Steve Pardoe's Ben More Page

Winter ascent of Ben More (Crianlarich) 1,174 m 25. March 2000
Update 9. July 2000 with new photo

I was in Scotland for a weekend's winter walking with two friends, Steve Carr and Neil Sheldrake. We drove up from Cheshire on Friday, and stayed at the Lodge House guest house just outside Crianlarich.

We also climbed Ben Arthur (The Cobbler)

It was a windy day, and throwing all kinds of precipitation at us. The normal route from Benmore Farm looked like a boring slog, so we decided to traverse the mountain, ascending the Northeast ridge, which was excellent (after ages spent getting through endless gloomy wet forest) and kept us on the lee side for most of the ascent. The ridge was heavily snow-covered for the top 200 metres or so, and once exposed to the wind it was very cold, I'd guess -10°C by the top. We were glad we took crampons and axes: there was gorgeous, crisp nevé in places, and I tried to thread an easy line along it, but the snow was deep and soft elsewhere.

The trig. pillar and summit rocks were covered in that nice feathery horizontal icicle stuff (has it got a name?). We met a chap there in training for Denali, who had stormed past us on the ridge carrying a huge pack. In view of the time and the worsening weather, we decided against continuing to Stob Binnein with him, so retraced our ascent route for a while to be sure of avoiding the hanging corrie, and then headed straight down the North side. It was a bit tasty in places, with deep, soft and then very wet snow over long grass down to about the 500 metre mark. I left my 'sac with the others, and got a lift back to our car from the third vehicle to pass me. Result!

Neil and Steve C setting an alarming pace up the forest road ...

... and eventually pausing at the treeline

Coffee break and GPS check ;-)

Neil getting to the proper snow, the best part of the walk

Steve P taking an unnecessarily exotic line across the snow, Neil sensibly sticking to the summer route

This is what we came for!

Steve C, Steve P and Neil sheltering between the summit rocks

Neil and Steve C, ditto

Pretty white stuff on the trig. pillar

Yes, we really made it ...

Steve P and Neil at the top (photo by Steve Carr)

Get a move on, it's cold here!

Storm coming, time to get down. All thoughts of Stob Binnein abandoned, this is the north slope of Ben More

The other page from this trip: Ben Arthur (The Cobbler)

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