Sgor Morhike

Appetite whetted for snow adventures by the trip to Bennachie, I headed to join two other keen chionophiles out at the Cairngorm Club hut near the Linn o’Dee

First a 9km walk along the road from Braemar
Glad to see lights on, hopefully they’ll have the stove roaring

They’d had a tiring epic earlier in the day: 20km+ and 12 hours out towards Carn Bhac, I’d followed their footprints from Glen Ey and had thought “these look quite fresh, they must have finished late”. With that in mind, the next day we decided to abandon a trip of similar magnitude to Beinn Bhrac for something easier. We headed out on bikes, planning to take them as far as we could towards White Bridge, and then head up corbett Sgor Mor

Dee almost covered
A few inches of snow, but not yet icey so quite good going
White bridge white today

One of our crew crashed on route, and decided to walk from that point on. As a mountain biker I’m used to sketchy slippery terrain, and as a bikepacker also used to carrying a load, but the snow covered trails were a bit too tricky for those without that experience. The delay meant we were losing valuable daylight early on.

Chest of Dee
Looking south past Buchaille Breige
Looking further south zoomed in. maybe a bit of Beinn A Ghlo there

With us ascending northwards into a lee slope, I’d taken snow shoes. Although there was vegetation poking through here and there in general there were plenty deep pockets of snow. I’d lent one pair to another, and put on my smallfoot inflateable snowshoes.

Snowshoes donned. Beinn Bhrotain hidden in cloud beyond

We were making reasonable progress but one of our party had no snowshoes and lagged behind. In the open sweeps around, snow spindrift whistled past in tendrils and waves – one of my fav winter sights.

Sgor Mor ahead. We aim for the bealach to the right
Spindrift and blue skies
Tussocks and driftlets
Bigger drifts

One of the good things with Sogr Mor is that you can get a great view towards the bigger hills to the north. As we rose higher we were in cloud and spindrift and it didn’t look like we’d get a view beyond a few 100m, but we got a few spells where the vista momentarily cleared

View clearing: Devil’s Point in sight

We stopped at the bealach for a lunch break finding a rocky outcrop and then using my snowclaw to cut some snow blocks to make a windbreak wall on top. The chap who had crashed earlier was struggling a bit and also from yesterday’s exertions, so 2 of us headed on and we’d catch up with him later.

2 heading up to the top
Winding through sculpted rocky outcrops
Low winter sun catching crags
Panorama from left, top of Sgor Mor, Devil’s Point, Carn a Mhaim, Derry Cairngorm
Top of Sgor Mor
The circular ‘wells’ on a slab with ‘eyes’ scraped into the ice
Running out of daylight: decided against heading further to Creagan nan Gabhar, it’d have a better view of Devil’s Point but too slow today
Sunset hues beginning to form

We caught up with our 3rd, though as he decided to walk all the way back not confident on the bike with a headtorch he would arrive a lot later. Somebody also left their walking poles at the bridge and had a night bike back to get them, ouch.

A great day out with nice conditions and light, and reasonably easy for me with 23km albeit 10km on bike.

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