Mike Simpson

Cold Bothy and Crampons Day 2

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The first job of the day was to boil up some snow for breakfast. The view back down the valley from the bothy was a wonderful sight to wake up it, but it was howling a gale outside so we knew the climb would be tough. The aim for the morning was to summit Ben Macdui (Britain’s 2nd highest peak). The next few hours were spent walking up into strong winds. First past a very frozen Loch Etchachan then onto the Macdui ridge. We donned crampons as the wind speed suddenly increased dramatically and we were now being blown over.

   

Once at the top we dug a small hole and sheltered from the winds. Descending the other side we were soon out of the bad weather and had great fun in the afternoon descending on our backsides and practicing stopping with an ice axe. The views were so good, time well spent. Then it was onto the ridge to Carn a Mhaim. Very pretty and we spotted the Corrour bothy in the valley below, although it would be a few hours before we reached it.

Later as we approach the bothy, Damon spots 2 hikers also walking towards the bothy. Now space and a decent spot in a bothy is always on a first through the door basis. Not just that but such a small dwelling only sleeps about 6, so it may already be crowded. It initially looked as if they were closer and would beat us to it so we upped our pace and soon realised they were going much slower than us and we comfortably beat them to it. And a good job too, as once inside we grabbed the 2 bed bunk shelf. Moments later 2 ski tourers arrived at the front door, also beating the 2 walkers in. The reason the walkers were so slow was revealed through out the evening - they were big guys and weren't travelling light making their journey to the bothy difficult as they kept sinking in the snow. They kept producing elaborate items from their packs, including rum, steak and travel scrabble and conveniently for us fuel to make a fire, which all made for a fun, comical night.



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