graceful lines across the ice. In fact, as the car finally came to rest up to its axles in the soft dirt of the traffic island he’d mounted even he looked surprised at his achievement.
“There’s a tow rope in the top of that sack if you need one.” The parting words from Andrew Croughton still ringing in our ears from just ten minutes earlier.
Andrew C’s weekend had earlier come to a premature end on Loch Lomond-side following an unfortunate encounter with a truck. A rendezvous at Ardlui allowed us to relieve him of gear while he headed home by train thankfully unharmed.
A cheery goodbye and good luck to Andrew and so it came to pass just a few miles down the road that Andy attempted the direct route across the roundabout on the new Crianlarich bye-pass. Strange, it seemed okay when I was driving! But with the aid of a shovel, the tow rope and a nice man with a Land Rover we’re soon on our way again, albeit a tad more cautiously.
Later on the phone, Mrs Stratford, “Is there anything you want to tell me Andy?” News travels fast on the KMC grapevine!
Jim, Andy and I have arrived Friday afternoon in a very snowy Glen Coe. Unfortunately, Gareth can’t make the trip so Andy and I have taken over meet leader duties and now I’m struggling with faded and inadequate mental notes to cobble together a meet report. But then I’ve never been one to let the facts get in the way of a good story so not to worry.
James Williams and Mark Pilling have been up for a few days earlier in the week but have returned south with reports of much fresh snow and poor forecasts. The hills are indeed laden and, clearly caution is required but those arriving the previous day have all managed something appropriate.
Steve and Lester have ventured out for walks on the hills north of the road opposite the hut. The winter skills training team of Geri, Ben and the James have enjoyed a great day with their trainer on the Pink Rib of Beinn a' Chrulaiste an excellent Grade I rising towards the summit from behind the old military road to the Kings House.
Saturday dawns spectacularly fine though there is more fresh snow and the ploughs ply their trade on the A82. Sadly, James M must return home but Kieran takes his place on the training course and the group head out for another enjoyable and instructional day under blue skies, taking the zig zags from the Lost Valley to the ridge and on to Stob Coire Nan Lochan.
Meanwhile, armed with the detailed description that “it is over there above the military road” a few of us head off confidently for the Pink Rib of Beinn a' Chrulaiste. Needless to say, in due course Jim, Andy and I enjoyed an entertaining ascent of a completely different rib! We’d struck upwards too soon but, nevertheless, it was an obvious line which provided sufficient excitement of its own. The crux section where the buttress steepened for thirty or so feet was balanced up on narrow snowy ledges, turf and heather. Climbing solo with a single axe each I couldn’t wholeheartedly recommend it to others so Jim and Andy wisely turned it on the right.
Reunited, we continued up and then followed the long gentle ridge to the summit taking advantage of a trail broken by three walkers ahead but keeping a respectful distance behind lest we catch up and be asked to take our turn ahead! Descending pretty much direct to the Kings House we were joined for beer in due course by Stuart who had chosen a traverse of Beinn a' Chrulaiste and Lester who’d opted for a lower level walk.
Sunday dawns another beautifully fine day. News reaches us that a Scottish mouse is now resident south of the border having travelled home in the rucksack of one of the earlier departees.
The training group and their instructor head off to the West Face of Aonach Mor where their three day course reaches a highlight with an ascent of Golden Oldie, a truly excellent 500m Grade II ridge that rises in alpine style to the summit and maintains it interest throughout. They are followed to the West Face by Steve and Stuart who climb Western Rib (III), an equally long and fine parallel line.
Andy points the car (carefully) southward and he, Jim and I head for the Arrochar and The Cobbler (Ben Arthur). But by the time we reach the Narain boulders it is evident that there is too much snow for climbing and a retreating pair of climbers confirm our suspicions that there is wind slab on the approach slopes. Jim and Andy content themselves with a traverse of Beinn Narain. I accompany them for a while but turn around before the col and hobble back with a painful groin injury that in due course is diagnosed as a hernia.
Thanks as always to those that came and to Steve Graham for organising another successful winter skills course.
***UPDATE December 2014***
All places on the training course now taken and all six other bunks now booked. We have requested some extra bunks (watch this space) so do continue to register your interest with the meet leader.
***UPDATE November 2014***
Three out of four places on the training course now taken and all six other bunks now booked. Please continue to register interest with the meet leader, as if there is demand we will try to secure extra bunks.
Lagangarbh Hut, Glencoe
Thu 15th Jan to Sun 18th Jan, 2015
This 3-night meet is unique in that we are arranging formal training for Scottish winter skills/mountaineering as well as a meet at which experienced mountaineers can do their own thing too. Ideal preparation for the forthcoming winter season. Read on for further details.
We have 10 spaces booked (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, £10 per person per night) at the superbly located Lagangarbh Hut at the foot of Buachaille Etive Mor near the River Coupall (grid reference NN 2207 5597). The Glencoe area is right on the doorstep, with Ben Nevis/Anoch Mor within easy driving distance. An ideal meet for those wanting to get their eye in ahead of the forthcoming CIC Hut meet and the Norway ice climbing meet, as well as a chance for those wanting to attend a 3 day winter skills/mountaineering training course. Plus there are ample opportunities for winter walking (or skiing) for those who are confident in the hills in winter, but don't want to climb. On top of all this, there are classic mountaineering challenges close at hand, such as the Aonach Eagach ridge or the Ring of Steall.
Provisionally, there are 4 spaces for those on the training course, and 6 spaces for folk who don't want to take up the training. The balance might change a little depending on exactly who signs up for what, and we can also consider investigating additional bunks if there is demand. Watch this space.
To reserve your place in the hut, whether you're taking up the training or not, contact the meet leader, Gareth Williams (see handbook for contact details). If in addition you do want the training, you also need to get in touch with Steve Graham (see handbook for contact details), who is coordinating it - details of which will be circulated to the membership via email. Only full and associate members are eligible for training. Exact training costs are yet to be confirmed but are estimated to be approximately £140pp for 3 days. Bargain..!! Hut accommodation, food and travel are not included in this non-refundable training fee.
When signing up to the meet, you may like to indicate what your hopes for the weekend are. Conditions permitting, there will be a number of members aiming to climb winter routes at a level that does require some experience. Do bear in mind, particularly if you're new to the club or to winter climbing, that an assumption that you will be able to join in at this level, might lead to disappointment. Instead, why not first have a friendly chat with the meet leader to discuss your aspirations and what you can hope to get out of the meet. As ever, you should remember the BMC participation statement (top of the Meets list page, http://www.karabiner.org/weekend/comingup.php) applies, and acknowledge that you are ultimately responsible for your own actions and involvement.
Demand is expected to be high, so please get in touch with Gareth Williams sooner rather than later to reserve your space. Members will find Gareth's contact details in the handbook: if you don't have access to this, register your interest via firstname.lastname@example.org.