18th to 20th February 2022 - Lagangarbh, Glencoe
The Lagangarbh weekend coincided with a brief lull in the winter storms: Dudley had passed through leaving a dump of snow and the optimistic of us set off from Edinburgh early to catch the worm. Martha and Steve turned off the Lochearnhead road which was blocked by several jacknived lorries, and picked their way through Narnia and part-way up Meall an t-Seallaidh before wisely turning back due to deep snow. Fiona and Mike tackled Gairich on their way down from Dingwall. Tim, Neil and I had stayed on Thursday night at the hut and while Tim tried his annual XC ski along the WHW Neil and I climbed North Buttress up the Buachaille which was ferocious but very fulfilling! We swam back down the main path and joined the others at the hut for very late lunch and chat.
On Friday night I was impressed with how smooth the arrival operation went: EVERYONE arrived before 8pm! There was a fair amount of route planning and “sloe Steve” got his gin out. Note to the Membership Secretary that his application should be fast-tracked.
On Saturday we were thrilled to find blue skies and calm winds and a stunning vista of endless snow. At Lagangarbh we were in a fishbowl as the tripod brigade were out early to take photos of the view.
Cat, Nikki, Fiona, Mike and Tim had tickets to the Glencoe ski centre and had a fantastic day on corduroy pistes with virtually no queues to the lifts. Possibly the best day the ‘coe has had for a long while with weather, snow and weekend all coinciding with being able to admit decent numbers due to Covid.
Neil and I headed down the glen to attempt a winter route on the west face of Aonach Dubh. After some technical wading to the base of the route it quickly became apparent that the route wasn’t “in”, and we abseiled off a tree and traversed out of a gully and on to Dinnertime buttress which gave a comparatively smooth access to Coire an Lochain from where we followed the trenches back to the glen. We were joined at the Clachaig by Martha and Steve who’d had some successful wading on Beinn Mhic Chasgaig in Glen Etive, and by Doug, Rhi, Duncan and Chris Wo who’d walked up the Buachaille and all the way along to Stob na Broige, taking a direct line with a 5* bumslide down to the glen. There was more lively chat and gin-quaffing in the hut which predictably rapidly turned into sleepiness.
On Sunday we were the model of restraint and breakfast/tea-drinking/bacon butties were spread over several hours as the wind and sudden temperature rise stripped the now almost-bare hillsides to an uninspiring grey-brown. A mountain rescue was apparently coming to its conclusion at the bridge nearby and I feel for whoever had been out on the hill overnight as they would have been subjected to a clobbering from storm Eunice.
Cat and Tim headed straight back to Edinburgh; Fiona and Mike went to the 3 Wise Monkeys wall in Fort William and the pub. Steve – staying another night to ski again on Monday – went for a windy low-level walk along the WHW from Victoria Bridge. The rest of us (Rhi, Duncan, Nikki, Doug, Neil, Martha, Chris Wo and I) had a surprisingly successful trip up Ben Ledi with summit views and some competitive bum-sliding. Tea and cake in Callander on the way home after a fantastic meet which had seen mountaineering and socialising in all the right proportions. Thanks all!