Christmas Meet 2017 – Bridge of Orchy (Dec 2017)

8th – 10th December

The year for Christmas we once ahead headed to Bridge of Orchy.  34 of us packed into the Glencoe Ski hut for a weekend of fun.  Saturday saw at least 9 different parties head to the hills so this report will be made up of accounts from four different people.

Greg’s story

The Glencoe Ski Club again proved to be a fine venue for this year’s
Christmas meet though some members had some difficulty achieving the
optimum route in! Simon O and I had a pleasant warm up on Newtyle Hill
by Dunkeld before the drive west via Loch Tay. Most folk were up bright
and breezy on the Saturday to do climbing, snow wading, cycling, first
munroing and the like. I took in a Corbett down Glen Falloch and enjoyed
a dramatic dawn over Ben Lomond and the company of Glasgow lasses on
the hill.The Xmas meal was a great success again, running somewhat late
owing to the tardiness of the Top Gun team. Songs was were sung and
whisky taken. We enjoyed a word search, quiz and even a visit from Santa
before the pass the parcel game saw a steady drift of folk heading for
the hay. On Sunday we awoke to a bright winter wonderland and blue skies
with some taking to the hills again. Same again next year please,

Lomondside Dawn from Glen Falloch

Buachaille Etive Mor by Dave

After partying not too late and not too hard on Saturday night, Andrew and I dragged ourselves from our beds at half past six in the morning to head back out onto the hills. Rising even earlier, Ewan had driven over from Perth with a domestic day-pass to allow him out for some fun. Waving goodbye to a few early risers we drove towards Rannoch Moor. As we sped across the moor in the pre-dawn light, the temperature gauge dipped below -11 degrees; a peach of a winter’s day was in prospect.

Our target for the day was the classic Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor. Between us we’d done it numerous times in summer but none of us had ventured on to it in snow and ice.

The walk in is easy enough and we soon got to the steepening at the start of the ridge. At a small exposed (death-fall potential) traverse I suggested getting the ropes out and no-one disagreed. Once we had them on we used them for most of the rest of the ridge, moving together at times and pitching a fair bit. We left Ewan at the sharp end purely to avoid the faff of swapping ropes around. Conditions were a bit tricky with unconsolidated snow but a lot of the time it was easier to climb with hands rather than axes, one tool might well have been enough. Ewan quickly dispatched the crux corner and we eventually reached the top of the climbing. Traversing over to Crowberry gap, we didn’t bother with the tower and headed straight for the summit in time for sunset.

We made good time down and got below the steep part of the corrie before needing our headtorches. Back at the car park we were all set for chips and Andrew motored off to wait for us in Tyndrum. Alas Ewan’s car just couldn’t make it out of the car park. It took us an hour and a half and a borrowed set of snow chains to free ourselves!! Even this inconvenience couldn’t spoil a top day on the hill.

Daniela’s weekend

On Saturday Daniela was Billy no mates, so she ended up doing Sron nan Lairig (Scottish Winter grade II) on her own. Route in the picture

On Sunday, Daniela and Niall found themselves benighted on the icy MTB route over the mountain from Kinlochleven to Glencoe. Was fun (mostly afterwards…).

It was lovely to see some of you and catch up, many thanks from me for an awesome meet.

Emel Ridge with Simon

Conditions looked promising for an easy winter climb so Dave, Andrew and myself wandered up Beinn an Dòthaidh, conveniently located next to the hut. After consulting a photo with an imaginary topo we started up Emel Ridge (grade II), carefully picking out bits of ice to climb where it looked solid enough. We got the rope out on an exposed bit, then had a quick lesson on carrying coils and moving together up to the summit where Pete and Jim appeared, along with a biting wind.