Winter adventures in the Grey Corries, Munro bagging in Scotland.

The realisation that I may be a closet Munro bagger is dawning on me! No sooner was I back from the Fannichs I was planning the next outing eager to bag as many summits as possible in the last day of ok weather for a while. While pouring over the maps my Dad offered a lift down to the Ben Nevis car park and a pick up at the end of the day. Quickly altering my plans I decided to start up Carn Mor Dearg and then head from here over the Grey Corries finishing on Stob Bhan. This would mean 6 more ticks on my list and a journey through some very wild and remote terrain. I couldn’t wait!!

A 5am start delivered me to the start of the hike at 7.00am, I was quick out of the starting gates and on top of Carn Mor Dearg at 9.00am feeling elated watching the twinkling lights of Fort William below. Taking a moment to put crampons on I could see the North face of the Ben was plastered in snow and unusually devoid of climbers! Although the cloud was swirling above I got some views of the awaiting summits of Aonach Beag and the first of the Grey Corries in the distance. From here a narrow ridge was taken down to the col between Carn Mor Dearg and Aonach Mor. The ridge had a large amount of snow accumulation and these soft meringues made progress along the crest a toil and avalanche a worry. I calmed my fears by doing a few tentative avalanche tests then waded on down to the col. The climb back up to Aonach Beag was particularly gruelling as there was a hard crust to the snow which had to be broken through before I could make each step, strength sapping at such an early stage!

The mist was really closing in as I approached the summit and white out conditions became a problem on the flat featureless top of Aonach Beag. Steering clear of the ever present cornice on the North East face I gingerly made my way down to the next small top before plunging down again to the next low col. Now I could get my teeth into the Grey Corries!

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