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.

Our final day in Glencoe, and we’d saved the biggest hill until last. The mighty, and quite frankly spectacular Bidean nam Bian.

Our route took us up into Coire nan Lochan, where we found deep but safe snow. We explored our own ways onto the east ridge of Stob Coire nan Lochan, where we regrouped ready for the steeper stuff above.

My group exploring Coire nan Lochan
My group exploring Coire nan Lochan
Mike showing that sometimes holding your ice axe in the downhill hand is ok!
Mike showing that sometimes holding your ice axe in the downhill hand is ok!

The east ridge itself is pretty straight forward, but a couple of short steps gave something to think about and an excuse to get the rope out. Then it was straight up to the summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan. At 1115m this summit must surely rank as one of the best in Scotland NOT to be a Munro. And the views from here over to the Aonach Eagach to the north and south to our continuation onto Bidean nam Bian are just amazing.

Our route from Stob Coire nan Lochan to the summit of Bidean nam Bian lies up that delicate snow ridge to the left of the black buttress
Our route from Stob Coire nan Lochan to the summit of Bidean nam Bian lies up that delicate snow ridge to the left of the black buttress
The view to yesterday's mountains, and more still to do...
The view to yesterday’s mountains, and more still to do…

We heading down into the col between Stob Coire nan Lochan and Bidean nam Bian, perhaps a little trepidacious at just how steep the lovely arete of snow looked that we would have to climb. From end on it looks almost vertical, but once you’re on it you realise that it’s not that steep. The climb up was amazing, and soon had us on the summit of Bidean nam Bian.

Yes, the north ridge of Bidean nam Bian is quite steep isn't it!
Yes, the north ridge of Bidean nam Bian is quite steep isn’t it!
My group, happy as ever, on the summit of Bidean nam Bian (l-r, Mike, Sarah, Robert, Ade and Ant).
My group, happy as ever, on the summit of Bidean nam Bian (l-r, Mike, Sarah, Robert, Ade and Ant).

Once we’d enjoyed our views and sandwiches our route back involved retracing our steps over to Stob Coire nan Lochan.

Retracing steps from Bidean nam Bian's summit towards Stob Coire nan Lochan
Retracing steps from Bidean nam Bian’s summit towards Stob Coire nan Lochan
Heading off down from Bidean nam Bian via its north ridge
Heading off down from Bidean nam Bian via its north ridge
My group, happily going it alone in the mountains, descending from Bidean nam Bian
My group, happily going it alone in the mountains, descending from Bidean nam Bian

The north-west ridge of Stob Coire nan Lochan is superb. It’s easy, but gives great views down the steep gullies into the coire below. At the end of the ridge an easy snow slope led us back into Coire nan Lochan from where a quick glissade saw us back below the snowline and onto the track down to Glencoe.

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