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Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!


Postby EmmaTowle » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:19 pm

Route description: Ben Lomond

Munros included on this walk: Ben Lomond

Date walked: 03/01/2012

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 12 km

Ascent: 990m

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matt_18 posted in the arranging trips forum to try and get people together to walk with him the first two weeks in January. The first suggestion was Ben Lomond on 2nd January. Having done this hill a few times myself, but never in Winter, I was excited about the prospect of giving a go in Winter conditions with other people, as I had never been out in snow at all before. Matt unfortunately had to pull out last minute but there was a good few of us that managed it and I will try to get everyones names!

Fipriestly, quoman and his mate Jim, MacCookie, StevieM and Gary, erin&niamh and Im pretty sure there was someone else maybes?

We met at Rowardennan at 9am. StevieM very kindly lent me his old walking axe which I still have and need to get back to you! I distributed the Brownies, all individually wrapped in tin foil (which seemed like an awesome idea at the time but trying to unwrap tinfoil in a blizzard is not easy!) and we set off at 9:15.

I struggled from the start which surprised me but I have had a mild chest infection for nearly two weeks and was struggling a lot with my breathing and I found I was running out of energy very quickly. I started to fall behind from the offset but everyone kept stopping ahead and waiting for me.

Image
View to Ben Bhreac, I think! :)

We started to encounter the snow just before the fence but it was only in patches then with a few slippy sections on the path. Quoman could see I was struggling more when we hit the deeper snow and gave me his walking poles to use and him and Jim shared Jims poles. Thanks guys! Quoman and Jim stayed with me as I stopped more and more often. Stevie M and Gary went on ahead, Fi, erin&niamh and MacCookie stayed not far ahead of us and stopped regularly for me to catch up. Jim got his second wind and raced off after StevieM and Gary.

I was already wanting to stop as my legs felt like jelly and with every step I just thought I was going to fall over. Quoman suggested I stop and eat something which was a very good idea so we went off the path a bit and I sat behind a rock, had a quick drink of coffee and my chocolate brownie (which was awesome even if I do say so myself, if not a little frozen) and then we set off again.

We were climbing up quite steep snow and I did actually did start to get a bit scared. Then the Blizzard came! Seriously this was way worse than anything I had expected. The wind was howling and it was snowing quite heavily. I was looking ahead and seeing how far we still had to go and really thought I was never going to make it to the top. My hands were getting very cold, my gloves although good are clearly not warm enough, and my hands were hurting from holding the poles. My scarf had frozen around my face and the few strands of hair that had escaped were also frozen solid. Somehow erin&niamh and Quoman managed to get me there though. One of them in front of me and one behind (yeah that sounds dodgy lol)

We passed StevieM, Gary, and Jim when we were about 15 minutes from the top and they were on the way down. StevieM assured me the winds weren't so bad on top. I didn't believe him!

Quoman, erin&niamh, Fipriestly, MacCookie and me were at the top together for a couple of minutes. It was blowing a gale. I was right not to believe Stevie lol. MacCookie suggested descent via the Ptarmigan Ridge but I really didn't fancy it so myself and Quoman went back the way we came and the other three went the Ptarmigan.

I think we must have been walking into the blizzard winds for at least an hour. It was hard going and Quoman is super quick lol. He kept waiting on me though and without him I would never have made it to the top, never mind getting back down again. We both had a few slips and trips on the way down. I landed badly on my ankle and one point, and another fall I put my hand down to stop me and twisted my wrist a bit so I had ice packs on both last night!

We got back to car park at 2:45. StevieM and Gary were already away, Jim was waiting in Quomans car and the others arrived back at 3:15.

So things I have discovered from this

1. Winter walking is way harder and scarier than I thought it would be
2. Walking when you have a chest infection is not clever
3. Balaclavas, or at least a more suitable scarf are a must! Was glad I had my goggles but my face was frozen and there are pictures somewhere to prove this.
4. Tying your hair back properly is very imporant!

Image
Remnants of the frozen hair when back in the car

5. Walkhighlands members are lovely lovely people and I am very glad to have met all of you!
6. Oh and Quoman makes awesome caramel shortcake nom nom nom :)

And as much as I pretty much hated every minute of it, I cant wait to do it again!

Now I wait for everyone else to add their bits on and pictures as I didnt even attempt to get my camera out of my bag once!

Emma :)
Last edited by EmmaTowle on Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby quoman » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:48 pm

Hi Emma

It was a blustery day right enough could'nt leave you on your on am to much of a gent :lol: :lol: got a cracking photo of your frozen face.

with your chest infection you still done really well jim said he's not going that fast again he's in agony wi his knees :lol: :lol: I HAD A GREAT DAY OUT thanks to every one who was there.

Thanks neil for helping me to get emma to the top :lol:
ben lomond (3).JPG
some of the WH group
ben lomond (5).JPG
Emma, Fipriestly,erin&niamh,MacCookie
ben lomond (9).JPG
Emma's Frozen face
ben lomond (10).JPG
Emma on way done at the 679m mark
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby pigeon » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:12 pm

It's amazing how bad the weather can get,quoman's picture at the start looks fine but you don't have to gain that much height till things start getting very hairy :( Good idea getting a wee gang together as well,looks like you all looked out for each other,here's hoping the weather changes soon.Well done on battling through :clap:
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby Alastair S » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:43 pm

Loved that Emma

EmmaTowle wrote:And as much as I pretty much hated every minute of it, I cant wait to do it again!

:lol:

Sums it up pretty well :thumbup:

I was out on a Corbett in the Cairngorms the same day in similar conditions and enjoyed my day despite lack of views. A buff is pretty useful in these sort of condition. Glad to see you had goggles - essential kit this time of year (remember to wear them above the snowline when its sunny - and yes, it does happen!). I don't always use walking poles but when its snowy I find then invaluable.

Quoman - thanks for those photos :)
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby rockhopper » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:53 pm

epic stuff - well done all :thumbup: don't worry emma - not all winter walking is as bad as this.....but some summer walking can be worse :? :lol: cheers
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby Tomsie » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:55 pm

I was same Emma on first winter walk, second walk had a balaclava, but you dont get to know these things unless your out on the hill's experiencing the different weathers.

Well done to all.
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:08 pm

Well writen account of your day Emma,winter walking can be fun,but when you get a day like you had,its just a matter of getting the head down and pushing through,and you seam to have come through with flying colours. :D .

I see you stay not far from me,just give me a shout if yo fancy a walk in the future.
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby Gavin99 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:36 pm

Good effort and a big turnout on a pretty nasty day , cakes and good company make all the difference . Alastair suggested a buff , I got one from Santa , it's great - makes a huge difference in keeping rain and snow out .
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:45 pm

Enjoyed reading that :D , being a resident in the Gaidhealtachd this is the worst consecutive period of severe gales we have had for many years !! ...so you have done just grand 8)
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby luckyguy68 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:18 pm

Well as i guessed, i wouldnt be dissapointed with the quality of the report. Im now in mix mind about whether i should have went or not :lol: :lol: . Still, looked like you guys made the most of the turn in the weather and good to seem the teamspirit when someone was struggling. Just as well you never planned it for today or you would have been blown clean of the mountain :lol: . Excellent photos capture the severity of the wind chill. Well done to you all!!
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby matt_18 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:02 pm

Great stuff Emma, I too found my first winter walk slightly scary but extremely saitisfying! How were the microspikes? Still a tad jealous as i don't think i'll be out till thursday as the wind doesn't seem like dying down by tomorrow.
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby jstalker66621 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:16 pm

Well done to all that attended, company is always good in adverse conditions, especially if you start to struggle. The frozen face pic is a cracker...get a buff or a balaclava before you go out again , their great for protecting your lips and nose from the worst of the wind chill :lol: :lol:
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby quoman » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:22 pm

Alastair S wrote:Loved that Emma

EmmaTowle wrote:And as much as I pretty much hated every minute of it, I cant wait to do it again!

:lol:

Sums it up pretty well :thumbup:

I was out on a Corbett in the Cairngorms the same day in similar conditions and enjoyed my day despite lack of views. A buff is pretty useful in these sort of condition. Glad to see you had goggles - essential kit this time of year (remember to wear them above the snowline when its sunny - and yes, it does happen!). I don't always use walking poles but when its snowy I find then invaluable.

Quoman - thanks for those photos :)


Nae bother Alastair had to get a pic of her face it was worse than that higher up the hill :lol: :lol:
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby kevsbald » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:34 pm

Well done Emma, u did great especially considering you were not well. Respiratory infections really affect stamina and endurance and it is notable (as a public health infection guy) to notice the number of people who get surprised by their loss of energy. Love the photo of the frozen face! :D
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Re: Ben Lomond 2nd January 2012. My first Winter Hill!

Postby spiderwebb » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:50 pm

Cracker ! Loved it, balaclava essential kit but try a few as mine, as much as its great doesn't cover the nose and neither do the goggles (maybe should get my diving mask out the loft :lol: ) which leaves the old nosey a bit out in the open, although not caused me major issues so far.

I think like most we don't like to wear too much clobber but the goggles, balaclava and full windproof mitts essentials as the windchill in these situations can be a killer.

Great effort and good to see the others turning out and looking out for each other, makes for a safer trip all round.
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