You know me, the grin is permanent. In the face of adverse conditions I just add more stuff onto my head. Such was the piercing cold and the ferocious wind encountered during our final couple of hundred meters on Ben Vorlich that we all ended up wearing everything we were carrying. Present but not necessarily seen there on my head are a Buff, a Haglöfs Triton’s hood, an Outdoor Research Prism cap, the Haglöfs Oz hood and a Haglofs Barrier Hood’s er, hood.
Toasty I was. The Stormtrooper gloves were on as well. I was wearing Powerstretch tights too. Frightening I know, but absolutely marvellous as you have warmth , comfort and don’t have to look at yourself.
The route was up from Inveruglas. We traversed into Coire nan Each to look for one of the wide steepish gullies that takes you onto the south ridge, they were all full of snow so we headed to the nicest looking one, but came a cross a cave first. The three of us climbed inside and had an early lunch in the dark, out of the wind. Then we left by two other routes we found out and up and continued to the gully.
Where is this wonder cave? Looking and finding is half the fun, it’s the reward for not following the path, waymarks on your GPS or a red line in a guidebook. Get your map out and use your imagination, that’s the way to true happiness.
The gully was fine, long and steep with a nice taper at the top. The snow was quite consolidated and the steel Kahtoola crampons got a chance to shine. Another less obvious benefit is the fact that you can wear them on the grass or dirt patches that interrupt the snow cover nae bother. You keep a natural walking action all the time. Marvellous. Any doubts left were cast out and thrown to the dogs where they sniffed at them suspiciously and looked disappointed. Unless I’m climbing it’s bendy boots (most likely Icebug Speeds) and Kahtoolas. I like when a decision is made on the evidence presented and stamped
Under Review Case Closed.
The CAMP ice axes are great, I’m sticking with the Corsa. The 50cm Nanotech is too short for me and the Corsa is taking the knocks with great humour.
I wore the Haglöfs Oz Pullover all day. It’s a waterproof mountain jacket, the weight (in use, not in your pack!) seems irrelevant as it does the job. The slim cut means it doesn’t catch the wind, the hood does it’s best, only the soft visor suffers in the blow-you-over winds we had today. It wasn’t cold to wear and all tissue thin, it didn’t tear when we bumslid down slopes or fell through the snow into a lochan and got all slushy and upset. I like it a lot.
As ever the star of the day was the hill. Todays route might be my favourite of the half dozen or so variations I’ve tried. It’s a craggy bastard Ben Vorlich, there was enough snow to let us wear crampons most of the time, the weather was mental, the banter was good, the joy quota was high.
And, I didn’t have to drive. Bless us every one.