Friday 1 October 2010

OM Skye meet, September 2010. Day two, 14th September.

After our enforced day off, we knew that the weather on Tuesday was going to be better - showery, but with a fairly strong south westerly wind.

Iain made the decision to head to the northern end of the Cuillin Ridge where he felt we would be afforded some protection from the wind. As can be seen in shot one from this day - it was much better than the previous day and often, the ridge was clear inbetween showers of heavy rain.

Here, we were walking in from Sligachan to Coire A Bhastier. Our objectives - the west ridge of Sgurr Nan Gillean, the northernmost Munro, followed by an ascent of Am Bhastier and Bruach Na Frithe - both also Munros.

Walking in to Coire A Bhastier, Pinnacle Ridge looms as a fantastic skyline above us. This is a classic grade 3 scramble on to the summit of Sgurr Nan Gillean - starting from the left hand side of the ridge you have pinnacles 1, 2 & 3.
Pinnacle 3 is easiest abseiled into the gap between it & pinnacle 4 (known as Knight's Peak) although if you have nerves of steel it can also be downclimbed on its eastern side.
Getting across Knight's Peak is not quite as bad nor is reaching the top of Sgurr Nan Gillean from there. Kendal Mountaineering Services offer Pinnacle Ridge as one of their classic Cuillin Scrambling routes and it is undoubtedly the best way to get the the top of this peak!
Our route, however, was up the r/h ridge (the west ridge) entailing a lot less ropework to get to the top. Iain's usual route is to rope clients up Tooth Chimney and return via the same route using a stacked abseil. Often, there is also a section higher up - particularly slippery in the wet which requires further ropework as a slip here would see you hurtling down Deep Chimney. On this day the rope was certainly necessary here!

On starting up Tooth Chimney prior to bringing up his clients, Iain found himself in the middle of a hailstorm for some moments followed by some snow.
Before he chose to retreat however, he could see that despite the odd shower, the weather did seem to be improving from the west, so he brought up the others and they continued on to the summit of Gillean which is where shot three was taken. This is a great view with Bla Bheinn in the background and mostly, from here on, the weather just got better & better.
We had one nervous moment though! At the foot of Tooth Gully, having gotten everyone down there was a flash & a bang. Thunder had been forecast, but Iain didn't believe it - how could we get thunder when it was so cold!
Fortunately there were no further rumbles or flashes - only blue sky coming in from the west. The team tackled Am Bhastier well and then made our way around it's base heading for Bruach Na Frithe.

And then the weather just completely cleared out! We could see the whole of the ridge - in fact the whole of Skye and some of the outer Hebrides. The sun was out and the wind died as we reached the summit of Bruach Na Frithe - how lucky!
We then enjoyed a long descent out of Fionn Choire down to the Allt Dearg Mor - back, en route, to the Sligachan Inn where it had been decided we would have evening meal. Shot four is taken from the Allt Dearg Mor looking
up into Fionn Choire with Pinnacle ridge again making up the l/h skyline. Today had been much more like it for a Cuillin Ridge traverse day.
Back at "the Slig" we found the main bar was shut to the public so we went to the Old Inn in Carbost instead. We all agreed it was a much better plan. If you are in the area you must visit this fantastic pub!
Be warned however - don't overdo it with the booze and assume that the local bobbies will be sat in the police station in Portree some 20 miles distant - they are often to be found sitting in wait outside of the Old Inn for unsuspecting pubgoers - ready to breathalyse you as part of that "routine check". You have been warned!

1 comment:

ray said...

Tooth chimney is an easy climbing grade but with an awkward balancey bit - I had to rely on Iain and his rope here!