Black Mount

Munros above the Black Mount, 16-17 March 2019

A blog post from one of our mountain adventures in the Scottish hills and mountains. Full-on winter conditions for two days hiking the Munros above the Black Mount. Richard Kermode was leading.

Munros above the Black Mount

Day 1 - Stob Coire Odhair

Our original plan was to hike up Stob a'Coire Odhair and Stob Gabhar on Saturday, however the weather forecast wasn't great. Added to this, the fairly unstable snow conditions, particularly on east facing slopes, we were needed to re-think our planned routes for safety reasons.

I met up with Debbie, Emma, Leona, Euan and David at Victoria Bridge and we set out walking following the Abhainn Shira toward the Glasgow Climbing Club hut. It was already sleeting at lower levels and as we headed towards Stob a'Choire Odhair, we were soon heading into the snow along with the cloud...

Our route turned steeply up the southern ridge and we were breaking trail all the way through some deep drifting snow as well as some melting ice in places. It wasn't long before goggles were on as the wind blown heavy snow was hitting us in the face with quite some force. We had a rest every time we found some relative shelter from the wind and snow whilst weaving our way through the buried boulder fields to reach the summit where the winds were even much more unpleasant. Obviously not a place to spend much time, so we decided to retrace our route of ascent as the weather and potential avalanche risk on the slopes of Stob Gabhar were not encouraging.

We flew back down in the snow and were impressed by the increasing depth of the drifts as well as the snow lowers down with most evidence our passing having been obliterated by fresh snow. With snow most of the way down to the track it didn't take long on the walk out to the cars happy with our achievements and off to find a hot drink!

Day 2 - Stob Gabhar

There were a few changes to our group for Sunday and after talking about our options it was decided to head up Stob Gabhar and see how the weather treated us. With Emma, Sue and David, I set off in some light drizzle from Victoria Bridge again...

After reaching the hut again, we skirted the edge of the forest plantation and made our way up the open flanks of Stob Gabhar avoiding any of the steeper snow slopes that were likely to have avalanche risk. The sun came out between snow showers, very pleasant indeed and soon we were breaking trail in deeper snow higher up. It was impressive how much more snow that had landed over yesterday and with changing wind directions different aspects would be loaded - I was keen to avoid those. As we gained height we could see much more than yesterday with only a little cloud on the tops. After some refreshments we were on the ridge expecting gusts of wind, but there were only a couple, so the going was easier than expected. We did however use crampons to negotiate the more scoured slopes as well as flounder through occasional deep drifts.

Just as we reached the final approach to the summit of Stob Gabhar, the cloud magically cleared and we could see a huge cornice on its ridge line along with snowy vistas to yesterday's Stob a'Choire Odhair. It didn't take us long to break a trail right to the top only to be engulfed in sunshine and light winds for a very leasant lunch at the top!

The views were brilliant in every direction and only when more cloud came in did we begin our descent. It was great fun walking through the snow and sunshine almost all the way down enjoying the views and a few bum-slides along the way. We did meet a few folk out including a skier so that was three more than yesterday! Soon the layers were coming off as we were on the warm southern slopes watching the snow melt before our eyes.

A lovely day and a real bonus with the views after yesterday!

More photos by Richard Kermode and Sue Jury are here on Flickr.

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