After being battered by wind and blizzards whilst climbing on Ben Nevis last Saturday, Helen Rennard and I were looking for an easier option for Sunday December 4. The forecast was for more snow and strong winds, so after a lot of humming and hawing (on my part at least), we decided to visit Stob Bab in the Mamores.
I had never climbed on Stob Ban before, but I had walked up to look at the cliffs over 20 years ago, and was keen to make a return visit. I knew it wasn’t the ideal choice for Sunday, because the cliffs face north-east and had been sheltered from the prevailing westerlies, and the turf was less likely to be frozen than more exposed aspects. But, I reasoned, Stob Ban is comprised of quartzite, which unlike schist and granite has less inherent nutrients, so the cliff was unlikely to be very turfy, and the climbing would rely on snowed-up rock.
As it turned out, I was completely wrong about the vegetation – the cliff was as turfy as most other Scottish crags, but fortunately we found an exposed crest to the right of the gully-line of Eag Blanc on the East Wing. Our route looked steep and daunting from below, but in the event it was far easier than it looked, and provided an excellent III,4. And even the turf was frozen!