Another fall of fresh snow down to sea level last night did not build confidence for our plans for today. Jim and I wanted to climb Bidean a'Chabair, a remote Corbett in Knoydart that involves 25km of cycling and walking in very rough and wild country. However the good forecast bolstered our approach and we were rewarded with one of the most amazing days of walking.
The road down Loch Arkaig to Strathan was covered in a few centimetres of snow so it was slow going. The cycling on forest tracks had a few more centimetres of snow so it was a bit tricky and harder work than it might have been. However it still made it much easier to cover the 8km past A'Chuil Bothy to the end of the track. By the time we had walked up out of the forest it was clear that the weather was going to do what was forecast and we were in for an excellent day.
Knoydart is famous for being vast and empty with very rugged steep sided peaks, one of the country's last wild areas. It certainly seemed that way today and of course we didn't see anyone else all day. Being a Corbett this peak sees far fewer ascents each year than many other peaks in the area and it is even quite quiet for a Corbett I imagine. This is a shame because it is a wonderful walk and view point. If you get great snow cover like we had as well it is a real treat.
Back in Glen Coe it was much harder work! Iain and Stephan went to climb North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor and there was an element of wading through soft fresh snow and digging out the climb as they went. Dave, Andy and Daniel went to Stob Coire nan Lochan and had a job walking in to there as well! We are getting flash backs of the wading we had to endure in the first half of February when there was so much fresh snow we first had to think what crag can we get to before thinking about what to climb.
The temperature is forecast to rise over the weekend and we will have reasonably dry but warmer weathwr. The soft snow will consolidate rapidly and any sunshine will melt it away quickly. By the time Jim and I drove back along Loch Arkaig today all the snow in the glen had gone and the snow line was back up at 300m or so. Next week we might get some easterly winds back so it could get colder and dry again with the chance of more ice climbing. Or rock climbing. Or mountain biking. Or skiing!
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.