Friday 1 October 2010

OM Skye meet, September 2010. Day one 12th September

Well, its been a busy couple of weeks for us here at Kendal Mountaineering Services as you'll see from all the following blog posts. Iain's been so busy with work that he hasn't had time to catch up. So - sorry to all of those eagerly waiting to read about your recent adventures with us. Anyway - here they are!

After the success of the Outdoors Magic May 2010 Skye meet, Iain offered a second Skye meet and was able to do so in September. Rumour had it that the weather in September was likely to be as settled as that in May making it ideal for a Cuillin Ridge Traverse and/or any of the other suitable scrambles on the Cuillin Ridge of Skye. In reality though, all of the delegates knew it was going to be somewhat different!

The first shot of this post shows Iain's four clients for the week, left to right - Jo, Ray, Chris & Sean - the latter two being returning clients. Chris has been twice to Skye already with Iain - having attended previous Cuillin Ridge traverses and both Chris & Sean have been on our famous winter skills courses
and also our Lakes based Learning to lead scrambling courses. Anyway, day one saw us depart Glen Brittle and head up into Coir A Grhunnda to start the ridge with Sgurr Nan Eag - the southerly-most Munro on the Cuillin Ridge.

The weather was mixed, cloudy with the occasional shower, but dry for the time being. We knew from the forecast that it was going to rain later - and it did!

Shot two shows the team on the traverse under Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn with the Caisteal An Gharb Choire behind us. People who don't know this way climb up on to the summit of Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn before having to descend the ridge to get to Sgurr Dubh Mor - the second Munro on the ridge only to then have to backtrack to Dubh an Da Bheinn to continue the traverse of the main ridge.

Finding the shortcut to Sgurr Dubh Mor requires careful route finding and knowledge such as you'll get with Iain at Kendal Mountaineering Services!

Having completed the traverse of "the Dubhs" it started to rain as forecast; and everyone agreed that a traverse of the famous Thearlaich/Dubh Gap would be a bad idea - very slow going in rain and a strengthening wind which would only have left everyone feeling very cold indeed.

It was the right decision therefore, to head for the easy chimney under Sgurr Alasdair to get us on to that summit. Iain roped the group up in pairs and this shot shows Ray topping out closely followed by Chris. Chris was quite happy to come this way having done the TD Gap with Iain (in glorious hot sunny weather!) in May 08.

Once everyone was up, it was a quick & easy scramble to the summit of Sgurr Alasdair - the highest summit (and a Munro) on the Cuillin Ridge.

We descended almost as fast to the head of the great stone chute of Coire Lagan and by now the weather was most foul - heavy rain & strong winds making the thought of traversing on to Sgurr Thearlaich and Sgurr Mhic Choinnich (the next Munro) completely out of the question.

We descended the stone chute into Coire Lagan and followed the path back out to Glen Brittle. Everyone was happy with what we had achieved despite the weather - as normally we would have continued along the ridge getting at least as far as the Bealach Coire Lagan on day one. However, as can be seen from the final shot of the day, everyone was looking like drowned rats and the thought of a nice dry cottage/hot shower was uppermost in everyone's minds. We were back at the vehicles at Glen Brittle just after 5pm and Iain was heard to remark that this was one of the earliest finishes he had ever had to a Cuillin Ridge day!

We all knew that the forecast for the next day was worse than ever so going on to the ridge was not a plan. We all awoke to horizontal rain and low cloud. Ray went off though to climb the Quirang whilst Iain & Chris headed into Portree for a full english before going off to find Chris some waterproof pants. Jo & Sean also spent most of the day in Portree.

1 comment:

ray said...

Day 1 was a great start to a great week! I found the Cuillins very intimidating, especially in poor weather, so full marks to Iain for getting us over so much of the ridge over 4 days. The route finding is fiendishly difficult even in good visibility but Iain knows the ridge like the back of his hand and made all the right judgement calls. I hope I can make it for one of the trips in 2011!