Monday, 19 April 2010

The Grey Corries

Amongst the mountain ranges immediately surrounding my home--Bidean, the Blackmount, the Mamores, and the Nevis range--there are a diminishing number of Munros I have yet to climb. By this stage, this is mostly due to awkwardness of access by public transport, or simply because the hill does not inspire me.

The exception to this rule is Sgurr Choinnich Mhor, the westernmost Munro of the Grey Corries ridge. Of the Grey Corries Munros, I climbed Stob Ban in September 2006, and Stob Coire Claurigh and Stob Coire an Laoigh in June 2008 with Fell Club (we turned back short of Sgurr Choinnich Mhor due to lack of time). It's an inspiring peak and a glaring omission from my mountain CV.

James and I decided to do the classic horseshoe walk of the Grey Corries, incorporating all three of the main peaks, excluding the outlier Stob Ban. It was cold when we left the car at some point after 7am, and a light dusting of new snow lay on the ground. Undeterred, we ground our way up the dreadfully long ridge to the summit of Stob Coire Claurigh. The increasingly large snowfields on the way up, iron-hard from the recent refreeze, were initially dispatched by cutting steps but soon we put crampons on as the bulk of the terrain above 950m remains icebound and banked out with old snow.

The first two Munros passed uneventfully, with some airy scrambling along the crest, which was at times adorned with switchback cornices (although most cornices have collapsed by this point, leaving gaping crevasses and ice-cliffs). After scrambling down from the final peak we contemplated the ascent of Sgurr Choinnich Mor: steep and graceful.

The summit was a grand place with superb views of the Aonachs. All that remained was to descend the long, long ridge down into the forest and back to the car.

So: ten hours (summer guidebook time!), three Munros, five thousand feet of ascent, and 12.5 miles (20km). A satisfying day out.

Photo album

All photos (C) James Roddie. All Rights Reserved.

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