Wednesday, 18 March 2015


The classic view of Ben Alder
Alpine weather and conditions on the spectacular Short Leachars ridge
Still winter climbing in the remote Garbh Corrie
Looking over to the Long Leachars ridge from the Short Leachars ridge
Alpine weather and Alpine ridge
Lancet Edge on Sgor Iutharn
Looking back down the ridge from the plateau exit
Big and fragile cornices all the way along te plateau
More ridge views
How Alpine is this?
and more ridge views
Ben Alder is one of those wonderfully remote mountains miles and miles form any public road. It's one of the few Munro summits I haven't been on in proper winter conditions. The first time I was here was 20 years ago when I spent 3 nights at Culra bothy with a mate who was Munro obsessed and would 'bag' everything in sight, in any weather. I can't remember anything about Ben Alder on that occasion as the cloud was almost touching the bothy. The second time I wandered up here was a summer time day up from Rannoch side, again I was thwarted with cloud. With a good weather forecast for Wednesday I headed in with the tent the afternoon before and camped up near Loch Pattack, no Aurora that night as there was a layer of cloud. Setting off at 7am and the thin layer of early morning cloud soon disappeared and Ben Alder was revealed in its full glory. Magnificent views with a full cover of snow to 700m. There are two fine ridges running down from the plateau, The Long and Short Leachas. Both easy scrambles in the summer and about Grade 1 in winter. The Short Leachas looked the finest today and I was soon enjoying wonderful Alpine weather and conditions with just a base layer on all day. The snow was softening up in the sun but still well frozen in some places so it was a mixture of cramponing in snow and on rock. There is a wonderful stroll across the summit plateau and I headed back down via Loch a' Bhealaich Beithe. It was like being in an oven down in the corrie and the loch is still covered in hard snow! Great views into the Garbh Corrie, some of the remotest winter climbing in Scotland here. Back down out of the snowline and on the excellent stalkers path and you could be fooled it was a summers day never mind a Spring day! Ben Alder in winter was worth the long wait.

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