The forecast looked promising for snow all week and it was set to be sunny on a Friday in the Cairngorms. Perfect opportunity to go splitboarding for
those of us on 3 day weekends!
We set the alarms early and drove north from the Scottish Borders. As we hit the forth road bridge a full on blizzard hit us, this boded well and the excitement grew. The visibility was a few metres at times and the hills were white and then suddenly it was gone. It was green and clear.
It wasn’t until we neared Dalwhinnie that the white hills appeared. It was going to be a good day that was clear.
We drove up to Feshiebridge off the A9 then along the winding road to Achlean. We parked up and set off on foot. It was hard work with; splitboards, ice axe, crampons, 2.5kg of camera kit and other kit weighing us down!
After clearing the forest on foot we were soon on the skis and heading uphill pretty smoothly.
We were headed to Carn Ban Mor at 1052m first up. From here we traversed along the ridge towards Loch Einich/Eanaich and the summit of Sgoran Dubh Mor.
By now the clouds were clearing and the light was amazing.
Our plan was to ride a gully down to the loch from Sgor Gaoith. Therefore we wanted to check how the exit climb looked first, when you drop in here you’re quite committed in a steep sided bowl with only a long walk out from the other end of the Loch as an escape.
Marion disappeared to have a look over the edge, the light on the hills was breathtaking. After looking at the route out it was certainly steep but between the cliffs it would be OK, maybe some crampons needed for the icy looking sections.
We then traversed the ridge and the views of the loch and white hills were amazing:
Before we finally got to Sgoran Dubh Mor. Here is Marion looking out from the summit peak. It is a collection of snow blasted rocks making it pretty dramatic:
The lake was jet black contrasting against the white snow, it must be deep I figured to be so dark blue. Looking down the steep face one line was passable inbetween the rocks but we figured there was not quite enough snow to make the climb back out worth it. Next time we thought we might camp by the lake and then have the option of riding Braeriach further east as well. It would make a good weekend if conditions continue into spring. This picture shows the gnarly looking descent that will have to be done another day:
We ended up riding a few west facing slopes and lapping them back up to the ridge.
Then the final run back down was on a slope we spotted in the morning, it would catch the light of the setting sun in the west perfectly for some pictures at the end of the day.
We rode down after a hike along the rocky, windblown ridge.
As hoped the snow was good and the light fantastic, I got a series of stunning shots of Marion descending:
Before we finally accepted the light was completely going and hiked out to the car.
A long day but well worth it, only one rock scrape on my board too was a bonus. It’s a cool area that’s not as popular as other spots but some good options for touring. It just needs a bit more snow and I think we’ll try another variation on this route.