After the gruelling climb up the snow and many, many tears; we decided to call it a day. It was dangerous and we didn’t want to risk coming down in the dark – particularly when going back across the snowy ridge.
Veiw from the highest point we reached
The descent back down the snow was not something I was looking forward to. I tried walking down with baby steps but slipped into my butt. Then tried shuffling, and started to slide-losing one of my sticks in the process. I didn’t slide too far, stopped and thought Ok, if I carefully shuffle-slide down it will be fine. So I shuffle again, start sliding… and speed up. I lose control, rolling over in the process, but manage to right myself again and stop. I’m feeling a little less safe now, but I stopped myself so if it happens again I’ll be able to again, right? Wrong.
The third slide brought nothing but fear and pain. I was sliding uncontrollably and was trying desperately to not hit miss K on my way down-luckily we managed to avoid this-and I was headed to a raised rocky section where H was standing to one side. After some more tumbling, I ended up sliding down on my side, backwards. I was facing up the mountain. I braced myself for a rocky impact. I hit, ended up flying upwards and realised I was rolling over H, who had tried to catch me. There was more rolling, then, finally, it stopped. Looking back now and writing this, I find myself chuckling while sat on a train. I think this is definitely one of those laugh or cry situations. I choose laughter!
I asked my companions to write a bit about what happened so you get the full scope of what this was like. Here’s Andrews rendition:
“This is my third attempt to write what happened. I don’t know whether to take the angle that it was funny or scary. Honestly, it’s both.
The image of my girlfriend and best friend in mid-air, walking sticks rocketing off and limbs in different directions is still hilarious. However, the worst case scenarios keep popping up in my mind. It’s not just me, we all talked back at the lodge about how things could’ve gone very differently.
In one of my previous attempts at writing this I gave a long detailed explanation to my mindset at the time, building a case like a lawyer for why I laughed so hard. Of course, if I just had a photo of it, no case would be needed. It was like watching human bowling crossed with human curling.
I’m pretty sure I just invented two sports.
Though humorous it was, I feel like I should mention the reality of how dangerous it all was. A man died on Ben Nevis the day before we walked up. I could be dramatising for the sake of interest, but it’s worryingly easy to imagine how things could’ve gone that way. I don’t want to though.
She could’ve missed my friend and hit the rocks. She could’ve missed the rocks and kept going, with no idea when she’d stop. These sort of thoughts kept circling around my head that night. It’s probably most likely that were she to miss my friend and the rocks, she’d stop some ten feet further down with a scraped knee. But when it’s someone you care about it’s easy to have worry take over for a bit.
Still, that image tickles me a little now knowing that she’s safe.
It was both a funny and scary moment seeing my girlfriend fall down a mountain.”
It made me chuckle reading it. This post is getting hella long, so hang in there for the remaining descriptions! I’ll post them separately!
EDIT: apologies for the gap in Ben Nevis posts, the four of us have all been busy so it’s hard to get stories from everyone!