Lochaber and Lorn Ramblers is a very active group of walkers that have walks for all levels of ability led by experienced volunteer club members. It's a fantastic way to get into walking, whether it is a short flat walk around a loch or a big walk in winter over some Munros. Some of the members enjoy a bit of scrambling and this is what we were doing today. With four experienced walkers and scramblers we chose Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor as a route that would stretch the comfort zone and give us a great opportunity to practice some simple ropework to make it safe enough. The sunshine was a deciding factor too!
In the dry, Curved Ridge offers excellent scrambling at grade 2/3 on mostly very good rock. It is a popular route that sees plenty of people so the rock is clean and most of the loose rock has been kicked away over the years. We looked at some movement skills well before we got to any scrambling, including best ways to place your feet and to move efficiently on a simple path. When your balance is better on simple walking your balance will be better on the scrambling and practicing on the path is a lot more secure than practicing balance skills on a scramble!
On the route we put on a rope to look at a technique that makes you much more secure but that does not slow the rate of progress too much. This is moving together on a rope with a few meters of rope between all the team members on the same rope. By placing slings and cliping them to the rope or running the rope around solid anchors on the route we made it very secure for everyone. There were no stops for pitches and we were all moving at the same time so we all got to enjoy the same freedom of movement as we would have done without the rope. It's a real skill that takes some practice but that also adds an element of enjoyment when you get it working really well.
We made the short diversion out to Crowberry Tower taking very great care as we went underneath the extremely loose and very large block the hangs over Crowberry Gully Left Fork. Part of this fell off this year and the rest does not look like it will be there for very many years. Great views all day, great company and great scrambling ade this a lovely way to spend my birthday. Thank you Lochaber and Lorn Ramblers!
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.