Wednesday 7 June 2017

BIG Wednesday on Garbh Bheinn

Its so good to get someone to take out like Lisa. She's done the classics and now brings a connoisseur's eye to her mountain days but is keen to get off the beaten track a little. She also goes all day long with no complaints and views faff as 'the enemy'. A Mountain Instructors dream!!
Lisa has always wanted to do The Great Ridge on Garbh Bheinn and we had some time together booked for this week. Today looked to be about the best day and conveniently I returned from Namibia to find my copy of the new SMC Highland Scrambles South waiting for me.... complete with a 400m 3* Grade 3 Scramble recommended as an approach to The Great Ridge- a little synergy here methinks!
Lisa was game so we set off around 9 from the Van and other than me overshooting the start of the scramble (its closer to the car park than you think) we were soon eating up the metres of ascent on Eagles Nest Slabs immaculate gneiss. After the initial slabs we did find it a little less sustained and you were linking crag to crag but the line was pretty direct and the rock good. 2* rather than 3* maybe? Also if you plan to use a rope on this then be prepared for no belays and gear as is typical of Argour gneiss slabs!
Midday and we were at the top of the scramble looking around the coire at the main event. The Great Ridge is an undersold mountain classic... perhaps due to the fact that the walk in is longer and the fact its not on a munro or Ben Nevis.... elsewhere without the local competition of the Buachaille's accessibility and the cachet of the Ben Ridges it would be mobbed! Its graded Diff but feels steeper and more sustained than Tower Ridge and that's only once you have accessed it by the steep grass slopes of doom!
Once up there you are faced with walls, aretes and chimneys giving climbing that is 'pushing V Diff' in places but can be kept a little easier with a weavier line (shame!) on superbly grippy rock.
After our loooooooong traverse of the Coire we accessed the Ridge by the South East Chimney (grass, grass and a little more steep grass) before enjoying dry and ever sunnier mountaineering to the summit.
After a second lunch all that remained was the long and knee punishing (I'm not as young as I use to be ;-) ) descent down the ridge to the van- this is compensated for by great views to Appin, Lorn and Glencoe!
More pics and some captions at:


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