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T-shirts and hoodies on sale now!

  posted by Sam Harrison on 2013-03-22

Congratulations to Sarah, who last Monday was voted the winner of our annual t-shirt design competition. Her winning entry, Dryness is Futile (inspired by a rather damp Big Weekend Out in Snowdonia last year), is shown below.

Sarah's winning t-shirt design
You can place your t-shirt or hoody order now at foyer, and choose whatever colour material and writing you want. The prices are a very reasonable £8 for a t-shirt and £15 for a hoody - what a bargain! They will be on sale until the end of week 1 of next term.


Steall Hut trip report

  posted by Jim Heath, Laura Waterson and Sam Harrison on 2013-03-19

Here is a collection of stories from the very successful Steall Hut trip that took place the week before last. Firstly, from Jim:

Saturday. A fantastic day of ridge walking and scrambling with Calum, Sarah, Richard and Laura.

Attached to a steep icy ridge by a few somewhat rusty crampon points, braced against the gale force wind, and looking out over a vast snowy wilderness behind, with a pair of golden eagles circling apparently effortlessly just above, the 6 hours in the minibus on Friday night suddenly seemed well worth it. Apart from the eagles, a few ptarmigan, and Sam's group descending from Sgurr Eilde Mor in the distance, we saw no one else all day. Having only just walked in to the hut (or in my case, the bivy bag) at one in the morning, we decided it would have been a bit daft to walk back out again to try a climb which may or may not have been in condition. Instead, it made more sense to head further up Glen Nevis, away from the tourists, to the relatively more remote eastern Mamores. The corries around the back of Binnein Mor (the highest point in the Mamores) always seem to have a particularly wild and remote feel, partly because looking east it's about 30 miles before you reach any road, and partly because the area reminds me more of the far North West than it does the rest of Lochaber. It is also the setting for an excellent scramble up the NE Ridge - particularly fun when it's plastered in snow and ice, as it was today. The remote setting, and the fact that it brings you out right onto a tiny summit with extensive views (and equally extensive drops) all around, are what make the NE Ridge so enjoyable. But the whole of the rest of the route is also full of interest, from the impressive deep gorge and plunge pools on the walk in, to the narrow ridges providing easy walkways between the summits, to the final short but airy scramble over An Garbhanach. The whole thing makes an excellent and slightly longer alternative to the more popular "Ring of Steall".

(Route: About 3km up the glen from Steall, you can cross the river above a section of deep gorges, to head for the col between Binnein Mor and Binnein Beag. Up the NE Ridge. Then onwards to Na Gruagaichean, Stob Coire a' Chairn, and An Garbhanach before descending directly back to Steall.)

And now from Laura... After a brilliant day in the mountains we were all expecting a evening of merriment. This was kickstarted by Sam keeping to his traditional attire of "Short Shorts" by sporting a fluffy orange pair, nobody knew where to look! The evening continued in such a fashion with some of Jim's classic homebrew; elderflower, meadowsweet and parsnip. Conversation gradually deteriorated into dibble as the whisky and cheese made its appearance.

And finally myself: I think we were all a bit shocked when we looked outside on Sunday morning to see a completely clear sky. Likewise when we turned our attention to Steall Falls to find it mostly frozen! That cemented in place the previous night's suggestion to do a walk over Mullach nan Coirean and Stob Ban, on the western end of the Mamores. Jim, Richard, Calum, Laura and myself were the only ones that fancied the option, and so we set off at 9am back to the minibus, dumped our heavier gear and drove further down the glen.

The ascent of Mullach nan Coirean's northern ridge was arduous, not just because of the day before but also because the sun made it quite hot work. We were pleased to find a well-made paved path (described by Laura as "cute" in reference to it looking a bit like a garden path!) weaving its way up through the forest at the base of the ridge - this certainly made things easier going.

Ben Nevis from Mullach nan Coirean
As I thought might be the case, as soon as we reached the summit plateau, we were faced with a bitterly cold wind. We didn't hang around too long - just long enough to take a few photos and grab a bite to eat. The weather closed in slightly as we traversed the ridge to Stob Ban, but fortunately the views still remained when we reached the summit.

One of the main reasons for doing this walk, for myself at least, was Stob Ban's northern ridge. Jim, Calum and myself had been over it almost exactly a year ago, in the pouring rain and with zero visibility. Even then, we got a good sense of exposure and I made a mental note to myself that I must do it again in good weather. The ridge starts with a narrow exposed section with a little bit of scrambling, before descending steeply over a number of tricky rock steps. Last time, we found it awkward and time consuming as the rain had made the ridge very slippy, but this time everything was frozen and with crampons on it felt much easier. One of the aforementioned rock steps had a bit of ab tat (a piece of rope tied around a rock left behind by someone to abseil off) and so I thought I'd test out the club's new scrambling rope that I dragged around the walk with me.
Stob Ban's northern ridge
It started snowing quite heavily on the way down, leaving a good thick layer on the already-frozen ground, which was quite lethal. Added to that the fact that we were a bit behind schedule and so making a fast descent, this resulted in numerous falling overs, including a quite comical one where Calum seemed to end up facing completely the wrong direction.

The drive home was quite eventful as well, and at times we were in a complete white-out on the motorway - something I've never experienced before (and don't wish to experience again!).

Planning Meeting results

  posted by Sam Harrison on 2013-03-19

Thanks to everyone that came along to our Planning Meeting last evening to make it one of the busiest in recent years! We've got some cracking trips and socials lined up for next term, and you can check them all out on our calendar. Here's a quick summary of the main events:

  • Four weekend trips, including two bank holiday trips to Galloway and Moidart, a normal weekend trip to the not-that-often-visited-by-the-club Killin, and a two-day trip to Wasdale.
  • A Saturday trip to Arnside.
  • They're not up on the website yet, but be sure to look out for lots of sunny BBQs when the weather improves!
We also voted on for this year's t-shirt design, and Sarah's "Dryness is Futile" entry won by a very narrow margin! T-shirts and hoodies are on sale now at foyer, and more details will be posted here shortly.

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