Recently I had the opportunity to climb two new munros with a friend from work. Stob a Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar were the munros of choice and as the forecast was looking good, apart from the wind (but more on that later), we decided to get a nice early start on Saturday morning.
A short approach from the carpark at Victoria Bridge, near Bridge of Orchy, leads you to the base of the first munro, Stob a Choire Odhair. A path north, just after a green hut on the main landrover track is the direct way onto the mountain. This good path becomes a relentless plod, especially as the last kilometre and a half is very steep. You are rewarded however, with some terrific views over Rannoch Moor to the north east and Glen Etive to the west. As the wind started to pick up, we huddled down behind the rocks on the summit for some food and a cup of hot squash.
As we descended the west ridge towards Coirein Lochain the wind eased; this was mainly due to a mountain being in the way, and we had an opportunity to really take in our surroundings. We were walking through a corridor, with white hills in all directions, as well as spectacular views of inhospitable land making us feel very small indeed.
As we ascended the north bulge of the Aonach Eagach (not the famous Glencoe ridge) it was hard work due to the very soft snow lying on top of wet turf and scree: uphill swimming I think they call it.
As we hit the top of the Aonach Eagach, that wind, wow! It was ferocious as it pounded us from all angles meaning we took our time crossing the west ridge connecting us to munro number two, Stob Ghabhar. The strong winds meant only a few minutes were bearable on the summit, plus the time for a summit selfie, obviously.
As we descended the broad west ridge of Stob Ghabhar, the wind continued to accelerate, driving our feet through the snow as we leaned into each strengthening gust. Blocks of snow were lifted high into the air just as the spindrift would spiral around us, temporarily causing a white out.
As we dropped down the SW side of the mountain, we were happy to be sheltered from the wind. From there, a bit of bum sliding took us down the slope which would lead us south to the main track, along the river and back to the car, finishing off a very memorable day.
This was a physically demanding day due to the strong winds and snow conditions, but it was also a great one. A big thanks to Elliot for his company and suggesting the route, I hope we can get out again in the future.
Time: 8 hours
Munro summits: Stob Ghabhar (1090m), Stob a Choire Odhair (945m)
This is a really nice day out: two munros with a funky ridge to navigate as well. Be prepared to feel every meter of accent though.
Also, in winter conditions you must be well prepared in terms of planning and equipment. My ski goggles were my favourite piece of kit: with the strong winds and spindrift they really were essential. Make sure you have a pair.