Liathach

Liathach - the real reason for our trip to Torridon. A day earlier our hopes had been dashed by a changing forecast - the promised weather window had failed to materialise and instead, the hills were alternately showered in rain, sleet and snow.
Yet despite the healthy scepticism of our changeable forecast, this day dawned clear and cold - perfect for the ridge, or so it seemed.
There is no gentle start to Liathach - A long pull up the steep flanks of the mountain leads eventually into the upper corrie beneath Stuc a Choire Chuibh Bhig. Climbing above the snow line, we traversed a while, cutting up to the small buttresses that guard the ridge a little short of the usual ascent route.
Gearing up on a small platform, we entered a narrow gully and then climbed on open slopes with several steeper steps, to reach the ridge, the fresh, unconsolidated snow making for a few nervous moves as footholds collapsed in quick succession. Conditions were proving less ideal than they looked from the valley floor.
Breaking trail on the ridge...
...and a view north-west towards Alligin and Beinn Dearg.
Resting awhile amidst the steep splendour of Liathach's snow loaded flanks...
...before moving on - occasionally the boulders that make up the crest of the ridge allowed quick progress but more often, the fresh snow simply collapsed. Sinking knee deep and often to my thighs, progress was slow.
Mullach an Rathain from Spidean a Choire Leith - the Cuillin, northern Skye and Raasay beyond - and decision time. With less than two hours of light remaining, the conditions and distance still to cover made it an obvious, if disappointing choice though I was relieved not to have to tackle the pinnacles in such deep soft snow. It would have been cold, slow work with a descent in the dark guaranteed.
Returning on the airy ridge above Coireag Dubh Mor...
...and on towards Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig and the long, knee jarring descent.
The bulk of Beinn Eighe beyond Coire Dubh Mor...
...and the last of the afternoon's light on Liathach as Tim traverses the final section of the ridge.
A wild sunset to end a dramatic day on the finest of Torridon's ridges.

Comments

Ian said…
Great stuff Will, and the right decision by the look of it....

Kind regards
Will Herman said…
Hi Ian - yes, I didn't really fancy the pinnacles in such unconsolidated snow - or finishing the rest in the dark, but a fantastic day to be on the ridge. Good use of the single good day this Christmas!
Cheers
Will
Taran Tyla said…
Awesome & lovely images Will ;D
Will Herman said…
Thanks Taran - happy new year etc...
Cheers
Will