Friday, September 06, 2013

Glencoe: Meall Dearg (212)

Walk date: 20/4/13
My Munro #'s: 242

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

Myowl d-yerrack - red hill - 953m
Duration - 08:30 - 12:30
Distance -  8.5km
Total ascent -  920m
Weather - windy and cold at times, but also with moments of calm.  Only a light drizzle at one point. 
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: 2 on top, one seen on ridge

The no-nonsense ridge-free approach!

Having previously taken on the Aonach Eagach ridge and failed in my young gutsy days (write-up here), I had no intention of facing it again without a full support team carrying me in a rope cage the whole way over, and so, with Meall Dearg still unvisited, I started to look for alternatives routes.

Thankfully, it proved quite simple to find one coming up from the Kinlochleven road.  A longer but very much straightforward approach.  Indeed, one of the trickiest bits is finding the 'car park', but from there a clear path sets off on a friendly incline up alongside the river.  

As the first part of the glen comes to a head and the Aonach Eagach looms impressively ahead, the incline sharpens over rough grass and heather, but there are plenty of options and the bealach between Meall Dearg and Garbh Bheinn is soon reached.

From the bealach the slopes up to Meall Dearg are actually very steep and reminded us of our approach up Sgor na h-Ulaidh the day before.  Although not quite as bad as that, it did have quite a lot of snow patches though which Sgor na h-Ulaidh did not have.  A lot of these could be avoided both up and down but some others had to be crossed with lots of patience and tiring kicking.

Eventually the slopes eased off and we were striding across the snow dome of the summit.  The views were very rewarding as Glencoe opened up below and the Aonach Eagach ridge was face on with us.  Also satisfying was that the top represented my last Glencoe peak, and one that had loomed in my mind for a long time as I was convinced it would mean repeating the ridge of doom!

On the summit we were met my an amiable couple and chatted for a while, but we had to laugh to ourselves as this, clearly more experienced and technically-minded, pair said how they though the conditions would be more wintry and they expected more of a challenge.  What a pity!  They are welcome to it, each to their own!

The return was fine, just a need to be careful on the snow, and, ironically, on the almost flat lower grass slopes metres from the car, where I took my hardest fall of the whole week, nevermind!

Anyway, here's hoping next year brings up better weather!

The east side of the ridge with the infamous down-scramble:

The Aonach Eagach, as seen from upper slopes of Meall Dearg:

Victorious on top!

Looking over the ridge...

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