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The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark

The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark


Postby wilkiemurray » Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:43 am

Route description: Ben Lomond

Munros included on this walk: Ben Lomond

Date walked: 19/01/2016

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Night ascent-Ptarmigan Ridge Ben Lomond

Film -


The Ptarmigan Ridge, Ben Lomond

The most southerly Munro and possibly the mountain most ascended by the people of Glasgow, a fine outing and one that’s been done many times…. The weather hasn’t been something to shout about so far this year so when a short settled spell was forecast we decided to take another “tick” off the list. The hills were white after a few days of heavy snow and the forecast until the next day was for light winds on the tops.
We met after work in Glasgow and were soon arriving in the Rowardennan carpark just as those that had been able to ascend during the day were packing up and heading home… Quickly gearing up, we were off quickly ascending the path toward Tom Fithich. Our planning had been that we should still have enough light to reach the first ridge before getting the torches out and this was indeed the case. With no wind we were sweating and until we stopped at the Bealach Buide we were walking with long sleeved base layers and Gilets only- not something that happens often in a Scottish January whilst ploughing through the snow!
However the down side was that the snow pack wasn’t frozen and snow shoes may have helped on the ascent up! As we rose onto the Ptarmigan ridge we rose above the first layer of cloud, Loch Lomond had disappeared under the blanket…
Walking along the shoulder the gloom deepened and the light faded. It was rather eerie, seemed strange for me to be headed up in these conditions without the tent and a wild camp planned!
Soon we reached the foot of the final pull up to Ben Lomond’s 974m summit. Torches on and we geared up for the final pull. As we moved the white snow in front of us sparkled and shone and as the second layer of cloud was reached the snow crystals floated in the air sparkling around us. Care and technique was required as we continued to break trail on these steep slopes to the summit. In the day you can see the wonderful views and appreciate the situation of the Ptarmigan ridge, however in the darkness it’s the stark line between white and black that reminds you of where you are. Passing the light left to right, this black void keeps you on the right line, and soon we reach the rimmed up trig point – half way…… As light breeze blows some summit mist around and every now and then the moon appears - lighting up the slopes around us, the light of Glasgow are just visible between he cloud layers of the inversion and when not completely visible an amber hue is lighting up the cloud tops from below…. It’s a wonderful place to be, familiar but completely alien at the same time ….
Bearings taken and we started the second part of the adventure descending on the never ending path over Sron Aonaich and finally back through the forest to the car. A fine outing in the summer and a fine mountaineering effort in the winter …. Over the next few days the gales and mild air returned melting the snow and filling the Loch! We were glad to have been able to experience this mountaineering adventure…. Next ones in the planning 

A few piccies :

Imageon to Ptarmigan by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

Imagesteaming boots on summit of Ben Lomond by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

ImageDescending the summit slopes of Ben Lomond at Night by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
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wilkiemurray
 
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Re: The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark

Postby jacob » Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:12 pm

Excellent shots.
Going for photo of the month again? :wink:
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Re: The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:15 pm

Looks like a real adventure, and probably the best way to climb a popular hill!

The last 2 pics are really excellent - give me itchy feet, way down in the wet south!!
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Re: The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark

Postby pjm1 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:53 am

Some truly exceptional photos on your Flickr pages - and that middle one above is very cool! The effort in taking camera gear up the hill and stopping to use it can be worthwhile!!
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Re: The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark

Postby Acpark74 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:40 am

More amazing videos and photos from steaming boots. Keep them coming. Well done Murray.
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Re: The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:27 am

jacob wrote:Excellent shots.
Going for photo of the month again? :wink:


Thanks Jacob

Unfortunately the two good photos are slightly out of focus :( didn't spend enough time playing with camera - too busy getting navigation sorted :) Thanks for reading the report

ATB

Murray
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Re: The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:28 am

Alteknacker wrote:Looks like a real adventure, and probably the best way to climb a popular hill!

The last 2 pics are really excellent - give me itchy feet, way down in the wet south!!


Thanks - we certainly had the hill to ourselves and it gave a real mountaineering challenge in these condition's - great to have done it :)

ATB

Murray
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Re: The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:29 am

pjm1 wrote:Some truly exceptional photos on your Flickr pages - and that middle one above is very cool! The effort in taking camera gear up the hill and stopping to use it can be worthwhile!!


Thanks Pjm1- I sometimes wonder when my shoulders, neck and back are aching whether its worth lugging the equipment up with me - but sometimes the results come out ok :)

ATB

M
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Re: The Ptarmigan Ridge - an evenings adventure in the dark

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:30 am

Acpark74 wrote:More amazing videos and photos from steaming boots. Keep them coming. Well done Murray.


Thanks and thanks for watching the videos - much appreciated

atb

Murray
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