Gillian taking the easy route up the mountain! - Mike W
25th to 27th February 2011 - Inverardan Cottage, Crianlarich
An uber thaw the week before this meet put paid to any ambitious plans for winter climbing. So unusually for the EMC a mass ascent was planned for Central Gully on Ben Lui with 13 of us heading that way, including an initiation into grade 1 gullies for Ian and Rebecca.. The only non-climbers were Gillian and Mike who opted for snowboarding at Glencoe and Nigel who was graham bagging. At least the numbers allowed for some good trail breaking in the soft snow. The mist cleared at the top where we split into three groups, one heading to Ben Oss, a second party to Beinn A Chleibh and the rest of us carried down the North West ridge to the Real Food Cafe where Nigel was ordering his tea and was persuaded get a large portion of chips and 5 forks.
Meantime in the dorms those in the alpine room were suffering a second night of disturbed sleep due to the proliferation of EMC snorers and everybody was cursing my top tip to bring a 3 or 4 season sleeping bag as temperatures in the hut soared.
On Sunday, with the promise of a light frost, some of us were persuaded to try Y Gully on Cruach Ardrain which had looked fantastic on the drive back from Lui. We were in for a treat as the overnight frost had firmed up all the wet snow and in contrast to the soft snow bucket steps of Lui, it was an iron hard neve calf burner all the way to the summit. A great route. Rebecca and Ged carried on to Beinn Tulaichean, while Anne, Kenny, Martin and I came down for an early finish. Others were mopping up summits in various bagging trips with Tim finishing his zone 2 munros on Beinn Heasgarnich and Creag Mhor, Chris going for a Corbett/graham duet south of Crainlarich, Nigel, another Graham, Gillian and Ian heading north for a Corbett down Glen Etive and Dessie and Mike, initially planning Ben More but being tempted by the 400m start at the Lawers carpark for Lawers and Beinn Glas.
link to some photos from Ged. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ged_manning/sets/72157626077321181/