Saturday, 25 January 2014

Half a cuppa - in the whiteroom

Craig and Mark binned plans for an overnighter in the Corrie Cas carpark in Cairngorms for a day up the Arrochar Alps.

The forecast was pants all over; red avalanche threats, rain/sleet/snow and high winds forecast...ho hum, much as it has been in Scotland all season...utter pants!

Anyway, we headed off and found ourselves at the Glen Croe carpark in the minging rain...nothing for it but to head off and see what came our way.  We headed up towards Beinn Ime, taking a path to avoid northerly aspects and suspect slopes, and found ourselves at the bealach on its SW side where the wind was swirling with gusto, and plenty spindrift, as the snowline met our feet.  We followed the blackest line we could as the snow was soft and wet lower down.  The higher we got, the poorer the vis and the wind picked up significantly.

We topped out in a 'come and go' white-out, with the wind chill very cold indeed.  We took a bearing on the Bealach A'Mhaim and headed off downhill in what turned into a maelstrom of spindrift and zero visibility, with winds probably gusting to 60mph, making progress very tough.  The wind blew us off line but we were able to correct this and got in view of the bealach, our objective.

We had intended to make for Ben Narnain but the wind was truly awful and progress was difficult, so we found a bit of shelter in one of the many runnels off Bein Ime and had ourselves some soup and sarnies to get some energy in us.

After a chat about options, weather, which wasn't improving, and wet gloves, we decided to head back for the car and had a chilling walk off the mountain.

All in, a Quality Mountain Day, with solid nav required in very challenging conditions - probably one of the windiest, and whitest, days I've had in the hills - caused by the winds converging into one super strong stream after deflecting around the other mountains and being forced over three nearby bealachs.

A nice day in the hill...honest!

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