Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

22-02-10, Beinn Bhan - Winter Climbing

The first major corrie of Beinn Bhan (Coire na Feola) with a Chioch Traverse on the right.

Another amazing weather day on Monday. Conditions on Applecross are mint! We headed to Beinn Bhan to check out the back of the Coire na Poite for ice. As we were walking in decided to go straight up North Gully of a Chioch (II) to do the Traverse of a Chioch (II) as it was such a nice day. North Gully (picture - right, looking down) was a little lean, but was OK for grade II, several small ice pitches and a mixed section near the top. Once we topped out of the Gully from the dark and into the sunshine, we were greeted with the view of picture - below. The whole day had a very alpine feel about it, sunshine, hard snow, dry rock, superb views with a panorama of the whole of the highlands looking white. The Traverse of a Chioch is an amazing route especially if combined with the North Gully start. There are two descents down to cols before a big push for the summit. We chose to solo it but you could easily lead it and place plenty of runner, especially where it steepens up at the end.

Descending down to the first col, some loose rock, but good hard snow.

Final summit push with the two cols and pinnacles in the back ground.

Checking out the best route ahead, looking slightly steeper than first/second impressions!

Descent off Beinn Bhan down the long broad southern ridge line, with beautiful white mountain tops of the highlands in the background.

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