At the end of the winter skills season of 2016 I organised a 3-day trip to Glencoe for those people who had been on the 1-day courses in the Lake District and where keen to take their skills into bigger, wilder mountains.

On day two we decided, based on our knowledge of the avalanche dangers on slopes facing north through to east, that tackling hills from the west would be the best option. The twin Munros of Buachaille Etive Beag were an obvious choice.

From Glencoe a easy path has been made up onto the col on the ridge between the two Munros, and we made good time (thanks to Robert’s steady pace at the front!), hitting the snowline at around 600m, and stopping in the sunshine for a brew and a break once on the col.

Time for a brew and a bite to eat on the col
Time for a brew and a bite to eat on the col
The magnificence of Bidean nam Bian from Buachaille Etive Beag
The magnificence of Bidean nam Bian from Buachaille Etive Beag
A glimpse through the clouds to Stob Coire an Lochan
A glimpse through the clouds to Stob Coire an Lochan

Before leaving the col I led the group into a safe bowl, facing eastwards, to test for avalanche dangers. Here we found the snow to be somewhat better consolidated than yesterday, giving a ‘moderate’ hazard. We also had a play around with some basic ropework. Then it was onto the business of bagging a couple of Munros. First off, Stob Dubh, at the southern end of the ridge, and the higher of the two peaks.

Shin-deep snow on the climb out of the col between the two Munros
Shin-deep snow on the climb out of the col between the two Munros
Ant and Ade enjoying the thrill of the unknown on that ridge to Stob Dubh
Ant and Ade enjoying the thrill of the unknown on that ridge to Stob Dubh
The traverse between the two Munros of Buachaille Etive Beag is superb in winter
The traverse between the two Munros of Buachaille Etive Beag is superb in winter
Climbing the last snowy slopes to the summit of Stob Dubh
Climbing the last snowy slopes to the summit of Stob Dubh
The whole group on the summit of Stob Dubh (l-r, Me, Ant, Robert, Sarah, Mike, and Ade seated)
The whole group on the summit of Stob Dubh (l-r, Me, Ant, Robert, Sarah, Mike, and Ade seated)

The ridge leading up to Stob Dubh is superb in winter (I’ve never done it in summer conditions, so can’t say how nice it is then). There’s often a little mini cornice, and we found that in place on our ascent it was necessary to walk just below it, plunging your axe into the cornice itself as you go.

Then, once Stob Dubh’s views had been taken in, it was back along the ridge and down to the col ready for the short ascent directly up to the 2nd Munro of the day, Stob Coire Raineach.

Robert is already a Munroist, but was keen to come out to Glencoe for a play in the snow. Here he enjoys a quiet moment for reflection.
Robert is already a Munroist, but was keen to come out to Glencoe for a play in the snow. Here he enjoys a quiet moment for reflection.
Sarah, Mike and Ant enjoying the sunshine on the summit of Stob Coire Raineach
Sarah, Mike and Ant enjoying the sunshine on the summit of Stob Coire Raineach

 

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