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Ice Station Lomond - a Spectral Summit Camp

Ice Station Lomond - a Spectral Summit Camp


Postby Jaxter » Tue May 14, 2019 8:57 am

Route description: Ben Lomond

Munros included on this walk: Ben Lomond

Date walked: 03/05/2019

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 13.93 km

Ascent: 1173m

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A sneaky Friday evening off where the weather looked decent…what to do? I was far too exhausted to be driving anywhere so after finishing work I chucked some stuff in the car and drove up to Rowardenan. There were several unforecasted showers en route but I pretended they didn’t happen and carried on.

Parking up at Rowardenan I paid my £3 and shouldered my pack – yikes it was heavy! I’d got far too used to Malcy carrying the tent and :roll: It was after 4pm so I decided an easy ascent was in order and headed for the tourist path – probably the sensible route as I didn’t want the injury to give me any problems… :roll:

Ptarmigan ahead
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Once out of the trees the views opened out nicely – it was also absolutely roasting so I had to lose some layers!
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Distinguishingly undistinguished – Beinn Uird
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I met lots of people heading down, one asked me if I wasn’t a bit late to be heading up? I reassured him that I was camping out, and that I did this sort of thing all the time – he didn’t seem hugely reassured :lol:

The Cobbler was impressive against the sky even as it became worryingly overcast
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It’s so warm….and so far away :shock:
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The views back down Loch Lomond were stunning, even though the photos don’t show the bitingly cold wind :shock:
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Loch Ard with Ben Venue to the left
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A wisp of weather – this one didn’t trouble me, although shortly after there was a short sharp snow shower :lol:
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I was trying so hard to go slowly and carefully to avoid aggravating the injury but my legs just wanted to get there even with the heavy pack – it felt like ages but before long I was on the final ridge and looking down into the impressive Coire a’ Bhathaich which still held a wee bit of snow from the night before :shock:
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A short distance later I was on the summit – it was absolutely Baltic, the sun had disappeared and the wind was brutal :shock:

I could bail and camp lower but I wasn’t planning on giving in. Obviously the side of the mountain was determined by the wind direction so I attempted a pitch on the flattest spot; it turns out that it’s pretty tricky to pitch a tent in a hurricane so I found a more sheltered but less flat spot – the result will amuse you :lol:
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But it was so worth it – I added all my layers (turns out I’d forgotten both my extra trousers and my thick gloves :roll: ) and alternated enjoying the views with running around in circles flapping my arms in an attempt to warm myself up….

Upper Loch Lomond – Beinn Ime all the way to the Lui hills
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Loch Katrine with Ben More and Stob Binnein to the far left
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An Caisteal, Ben a’ Chroin and Ben More & Stob Binnein
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Beautiful Loch Lomond
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Evening light hitting the Luss Grahams at all the right bits 8)
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Flapping my arms to keep warm :lol:
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The sun peeking through the clouds above the Arrochar Alps
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Panorama time 8)
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I decided it was time to get some dinner on, so retreated to the tent to warm myself up. After my super appetising meal of couscous (I’d forgotten the chorizo) and a more enjoyable hot chocolate (malteaser flavour nom nom) I returned to the summit to enjoy the evening light on the hills to the north.
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Ben Lui and pals
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Wisps of cloud coming in from the east – I hoped this wasn’t going to spoil my sunset!
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I discovered the most sheltered spot on the summit – the wind was doing its funny thing where the bits that seem like they should be the most exposed actually are the calmest. But I wasn’t complaining :lol:
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I love how Beinn Odhar and Ben Dorain look like two big misty triangles
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I had now decided it was cold enough to employ a sleeping bag cloak – so I was curled up in the my sleeping bag on the summit when a man appeared having come up the Ptarmigan; he looked as surprised to see me as I was to see him :lol:
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Ben Cruachan visible in the distance
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A few wee wisps of cloud threatened to spoil the sunset….
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….and then….whoa that’s a broken spectre :shock:
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Gie us a wave….
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It’s not obvious from the photo but there was half a fog bow just above the tent – seriously cool 8)
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The reflections on the clouds were awesome 8)
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My new friend left me – he didn’t have a tent with him – and the sky turned a magnificent shade of pink
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The sunset itself was a bit disappointing after the incredible lightshow beforehand, but I didn’t really feel cheated after what I’d just witnessed :lol:
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I’d convinced myself this looked like a dragon, but in the comfortable warmth of my own flat I can’t really work out why, other than perhaps I had hypothermia and was hallucinating :lol:
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Arran
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The lightshow over, I snuggled down in my bag and enjoyed sitting out with my book for a while – the wind had largely dropped and it was amazing to feel so remote
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Around 10 I realised that my sleeping bag was starting to get a layer of frost on it! Wandering to the tent I realised that it did too :shock: Time for sleep then….I managed to get warm and as comfortable as it’s possible to be whilst rolling down a hill and sliding off a mat :lol: Mercifully the wind didn’t pick up until around 4, so I managed to get more sleep than I had expected.

When the alarm went off at 5 I was slightly puzzled to have a layer of snow all over my rucksack, only to eventually work out that there was frost on the inside of the tent and the wind had shaken it all over my stuff :lol:

The outside of the tent had fared no better :shock:
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But it was worth it – the early morning pre-sunrise glow heralded a glorious sunrise 8) Unfortunately my fingers were shaking too much to get any decent photos of it… :roll:
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Almost there…..
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And here comes the sun!
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Jaxter modelling the sleeping bag cloak and double-hood look :lol:
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Looks like me and the tent weren’t the only things to have frozen :lol:
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The sun having made its appearance was now casting a lovely red alpen-glow on Coire a’ Bhathaich
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Red glow on the grass and my poor tent getting a bit of a battering :lol:
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Properly up now
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Red glow on the Arrochar Alps
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Looking up Loch Lomond towards Lui
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And down….
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The lovely Arrochar Alps
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Ben Vorlich – my summit camp there had a similarly freezing morning :lol:
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I was freezing and it was somewhere in the region of 6am so I went back to bed :lol: I actually slept because I woke up at about 7.30 when the wind direction changed again and started trying to knock my tent off the mountain – I took this as a sign and got the stove on for breakfast. Shortly after I heard voices – I had company and they seemed a bit surprised to see me :lol:

It had snowed on the Orchy hills
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There was a bit more warmth in the air now the sun was properly up, so I decided to have a wander around with the camera 8)
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Loch Katrine
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Loch Ard and Coire a’ Bhathaich
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The tent was now beginning to thaw (on the outside at any rate…)
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Arrochar Alps & Ben Vorlich
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Loch Lomond 8)
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People were starting to show up by now – so it was time to tidy the tent up and escape down the Ptarmigan ridge. As I dropped the Cobbler was now visibly against the skyline – seriously impressive 8)
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The wind was still properly savage and there were lots of little bits of ice making for an interesting descent :shock:
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As I dropped to the bealach I was finally more sheltered from the wind and my fingers started to regain some feeling. I also started to meet lots of people – looking back to the ridge some of them are visible on the skyline if you look closely
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My descent route ahead
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I noticed that the new path doesn’t actually go over the Ptarmigan itself so I had to wander off-piste and discovered the old path. It was worth it for the views though – what a load of old Cobblers… :lol:
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Although the temperature was now relatively pleasant in the sun (especially without the wind) the shaded bits still had plenty of icicles!
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Sun 8)
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Window to the world
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Dropping lower and lower my knees were feeling the strain of a steep descent with a heavy pack – but at least I was doing better than most of the folk on their way up :shock:
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As I reached the woods I started seeing swathes of bluebells which were way more impressive than the photo suggests 8)
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The first time I came here I lost an apple into this waterfall :lol:
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Finally at the end of the path I was onto the WHW which led me to a nice beach
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I enjoyed the beach for a while before deciding I was knackered and heading back to the car, really pleased to down my pack, but less pleased that folk had parked so badly on all the verges that it took me a 20 point turn to get out :roll: :lol:


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Jaxter
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1203
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Location: Glasgow

Re: Ice Station Lomond - a Spectral Summit Camp

Postby rockhopper » Wed May 15, 2019 11:48 pm

Good idea and good result. Having been up here four times I've always thought I'd never go up a fifth time but this sort of thing makes me wonder.....Thanks :)
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Re: Ice Station Lomond - a Spectral Summit Camp

Postby Chris Mac » Thu May 16, 2019 12:32 am

Top stuff Jaxter, that's the kind of thing I expect from you, being that person that others will talk about for years after when they thought they were first to the summit of Ben Lomond that day, only to find out they had been beaten by a crazy summit camper! :clap:

Well worth it for the surprise Broken spectre, nice one! Hope the injury is healing up ok? Is this you taking it easy still?? :lol:

The Ben still owes me a view, so like Rockhopper i'll be back... :D
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Re: Ice Station Lomond - a Spectral Summit Camp

Postby malky_c » Thu May 16, 2019 9:11 am

Nice 8) . Wish I'd been here (or do I? Looks a bit chilly :shock: ).

Nice to see you're learning to carry your own stuff again - maybe you can carry mine as well next time? :roll: :lol:
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Re: Ice Station Lomond - a Spectral Summit Camp

Postby Alteknacker » Fri May 17, 2019 11:19 am

Looks like a great if chilly experience, with some superb pics to remember it by (including the frost covered tent!!).

"...I managed to get warm and as comfortable as it’s possible to be whilst rolling down a hill and sliding off a mat..." - yep, a lot of us have been there. I'm amazed the tents survive the pressure of the feet on the flysheet/groundsheet seam!!!
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Re: Ice Station Lomond - a Spectral Summit Camp

Postby Jaxter » Tue May 21, 2019 11:45 am

rockhopper wrote:Good idea and good result. Having been up here four times I've always thought I'd never go up a fifth time but this sort of thing makes me wonder.....Thanks :)

Cheers - yes one of my most-climbed hills as it's so close, but rewards every time 8)


Chris Mac wrote:Top stuff Jaxter, that's the kind of thing I expect from you, being that person that others will talk about for years after when they thought they were first to the summit of Ben Lomond that day, only to find out they had been beaten by a crazy summit camper! :clap:

Well worth it for the surprise Broken spectre, nice one! Hope the injury is healing up ok? Is this you taking it easy still?? :lol:

The Ben still owes me a view, so like Rockhopper i'll be back... :D

Yeah, sorry, I've been a bit boring recently! (And also very behind on reports) :roll: :lol:
The injury is very slowly getting there but it's so frustrating!


malky_c wrote:Nice 8) . Wish I'd been here (or do I? Looks a bit chilly :shock: ).

Nice to see you're learning to carry your own stuff again - maybe you can carry mine as well next time? :roll: :lol:

Never!! Tent and water minion :lol: :lol:


Alteknacker wrote:Looks like a great if chilly experience, with some superb pics to remember it by (including the frost covered tent!!).

"...I managed to get warm and as comfortable as it’s possible to be whilst rolling down a hill and sliding off a mat..." - yep, a lot of us have been there. I'm amazed the tents survive the pressure of the feet on the flysheet/groundsheet seam!!!

They always seem to stand up to the elements! Ive had nights where I've been hanging onto the poles thinking it's about to take off, and the tent has just stood there :lol: :lol:
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Posts: 1203
Munros:199   Corbetts:120
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Wainwrights:53   Islands:24
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

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