Monday, 2 February 2015

Beinn Mhic- Mhonnaidh. 796 metres. Glen Orchy Day.

                                             ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
We were going to go out with regular companions Graeme and David on Saturday but the predicted 50 miles an hour winds on the summits, frequent snow showers, and a 5:00am start put me off. My old mate John then phoned and asked if I fancied the Corbett Beinn Mhic- Mhonaidh, halfway down Glen Orchy instead on the Sunday when the winds would be much lighter. Alex fancied this idea too as he had a Graham nearby that he could climb from the same parking spot. Beinn Donachain, 650 metres, I think. We parked beside the Eas Urchairh Falls at GR NN 244322 Glen Orchy map Sheet 50.
Glen Orchy is popular with white water enthusiasts as it has various levels of difficulty from easy water to fairly large testing rapids. These are the Eas Urchaidh Falls.
Good video here of the type of kayaking you can expect paddling down Glen Orchy.

We set off up the track through the forest towards the sheilings of Airgh Chaileach, marked on map. We seemed to be the first folk to come this way judging by the virgin snow, only marked by fox, deer and various bird tracks. The three of us, John, Alex and myself, used to bag Munros together in various clubs throughout in the 1980s and 1990s but a walk with us all together again like this doesn't happen very often these days due to other commitments.
Near the end of the track Alex headed off alone to bag his hill of choice while John and I climbed the deer fence then set off up the Corbett.
Deep snow and gullies hampered progress in a few places until we hit firmer slopes halfway up the mountain.
Crampons made their first appearance of the year. Ben Lui in the background.
A closer view of Ben Lui. The "Queen" of Tyndrum at 1330 meters.
Icy slopes and low winter sun. Around minus 5 in the wind. Not too bad in the sun though.
John on the summit. Felt like minus 10 up here. Glad I didn't go out on Saturday with triple the wind strength on the heights.
A zoom of Ben Cruachan. Maybe Stob Diamh, 998 meters, at a guess. There was no way I was taking my gloves off again to view the map within the rucksack and find out as my hands were already suffering and close to useless. Bare hands, photography and icy winds are a painful mix. My hands, as on the previous mountain trip last week, spent as much time exposed as they did covered and took ages to heat up again.
Nice deep "squeaky snow" on the summit ridge that felt like polystyrene when you walked over it. Good for building igloos with a saw as you can easily cut it into large building blocks for construction.
A view over to the Black Mount/Glen Etive Peaks.
On the summit ridge with the islands in Loch Awe. I came close to dying out there during a solo kayak trip years ago to visit them as it was much windier than expected with big waves and unpredictable gusts thundering down the loch. Nice islands though. As mentioned in my comedy life tale Autohighography, first three chapters free to read here as a taster....  .I was mainly into kayaking for the exploration value, visiting inland and offshore islands, bothies, easy river systems and interesting lochs with good features. I never fancied white water pursuits much as I did a lot of my early kayaking solo or with a few friends and dragging my face down a river bed over boulders in winter didn't appeal as entertainment. Besides, I would have had to obtain a much smaller kayak and my poor face has already smashed into its fair share of solid objects over the decades including, metal bars, fists, rocks, pavements, vans and trees.
Descending off the summit we were glad we were wearing crampons as it was an icy slope underneath covered with a few inches of slippy snow on top.
John digging in down the easy head-wall.

Across the glen the frozen ice cliffs of Beinn Udlaidh could be seen, a popular venue for winter climbers to tackle the numerous quality ice routes without a long approach to reach them.

Finishing the day at the bridge across the river near the car. Evening sunlight hits the forest.
A rare "selfie". I,m not a fan of the herd mentality thing and my poor old face is too damaged and scarred for public consumption anyway. Great day out in the depths of winter.

Some of the most unnerving/ mind boggling videos on You Tube recently have been put out by a mad young Ukrainian who climbs tall buildings and appears to have an unbelievable attitude to heights/death. Apart from the balance and strength of a top Olympic gymnast he appears to also possess a complete lack of fear. Obviously, given the situations, his daily life expectancy hangs in the balance/is a matter of debate.
Has to be seen to be believed. Best watched in HD. Warning. This is as extreme as it gets in soloing and not for the fainthearted. I shouldn't need to point out if you try this yourself you will die.It's fairly obvious.You require nerves and fingers made of steel to hold on... or even to watch. I,d imagine many viewers will not want to watch this at all and may feel sick but he does make it to the end.


Neil said...

That's a fine hill Bob. Many years since I've done it but I still remember the thrill of seeing the view for the first time when we reached the ridge. Looks like there is a lot of snow about, be a while before that clears.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Neil.
Yes, I really enjoyed that one. Good views of impressive peaks all around and an interesting descent off the summit.

Carol said...

That lad in your video is a nutter plain and simple. I honestly think that the youth of today don't have the intelligence to stay alive. I also think they've lost any normal instincts of self-preservation.

Beautiful photos of your walk though - you're having a much more interesting winter than I'm having! What's the lovely curved peak next to your summit in your summit photos? It looks familiar but I can't remember where that Corbett is exactly.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
I thought that as well at first but he does have incredible balance, body and finger strength and technique he just presents it in an uncomfortable, raw, totally shocking style and should not involve others in case it goes wrong, ie like the girl at the start. What he's doing however is not that different from Alex Honnold( American free climber) or Catherine Destivelle. You make one mistake or interrupt concentration for a second- you die. He's just taking it to a more extreme degree and the dangling off the edge of buildings stunt should be cut out completely as that's a death trip in the making more than any of the other stunts. Having said that I'd be surprised if he makes it to old age but I thought that about several of my friends in the past as well and they are all still here last time I checked.
On a different note I've often thought in the past about what makes a hero/legend. Alexander the Great... died at 33 of malaria after conquering the known world and having 20 cities named after him due to him never having lost a battle... Harry Houdini, performing death defying acts where people paid to watch him die... all the nameless people who went over Niagara falls in a barrel or wing walked on planes in mid air during the great depression.. many of whom perished... William Wallace and Boudica, savage and desperate leaders who committed mass atrocities and didn't fight fair according to the "Establishment" of the day. The tag of War Criminal could easily be attached to the last two and the first instead of hero depending on what side of the fence you happen to belong :o)
One thing this video did inspire me to do was look up Kiev,the largest city in Ukraine and one of the real gems of Europe judging by its fantastic period architecture.
It's Ben Cruachan. Stob Diamh end of that ridge.

Carol said...

I think it's that he seems to be so obviously 'showing off' - I don't think Catherine Destivelle does that when she's climbing. It's all this 'look at me doing something really stupid' attitude rather than what he's actually doing. I agree he has great balance, nerve and strength.

I'm going to have to look up the hill you've done here on the map and get my bearings. I've lost touch with where all the Corbetts are...

SuperLux said...

Making the most of the snow. Good for you guys. Take care!

The Glebe Blog said...

Glad you've posted this Bob, I now don't need to do a high snowy climb now I've got my fix.
Great pictures, I love the selfie, Now you're so easily recognisable you'll be accosted everywhere.
Very scary (bum cheek clenching) just watching that video, you know he's going to fall at some point, but he never does. Got to share that on Facebook.

Kay G. said...

That must be something to hike in snow like that. It looks beautiful.
I am with you on the selfies! I make my husband take my photo from as far away as possible! HA!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers SuperLux,
It was freezing but fun.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Jim,
Feel free, He's got loads more videos and has millions of followers. Having watched the news tonight maybe it's actually safer in Ukraine being up a tall building than staying at street level but you have to worry at his seemingly casual approach to life and death.
With his skill level and bold nerve he could do so much more in a safer discipline... and stay alive.
Young folk nowadays seem to get their respect and sense of worth from online activities which can be addictive even to us oldies. This can be productive but it can also take over your life very easily.

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Kay,
Yes, it was a great day. As for selfies I don't buy into the idea you have to post everything about yourself online and try to stay as private as possible. Governments know far too much about their citizens already without giving them a helping hand. I watched that documentary about Aaron Swartz a few days ago.Maybe Big Brother did evolve around 1984 after all.