Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Arctic Blast

The very cold wind came from the East, so initially I was thinking that to be topical we could blame Russia, but that accusation could land me in all sorts of trouble so I think it's safer to just say it was cold and windy and not specify the source!

Nice starting track
We headed again to the far North of Sutherland for Ben Klibreck, in fact this was the second attempt of this hill. The first saw a retreat due to poor weather (blizzards), lack of appropriate equipment (no ice axe!) and a lack of motivation on my part (which is unusual!)!

Ben Loyal further North

So here we were again! Having found a better route from the internet (the suggestion in the old munro book is shorter but heinous) we parked up and set off in the cold sunshine. MWIS had suggested that the windchill today would be -17, and I would agree with them on this. It was the second coldest day I have been on the hill this winter.


On top - cold
The walk was pleasant, making good progress, initially up a quad bike track from the South. When we quickly got to the snow line the snow conditions underfoot were quite unusual. It was like a layer of hard neve with a lot of ice also built into it in an amazing lattice type pattern. 

I guess it was easier than soft snow but the hard ground and toil of crampons for hours was a little wearing (on the ankles)! 

descending the icy slopes

Serious Rime!
Once on the ridge, or higher ground it was quite a traverse to the summit cone, and passing the lowest col was memorable with the even higher wind funnelling through it. The top section of Klibeck is reasonably steep and Abi was a little unhappy cramponing up this in case of a slip (which is understandable). 

Looking back to the summit..doesn't look too far
Great views from the top as long as you sat down, or severely braced yourself against the wind! Nice view of Ben Loyal, and Ben Hope to the North/NNW.

Ok, wheres the car!?
Coming down wasn't too bad, but by the time we hit the car I was goosed! Its only a 9 mile walk but I felt like I'd run a marathon. Great to keep exploring the Highlands, I am quite drawn to this desolate Northern section more and more...

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