Petestack Blog

15 August 2009

Not quite more climbing with Angus

Filed under: Climbing,Walking — admin @ 4:28 pm

With the weather continuing to be unsettled and frustratingly unpredictable after Monday’s amazing day on Shangri-la, I’m afraid that nothing from the remaining days of Angus’s ‘climbing’ holiday was going to come close to that particular highlight. But we did manage two more hill days of a ‘not quite climbing’ nature with a wet traverse of Meall Cumhann in Glen Nevis on Wednesday and ascent of Garbh Bheinn of Ardgour on Thursday…

Having long been aware that the traverse of Meall Cumhann promised a great little expedition but never actually done it, it’s pleasing to be able to report that it is indeed a little gem with the perfect location, height and character for an enjoyable short day in stunning surroundings. So perhaps the soggy conditions forced us to take the line of least resistance rather than enjoying completely unfettered scrambling, but I’d guess that it’s all right on the button at Grade 2 when dry.

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2009-08-12cumhann3 2009-08-12cumhann4

2009-08-12cumhann5 2009-08-12cumhann6

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Since Thursday was Angus’s last full day we’d hoped to do something special, but were frustrated again by weather initially forecast to be good just about everywhere, then poor, and eventually starting poorly before improving just when we’d expected it to be deteriorating again. So we headed for Garbh Bheinn intent on climbing the classic Great Ridge (where I’d hoped we could swing leads), but skipped the Direct Start because it was minging wet and spent far too long on a diversion too far up an even more minging ‘slabby gully’ (ignore the description under ‘Great Ridge’ in the 2001 SMC Glen Coe guide, take note of the ‘perhaps best missed out’ warning under ‘South-East Chimney’ and be aware that the early exit right necessary for Great Ridge is no more obviously attractive than continuing up!) before abseiling 20m or so from a grotty cul-de-sac (and anchor that I wouldn’t have used on steeper ground) to escape left and up via a grass terrace. After which we toyed with the idea of climbing an almost-dry Sgian Dubh before rejecting it on account of one minging wall in the initial chimney and continued uncertainty over whether conditions were improving or deteriorating. So perhaps our simple ascent of the mountain was ultimately something of a consolation prize, but still a good day out. Which, given everything we managed to get done despite the weather over the past ten days or so, still has to be a source of some satisfaction.

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2009-08-13garbhbheinn3 2009-08-13garbhbheinn4

2009-08-13garbhbheinn5 2009-08-13garbhbheinn6


  1. Pete – speaking as someone who has no head for heights, what you and Angus have done over the last week or so is bloody impressive. Well done. Hopefully catch up soon. Ian

    Comment by Ian — 15 August 2009 @ 9:00 pm

  2. Hi Pete, I couldn’t post a comment on your running books post so thought I’d post it here. I didn’t know Ray Zahab had a book, he features in the film “Running the Sahara” about 3 runners who attempt to run over the Sahara desert (available from Blockbuster!). It’s an excellent film, very interesting so I’ll have to seek out his book. “Born to Run” is also one of the best running books I’ve read for a long time. Everytime my motivation for running needs a boost I pick it up and have a quick read. I’m not totally convinced about all the barefoot stuff though (and I say that as an owner of a pair of Vibram FiveFingers). Murakami’s book wasn’t for me, I managed about 50 pages but lost interest pretty quickly. I think it’s heading for ebay soon!
    Well done on your climbing exploits, despite the weather.

    Comment by Richie — 16 August 2009 @ 10:03 am

  3. Interesting. I was up Garbh Bheinn just last week :-)

    Comment by Murdo Mc — 16 August 2009 @ 12:20 pm

  4. Hey guys, great to hear from you all!

    Must stress that the kind of climbing we’ve been doing is at a very average level, although that doesn’t stop some of the climbs being major classics when quality and not absolute difficulty is the determining factor there. So I was particularly pleased to get Shangri-la (which also appears to be Angus’s standout ‘highlight’ day) because it’s a classic I’ve coveted for years, and a good steep one when I’m habitually more comfortable on slabs (like Spartan, which I’ve done twice before) and needing to take on the steep stuff more.

    Might add that I’ve relaxed the blog discussion settings a little and copied Richie’s comments on the books to the relevant post. :-)

    Comment by admin — 16 August 2009 @ 2:38 pm

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