|The North Peak. North Rib is just right of Great Gully, the obvious gash right of centre|
|Anna ascending Pitch 2, her first time using twin ropes|
|The view from the belay stance, Pitch 2|
|Anna summitting the final pitch, North Rib completed|
|Just time for a quick pose with some stunning scenery|
|Looking west towards crowds at the Cobbler summit and down to the Clyde|
|South East towards Ben Lomond and Arrochar. The Campsies and Ochills in the distance|
Today me and Anna were heading down to Lenzie to celebrate Grahams engagement to Anne, and on the way down decided to make the most of the lovely weather, before it disappears! We opted to stop off at Arrochar and climb a classic route on the Cobbler called North Rib. It is only a VDiff but was ideal for introducing Anna to bigger, more exposed climbs which we will no doubt be trying to do alot more of this year! The guide book gives it one star, which given the good rock and fine situations of pitch two, is well deserved.
After a reasonably early get away from the Fort, we made good time down Loch Lomondside and looked massively over-packed with all our gear compared to the masses of people heading up with shorts and t-shirts and tiny little back packs. We were a little jealous of their lack of weight and equipment! The walk in was not anywhere near as long and sluggish as we had feared and we actually made really good time, even overtaking some of the other groups heading up. It took just less than two hours to reach the bottom of our route, which was not very easy to find initially, as the guide book description is rubbish and the diagram could have been drawn by a three year old! None the less we got ourselves sorted out and racked up for the first lead, which looked a bit of an initial haul up the shallow groove in walking boots!
The gear was good (regardless of what others may say) and above the groove it unfortunately became a grass fest for 15 metres until a rocky corner provides an excellent belay and some nice views. Anna came up second, slowly at first while she negotiated the awkward groove, and we sorted out the ropes on her arrival ready for me to take the next lead. At this point I opted to change into rock shoes as the route above looked much nicer. An awkward step up to a block, and round left on an interesting traverse brought the best of the climbing: up a well protected and fairly easy rib with superb views into Great Gully and out down Loch Long towards Dunoon and the Ailsa Craig far in the distance. I couldn't help but stop and enjoy this superb vista, in warm sunshine, in March! The climbing was nice enough not to worry to much about placing regular gear, but my heart did miss a beat when I wrapped my fingers round what felt like a cracking hold, only for it to come away in my hand!! Panic over, I found a stunning belay spot on a large grassy ledge and a bomber boulder for an anchor. Again, the views were breathtaking and we were glad at the decision not to go cragging as the plan had initially been. Anna came up next, smoothly climbing and removing gear as she came, thrilled at the belay spot I had chosen.
The final pitch was reasonably short, maybe 15 metres, and started with interest around a jumble of rocks, and ended on the summit of the rib, beside the top of the North Peak, and another excellent anchor was devised using two threaded slings. Realistically I could have led pitches 2 and 3 as one pitch, but the guide book is very vague on the actual route to take, and its length so better safe than sorry. Plus pitch 2's anchor position was worth the extra time required, and it ensured that Anna did not feel too cut off from me.
We skipped to the North Peak summit, took some pics and jogged back down in good time to the car, objective completed. Off to Cumbernauld to see family before going to the Engagement Party and a cracking night out (she said yes, of course!!!). Looking forward to our next venture out, but with a turn in the weather due, who knows if it will be a winter or summer route...