50 years of adventure and life-changing experiences in beautiful isolation, 1969 – 2019

Summit success for all on Arkle

The Blue Whales on the summit


Summit success for all on Arkle

Tuesday June 25th 2019

Monday ended up being pretty wet and windy, nothing to stop the shelter building and ‘search to survive’ but enough to change our minds about the planned wild camp. Rather than camp we opted to stay at the Adventure School for the evening to allow kit and boots to dry, and plan for an early start for the mountain the following morning.

We were up at 6.30am this morning. No run or swim today but straight in for breakfast, and then the short journey to the foot of Arkle. As we approached with the first two teams you could hardly see the mountain for the blanket of low cloud and mist that shrouded it.

The mountain has two summits. The first sits at just over 750m and the second at 787m. The two are joined by a crescent shaped ridge that drops initially into a col and then climbs back out the other side. All in all the full ascent gives a total height gain nearing 1,000m.

The four teams wove their way up into the cloud, some following a stream running over beautiful quartzite steps and others an escarpment edge that in good visibility offers stunning views. Not so today unfortunately but there is something pretty exciting about entering the cloud.

The Blue Whales and Red Deer were came to the first summit just after midday with the Blue Moons and Red Snappers not far behind.

From there we descended into the col and around onto the ridge leading to the second summit. The final approaches cross a crenelated section that requires the use of hands in places and gives a lofty, airy feel.

With the second summit in the bag the teams retraced their steps to the col and descended the coire that dominates the southern flank of the mountain, dropping out of the cloud and into warm sunshine.

By the time we reached the bottom the mountain was almost cloud free and the Year 8’s could see the magnitude of their performance today. It is designed to be a challenge, to stretch the young folk that attempt it, and so it was today. All completed however with a really positive attitude and some great displays of teamwork and support.

The team will sleep well tonight as we roll closer to survival island. Kayaking for the Reds tomorrow, rock climbing for the Blues, some lobster creeling for all and then onto the island.