Stob Coire an t-Sneachda after completing the Runnell

On Golden Oldie on Anoch Mor

SC gully on Stob Coire nan Lochan

Descending Broad Gully on Stob Coire nan Lochan

On Sron na Larig on Stob Coire Sgreamhach

I had two successful trips to Scotland In 2024.

The first was early in February with Charles Clay. Neither of us could make the PMC meet end of January/ early February. We went to Glencoe in Charles camper van. On our first day we took the Nevis Range gondola. Then went up to the top of Easy Gully on Anoch Mor. The plan was to descend this gully then come back on one of the harder routes. Initially we looked at abseiling down but the decided to climb down which we did successfully. The visiblty was very poor and we could not identify a suitable route to do so we came back up Easy Gully and returned to the gondola to descend.

As the weather was not looking good in the west we decided to go across to the Cairngorms. On the next day we drove up to the ski car park with the intention of doing Fiacaill ridge. Even on the lower part of the ridge it was very windy so we headed into Coire an t-Sneachda and climbed the Runnell. This is a grade II gully and it was icy and quite thin where it narrows. We climbed it solo and then went onto Cairngorm summit before descending to the car park.

The next day was forecast to be very windy, so had a bit of a rest day and just walked round Loch Morlich. The day after we went into Coire an Lochan. We climbed Y gully right branch. This again was a grade II gully with very icy conditions and a difficult cornice exit. Again we manged to climb it without ropes. This was last day on this trip and we headed back home.

My next trip was the Alpine Club meet at the beginning of March stopping in the Alex MacIntyre hut.On this meet I teamed up with Oli Birkill. On our first day we took the Nevis Range Gondola. We then went west in to the Allt Daim valley. We then went along the valley and climbed Golden Oldie. This is a classic grade II winter ridge route. I had done a few years ago when conditions were very marginal and crampons were not needed. On this occoasion it was full on winter conditions. Crampons and two ice tools were required but we did solo.

The next day we walked in Stob Coire nan Lochan. We then decided to do SC gully which is a classic grade III. We pitched this and Oli led the first two pitches and I led the top pitch. The first pitch was quite thin. We topped out and descend Broad Gully.

The next day we did Sron na Larig on Stob Coire Sgreamhach. This is another classic grade II winter ridge. we started on the main road through Glencoe and walk into Lairig Eilde the go W to get onto the ridge. The first part was quite tricky because it was soft fresh snow on a slab. We did use a rope for this bit, but then continued solo for the rest of the route, including one bit where it gets quite narrow. We completed the route and descend back into Lairig Eilde and returned.

For both trips we were very lucky with the weather, which is unusual for Scotland in winter.

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