Wall to wall sunshine and no midges (did we really go to Scotland for Easter?)

April 23rd, 2014 by Carmen

Yes we did! and we were certainly rewarded for all the wet and windy trips.

We stayed at the Alex MacIntyre Hut in North Ballachulish – surprised to find we were the only people there apart from the Warden(s).

Day 1

Ledge RoutePerfect conditions for a mass ascent of Ledge Route on Ben Nevis. The mass included Simon & myself, Rob, Antony, Donal, Jamie and Peri. We were suitably kitted out for a winter ascent – and Peri had packed enough stuff for Everest. However, the strong sunshine and warm temperatures meant that the ridge was in summer scrambling condition (easy grade 2) – d'oh. Crampons and one axe were occasionally used throughout the day but ropes and gear stayed packed away. Never mind it was a great way up the Ben. After a brief photo session at the summit it was time to continue over the Carn Mor Dearg arete, on to the summit and a steep snow descent back into the corrie. During the descent Donal managed to trap his ankle and it took a while to dig him back out. With all the cooks in one car – the chef with the quickest recipe (Peri) was voted to cook. We were worried that other club members would be starving by now – but they had stopped in the Clachaig on the way back so there were no complaints.

Unlike our civilised start – Peter W had got up extra early to climb Comb Gully with his friend Rob. The route was apparently in very good condition with plenty of ice and they were at the top before we'd left the car park. They had a fabulous day and were back down a hell of a lot earlier than us – plenty of time for Pete to make a welcome trifle. Meanwhile, Graeme, Warwick and Annie did two of the Mamores from Kinlochleven and were rewarded with stunning views of the Ben and surrounding mountains.

Day 2

Rois-BheinnAntony wanted to take it easier today so decided to join Simon, myself and Annie on a walk taking in 3 Corbetts in Moidart (he won't make that mistake again in a rush!). It proved a hard day as it was mainly off paths with plenty of up & down and a brutal 350m ascent right at the end of the day (overall slightly further and more ascent than day 1). However, we were rewarded with fantastic views of the islands and mountains inland. Again, all the cooks were in one car and it proved a longer day than the Ben – so it was a late dinner again.

This time the climbing mass ascent was the classic rock route Adverickie wall (HS) on Binnean Shuas. Rob climbed with Donal, and they were followed by the team of Peri, Peter and Jamie. A late start, longish drive and other teams on the route meant a late finish. So we had managed to beat them back – just. It is a great route in an attractive setting and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Warwick and Graeme did part of the Ballachulish horseshoe?

Day 3

Simon, myself, Rob and Peter headed for the mountain crag of Aonoch Dubh on Bidean nam Bian. There were other teams on the the classic rock route -The Long Route – so Peter led Weeping Wall (S), while Simon & I did Curving Crack (S). The climbs were interesting with good rock and just about adequate gear. We then scrambled up to the next level and followed them up the classic rock route Archers Rib (S). The descent proved interesting and rather wet (the others found a less damp route). We then finished the day by following them up the Long Route which has a crack(ing) 2nd pitch.

Peri, Donal & Jamie climbed at Polldubh (scenic low level crag in Glen Nevis) – suffering in the Scottish heat (too hot to climb apparently). Although, they did manage a number of fine multi-pitch routes.

Warwick had a superb day out on Bidean climbing Broad Gully to Stob Coire nan Lochan, then up onto Bidean nam Bian.

Annie, Graeme and Antony took it easier and went for a walk in the hidden valley.

Antony made a delightfully spicy meal (with fortunately a slightly tamer version for Annie) which was a great end to the day, followed by a plentiful supply of cake and mini-eggs thanks to Peri.

Day 4

Phantom slab Rob, Simon & myself headed to Polldubh, a good choice as it was a lot more windy today. Routes climbed were Resurrection (VS), Pine Wall (HS), Pandora (S) and Phantom Slab (VS). All well worth doing.Resurrection

Meanwhile Peri & Antony (also climbing at Polldubh) mixed pitches from 3 different routes on Calgary buttress.

Donal, Jamie and Annie stopped off in Callander and did a good 4 mile walk to stretch the legs on the way back home.

Peter was determined to get in a final ski session – so carried them up Broad Gully to Stob Coire nan Lochan, then up onto Bidean nam Bian and had a great ski descent until the snow ran out then walked out through the hidden valley. Definitely the quickest way down!

All in all a fantastic Easter meet that we will not forget in a rush.

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