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Sunday, 7 April 2013

The grand traverse of Ben Lawers

'The traverse of Ben Lawers is undoubtedly one of the three or four best ski-mountaineering expeditions in Scotland, giving a day of extraordinary variety and interest, both as regards skiing and scenery' Bennet D and Wallace B. Ski Mountaineering in Scotland. 1987.

Simon and I initially wanted to ski the four 4000ers but then the Met office forecast for the Northern Cairngorms predicted mist and clouds and so we looked for a new tour until we read the above sentence. Here the start after a short walk...
 ... and here the slopes of Beinn Ghlas lower...
 ... and higher up.
 We decided to ascent via the Corrie on the Southern side of Beinn Ghlas...
 ... to finally see Ben Lawers.
 Here is Simon on the connecting ridge on the final ascent.
 Great views from the tops and some company.
 Finally the long run down...
 ... on sometimes icy, sometimes creamy snow, softened by the sun.
We knew that An Stuc had a steep descent and mistook a top for An Stuc but then found a way with a steepish descent into the corrie towards Meall Garbh.
 Here is Simon on the final ascent to Ben Garbh...
 ... and here he is on the top. 
 Skin's off and a long run to the col...
 ... before the final ascent to Meall Greigh. 
 Here the last metres with the ridge behind. 
 On the descent heather stopped us relatively early...
 ... but we were 'milking' the thinner and thinner snow lines until walking was inevitable. With every step winter went and spring came with buds on the trees and the first daffodils. 
PS. As an encore the descent from Carn an Tuirc the day after:

PPS. The clip stick in one of the photos was not used for clipping bolts but as a second ski pole as I had forgotten mine in glen Tanar!

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