Ben Lomond

Sunday 8th February
Ptarmigan Ridge

To hillgoers, Ben Lomond hardly needs an introduction.

Easy access from Glasgow, in fact from most of Central Scotland, together with a 'tourist' path from Rowardennan, makes it possibly the most popular of all the Munros.

It's been reported that around 30,000 per year walk to the top. We were glad to have found a quiet day.

On our last visit the access path was through maturing conifer woodland.
All recently felled it seems.
Soon on the open hill, Andy posed for the obligatory 'hunky he-man' photo. Aye right.
The weather was pleasantly sunny.
We had Narindar with us on her first mountain day out.
Your first time is always a memorable experience...
Our group was David, Andy, Dee, Roni, Narindar and photographer Bill.
Higher up the Sròn Aonaich ridge we had cracking views over the southern end of Loch Lomond.
The cloud cover was increasing, it seems our weather was slowly deteriorating.
The well used path almost disappears under winter conditions.
Hills in the background show changing conditions.
David had a lot of comments thrown at him;
'can you get Radio 2'....'look at the size of your pole'....'good lightening conductor'
The girls seemed to be enjoying themselves despite the fact they had started ascending the steeper section to the rocky summit ridge.
Ben Lomond can be a challenge under snow and ice, particularly in poor weather conditions.
We were mindful of Narindar's inexperience.
It was blustery on the summit and cloud robbed us of any views, but it was good to be out.

Narindar looked stunned!
Little did she know what we had in mind.....
The descent down Ptarmigan ridge was exposed.
Just a wee bit.
An ascending party deemed it steep enough to rope up.

With lots of encouraging phrases,
'nah, you won't fall far',
'if you do slip try and miss the rocks',
' don't worry I'll stop you sliding, by jumping on you' (!),
 ....we made our way 'safely' down the steep snow.
It was good fun, and we all enjoyed it.

Bill & Andy were discussing if the Ptarmigan Wall was worth a detour.
It's a short spectacular ice wall that doesn't come into condition very often.
They decided to have a look....

......and they were in luck!
Dee & Roni were jealous of the guys having so much fun, so they too had a go!
Sensibly, Dee decided on a top rope.
It proved to be great day out.
 Narindar had a baptism of fire. 
 What a cracking adventure for her!
On the descent Andy gave us his version of
'Tubular IceBells '
Do you think he suits being behind bars?

The ice climb on Ptarmigan Ridge is a little known spot that most walkers/climbers pass by without a second glance: it's always worth a wee look as it's a great place to spend time honing your skills on pretty reliable solid ice.

The girls thought it brilliant fun.

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