From the Scottish Mountain Trust – As some of you will know, following a couple of incidents in the Cairngorms, we took the step of temporarily stopping distribution of Highland Scrambles South. We’re pleased to tell you that the book is back in the warehouse and will be hitting the shelves soon. If you own the guide already, you’ll also be please to hear that nothing has fundamentally changed. If you don’t own the guide yet then grab a copy as soon as you can, there’s loads to go at! Check out the latest copy of Scottish Mountaineer for some more information about the publication.
Other than modifications to the prominence of safety advice and cosmetic changes (like making it easier to distinguish between climbs and scrambles, for example), here are the notable updates to routes and descriptions –
1. There is a specific reference to the stability of the routes in Coire an t’Sneachda, which were badly affected this last winter
2. The approach description to Lurchers has been updated to note that, until well acquanted with the crag, it is wise to approach from the Larig Ghru; and that it is a crag suited to experienced mountaineers
3. We’ve noted a loose block on the descent route from the Crowberry Tower on Buachaille Etive Mòr
4. Advice on possible bird restrictions for Barkeval, Rum and Mullwharchar, Galloway – check online with Mountaineering Scotland before your visit!
Attached to this post is a fabulous sketch of the Crowberry Tower by Jamie Hageman which now features in the book. Also attached is an updated diagram for the South-East face of Stob Dearg, Buachaille Etive Mòr, which just missed the print run.
Safe and happy scrambling everyone – here’s hoping for some crisp clear autumn days in the hills before winter arrives!
Shaun Roberts, Principal at Glenmore Lodge, said:
“I do believe that the nature of winters over the last decade, along with the generally more intense precipitation has had an impact on Coire an t-Sneachda.”
“We have experienced a number of winters with very deep snow packs, including snow laying at depth on the steep broken ground of the Coire. Over a season and under the influence of gravity this snowpack will displace, but often not dislodge, blocks and boulders of significant size, leaving behind a significant challenge for the summer climber.”
“And this year we enjoyed a super dry May but then received almost our monthly quota of rainfall on one day in June.”
“I suspect these weather patterns are having an impact on the stability of some areas and we continue to approach climbing in Coire an t-Sneachda with a more heightened sense of the objective dangers.”
Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Adviser with Mountaineering Scotland, added:
“Hillwalkers, scramblers and climbers should be extra vigilant when journeying either below or approaching scrambles and climbs – particularly if there are other parties above or there has been heavy rainfall in the previous few days.”
“Specifically, hillwalkers should be particularly cautious when ascending or descending the Goat Track in Corie an t-Sneachda when there are climbers above them.”
Be aware and be careful.” tip, tap test”, when climbing its a good practice.
I wrote this in 2014 – Rockfall in the Scottish Mountains a reminder!
The recent winter with its big snowfalls and the very heavy rain of a few weeks ago may have led to an accident where a climber was sadly killed in Coire an t-Sneachda in the Cairngorms. My thoughts are with the climbers family and friends and the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and the Royal Naval Helicopter involved in the recovery. There was also a huge rockfall a few weeks ago after the heavy rain which took out some of the path “the Goat Track”which many use to gain access to the Cairngorm Plateau. A few warnings were put out and advising climbers of the recent rockfall. The area is still unstable and it is worth staying clear of. Rockfall in this area is not unusual and even in a light winter there have been several accidents in the past when the cliff is not completely frozen and it is well-known for loose rock by climbers. This accident happened in summer as there are a few rock climbs that are easily accessible from the road which attract climbers. My guide-book still has a warning on the cliff diagram warning of loose rock and it was all part of a regular brief to my Mountain Rescue Team members when training in this area.
We often climbed in this Corrie as it was a busy place in winter and allowed younger Team member’s to get some area knowledge before the rescues in winter and popular scrambles /climb was Pygmy ridge or Fingers Ridge and over to Afterthought Arete at Loch Avon. There are many other scrambles in Lurchers crag and other areas be aware these are mountain routes. Care must be taken in these areas and these mountains cliffs are always changing. This is true of all the mountain cliffs, from Glencoe, Ben Nevis, Skye, Lochnagar, The North West and many more so please be aware. Objective dangers are relevant in Scotland, safe climbing.
Tip, Tap,Test and wear a helmet is better than a hole in your head?
There is no excuse nowadays they are light and comfortable and put it on early and take it off late!
Worth reading our wee adventure on the Dubhs in Skye. We had helmets and never put them on a pal was hit by a stone from above !
He was very lucky! Have fun and enjoy the hills safely!