15 – 17 November 2019
On Friday evening we all converged on the cosy hut and settled into our whisky glasses to discuss plans. Three groups emerged: some climbers tackling the east ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn, some Corbett baggers off to Sherramore Forest, and a mixed group heading for Creag Meagaidh.
Winter climbers are normally setting off way before sunrise but I was lucky this time, our lead climbers were happy to have a bit of a lie-in as they were so relaxed about the route choice 🙂 So the Creag Meagaidh group were out of the door first, some of them having ambitions to collect a few extra Munros and tops on the way.
I joined the climbers on the walk up to the base of the ridge where we put on our crampons and helmets and unleashed our ice axes. The mountain weather forecast had deteriorated down to the minimum 10% chance of cloud-free Munros, i.e. thick fog and bugger all visibility. Thank goodness weather forecasts are always wrong. We stood on the ridge looking down onto a sea of cloud filling the valleys, the most perfect winter cloud inversion, and looked up at the 100% cloud-free Munros. Berenice had said she would stubbornly refuse to climb Creag Meagaidh unless Fiona promised her a view from the summit, which Fiona did, and as I stood there putting my crampons on I imagined the glee that would be on her face.
The climbing was perfect, a nice easy route in a spectacular location, but a relatively narrow and steep ridgeline covered in snow and ice. Having two ice axes was a great help and there was always somewhere to place them. Except for the one snowy boulder which required a more beached-whale-like technique! We reached the summit at the same time as the other group reach Creag Meagaidh so we stood and waved at each other 5km away whilst eating pork pies and drinking tea.
The climbers group then trudged those 5km up deep snow with a frustratingly breakable crust to summit Creag Meagaidh as the sun was dropping. We didn’t stay long as the temperature was also dropping.
The walkers had split into a return party which hastily made their way back to the hut to prepare dinner, thanks Sandy!, and a group which continued onto more Munros and a final dark descent.
There may have been great food, great company and great whisky that evening but I’m not sure I remember any more 😉
On Sunday various other activities took place, some more mountains and some hill trail running. Another fantastic weekend away with DMC.
- Report by Andrew