Actually, it made for a nice atmospheric winter's walk, with some clearing and light winds, so one can't complain. Only problem was the drifting and volume of snow meant the going was tough. Really quite tough. The fact we only saw two other groups of folks, one lot on touring skis and a chap in his snowshoes kind of gives the game away.
AC and his son Taz were keen to get some winter experience, and the relatively gentle slopes lent themselves to this, allowing some crampon use on ice, snow and some rock. It wasn't really textbook crampon territory today, but the added traction and security was welcome, and it was only on the re-ascent of Beinn Ghlas that they were packed away.
We had to take the extra height penalty as to have contoured around the coire to the NW would have been hard at best, possibly tortuous, and also quite avalanche prone. There had been an awful lot of cross-loading, and the slopes were groaning under the weight.
The guys set about the extra work with stoicism, but it was a dure old slog. Finally, we dispatched the summit for the second time, and commenced the descent, made both more comfortable on the knees by dint of the snow, but also therefore still tiring. It didn't help seeing the ski-tourers come whizzing down as we were making our way through the nature trail. Jealous, us!?
So did we make the deadline? Just. Phew! We agreed that to have just done the one summit wouldn't have felt far enough, but the two was possibly a wee teensy wee bit far....but the sense of satisfaction may just have made it worth it.
Thanks to AC and Taz for being good sports on a challenging old day, where the additional effort required to walk even a modest distance was considerable, and a fair shock to the system. As I told them, if they can keep up that pace in those conditions, a frosty, hard-packed crampon bash would be a skoosh!
Cheers, and well done to both.