Legges Tor 2016 Aug

Legges Tor in the snow (mach 2)
On Tuesday, Angela had the day off work, so the two of us headed up to Ben Lomond to catch some snow and do a white ascent of Legges Tor from Carr Villa. On this trip, I decided to get all my possible snow errors over and done with in one day so I can have the rest of the season clear. It seems there were many to dispense with.

Firstly, there were problems doing up my spiders, which were needed twenty minutes into the climb once the track became a smooth frozen river of very shiny, very slippery ice. I couldn’t remember how to do them up, so improvised a method. Really, I knew it was insecure and had to fail. I just couldn’t devise a better one just then. Five minutes later, predictably, they came off. I tried again and off we set. Five minutes later they fell off again. Now I tried a new method, it felt better. Five minutes later they fell off again. At last I worked out how to attach them at the back too. They were on the wrong feet, but I didn’t feel like delaying Angela any more, so hoped that wouldn’t matter. It did. Seven minutes later they fell off again. Ok. I sat down and changed the feet around. Hoorah. No more delays from the spiders for the rest of the day. Angela had just slid her rubber topped, chain-crampon booties on in .05 seconds flat.

Now trying to fit these wretched spiders had involved quite a bit of pulling and tugging. At one moment, I was pulling very hard indeed and my hand slipped so that my fist bounced speedily upwards biffing me on the nose. Blood poured out immediately and copiously. I didn’t do much about this as I was too busy roaring with laughter. I had never known anyone to bop themselves on the nose so hard that they bled like that. I guess I was lucky I didn’t knock myself unconscious. The extreme cold soon put a stop to the bleeding. Luckily I had toilet paper to hand.

On we marched. I heard a snap. The buckle on the waist band of my pack bounced undone. I fixed it up. Angela said: “Aren’t you going to collect your lens cap?” I hadn’t even noticed it had snapped off too. Five minutes later I wanted to photograph something beautiful. Oh no. No lens cap. I just had to go back and search for it. It had obviously come off a second time. Luckily, I did find it lying in the snow, a bit away from where we’d been. It must have rolled.

Despite all these delays, we eventually neared the summit. The wind was furious and freezing, but I just had to photograph this beauty. I took one glove off, tucking it under my arm, and snapped away at ice rime on beautiful dolerite, while Angela, too cold to stop, continued towards the summit, hoping I’d hurry up no doubt. I photographed her in the act of summiting and then dashed off to the side for some more shots. By this time, my ungloved hand was ready to drop off. That was the only reason I stopped my mad clicking. I went to put the tucked in glove back on. You guessed. It was gone. I retraced my steps. Poor Angela was now totally frozen with all my fooling around. However, these were very special windproof gloves (they weren’t even an ugly black like every single pair of gloves on sale in 2015-6, as they’d come from Switzerland). I needed to give this glove one more chance of being found. Angela pointed out that in this wind, it would have blown away and could be anywhere. I promised her minimal time spent on this and raced back to where I’d been. Halleluja, over to the inside, blown away but still visible, lay my precious glove. Off we set, quickly, before Angela turned into an ice pillar.

As I had run out of smart ideas for further errors, the trip back was uneventful. It felt good to drop out of the gelid wind, and the temperature increased as we lost height as well. We even shed some layers. It was a beautiful day, which we both enjoyed.

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