The Cobbler North Peak - 870m
Sunday 20th January 2013
Weather/Conditions: Fantastic winter conditions. Cloudy all day and a bit rough on top. But the cliffs were utterly plastered in rime ice and snow. Really quite an atmospheric and impressive day.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 9.3km / 950m / 4h 10m
As we set off a guy and a girl came up to ask if they'd have enough to get up and down before dark. I was somewhat optimistic in my answer: "if you go at our pace, yes!" We knew our pace, and knew we'd only be down as darkness came on. But we didn't see them again anyway. This day was also significant, I suppose, in that Scotland's deadliest avalanche had occurred just a day previously. I remember well the look mum gave me when I told her I'd be heading off to the hills. But in Arrochar we had no issues with bad snow.
As winter conditions go this day was absolutely superb, with heavy snow and an immense amount of riming on the cliffs. We made good time given the conditions, and found ourselves up on a Cobbler buzzing with climbers on their respective climbs. It really was a perfect day in that regard - not too cold but cold enough, a little windy, but not too bad, essentially dry, and perhaps crucially no sun, which stopped the cliffs turning black and dripping.
At the time I didn't know the routes those climbers were on, now I look back and can tell: Cave Route, The Arete, Recess Route... Struan and I arrived at the summit pinnacle, which was as white as it may ever get. I had a crack at it, but didn't feel the "step up" was secure enough in crampons. Struan got up and managed to clamber essentially to the top of the pinnacle.
We headed across to the North Peak, stood atop of that, and then made our descent - we were indeed down for very last light, and just as expected.
(0.00) 12.40pm Loch Long car park
(2.10) 2.50pm The Cobbler
(2.40) 3.20pm The Cobbler North Peak
(4.10) 4.50pm Loch Long car park