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Report on Beinn An Lochan
Sunday 23rd January 2005

Steve Fish-Morley had promised us a fantastic day, blue skies and the sun glinting off ice axes etc. The 8 of us were therefore somewhat surprised to see clouds in the sky when we arrived at the lay-by at the head of Loch Restil at the top of the Rest and be thankful.

As we made a slippery way up the good path the top of Ben An Lochain was clear but the summits of the other Arrochar Alps were full of cloud.

We soon reached snow. Michael ahead began showering those lower with snow balls. His aim was perfect - launching a large snowball at Alan he hit Alison, he was lucky not to get an ice axe in his head. However, revenge was sweet when Alison pushed a large lump of snow down the back of his neck.
Soon after this the crampons were needed as the snow and ice got harder and steeper. We clambered up an exposed wall of snow just before lunch - an introduction into winter walking that Irene and Angie won't forget in a hurry and we still had to go down it!!!

Lunch was a noisy affair attracting the attention of a couple on their way down. It turns out they know Nick who leads the mountain leadership course Steve, Alison and Jacqui had done, mountaineering is a small world.
More snow slopes took us to the summit, however, not before Alan who was finding his own route up even steeper slopes was shouted at by a scary looking mountain man (beard and everything). Little did he know that I just want my mortgage paid off!!!

Unfortunately by now the cloud had lowered and there were no views (Steve Morley expert weather forecaster at your service!!). So we quickly touched the summit cairn and headed back down.

The wall of snow that had made us a bit nervous on the way up was (as usual) even worse going down. There were a few hairy moments particularly when Jacqui had a slide and had to do an ice axe arrest. Photos were taken of the last of the party coming down, although the effects of descending this exposed snow slope made if difficult to use a camera. This effect has been reported before see BMJ issue 12 2001!!!

We all made it safely back to the car, although route finding can be difficult when there is much gossiping to be done. We didn't have to wait that long for Jacqui and Irene, who toured Butterbridge before returning to the car.

We retired to the pub in Luss for a well-earned drink and bite to eat.

Kathryn Gaffney

Photos: Michael Nicol

Affiliated to:

Mountaineering Council of Scotland
Scottish Youth Hostels Association

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