Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Beinn an Lochain

I have to admit that I was quite relieved and surprised to see the heavy snow clouds rising off the surrounding hills. There was little in the way of wind and the forecast was for heavy snow showers coming in from the east causing prolonged white out conditions on the hill tops. But behind us, the sun was still shining on Glen Kinglas

While we were walking a little further along the ridge, the clouds rolled back to give us our first glimpse of the summit. It looked quite impressive flanked by its huge drops down to the loch far below. I just hoped that the snow was a bit more consolidated on the steeper slopes at higher altitudes.

So far the snow as still very fresh and soft. A couple of days earlier there was hardly a drop of snow left on the hills in this area. The low swirling clouds reminded me that there could be a lot more very soon.

Soon we arrived at the first steep scramble on the ridge. We were the only people on the hill on Sunday, so there was little sign of the path under the new snow. I presumed it went up the diagonal snow line running from lower left to top right in this photo. At least that looked the easiest line of assent under snow conditions.

We walked to the start of the snow line on the rocky outcrop, but before beginning our scramble, my companion asked me to pose for a photograph on a rocky outcrop immediately above the cliffs that fell vertically to the valley floor. I obliged but I refrained from standing on the very edge. It was a bit too slippery and exposed for comfort.

We then looked at the steep slope which I assumed was the route to the top of this section of the ridge. My companion looked a little concerned at the steep snow in front of us .. as he asked.. is this safe ?

I assured him that it was as safe as houses... to which he replied ...

Ok .. I trust your experience .. you go first and be the avalanche indicator... I guessed he had read my blog ..

I didn't want to let my younger companion know I was a little concerned of soft snow .. so said .. ok ..no problem .. I will lead the way

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