Cloud magnet

13th March 2018

(Above) Ski tour up to the lochan of Coire Choile Rais today.  Somehow I haven’t managed to escape the clouds and mist in the past two days. Looking South West. Skinning away from the sunlit hills to the south of Creag Meagaidh up into Coire Choile Rais.


(Above) Looking NE into the top end of Coire Choile Rais. A few moments later and the camera turned 180 degrees.  I’m obviously doing this wrong! Yesterday I skinned up Sron a Ghoire to about 850m in the mist and cloud to find the cloud inversion layer just above the altitude of my destination. Cloud magnet, or what?


(Above) It did brighten (briefly) whilst en route. The steep East face of Meall Coire Choile Rais (1028m summit) with some historic rollerballs. Moist snow below 800m with a thin surface crust in places. Great snow cover! Skin/ski wherever above 600m in this wide glen. Skis on from 480m – more about that later.


(Above) The beautiful, perfectly formed cirque amphitheatre in which lies Lochan Coire Choile Rais at 810m. Quite a lot of ice in place around the rocky walls of the coire.


(Above) An archive shot of Mick Tighe enjoying one of the short sections of ice in the coire some time ago. In his own words, “Coire Choile Rais was one of our favourite haunts back in the day. Never saw a soul in there in twenty years.”


(Above) Cornices in place around the rim of the coire. Expected to soften as temperatures rise on Wednesday.


(Above) That elusive sunshine again!  More detailed shot looking across to Aonach Beag left and Beinn Eibhinn right when returning to Loch Laggan-side this afternoon.


(Above) Beinn a Chlachair. Biking in with your skis from Moy on the A86 would give quick access to these hills to the south of Creag Meagaidh. There’s some well made vehicle tracks up to 360m.


(Above) Biking options are limited on the Creag Meagaidh side however. Most people would be carrying skis on foot in plastic ski boots up to 480m. Went for the comfy walking boot option today and schlepped my skis, plastic boots and poles to the snow line. Stashed the leather boots in the poly bag near the snow and picked them up on the return.


(Above) There’s the snow line. Have to say I felt like a tinker carrying all this kit. But it was definitely easier on the feet than the proverbial Chinese foot-binding torture of walking any distance in plastic ski-mountaineering boots, especially across heather and tussock grass.




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