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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m just back from two excellent days on Skye with Jonathan and Julia. I was based in the very good and friendly Skye Basecamp Hostel. On the way back today I took the opportunity to nip up Gairich on the south side of Loch Quoich.
On Friday Jonathan, Julia and I headed up in to Coire na Banachdich and on up Sgurr Dearg with Jonathan and I taking in The Inaccessible Pinnacle via it’s East Ridge. We then completed a circuit of the coire by scrambling up the South Ridge of Sgurr na Banachdaich via it’s South and Centre tops and descending over Sgurr nan Gobhar. The rock was dry, but we were in cloud most of the day on the ridge and only got views when descending the Sgurr nan Gobhar ridge.
On Saturday Jonathan and I went up to Bealach a’Bhasteir and ascended and descended Am Basteir via it’s East Ridge taking in the Bad Step. We then ascended Sgurr nan Gillean via Tooth Groove and Arete and the West Ridge before descending the South-East Ridge. Again the rock was dry and the cloud lifted during the day to give us good views in the afternoon.
Today the weather forecast had changed overnight and the heavy rain and strong winds were forecast to arrive later, so I was able to stop off and take in Gairich on the way south with the rain only catching up with me on the descent. I descended the North ridge, which gave a quick way down out of the weather and was able to walk along the Loch Quoich “beach” as the water levels are currently low. The hills in this area are pretty wet underfoot at the moment and gaiters are a good idea if away from well drained paths. I’ll add more photos to the ClimbNow Facebook page.