So today I was working up on the Ben again, this time with Stephen and his 13 year old daughter Alice and her friend Charlotte. It was a bit of a last minute job, and with the weather forecast I wasn't sure whether we were going to make it up there successfully or not. But we gave it a bash!
I met them at their hotel just before 9, and after a look at their kit and the handing out of hire kit we set off from Achintee. It was a really pleasant day, and the team worked really hard to keep a good pace going. The two youngsters were great fun and seemed to enjoy themselves.
We made steady progress, not needing crampons or axes until around corner 4. Once we had them on, the difference compared to others who weren't using them was massive. The three of them quickly got into the swing of things, and beyond corner 8 it was just a case of careful navving into the whiteout. Luckily the 60mph gusts that had been forecast never materialised and we were able to make it onto the summit successfully.
We had a quick bite and a drink before heading back down, carefully navigating our way back to the zig zags. From here we just followed the huge snow pack by the Red Burn all the way down to corner 2, the girls having great fun bum sliding down large sections of this. After packing the crampons away, we trooped on down in good time, just under 7 hours. The team worked really hard and rallied each other to make the day fun and successful - but I bet there will be a few tired heads tonight and sore legs tomorrow! Well done troops, you earned that summit!
|Charlotte pulled off some magnificent mountain poses through the day! (Stephen, Charlotte, Alice l-r)|
|They insisted on having a photo with me. So here we are at the Red Burn|
|Here's the team just after we entered the white room|
|Here they are, elated at what remains of the summit cairn. Charlotte, at 12, was the youngest to summit today I reckon|
|Some huge cracks appearing above the path as it crosses the Red Burn, wonder where that will go...|