Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Ben Lui and the summit views

After 25 years of wondering what the views from the top of Ben Lui looked like, I wondered no more. The cloud had lifted from the summit and I was rewarded for the effort of not giving in to my sore feet. I couldn’t make up my mind which summit to head for first as both were now within easy reach. I decided on the south summit.

But first I looked down “Central Gully” to see the route I took quarter of a century ago. I has a strange queasy sensation looking down the steep slope and remembered that day ever so long ago when it was covered in mist and snow. Although the photo doesn’t capture the feeling of exposure, I can assure you that it was there.

Standing on the southern summit , looking towards the northern one I saw how steep the end of the climb was. I recalled the huge cornice in my memory and remembered standing below it as my companion hacked a route through it. The climb is around 1000ft high so you can imagine the exposure we felt, or what would have happened if the snow gave way or one of us slipped. Somehow I now couldn’t believe it was me that was there that day ? Whatever happened to that person ? Is he now lost in that mist of time ?

I looked over towards Ben More and Stobinian. Two more mountains that I climbed in the cloud of my younger days and two more that I re climbed just a couple of years ago. I saw the views second time round.

Looking down the southern ridge of Ben Lui. There is a crashed aircraft down there somewhere. A friend at work visited it several times and told me about it but I didn’t feel the need to go and see it. My legs had enough for one day and they still had to carry me home again.

It was the view over to Ben Cruachan that I thought the best from the summit. Loch Awe looked lovely glistening in the sun. I thought I could have been boating in Loch Etive after all, but I was glad I chose the mountain instead. I was now at peace with Ben Lui even though I knew I will never climb it again.

There were plenty of hills over by Tyndrum that I had climbed in the past too, but none seemed to beckon me that day but Im sure some will in the future.

I left the summit after taking a panorama view of the view hidden from me for 25 years, went to the northern summit and then made my way down the mountain.

I was a happy man. Only from the waist down did I complain. My legs didn’t seem to appreciate the view as much as my mind did but they soon got over my stubbornness :-D

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