The Cobbler South Peak - 858m
The Cobbler - 884m
The Cobbler North Peak - 870m

Saturday 31st May 2014

Weather/Conditions: A hot day - a powerful, hot sun and little wind. Absolutely ideal Cobbler climbing conditions, but the approach was hard work!
Distance/Ascent/Time: 5.1km / 1000m / 5h 30m
Accompanying: Struan

Struan and I came to the Cobbler for the purposes of a bit of rope training. Specifically in the form of safeguarding long passages of relatively easy (but high consequence) ground. We'd been talking a lot about the Cuillin in 2014 - an ambition to do the traverse. But with a lot of unknowns as yet unexplored, a day here or there on more local mountains could prove helpful. So with both of us free and a great forecast, we headed for the Cobbler.

The day was hot and warm. Predictably, the car park was rammed, but we continued driving to Glen Croe to park there for a long haul up the south face. And of course it turned out that in the hot sun, this was a lot of hard work: a lot of slogging, feeling the sun beating down, wondering that if this is how this felt, how would the Cuillin work? Nonetheless, the aim was the South Peak, and in particular it's traverse. The SE flank of this peak throws up a long slabby face, very aesthetic, among which winds a couple of corners and chimneys that gain the summit at a pretty low technical standard.

After a long and sweaty slog, we climbed the initial chimneys unroped. To start out with the terrain was pretty easy, but the minute you arrive at the crux chimney, a void opens up on the right and we roped up. The surprising thing thing was this chimney only lasted perhaps 15 metres, then angled back to the summit slabs. So in reality we'd not had a lot of terrain on which to work skills. But despite feeling short changed, it was lovely to be on the summit, scrambling to the highest point on this most dramatic of peaks. We got some pictures, then I showed Struan how to ab off the other side, and down to the col beyond.

I think Struan wasn't so enamoured with the whole thing, but I could see why. I'd been hoping for more, and yet it was nice to simply take this route to the top of the South Peak, a way I'd known about for so long. I sensed that increased experience was opening up opportunities to me that were once closed off.

We'd planned to take the Arete to the top of the Centre Peak, but I think Struan just wanted to walk: the mood wasn't there now, and when we arrived, Struan sat on the summit for a break. In the distance, over on the North Peak, something caught my eye: somebody on Dalriada!

I couldn't actually believe my luck. There, over on the North Peak, was somebody hanging off that great prow, steadily inching their way up. I had to watch. I was riveted. And I also couldn't deny the immense photographic opportunity that had landed in front of me.

In time I deduced they were onsighting, as they'd make moves up, then down, figure something out, or change their tact. It was enthralling to watch, and in time they pulled on that headwall. I snapped away. In the silent sunny peacefulness, I saw their belayer turn to the sound my camera shutter clicking away, which embarrassed me slightly. They pulled over the top, me in awe, and I figured I might as well do the good thing and offer them the pictures. So I ran up to the summit of the North Peak, and introduced myself. He said he had a website, and I could find his email: it was Steve McClure. "Ah well, you would have pissed up that climb then." was my reply.

I headed back to the Centre Peak to find Struan sitting in the sun. The day was done, and we were happy to head down. I don't remember a lot of this, but it really involved a lot of fast, fluid movement - very easy, and smooth, which probably has something to do with my lack of memory.

We eventually ended up at High Crag in Glen Croe, and I had a clamber around the initial crack of the Fugue (E9) without realising what it was. On reflection and with the benefit of a bit more experience, the moves seemed relatively easy to the big jug (which I also didn't know existed!), to an ultimately bouldery and brutal crux on the wall above. We descended back to the car and thence to Glasgow, none of which I remember. :-)

360° Panorama

The Cobbler South Peak
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 10.55am Glen Croe car park
(2.20) 1.15pm The Cobbler South Peak
(3.20) 2.15pm The Cobbler
(4.05) c. 3.00pm The Cobbler North Peak
(5.30) 4.25pm Glen Croe car park

Written: 2016-03-27