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Next Meet

"Wild Camping"

1st - 3rd March 2013

Next Social

AGM. Portland D136.
map

Thursday 14th March
8.00 pm

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Ice Climb

Manchester Indoor Ice Wall
Friday 1st December at 8:30am

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Climb

We put in for funding for a New Year Ramsoc meet in our 1990-91 grant application. This was not forthcoming, but off we set anyway for our first Scottish winter meet.

An advance party of four met at Crianlarich YH, and set off for Ben More, disappearing up into the clouds, and a final few hundred feet of steep, mushy snow slope and a chance to try out our axes and crampons for the first time in proper winter conditions. Then off over to the col behind the mountain, still in thick cloud and rather disorientated. This felt, and was, very different to doing Helvellyn or Snowdon yet again.

However, dangerously encouraged by our success in making it back to the hostel that evening, we recklessly chose Ben Lui as our next target, walking in from Tyndrum, and up to the lip of its big northern corrie. This marked the snow-line, and we looked up towards the steep back wall of the corrie, searching for a line that would take us up to the ridge above. There seemed to be a steep but doable snowslope up towards a dip in the ridge, but we were soon enveloped in mist. Crampons went on, and we nervously edged our way up, thankfully not meeting a cornice. The sharp ridge on up to the summit was deeply snowed in, and we bottled this obvious route, instead crossing into the corrie behind, hoping to traverse up towards the rear, easier ridge. As soon as we left the ridge, it whited out completely and big snowflakes started to fall through the dull, windless silence. Eventually the snow started to steepen sharply, and we assumed the ridge was just above. I waded and scrambled my way upwards through deep snowdrift and over the lip onto what must be the ridge but with nothing whatsoever to see in the whiteout mist.

Martin Spiers followed and came to a halt a little below the top. „Are you coming up or going down?“ I asked after a while. „I’m not going anywhere!“ he declared emphatically if somewhat optimistically, because shortly afterwards he suddenly, with no apparent external cause, slithered and tumbled off out of sight. I sploshed down through the snow slope, and with Dick and Melinda quickly located Martin a short distance away lying spreadeagled in the snow on a luckilly not at all steep, soft snow slope, and we persuaded him it was safe to release his body-grip on the snow and stand up again. This was definately the end of our rather foolhardy summit attempt, no doubt pushed slightly beyond its sensible limits by me (Simon). On the way back across the corrie we couldn’t find our footprints which had been snowed in, and luckily met the little col again (with retrospect I realise we would have been in a pretty serious mess if we hadn't). Then the steep descent, with Dick reduced to one crampon as his flexi strapons started to flop off. He was highly disamused and thought this whole thing was mad. We all made it back safely, and walked all the way along the road to the hostel. I remember taking ages just to take my soaking heavy boots off as I was so utterly exhausted, plonked on the bench in the hostel porch.

The next day nobody was up for a big one, we walked (very slowly) from the hostel into the moorland to the North, wandering through an arctic wilderness of little hillocks and a big frozen loch with islands, probably Loch Maragan.

(back to Past Meets) more coming soon

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Page last modified on June 15, 2008, at 08:26 PM