March 2023 – Alex Macintyre Hut – Onich

14 th to 19 th March 2023

Tuesday
A fine blue skies day with fresh snow and hard neve on the ground. Alex and Gary went
for a long, 16 mile walk up Sgurr Eildhe Mor (1010) in the Mamores – the most easterly
Munro in the chain. Fine views across Lochaber. Peter, on the way up from Edinburgh,
climbed West Gully (I) onto Beinn an Dothaidh (1004) which was a bit shorter at 5 miles!
He also had blue skies and cold air with some very firm neve giving an exciting top out to
the climb. As our winter mountaineering instructor once said “DON’T FALL”.

Wednesday
Peter, Alex and Gary climbed Beinn Sgulaird (937) – above Creagan on the Argyll coast –
one of the few Munros in the area that Alex and Gary had not climbed. A fine, remote and
rocky route which gave some challenges and we all got our axes out. Whilst Peter and
Alex layered up in the cold Easterlies Gary wore a T-shirt and no hat most of the way up!
Peter ran down to head to Edinburgh to pick up Kathy. Alex and Gary had a bit of an epic
descent in the rain making it back to the car at 6pm after another long day.

Thursday
A bit of a dreich day – Peter and Kathy went for a low level walk above Loch Ard and
visited friends. Given the weather forecast and their aching legs Alex and Gary decided to
head home. Michelle and Alex arrived at the hut with Juan arriving late that night.

Friday
Glencoe. Peter, Alex, Michelle, James, Juan and Kathy headed up from Achnambeithach
below Stob Coire nam Beith. The group found some good steep snow from 800m and
crampons / ice axes came out. We ascended Hourglass gully (I) which was in decent
condition and atmospheric in the clag – if you didn’t mind the rain from melting ice half way up! Everyone had a great time and practised skills recently learnt. The descent proved
just as much fun as we headed down the steep North Ridge of Bidean nam Bian (1150) in
snow to Stob Coire nan Lochan (1115). James and Michelle descended Broad Gully (I)
while the rest of us yomped down the ridge of Lochan and watched them glissading the
last section while we had a break. Long descent and dinner at the Clachaig Inn.
Saturday

The “Glenmore 3” – Alan, Stacey and Jason – arrived fresh from their 5-day winter
mountaineering course at Glenmore Lodge having had a great time. Heavy rain hit the
mountains but 2 groups braved it deciding (independently) to take on School House Ridge
– a Winter and Summer grade I route – up Sgorr Dearg (1024) above Ballachulish.
Everyone got thoroughly soaked and Stacey, Alex, Michelle, James, Jason and Alan
battled their way down through the forest after deciding that the main route down was “too easy”. A route to go back to in proper winter conditions we all decided but a proper
“Scottish” day. Some went back to the Clachaig for dinner.

Sunday
Everyone decided to get an early start on travel except Peter and Kathy who decided to
take in a bit of the Eastern Mamores on a decent day before the rain came in. The tops
were out of the clag and we even got our axes out to cut steps across some unexpectedly
scary steep snow and to walk the narrow ridge to the summit of Binnein Mor (1130) :-).
Some fun route finding across Na Gruagaichean (1055) and down its S/SW ridge finished
the day. Juan also headed up to see the CIC hut which sits at 700m below the North Face
of Ben Nevis which he really enjoyed with plans to return – if he can get his boots sorted
out!

The weather didn’t completely play ball but everyone managed at least one proper winter
day and we hope to return next year.

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