West Drumochter

Year

2017

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Late December 2013, a dawn to dusk adventure in some hills west of the A9 at Drumochter.

Drumochter Pass

Just before dawn. A quick pose for photos just over the railway, not far from the A9 layby at Drumochter.

Coire Dhomain

We skirt the Sow of Atholl on the way to the climb up the eastern ridge of Sgairneach Mhor

On Sgairneach Mhor

The long east ridge of 'Scary More' climbs steadily to its summit. The A9 runs between the mid picture An Torc, or 'the Boar of Badenoch' (which we'll ski later) and Creagain Doire Dhonaich beyond and right.

Powder on Scary More

An unnamed north facing gully descends from the summit, above and alongside Sgairneach Mhor's northern coire edge.

Approaching upper Coire Dhomain

Sunlight paints the upper flanks of Beinn Udlamain.

After lunch

Alongside Allt Coire Dhomhain

Leaving no tracks

Between powder fields, the snow alternated between wind packed ice coated hardpack to woomfy, slabby and unstable windslab.

On A Mharconaich

We tried a few turns off A Mharconaich's steep eastern face but carefully retreated when we found the snow pack there was dangerously unstable.

Looking across A Mharconaich

The hill has two summits on its broad shoulders. Mist rolls down Beinn Udlamain beyond.

Last light on the Boar of Badenoch

I'm pleased to have skied and survived this one unscathed. The Boar (or An Torc) is very distinctive alongside the A9 with its flanks running steeply and directly down to the road. Here, we're contemplating an entry and the best descent off the small cornice. Frankly, the snow below was horrid, steep at 35-40 degrees but with a crust that broke on every attempted turn.