Tuesday 1 June 2010

OM Skye Meet. May 15th - 22nd 2010. Cuillin Ridge traverse, day three.

Day three on our Cuillin Ridge traverse dawned fine & bright with no cloud anywhere on the ridge.

By 11pm, the party had walked in from Glen Brittle YHA and had got as far as An Dorus, 15 minutes later we had arrived on our first Munro of the day - Sgurr A Mhadaidh from which this view looks NW to the remainder of the ridge.

The first obstacle to be overcome is a pinnacle at the end of the 4th (highest) top of Sgurr A Mhadaidh (roped) and then one descends the arete in the left of this picture to the foot of the 3rd top. Ascending this is either a roped climb just right of the nose or a roped scramble round to the right after a traverse.

If you are "in the know" there is also a way of avoiding all of the above and arriving relatively quickly at the foot of the unavoidable climb on to the 2nd summit!

Having arrived at that climb, Iain began roping his clients up and this view from the top sees Mike giving Iain the "thumbs up" just before the crux move on to the pedestal block in order to get up to Iain.

One day this block will inevitably fall from here making what is currently a fairly straightforward climb, a lot harder.

Once on the 2nd summit there is a tricky downclimb into another fault cleaving the ridge. This is best done with the support of a rope to get down into the gap. Climbing out of the other side is straightforward followed by an easy scramble on to the top of the 1st (but not highest!) summit of Sgurr A Mhadaidh.

It was was nice for Iain to be able to relax as the party descended to the Bealach Na Glaic Mhor with the difficulties of Mhadaidh behind him - difficulties which, however, had been fun to deal with.

Relaxation was to be short lived however as everyone wanted to do the next feisty peak of Bidean Druim Nam Ramh. Feisty? Read on!

Picture No 3 of the day shows the entire party stacked at the belay and ready to abseil from the central (highest) summit of Bidean Druim Nam Ramh. Just getting to this point had been quite involved with a roped descent into the gap between the south & central summits followed by some spotting and a short rope up a chimney - just to get on to the main top!

Once this abseil was done, there was yet another into the fairly scarey chasm between the central & north tops of Bidean. Fortunately, lots of people had left lots of abseil tat at both points and after thorough investigations Iain didn't feel there was any need to add more. Following the second ab, the scramble up on to the north top and then down to the Bealach between that and the next top - An Caisteal is easy. However, there is yet another gap beyond An Caisteal that Iain knew would require roping the group down.
On this day, the hardest of the three, the group arrived at Bruach Na Frithe at the north end of the ridge at 6:30pm in glorious sunshine although there had been a strongth and cold SE wind blowing for most of the day.
It was decided to descend from here and return to do the remaining Munros of Am Bastier and Sgurr Nan Gillean on Thursday as Wednesday had been designated a rest day.
Day three (Tuesday) had been a hardcore day involving 4 roped downclimbs, 3 roped climbs and 2 abseils for everyone plus about 10 miles of distance covered. It was indeed, a tired but satisfied team that arrived back at the vehicles that evening, but we all knew that the hardest part of the traverse was now behind us.

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