The Cobbler - 884m
Saturday 3rd January 2015

Weather/Conditions: Great weather, winds 20-30mph on top, enough to get a blasting of spindrift. But in general, really nice.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 9.2km / 900m / 7h 50m
Accompanying: Tom

A great trip out with Tom and first of the year.

It's good to be back on this mountain. I have say, every time I climb The Cobbler, it blows me away. As I learn more about the mountain, the way that manifests itself changes.

I suppose I was thinking about it because it was Tom's first trip up the Cobbler.

Mountains are kind of abstract concepts, and climbing them is the overcoming or understanding of them. Much like climbing a great rock route: it's beauty can be in it's improbability. When I first saw the Cobbler at close quarters age 12, it utterly blew me away. On repeated visits, that shock mellowed but then I got into climbing and discovered that people were climbing routes like Dalriada, Wild at Heart, North Wall Groove. All magnificent pitches which I would be stoked to climb one day. As it is, I'm proud of modest Recess Route (and that was fun!).

A quick roll-stop in Arrochar, and Tom and I headed up - along with the rest of Central Scotland it seemed; the hill was busy as ever. The Cobbler came into view at 300m, looking great, very alpine. At the Narnain Boulders we met a guy, Bubba, who was keen on having a BBQ on the summit of either Narnain or Ime (random, but I love the style!). I also found myself an unclimbed bouldering line here, breaching one of the overhangs that has yet to be done. Maybe one day soon, when it gets warmer. A steady pace brought us higher. I spied ice lines on the southern flanks of Beinn Narnain. By the evening, these immense icefalls had fallen down in the intervening time.

A steady plod brought us into the snow line, threading through the outcrops to arrive beneath the North Peak. At the bealach, stronger winds and spindrift whisked by. We headed up to the summit. The pinnacle was liberally plastered in snow and verglas, and I pulled the crampons out to try the doorway route. I didn't make it beyond the ledge. Despite the good hand jam (on the left) being dry, my feet didn't purchase the ledges with a pair of crampons as well as I'd have liked. If I'd brought the rope up (as planned) I would have done it! Always next time.

But it really was the descent I enjoyed the greatest - we traversed under the South Peak to get out the spindrift and the light gained that purity you get on winter evenings. We traversed under the South Peak as ice came down, then retreated to the shadows of the valley to watch Narnain's flanks flame up in colour. Just a long plod awaited and we were off in the last glimmers of light.

Total stunner of a day!

360° Panorama

The Cobbler, no pinnacle
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 9.25am Arrochar parking
(4.20) 1.45pm The Cobbler
(7.50) 5.15pm Arrochar parking

Written: 2015-01-19