The highest point in Scotland is Ben Nevis. At 1,345 m (4,413 ft), it’s not as tall as some mountains but, at 56° N, its gullies (and those on other Scottish mountains) “…presented a fearsome, icy sight in winter.” It was in these sinuous and confining gullies that the Scots, lead by the legendary Tom Patey, ushered in ice climbing’s modern era. At those more northerly latitudes, winter storms howling down out of the Arctic can beleaguer the poor ice climber with what came to be termed full conditions. 🥶 I’ve climbed in such conditions and do not recall the experience as being “fun” by any measure used by a sane person.
We were on Roxy Ann Peak barely a week ago, contending then with billows of fog. Soon thereafter, the long-awaited storms of winter arrived, bringing the first piles of snow to the high country. We were socked-in over the weekend, then got a break yesterday before another big storm came in this morning. Yet the outdoors beckoned. So why not go back to Roxy and experience it in full conditions? Insane you say? Not really, as Roxy will never, ever come close to full, conditions-wise. Still, it was snowing and cold and the wind was blowing and visibility was squat, so good enough. We had a nice walk, climbed no ice, and got home in time for a hot lunch. 😋RETURN TO FRONT PAGE