Central Gully, Creise (I)
Having spent the night parked at the Glencoe ski centre whilst the wind whistled about the van we walked towards Sron na Creise following a line of telegraph poles as they marches across the floor of the valley. Fortunately it had been a cold night and what looked to be very boggy ground was well frozen. The skye was a brilliant blue with the mountain tops dancing in and out of patches of low lying cloud.
The Buachaille dances in and out of the morning cloud
Rounding the spur of Creag Dhubh Sron na Creise comes into view the choire and a series of gully lines clearly visible. We had wanted to climb the classic Inglis Clarke Ridge but it looked very out of condition as we approached the buttresses staring back at us an unwelcoming black and ice free. The Weep would have been a good fall back option but a) we did not know about it and b) looking back at my photos the fun bits looked buried!
Sron na Creise
Central gully was easy to find and arrow straight up through the cliffs that guarded the mountain. The route was steep for grade I but the neve was good and the climbing easy. By now the cloud had entombed the mountain and by the time we reached the summit ridge a bitter wind was blowing.
Not easy to get lost
From the top of the route its about a kilometre along a broad ridge to the summit of Criese proper. The decent is tricky in poor weather the mountain drops away precipitously to the left into Mam Coire Easain offering no lines of weakness apart from where it relents ever so slightly to join the narrow ridge to Meall a Bhuiridh that forms the coire headwall.
Like whales in a stormy sea
In the clag that surrounded us we counted paces until we arrived where we thought the decent should be, we could see no sign of the ridge through the mist and although the drop to our left had relented slightly it still looked pretty close to vertical. Eventually having spotted a cairn to convince us we were in the right place we cautiously descended, the gradient soon relented and the ridge line emerged out of the mist.
Having crossed the col we pulled steeply onto our second Munro of the day Meall a Bhuiridh and as we reached the top the summit rock broke through the cloud to give a fantastic view of the great mountain around us bursting through the broiling cloud like giant whales in a stormy sea. The Glenco ski centre reaches almost to the summit of the hill so we defended by the piste as the cloud slowly cleared to reveal Rannoch Moor in the depths of winters grip.
Dom descending towards the van with Ranch Moor in the distance