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Epic swim in deep snow on Ptarmigan Ridge

Epic swim in deep snow on Ptarmigan Ridge


Postby johnbythell » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:38 pm

Date walked: 20/01/2018

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 845m

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I'm starting to think that some of my best days out are the ones where I don't make the summit. At the least they're the ones where you don't have to make the call to mountain rescue. Today I tried to get up Ben Lomond via the Ptarmigan Ridge, but with an early start I was trailblazing up what developed into waist-deep and sometimes chest-deep snow. After 6 hours of that I had to call it a day and turn around, even though the summit ridge was probably wind-swept, beautiful snow-ice. Met a few parties on the way up who were suitably grateful for the service.


Ben lomond 200118.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



01.jpg
A 7 am start from the Rowardennan car park meant an atmospheric dawn over Loch Lomond.


02.jpg
Sparse snow in the valley but quickly got quite deep on the path.


03.jpg
Eventually it just got too deep to continue up the route of the path.


05.jpg
..and I ended up climbing up onto the ridge early to follow the grass and heather on the more wind-swept slopes with shallower snow. Unfortunately it wasn't frozen under the snow, so still hard going.


04.jpg
Between the hillocks was deep snow and the line of least resistance eventually ended up in a long, long pull up waist-deep snow on the lee side.


07.jpg
Beautiful views from the top of the ridge, but by now I was starting to cramp up and decided to call it a day.


06.jpg
Especially looking along the ridge at some unpromising deep-looking shallows between the peaks.


08.jpg
The one that got away..


07.jpg
View towards Inveruglas, with Ben Vorlich centre.


09.jpg
View towards Tarbet with Ben Arthur, Beinn Ime and Ben Vane in the centre


10.jpg
Waist deep snow can be fun for a short stretch - it sometimes got chest-deep and I did try swimming it (nope doesn't work).


11.jpg
Low cloud almost threatening an inversion on the way down.


12.jpg
Final stunning views of the Loch and towards Ben Ime and the Cobbler.
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johnbythell
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Re: Epic swim in deep snow on Ptarmigan Ridge

Postby Mal Grey » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:23 am

Well, it looked wonderful!

Waist deep snow is somehow both ridiculously hard work and ridiculously funny. It does help if you've got a companion to take turns with/laugh at.

Sounds like a fabulous adventure, who cares how far you got?
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Mal Grey
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Re: Epic swim in deep snow on Ptarmigan Ridge

Postby Jaxter » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:19 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Well, it looked wonderful!

Waist deep snow is somehow both ridiculously hard work and ridiculously funny. It does help if you've got a companion to take turns with/laugh at.

Sounds like a fabulous adventure, who cares how far you got?

I laughed at this, because there really is nothing funnier than watching your friend fall over in a snowdrift and then falling over yourself :lol:

You got some smashing photies anyway, summits are for baggers :wink:
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Re: Epic swim in deep snow on Ptarmigan Ridge

Postby johnbythell » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:25 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Well, it looked wonderful!

Waist deep snow is somehow both ridiculously hard work and ridiculously funny. It does help if you've got a companion to take turns with/laugh at.

Sounds like a fabulous adventure, who cares how far you got?


Hi Mal/Jaxter. Yep, totally agree, although I'm quite glad no one else was there to see a couple of the more spectacular face-planters I made. It's not the going in that's hilarious, it's the bit where you try to get out but everything just keeps going in deeper...

And I'm totally with you on the adventure - thing was that once I decided to turn round, there was no more pressure to push on, so I spent quite a bit more time than I normally would, just sitting with a leisurely lunch and admiring the surroundings (not quite sure how to describe it, but 'the view' doesn't do any justice to the experience). Maybe we should all stop planning on summiting!
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Re: Epic swim in deep snow on Ptarmigan Ridge

Postby Mal Grey » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:32 pm

Jaxter wrote:I laughed at this, because there really is nothing funnier than watching your friend fall over in a snowdrift and then falling over yourself :lol:


Of course, its also best to kick snow all over them whilst they're wallowing, after all, you know they'll return the favour when its your turn.

Image


johnbythell wrote:And I'm totally with you on the adventure - thing was that once I decided to turn round, there was no more pressure to push on, so I spent quite a bit more time than I normally would, just sitting with a leisurely lunch and admiring the surroundings (not quite sure how to describe it, but 'the view' doesn't do any justice to the experience). Maybe we should all stop planning on summiting!


Indeed, some of the best days became even better when we said "far enough" and the pressure was off, so we could turn round and just sit and stare.
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Mal Grey
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Posts: 2875
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Re: Epic swim in deep snow on Ptarmigan Ridge

Postby johnbythell » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:40 am

Mal Grey wrote:
Jaxter wrote:I laughed at this, because there really is nothing funnier than watching your friend fall over in a snowdrift and then falling over yourself :lol:


Of course, its also best to kick snow all over them whilst they're wallowing, after all, you know they'll return the favour when its your turn.

Image


johnbythell wrote:And I'm totally with you on the adventure - thing was that once I decided to turn round, there was no more pressure to push on, so I spent quite a bit more time than I normally would, just sitting with a leisurely lunch and admiring the surroundings (not quite sure how to describe it, but 'the view' doesn't do any justice to the experience). Maybe we should all stop planning on summiting!


:D :lol: Hmm, maybe another good reason to go solo in winter...

Indeed, some of the best days became even better when we said "far enough" and the pressure was off, so we could turn round and just sit and stare.
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Re: Epic swim in deep snow on Ptarmigan Ridge

Postby tomsnowball » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:00 am

great report! me & the girlfriend had knee deep snow in the Kilpatricks on Saturday- most snow I've seen lying in a long time! good effort!
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Re: Epic swim in deep snow on Ptarmigan Ridge

Postby johnbythell » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:22 pm

tomsnowball wrote:great report! me & the girlfriend had knee deep snow in the Kilpatricks on Saturday- most snow I've seen lying in a long time! good effort!


Thanks Tom!
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