I am the passenger

The plan was set last minute to ensure a suprise location so as the weather could not ruin play !

Dalmally was the location, an early meet at PTC HQ (8am is early right ?) saw me being spoiled and getting into the passenger seat of the new PTC chariot.

Patches of blue skies appeared and dissapeared on the way up the road giving a taste of weather to come.

One other car was in the car park as we arrived for our backwards assault on the horse shoe of Stob Diamh.

PTC (as usual) was fretting over what gear, mainly footwear and ended up going for Keen Growlers (nice mid shoe I think any way ).

The wind was a cold one and I was keen to get on the move as I chucked the Haglofs Endurance on my back.

We trekked up the old mine road which provided a good warm up and then across the bridge and up a faint path heading up the side of  Sron an Isean.

The return ridge and the alleged gentle slope !

We stopped for a quick munch break and PTC delved into his stash of curried flavour jerky.

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Go an' have a bit !

On reaching the snow line the patches were hard and crisp, we had that when do you put crampons on debate, once right into the snow we relented and stuck them on despite me wearing Ice Bugs, but I did want to try the Kahtoolas out.

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We were in the cloud which made the light eerie and flat, the narrow ridge that joined us to Stob Diamh had corniced and we stopped to pick the best route.

The wind had picked up as we came up the ridge so I stuck my Montane Superfly on to break the chill.

Decided I started off and stepped on a crusty bit of wind slab which gave way with a crack !

My knees flexed and my heart almost escaped from my mouth (and something almost escaped going the other direction ).

My foot had gone through the slab but it was the noise that had un nerved me !

All was fine but you just don’t need that when you step onto a corniced ridge !

The going got steeper I used poles PTC used his axe as we passed a couple of others going the other way in the steep boulder field.

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At one point just before the summit we were standing having a breather, the cloud was thick but in a brief instant cleared exposing the valley floor as I pointed PTC (who was standing closer to the edge than me ) glanced as well, we were exposed enough that both of us took a step away from the edge.

We stood on the summit having a chat with a few other fellow walkers as the wind chilled all that was exposed.

Tempting as it was to wait and see if the top would clear (we always live in hope !) you wouldn’t last long in that.

We dropped down into the whiteness Kahtoolas biting into the consolidated snow.

As we got lower the cloud lifted from the summit, greeting the party we had just passed with summit views !

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We dropped down further testing the Kahtoolas on some pretty steep thigh burning slopes without failure or protruding front points to trip over or stab you in the other leg.

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Ptc even tested his ice axe out purely for research purposes of course.

We stopped for food and a drink, probably out of the sheer want to stay in the amazing location and not out of hunger !

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We removed crampons and set off down the frozen turf to the flat ground below and then onto the mine track, pausing to check out the old mines.

A steady jaunt back to the car a change of footwear and 13 miles to the Real food cafe later we were seated drinking pints of coffee and fine Scottish fare.

We waddled out belly’s full for the potholed drive back to the big smoke.

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7 thoughts on “I am the passenger

  1. Great photies and story Bobinson. Had me grinning from ear to ear. Thanks for sharing.

  2. God damn I need that in my life! Winter Camping has been cruelly beaten up by Home Improvements, who has won the ongoing fight for free time. Bugger.

  3. I was supposed to be decorating too !
    Hey you got to get your priorities right.

  4. I’m awfy glad we got our stories straight…

    Good lad, it’s so nice to see the trip from the point of view of the man beside, or more usually, ahead of me. Magic photies.

    A joy once again.

  5. Pingback: PTC* » Sunday Driver

  6. How did you find using the Kahtoola’s? My pair have been great all winter even with some careful use on some pretty gnarly stuff.

    They got some very mixed reviews in the media which I thought was a little harsh as they don’t begin to pretend to be a mountaineering crampon…

  7. They do what it says in the tin !
    I think if people have not worn crampons before and are wanting to get into winter hills they are what I would suggest:-

    1.No front points to stab yourself or trip over
    2.You dont need fully stiffened specialist boots

    The only time for me to put proper crampons on in the hills now is if i will be front pointing up something !

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