/ NE Ridge of Binnien Mor

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Taurig - on 13 Jan 2013
For a while I've been wanting to do a winter round of Na Gruagaichean and Binnien Mor, as seen on this website.

http://scottishwinterroutes.com/nagruagaichean.htm

But I've been thinking that while I'm up there, it might be worthwhile doing the full anti-clockwise round that includes Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnien Beag. I think this would be a tough day but doable in terms of height gain and distance, even if headtorches had to be brought out.

The only thing that concerns me is the NE ridge of Binnien Mor. It gets a grade 1 summer scramble, which I would have no problem with, but under snow and ice I believe most grade 1 summer scrambles get around grade I winter. Well, I'm pretty comfortable doing your average Munro in winter conditions and I enjoy a challenge, but I've never knowingly been on graded terrain (I appreciate a lot of people on here do grade I with their hands in their pockets, but we all start somewhere). I also don't have a rope that would be practical to carry for ground like this. Has anyone been up this ridge in winter and can give me some hint of how sustained the sections that give it grade I are likely to be, and how avoidable the difficulties are if I'm uncomfortable on them?

I know this post might attract derisory comments about no spirit of adventure etc. but I feel it's a bit out of the way compared to most central highland routes and I don't want to get into something I can't get out of myself. Any advice appreciated.

Cheers.

Milesy - on 13 Jan 2013
I have done the four munros in summer and it was a pretty long day.
wee jamie on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Taurig: I've just stuck a picture up on my Facebook page (assuming you can see it too - let me know if you can't and I'll email you a copy). https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.363976707017212.86293.100002146572436&type=1#!/photo.p...
The ridge is grade 1, but don't let that put you off. It's very enjoyable and feels quite remote and big, but it's just a case of either staying as close to the crest as possible and linking up features for the maximum difficulty and adventure, or if you're in a bit more of a hurry as part of a long round, keep left on snow ledges and zig zag up avoiding the crest. The best start to the ridge is to follow the snow gully in the centre of the photo. The exit is up a narrower bit but plenty of holds.
Kevin Woods - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to wee jamie: I can't see it here.
wee jamie on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Kevin Woods: Ok, here we go - it's on Flickr now - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiehageman/8377280812/in/photostream
Taurig - on 13 Jan 2013
Milesy, just from looking at the height gain and distance it is quite a big day isn't it ? I think if feeling fresh, an early start and a walk out by headtorch would make for an exhausting but satisfying day. Probably wouldn't bother if a couple of feet of powder was kicking around, or feeling less than fresh. In that case the original route I think, for me, the original route in the link would be a good day in itself.

Wee jamie, that's very informative, thank you very much. I have to say, perhaps it's the perspective of your photo, but it does look a little more serious than what I have in me head as grade I; looks to me like a short ice pitch at the top of the first gully you mention! Is that the hardest part of it, the start?
petestack - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Taurig:

There are easier ridges to either side of this one you can take for negligible extra distance if you don't like it.
wee jamie on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Taurig: Yes, that's the hardest part (unless you keep to the crest). It's not ice, it's just a short narrow section, not as steep as it looks. Good holds on either side.
An alternative would be to climb Binnein Mor via its East Ridge which is less impressive and less well defined, but an easier climb.
prog99 on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Taurig:
> For a while I've been wanting to do a winter round of Na Gruagaichean and Binnien Mor, as seen on this website.
>
> http://scottishwinterroutes.com/nagruagaichean.htm
I think that the parking info here (mamore lodge) may be out of date. Not 100% certain you can park here any more.
When we did the round (as a 3 minus Na Gruagaichean) we started from Kinlochleven itself. Think we used he north ridge.
Milesy - on 13 Jan 2013
Mamore Lodge = Bates Motel

What a truly odd experience the pints in there was afterwards. Glad its closed haha
petestack - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Mike_Watson_99:
> I think that the parking info here (mamore lodge) may be out of date. Not 100% certain you can park here any more.

You can (and people do), but there's a notice at the foot of the road stating that the gate may be locked at any time without warning.
drmarten on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Taurig:
I've done these in summer and used the north ridge of Binnein Mor after coming off Binnein Beag. I can't recall any ground that may offer any great difficulties, as it was a few years ago I'm not willing to put any money on that! I passed just to the north of the two lochans and at about 850m joined the ridge. As Mike says the parking situation may have changed at the Mamore Lodge as I'd heard the Mamore Lodge was closed and I may even recall a mention of a gate on the road leading up to it?
Taurig - on 13 Jan 2013
Cheers for the parking info, talk of difficult driving in snowy conditions did put me off going up to the Lodge, so handy to know it's alright going from Kinlochleven.
Andy Nisbet - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to petestack:
> You can (and people do), but there's a notice at the foot of the road stating that the gate may be locked at any time without warning.

I drove up there twice in December without problems. On the first occasion there were six cars, two stopped at the bottom and four chanced it by driving up. The second time there was only me but the gamekeeper drove past and didn't turn me away. So up to you really.

Andy Nisbet - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Taurig:

I climbed it last summer and I would expect the ridge to be Grade I. Tricky in places but less exposed than a gully. The difficulty will depend on how icy it is. This is neutral answer, neither saying you'll find it easy or hard.
petestack - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
> I drove up there twice in December without problems. On the first occasion there were six cars, two stopped at the bottom and four chanced it by driving up. The second time there was only me but the gamekeeper drove past and didn't turn me away. So up to you really.

Yep, there's a car or two up there almost every time I run past (frequently) and I can't ever recall seeing the gate locked (don't take the road quite so often), but just reporting what it says!
Taurig - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

No that's fair enough, if nothing else the thread has confirmed my thoughts that it would be grade I. Can I deal with that without roping up? I don't really know, but I don't think it's completely unreasonable, and there's only one way to find out! It sounds like there are a couple of alternatives if this doesn't work out anyway.
Andy Nisbet - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Good luck!
Mark Bull - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to petestack:

According to the owner of the Macdonald Hotel, the stalker has no intention of locking the gate.
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Simon Caldwell - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Taurig:
We did it on 29th December 2005, starting and finishing in the dark, but it wasn't a huge day. The snow conditions helped, being mostly hard packed neve. We started and finished from the lodge (which at the time asked a couple of pounds to park).

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