I have been up Ben Ledi in the last two month twice.
The first time was in fairly cold but dry conditions. Everything was frozen over and the higher I went the more frost and eventually snow I hit.
That day was very cloudy and only windy at the top so I was fine in shorts, though I must admit I did not stay longer than for a couple of pictures.
So I went up and because I didn’t want to do the “round” tour, I went down the way I came because it was so snowy I couldn’t really make out a trail down the other side. Back down it only took me around 25 minutes as I was running when I could. Up it was 1 hour 15 minutes.
Right. 2 days ago I was up again. Of course in shorts again. It was a wet day. It wasn’t pouring down, just light rain with 9c which was fine.
But the higher I went the windier it got to the extend that you heard me huffing and puffing with frustration.
At some point I took out my gloves and buff to keep me warm. Maybe I should have went back down but it was only at the very exposed and close to edges where the wind and rain hit me so hard, it was like someone would whack me across the face!
So up I went and when I reached the cross it wasn’t windy at all which was such a relief!
And because it wasn’t snowy or icy and I have seen the trail down the other side I decided to check it out.
So off I went, happy as Larry that descending was quite flattish and grassy. I was running fast for maybe 8 minutes (more or less, who counts the minutes anyway?) until I reached rocks and a steeper bit, paired with the wind which had so much fun lashing around my face earlier (my hood which was over my buff helped only a tiny bit).
I was looking back up but all I could think of was “I need to get down and out of the wind” and I really didn’t want to climb back up. So I started climbing down, very slowly as barefoot shoes does not have as much grip as “regular” running shoes and because of the strong wind.
It was so windy that I slipped and fell flat on my behind and hands. My hands hurt for some while but where ok as I have worn (soggy) gloves which I changed at some point (always take spare clothing with you).
And while I continued my descent, close to a never ending gully which seems almost vertical, I din’t know whether to cry or curse so the only logical thing was….. of course talking to myself!
Did I mention that I had to cross at least two streams? And that in general water from the tops made its way down? It was either boggy or very wet underfoot. I tell you, my feet where freezing!
But I made it down. It took me 50 very scary minutes and once I was back on the forest path I started running to keep warm and get some feeling back in my feet.
So to get to the point:
If you are not one of those hardcore hikers with spikes under your shoes and a proper axe, do not do the circular route and descent over the mountain! Use the nice though tough route with the pretty wide stone path because in case of an emergency, you will be found and not turn into worm food because you fell down a gully!
Also even when the weather forecast says +9C, do not wear shorts when you want to climb up a mountain as you never know what condition awaits you up there! It might be fine to run at 0C or beyond on ground, but not up there!
Lesson learned and hopefully not forgotten the second I turn off my notebook!