/ Ben Lui - Central Gully this Sunday Jan 19th

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DizzyVizion 17:32 Thu

Anyone been up Ben Lui recently? Thinking of going this Sunday to have a look at Central gully, with the back up plan of a circuit up East ridge and down North ridge. Thanks

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DaveHK 17:55 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Quite a bit of snow forecast on Southwesterly/Westerly winds in the next couple of days so potential for significant wind loading. Temperatures also forecast to rise above freezing over the day.

Post edited at 17:59
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DizzyVizion 18:00 Thu
In reply to DaveHK:

Thanks Dave. I was thinking the north east aspect of the face would be sheltered by the SW winds, with the problem of cornice being the major concern maybe?

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DaveHK 18:05 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Windslab gets deposited in sheltered areas, that would be my main concern.

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DizzyVizion 18:46 Thu
In reply to DaveHK:

Thanks Dave. Could be a ridge traverse then (which is supposed to be quite a nice route as well).

-Richard

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In reply to DizzyVizion:

Heavily loaded slope with recent SW winds + rising temp + big open slope = avalanche death trap!

Post edited at 18:52
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DizzyVizion 18:57 Thu
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Thanks Nick. The ridge is looking good for me.

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skog 18:59 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

> Thanks Dave. I was thinking the north east aspect of the face would be sheltered by the SW winds, with the problem of cornice being the major concern maybe?

It would be worth having a bit of a read up on avalanche awareness - SW winds are the ones most likely to make NE aspects dangerous, as they tend to pick up snow as they cross the hill, then drop it on the other side. (This is also why you'll get cornices building above such aspects.)

Here's the avalanche forecast for Glencoe, which is likely to be fairly relevant to Ben Lui too:

https://www.sais.gov.uk/glencoe/

I'd be happy enough going out, but very wary of slopes that have been in the lee of the wind. A ridge may well make sense - but keep in mind that they can have complex topography, and may still contain sections that could be unsafe.

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Alan.rodger 19:02 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

East ridge is safer and you will/should enjoy.

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DizzyVizion 19:02 Thu
In reply to skog:

Thanks skog. I'll be careful on the ridge. Doing my homework on it right now.

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DizzyVizion 19:06 Thu
In reply to Alan.rodger:

Cheers Alan. Looking forward to it.

With a high probability of regular weekend overtime at work starting next month, this could be one of the few chances I get out this winter.

Had to turn back at the crux on the Fiacaill ridge last month due to fast snow melt. Still a good day out though.

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DizzyVizion 19:12 Thu
In reply to skog:

Yep, been checking SAIS all week and considering South Gully on Stob Ban as an option, but it's a bit of a drive. Was also considering Broad Gully on SCNL again - ho hum. Trying to get a gully done is a bit of a gamble at the moment.

I know the Ben is pretty much a no-go this weekend as well.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Always happy to consider other options.

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DaveHK 19:14 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Have you done Sron na Lairig? 

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DizzyVizion 19:53 Thu
In reply to DaveHK:

I haven't Dave - but one day.

I'll be on my own on Sunday so will have to solo whichever route I do.

I soloed Beinn Alligin last winter going over the horns first. That was fine and absolutely amazing.

I've got Garry Smiths book- Scotlands Winter Mountains with One Axe, and Sron na Lairig is one of the routes in it. Brilliant book. Brilliant looking route.

Post edited at 19:58
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DaveHK 20:04 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

It would be a much better choice than any of the gullies you've mentioned.

Although having just seen photos of the Bridge of Orchy hills it doesn't look like there's much snow about.

Post edited at 20:07
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Mark Bull 20:26 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

How about some (ungraded) mountaineering type outings, such as the N side of Stuc a'Chroin, the NE side of Cruach Ardrain, or the N side on An Stuc. None reliant on a decent build-up and so doable in lean conditions. 

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DizzyVizion 20:30 Thu
In reply to DaveHK:

How is the route finding on Sron na Lairig? Any major difficulties? Anything technical in an exposed position? I've got a pair of axes this time for once.

I've done the Bidean traverse twice- once via zig-zags, so have been on stob coire screamach a couple of times. The drop down into the lost valley isn't for the faint hearted, so is there a better/safer route down?

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DaveHK 20:43 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

No idea, I've never done it!

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DizzyVizion 20:46 Thu
In reply to DaveHK:

X D

No worries mate.

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Mark Bull 21:04 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

> How is the route finding on Sron na Lairig? Any major difficulties? Anything technical in an exposed position? I've got a pair of axes this time for once.

The lower section of the route is open to variation, but no problem in good visibility. Higher up it's a clear ridge line. The crux is a short (2/3 moves) across a narrow exposed section: https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=255892

> I've done the Bidean traverse twice- once via zig-zags, so have been on stob coire screamach a couple of times. The drop down into the lost valley isn't for the faint hearted, so is there a better/safer route down?

Yes, descend SE from the top of the route to the 741m col and then NE into the Lairig Eilde. Almost always safe and straightforward. 

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Mike-W-99 21:09 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Its been 10 years almost to the day but looking at the photos we descended down a snow slope to the east of the top out. You'd need to judge for yourself on the day however if this was viable.

Don't recall any route finding issues, follow your nose and then it all narrows over an exposed arete.

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DizzyVizion 21:38 Thu
In reply to Mark Bull:

Thanks Mark. I've yet to tackle a grade 2 winter route.

Would you say it's graded 2 more because of the exposure than the technical difficulty?

And would you propose it as a first time grade 2 route - to be soloed? I'm fine with exposure.

Here's my experience-

Lead a severe pitch outdoors.

Lead climbed 6a+ indoors and lead climbed a 6 up the 30m tower at Ratho.

I've soloed the Horns of Alligin in winter and went up curved ridge twice (once on my own including crowberry tower), and descended great gully buttress.

Done the Aonach Eagach in summer twice - descended clachaig gully once.

Big whoop. I know. But would Sron na Lairig be a step too far maybe?

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Mark Bull 22:35 Thu
In reply to DizzyVizion:

I'm not going to try and make a judgement call for you: that's up to you! As with all winter routes the difficulty is conditions dependent - typically harder under a lot of powder than in lean or well consolidated conditions, but it could be not that well frozen at the moment. But it's not hard for the grade - i.e. closer to I/II (which it used to get in older guidebooks) than II/III, and, yes, more serious than technically difficult.  

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DizzyVizion 22:41 Thu
In reply to Mark Bull:

Thanks Mark - that's got me thinking now.

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DizzyVizion 23:08 Thu
In reply to Mark Bull:

> How about some (ungraded) mountaineering type outings, such as the N side of Stuc a'Chroin, the NE side of Cruach Ardrain, or the N side on An Stuc. None reliant on a decent build-up and so doable in lean conditions. 


Sorry Mark - didn't see your suggestions.

I'll take a look at them, thanks.

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DaveHK 07:03 Fri
In reply to Mark Bull:

> I'm not going to try and make a judgement call for you: that's up to you! 

This is a key point. It seems to me that there are significant numbers of people distributing large chunks of their mountain decision making process to random punters on the interweb. This worries me.

People say there's no such thing as a stupid question but there's certainly such a thing as the wrong question and 'should I' or 'will I' questions are often the wrong questions. They're really only useful things to ask if the questioner and asker know each other well, rarely the case online.

Get all the info you feel you need about a route or conditions but what others did or what they think you should do is a dangerous thing to base judgements on.

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DizzyVizion 08:26 Fri
In reply to DaveHK:

> This is a key point. It seems to me that there are significant numbers of people distributing large chunks of their mountain decision making process to random punters on the interweb. This worries me.

> People say there's no such thing as a stupid question but there's certainly such a thing as the wrong question and 'should I' or 'will I' questions are often the wrong questions. They're really only useful things to ask if the questioner and asker know each other well, rarely the case online.

> Get all the info you feel you need about a route or conditions but what others did or what they think you should do is a dangerous thing to base judgements on.


That's true Dave.

I do take my own risks based on my own assessments of conditions, the route type/grade versus my experience level etc etc. But I also include the use of info/opinions gained from others as well - seems like a sensible thing to do. And the more I can get, the better - even at the cost of exposing my inexperience. I don't mind that so much. But I do respect it could make others uneasy. I apologise for this.

You're right in pointing out the fault in how to ask questions on this subject. It's a delicate matter.

Post edited at 08:28
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DaveHK 11:17 Fri
In reply to DizzyVizion:

It wasn't necessarily directed at you, it's something I've been thinking about for a long time based on the posts I see on some of the FB conditions pages.

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DizzyVizion 11:34 Fri
In reply to DaveHK:

It's all good Dave. It needed to be said.

If I read someone else asking what I've been asking then I'd probably be thinking the exact same thing. 

Your point is correct and I am in no way offended by it.

I'm really grateful for yours and everyone else's input. 

I'll have a look at the gully with the expectation I'll be going up the left hand ridge. I'll find out on Sunday 👍😉

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colinakmc 15:19 Fri
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Coming off Bidean, if you don’t fancy the slimy ramp on the Screamgrach side, you can walk over Stob Choire nam Beath and down the path to Achtriochtran, however you’d want to look at avalanche conditions anyway after the prolonged SSW/ SSE gales we’ve been getting, before going down any northerly aspects.

Alternatively Central Gully (between Diamond & Church Door) can be fun in descent. Unless you meet someone coming up...

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DizzyVizion 17:10 Fri
In reply to colinakmc:

> Coming off Bidean, if you don’t fancy the slimy ramp on the Screamgrach side, you can walk over Stob Choire nam Beath and down the path to Achtriochtran, however you’d want to look at avalanche conditions anyway after the prolonged SSW/ SSE gales we’ve been getting, before going down any northerly aspects.

> Alternatively Central Gully (between Diamond & Church Door) can be fun in descent. Unless you meet someone coming up...

Thanks Colin. Those descents do look good. I've only ever been up dinnertime buttress before so not so familiar with that end of bidean. Makes it a bit of a longer day though coming down that way. Bit of a walk back to the car 😲🤣

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