24th to 26th February 2012 - West Highland Lodge, Kinlochleven
It was our man in Geneva’s annual winter pilgrimage and it was therefore decreed that the turbo thaw would start shortly after his arrival. Plans for Smith’s route with Kenny as a warm up for the meet were hastily shelved and the pair of them enjoyed a curry in Fort William and a slightly soggy bothy trip.
Never mind, the freezing level was finally due to fall to 700m on Saturday. Admittedly the overhead conditions did not look too clever but the EMC men are tough and keen. After a 530am start, Tim and Ewan found some good ice on Comb Gully Buttress and returned epic free and ever so slightly wet.
The rest of us enjoyed long lies and various combinations of walks that were intended to maximise the amount of time spent on a track. As a tactic this was only partially successful given the fact that most of the tracks had become running rivers. Fiona M did the Corbett on its own that we refer to as Carn Freakie. Allan, Ian, Pauline, Gaetan, Clare, Martin and Anne traversed the ridge on the north side of Kinlochleven taking in the Corbett Mam Gulain. It wasn’t the best introduction to Scottish hill walking for Gaetan and Pauline but they managed to keep smiling and with Clare they found drier conditions at the Ice Factor climbing wall in the afternoon.
Keystone cops, Bill, Kenny, Fiona C and myself went for a hill free day. With considerable demonstrations of athleticism and splashing we finally found respective ways over the raging torrent of a river only to discover that the path went back over the river via a very large bridge.
The forecast for Sunday was slightly better and the drying room had done a reasonably good job in working overtime. Our man in Geneva enjoyed good conditions for dry tooling at the Ice Factor with Fiona M. The rest of us did a traverse of the Corbett on the south side of Loch Leven. It didn’t even rain much, there was some blue sky and some views and it was a very nice ridge.
Despite the total absence of snow it was a good sociable meet. Our man then headed over to Newtonmore with the forecast predicting a record February high of 17 degrees. Our man took a note to himself to bring rock boots for next year’s winter pilgrimage.