touring & backcountry
Scottish Highlands (Other) // Sunday 5th March 2017
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17 Skiing the ridge back to our gear dump

20 Snow and ice blowing in the wind with An Socach

15 Monday started a bit murky

16 The view west from Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan 1151m

18 Better visibility 941 ahead and Loch Coire nan Dearcag on left

19 In Coire na Cloiche around 700m

Looking back to Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan with descent line

23 Suitably weary at the bridge to Strawberry Cottage

24 GPS Track

14 A glimpse of the Skye mountains in a burst of sun

13 Making camp using the skis and poles at anchors

12 Approaching the col around 920m about 5pm

11 Descending the short steep SW ridge of St C na Cloiche

10 On top of St C na Cloiche with point 941 ahead

9 Gleann a Choilich to the north

8 Mullach Fraoch choire to the south

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:: Tour Route(s) or Location Skied/Ridden
Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan from Glen Affric.

Some regard this mountain as one of the finest in the whole of the UK. We certainly liked it a lot. We were based at Strawberry Cottage about 5miles from the road head in Glen Affric. We carried skis to the bridge on the way to Alltbeithe Hostel and 200m up the hill with skis on at 450m, red on map image. We bypassed An Socach for now and went to look at the northerly summer descent from near the col before Stob Coire na Cloiche, StCnC, marked in green on map image. This looked like it would have been a safe boot down even though snow had been deposited with winds a few days earlier. We skinned steeply up the rocky SCnC and booted down the steep part of the ridge to the next col. Then steeply up point 941m before arriving in the area of the snow covered lochan around 920m to find a campsite sheltered from the SE wind.

There were some nice stars at one point during the windy night however it was murky in the morning. We left some gear and skinned hopeful of a respite in the weather towards Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. There was enough snow and visibility to ski both up and down which was great as it had felt a bit unlikely. As is obvious from the GPS track the unit was not switched on to the main summit. This was to ensure sufficient battery for the following section had visibility closed in.

We had identified a way off on slopes of 25 to 27 degrees as per photo and GPS track taking us to mellow terrain in a fine rocky coire south of SCnC and onwards to An Socach. The weather remained good for the return to Strawberry Cottage. This will likely be the best touring adventure of the winter.
:: Weather Conditions
Saturday was very wet low down and with snow accumulating on west facing slopes in strong easterly winds. This added to the snow already on east facing slopes. We changed our plans resulting in a two day trip over Sunday and Monday.
:: Snow Conditions and Distrubtion
Prior to the Saturday fall only north and east facing slopes had snow.
:: Skiers/Riders
Angus and Alan
This report was posted by Winterhighland Member at 19.46hrs on Fri 10th Mar 17

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