Skye and Loch Quoich

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.

Jonathan near the summit of The Inn Pinn.

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.

Jonathan and Julia on the summit of Sgurr na Banachdaich.

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.

Jonathan descending Sgurr nan Gillean.

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.

Skye

Just back from four days on Skye with John, Craig and a Falkirk Community Trust scrambling team of Gillian, Imran, Joanne and Linda.

Joanne, Imran and Linda on An Diallaid.

Joanne, Imran and Linda on An Diallaid.

On Monday we travelled up and needed a short day, so made for the slabby North Rib of An Diallaid in Coire a’Ghreadaidh with the continuation up to the summit of An Diallaid, which has plenty of scope for harder and easier variations. On Tuesday there was low cloud and showers most of the day. Gillian, Imran and myself headed for An Dorus and scrambled up Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh via it’s North-North-West Ridge and then up Sgurr a’Mhadaidh by it’s South West Ridge. John, Craig, Joanne and Linda climbed the West Flank of Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh via Sgurr Eadar da Choire before descending via An Dorus.

Gillian enjoying the exposure on The Inaccessible Pinnacle.

Gillian enjoying the exposure on The Inaccessible Pinnacle.

Wednesday was an improving forecast so we all made our way up the classic mountaineering excursion that is Pinnacle Ridge on Sgurr nan Gillian before descending it’s West Ridge. Today Gillian and I ascended Sgurr Dearg via Coire na Banachdaich before climbing The Inacessible Pinnacle and then descending the South-East Flank to Coire Lagan. John, Joanne and Linda climbed Cioch Slab Corner to the top of the Cioch for the traditional re-enactment of “that scene from Highlander”. Four very good days on Skye.

Three Days on Skye

For the past three days I have been on Skye with Andy and Rob. We have had a successful trip climbing the following peaks; Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Bastier, Bhastier Tooth, Sgurr a’Mhadaidh, Sgurr a Ghreadaidh and Sgurr an Fheadain. The weather was mixed but Skye always provides memorable days out.

Rob and Andy down climbing Sgurr nan Gillean.

Rob and Andy down climbing Sgurr nan Gillean.

Ski Touring and Skye Availability

From the 9th to the 14th April Euan will be running an introductory ski touring course for www.frostguiding.co.uk. The course will be based in the beautiful Arolla valley. Please contact Janine and Graham if interested.

P1140099The climbnow  team also have availability for Alpine ski touring from the 20th April until the middle of May. Example tours are; the Vanoise traverse, the Saas Fee  and Zermatt 4000 metre peaks, the Bernese Oberland Traverse, Chamonix single and multi day tours and the 4000 metre summits of the Mote Rosa Massif. Please contact the team if interested.

Additionally, the climbnow team also have some availability for Skye scrambles and ridge traverse courses this May and June. Please get in contact if interested.

The In-Pinn.

The In-Pinn.

 

 

Stormy Skye

Euan and I are just back from three days on Skye with a Falkirk Community Trust Scrambling Team of Alec, Gillian, Linda, Sarah and Wilson.

Approaching Bealach na Lice with the Bhasteir Tooth prominent.

Approaching Bealach na Lice with the Bhasteir Tooth prominent.

Having arrived in Glen Brittle on Thursday night we decided to make the most of the fact that Friday had the best forecast and headed up early from Sligachan to Sgurr a’Bhasteir, which we ascended by it’s North-East Ridge. We then continued along it’s narrow South Ridge to reach Bealach na Lice. After a short break we dropped down in to Lota Coire and climbed the Lota Coire Route to The Bhasteir Tooth. Part way up this the weather arrived in earnest several hours ahead of forecast and the upper part was climbed in continuous driving rain and strong winds.

Gillean and Alec near the top of The Bhasteir Tooth.

Gillian and Alec near the top of The Bhasteir Tooth.

We then did the subterranean scramble and abseil to descend King’s Cave Chimney, which got us out of the wind for a while. Given the early arrival of the weather heading down via Coire a’Bhasteir rather than continuing on towards Sgurr nan Gillean seemed sensible. This proved a good decision as the rain was heavy enough that the normal path back to Sligachan required several streams to be forded and the lower steps of the bridge near Sligachan were under water on our return.

After continuous heavy rain overnight and with strong southerly winds forecast we needed a route for Saturday that was relatively low, sheltered from the wind on scrambling sections and had no significant river crossings to access. The North-East Ridge of Beinn Dearg Mhor in the Red Cuillin seemed to fit the bill. With a late start to try and make the most of the weather this worked well giving us some lovely scrambling on rough granite lower down. It was a bit of a battle with circa 50mph+ winds to reach the summit, before descending via it’s North Ridge to Bealach na Sgairde and around to our starting point.

The team in the wind on top of Beinn Dearg Mhor.

The team in the wind on top of Beinn Dearg Mhor.

The forecast for today was for even stronger winds, but only showers. However, lightening was also forecast, so we opted for a low level objective. After driving around to Glasnakille, near Elgol, we abseiled in to the geo that houses Spar Cave. This cave has an amazing staircase of spar, calcium carbonate, and beautifully featured deposits of the same material on the walls and ceiling. After a quick look at the cave we made a short sea level traverse around to the next recess before heading back up the path from this point. The sea level traverse is only accessible for a short period either side of low tide and care must be taken to avoid getting trapped in the Spar Cave geo by a rising tide.

The traverse out of the Spar Cave geo.

The traverse out of the Spar Cave geo.

Three really interesting days on Skye in some very stormy weather. Thanks to the team for being up for some of our unusual scrambling suggestions given the conditions. This made for a great trip despite the weather. Euan will put some more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page.

Grand Days Out on Skye

The Falkirk High Tops Team and I have just had three great days out on Skye. The first two were spent in the Black Cuillin and the last day in the red Cuillin.

On Thursday we climbed Window Buttress and the South Crack of the In-Pinn as well as the Voie Normale. The South Crack was brilliant and offers a fantastic alternative to the normal route.

The weather was again perfect on Friday so we traversed Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Thearlaich, Sgurr Mhic Chonnich and An Stac.

Today we climbed Sgurr nan Each via the North Butttress. This is a good place to avoid the crowds.

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

The In-Pinn.

The In-Pinn.

Glen Shiel and Skye

I got back late last night from a three day Falkirk Community Trust winter mountaineering and walking trip based in Plockton. We had excellent weather and conditions throughout making for some great days.

Jim, Wilson, Gareth, Joanne and Linda with The Forcan Ridge behind.

Jim, Wilson, Gareth, Joanne and Linda with The Forcan Ridge behind.

Having travelled up on the Thursday evening we headed for Glen Shiel on the first day with mountaineers heading for the classic Forcan Ridge on The Saddle and Craig and the walkers on the North Side of the Glen completing the three Munros of The Five Sisters.

John, climbing the main, but not crux, ice pitch of North Gully.

John, climbing the main, but not crux, ice pitch of North Gully.

On Saturday we made use of the excellent winter conditions on Skye with Craig and the walkers ascending Bruach na Frithe, whilst a team of John, me, Gareth, Jim, Joanne and Linda climbed North Gully on the Glaich Moire Face of Coire a’Mhadaidh. This gave a very good route. We got in at the bottom of the feature and soloed easy angled ground with tricky steps before climbing 7 fairly long pitches. Worth noting the guidebook length is 120m and it may, therefore, bank out lower down sometimes. On the day there was also a very short section of Tech 5, which may also bank out. We descended the open easy gully left of the crag looking up.

Joanne and Gareth with the obvious feature of North Gully between them.

Joanne and Gareth with the obvious feature of North Gully between them.

Yesterday we needed a shorter day before travelling home and gambled on Marsco. This gave a superb day for both teams with Craig and the walkers reaching and returning from the summit via the Eastern Spur of Coire nan Laogh. John, me, Gareth, Joanne, Linda and Lorn were aming for Wooly Gully, the only route in the guidebook in Coire nan Laogh. However, once in the coire this looked banked out and the obvious S-shaped gully feature in the centre of the coire looked too good to miss.

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Linda and Lorn finishing the first pitch in Coire nan Laogh, Marsco.

We soloed easily through dramatic scenery on the lower part of the S before putting ropes on for the last rightwards slant of the S up from the large ledge separating the two left hand crag tiers in the coire. This gave a delightful ice/snow ice pitch. Above this the face could be climbed almost anywhere on ice and snow at about grade II with John and I taking parallel lines, his more rocky and mine more icy, mostly due to the gear we were carrying. The route brought us out about 100m East of the summit. The upper face has a serious feel despite it’s easy angle and warthogs and ice screws were definitely useful. Overall it was about Grade III and possibly a new line on an excellent, although I suspect rarely in condition, face.

The view to the team back along the summit ridge of Marsco with Clach Glas and Blabheinn behind.

The view to the team back along the summit ridge of Marsco with Clach Glas and Blabheinn behind.

A great trip with near Alpine conditions. I’ll put some photos on the ClimbNow facebook page today and Craig will add photos to the Falkirk Community Trust Facebook page.

Skye Scrambling

I’m just back from Skye with Euan, John and a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Team of Isobel, Linda, Lorn, Lynne, Mary, Norrie, Siobhan and Wilson.

After driving up on Thursday Linda, Wilson and I traversed Sgurr Thuilm in fairly horrible weather including driving sleet and hail. The rest of the team went up to An Dorus and climbed Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh and Sgurr a’Mhadaidh.

Mary and Siobhan looking relaxed on Am Basteir.

Mary and Siobhan looking relaxed on Am Basteir.

On Friday John, Linda, Lorn and Wilson went in to Coire Lagan and after heading up the Sgumain Stone Shoot traversed Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Thearlaich, Sgurr Mhiccoinnich and descended the An Stac screes. The rest of the team headed to the other end of the ridge and after walking up to the Bealach a’Bhasteir scrambled up Am Basteir via the East Ridge Direct. After returning to the bealach we then climbed Sgurr nan Gillean West Ridge via Tooth Groove and Arete and descended via the South-East Ridge. This was the best day of the trip for weather and views particularly at the north end of the ridge.

The team on the summit of Am Basteir

The team on the summit of Am Basteir

On Saturday Euan, Linda and Wilson scrambled up the Sron nan Gobhar Ridge to Sgurr na Banachdaich whilst the rest of us headed around to Coire a’Ghrunnda. We then scrambled up Sgurr nan Eag via the Right Hand Flank of the North Ridge and then descended to the Castle via the North Ridge. After nipping behind the Castle we climbed Sgurr Dubh na da Bheinn via it’s South Ridge and then headed down the East Ridge and up to Sgurr Dubh Mor. We then returned over Sgurr Dubh na da Bheinn and descended it’s North-West Ridge to regain Coire a’Ghrunnda. This day completed the Skye Munros for Norrie and he seemed suitably pleased despite having been in cloud for most of the day.

Norrie in the cloud happy to be completing his Skye Munros.

Norrie in the cloud happy to be completing his Skye Munros.

Yesterday Norrie and Isobel decided on a well earned rest day whilst Lynne, Lorn and I walked up Sgurr na Bannachdaich via Coire an Eich with a detour to An Diallaid in descent. Euan, John, Linda, Mary, Siobhan and Wilson avoided the worts of the wind by scrambling up The Spur on to the excellent peak of Sgurr an Fheadain.

Lynne and Lorn on the summit of Sgurr na Banachdaich.

Lynne and Lorn on the summit of Sgurr na Banachdaich.

A great few days with seven new Munros for some of the team and some excellent scrambling despite fairly unfavourable weather at times.

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.