Skye

The last four days I’ve been on Skye with John and a Falkirk Outdoors team of Donald, Euan, Fiona, Julie, Mel and Mike. On Sunday after travelling up we walked in from the Glen Brittle Youth Hostel to An Dorus and climbed Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh and Sgurr a’Mhadaidh in the cloud.

Euan and Donald on Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh.

On Monday we started form Sligachan and went up via Coire a’Bhasteir to ascend Sgurr nan Gillean via the West Ridge. We descended back to the bealach before heading out and back to Am Basteir and then nipping around and up Bruach na Frithe and descending via Fionn Choire.

The summit of Sgurr nan Gillean. Photo credit: Julie Stewart.

Tuesday looked like potentially the best weather day so we headed out to Sgurr nan Eag via Coire a’Ghrunnda before taking in Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn and Sgurr Dubh Mor. We then retraced our steps over Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn before heading around and up to Sgurr Alasdair via its South West Ridge. After that we descended to the top of the Great Stone Shoot,  before heading on over Sgurr Thearlaich and Sgurr MhicCoinnich via Hart’s/Collie’s Ledge and descending via Coire Lagan.

Mike, Euan and Donald descending Sgurr MhicCoinnich.

Yesterday the weather was worse than forecast, but thanks to a fine effort from the team we still managed to climb the Inaccessible Pinnacle in very wet conditions approaching and returning via Coire na Banachdaich and Sgurr Dearg.

The girls on a very wet Inaccessible Pinnacle.

A great few days climbing all but one of the Black Cuillin Munros. Thanks to all the team for making it a very enjoyable and successful trip.

Skye

The last three days I’ve been on Skye with John, Craig and Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors climbing and walking teams. We’ve had amazing conditions and will have memories that will last a long time.

Gregor in the open book corner of The Breadline.

On Friday the walkers headed to Bruach na Frithe whilst the climbing team of John, Gregor, Joanne, Linda and me went to Am Bastier and climbed The Breadline. This route isn’t in the guidebook, but breaks out up an open book corner after two pitches of The Deadline. The corner gave an excellent pitch on snow ice, which was sparse on protection, before easier ground to the ridge.

Linda and Joanne at the Bealach a’Bastier with Sgurr nan Gillean behind.

On Saturday both teams headed for Blabheinn. The climbing team climbed North Face Direct. This is a major undertaking as it’s a 470m route and the approach is up and over The Putting Green, the bealach between Clach Glas and Blabheinn, before descending to the route. Much of the route is easy climbing, but there is a significant crux on the fourth pitch. We topped out on the summit of Blabheinn to a stunning sunset and a descent in the dark.

Linda and Joanne below the crux of North Face Direct.

On Sunday we needed a shorter day as we were travelling back to Falkirk. The walkers ascended Sgurr na Banachdaich. We joined them for the approach and then broke out across Coire an Eich to a gully line on the North Face of the Sgurr nan Gobhar ridge, which topped out near pt. 776m as marked on the Harvey’s map. This gave an easy grade I route up on to the ridge, which allowed us to take in the summit of Sgurr na Banachdaich and some incredible views, before catching up with the walking team on the descent for a sociable walk out.

Joanne, Linda, Gregor and me on the summit of Sgurr na Banachdaich.

The crags were generally pretty black/dry unless they’re riming in the wind and not catching the sun. Any major feature that was holding snow has very firm neve, good crampon work is currently required on approaches, descents and if climbing unroped as a slip would be very hard to stop. The ground was frozen from the valley up in the mornings. There’s not a huge amount build up on icier climbing lines, so significant features holding snow are likely to be a better option. We were based at Skye Basecamp; thanks to Mike and Lucy for their generous local and current conditions knowledge, which helped make for an excellent trip. I’ll put up more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page. Craig was carrying his big camera, so I’d expect some very good pictures from the walking team on the Falkirk Outdoors page.

 

 

Four Days and Four Seasons on Skye

I’m just back from spending Monday to Thursday on Skye with Marian and Hazel. We visited all eleven Munros on the Skye Ridge over the four days and experienced some very varied weather.

Hazel and Marian with Sgurr Alasdair and Sgurr Thearlaich behind on June 2!

Hazel and Marian with Sgurr Alasdair and Sgurr Thearlaich behind on 2nd of June!

On Monday with wet snow down to around 750m and sleet falling from early afternoon we had an early start and went up Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh and Sgurr a’Mhadaidh from An Dorus.

Marian and Hazel just above the chimney on The South-West Ridge of Sgurr Alasdair

Marian and Hazel just above the chimney on The South-West Ridge of Sgurr Alasdair

The forecast had worsened for Tuesday, but we decided to attempt Sgurr nan Eag, Sgurr an Dubh Mor via Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn and Sgurr Alasdair via it’s South-West Ridge and descend The Great Stone Shoot. Fresh snow and fairly constant sleet/rain made for a long day. However, the occasional break in the clouds gave amazing views and successfully completing the planned route made it very rewarding.

Hazel and Marian on top of Am Basteir with Sgurr nan Gillean behind

Hazel and Marian on top of Am Basteir with Sgurr nan Gillean behind

The best weather of the week on Wednesday saw us traversing Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Bruach na Frithe in sunshine or broken cloud for most of the day.

Marian and Hazel in cloud on the top slab of the Inaccessible Pinnacle

Marian and Hazel in cloud on the top slab of the Inaccessible Pinnacle

Thursday didn’t live up to it’s better forecast and we spent most of the day in cloud and later steady drizzle as we visited Sgurr na Banachdich, The Inaccessible Pinnacle and Sgurr Mhic Choinnich.

Hazel lowering off the Inaccessible Pinnacle

Hazel lowering off the Inaccessible Pinnacle

Skye, as usual, didn’t disappoint and Marian and Hazel coped brilliantly with all the weather had to throw at us. An excellent few days in very good company.

The sun on Wednesday and drizzle on Thursday had cleared most of the fresh snow by the time we left. However, the odd patch was still making some slabby sections quite treacherous and care was definitely required. I’ll put some more photos up on the Facebook page.

Another Great Trip to Skye

I am just back from another very successful trip to Skye with the Falkirk High Tops Team.

On Thursday we visited the beautiful Spar Cave. As the tide was in we abseiled into the inlet which gives access to the cave. Following our visit to the cave we jumared back out.

We made use of an improving forecast for Saturday by climbing the North West ridge of Sgurr a Mhadaidh on Friday before making a water and food drop in preparation for Saturdays activities.

On Saturday we left the Sligachan at 4am for Sgurr nan Gillean. We then spent the next 20 hours completing a one day traverse of the Cuillin Ridge.

Following a long lie this morning we had a full Scottish breakfast in Broadford before returning to Falkirk.

There are many more photos on the climbnow facebook page.

Near the summit of Sgurr nan Gillean.

Near the summit of Sgurr nan Gillean.

North Wales and the Isle of Skye

I have just had a great seven days on the mountains and rock faces of the North Wales and Scotland.

Following the Lowland Leader Award Course last Sunday I drove to North Wales to meet Andrew. We had a good three days climbing on Tremadog, in the Ogwen Valley and on Gogarth.

The majority of the time the weather was excellent allowing us to complete the following routes; Christmas Curry (Micah Eliminate), Yogi, Shadrach, Ordinary Route on Idwal Slabs, Cneifon Arete, single pitch routes on Holyhead Mountain and Lighthouse Arete.

After our final route I drove North to meet the Falkirk High Tops Team. We drove to the Isle of Skye before having three good days in the Cuillin.

Emmanuelle, Gayle, Andy, John and I completed; Pinnacle Ridge, Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Bastier, the Bhastier Tooth, Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr Alasdair, the Cioch and the traverse of Sgurr a’ Mhadaidh.

Nigel, Alec and Norrie completed; Blaven, Bruach na Frithe and Sgurr na Banachdich.

Once more Skye provided great adventures and great memories.

Andrew enjoying Lighthouse Arete.

Andrew enjoying Lighthouse Arete.

Great scrambling on Skye.

Great scrambling on Skye.