Patrick and I set off at 7am to beat the forecast rain today. Our early start was rewarded with dry rock all the way to the summit of Sgurr nan Gillean. A small amount of snow preceded the rain and by the time we left the top of Am Basteir it was raining heavily. We also stopped on the way back to find a geo-cache; I felt quite triumphant when I found the canister! (Geo-caching is a form of treasure hunting where people hide markers and then put the long/lat coordinates on the Internet for others to find the marker). On a slightly different note the weather has been pretty dire for the last two and a half weeks now but it has been possible to get out in the hills almost every day. Some flexibility is necessary, heading for lower or shorter options such as Sgurr nan Fheadain or Clach Glas or heading out earlier or later to take advantage of the better weather windows. There are some glimmers of hope late next week as it looks like an area of high pressure may move in-fingers crossed!
Patrick climbing the lovely basalt chimney on the 1st Pinnacle
The red granite of Ruadh Stac standing out against the black gabbro of Bla Bheinn and Clach Glas
Approaching the 3rd Pinnacle
High up on Gillean.
I took a few photos of Scott and Catherine on Gillean yesterday. The north end was a great place to be yesterday as the bulk of the Cuillin gave all of us a relatively sheltered and dry day out (compared to the last few days)! It was quite bizarre to be looking at all the white horses in Loch Scavaig and Loch Sligachan and to be totally sheltered on the crest of the main ridge.
Descending from the summit
Climbing towards the window high up on the west ridge of Gillean
Am Basteir and Caisteal Fionn Coire in the background
The weather today was wild (beautiful in comparison to yesterday!), however we had the odd glimpse of sunshine and some fine views at times from the Northern end of the ridge. Myself and Katherine Mcquitty went up Sgurr nan Gillean via the “tourist route” before descending the west ridge and onto Am Basteir. The wet rock and strong winds made the whole experience slightly more challengeing but enjoyable none the less. Katherine now has only 4 munros left to do – all in the Cullin! Matt and Ian were close behind us and they continued onto Bruach na Frithe.
Further along the ridge Mike was on Mhadaidh and Ghreadaidh with Redge, Rich and Neil While Gillian and Anne had a great day out on the Spur, Sgur an Fheadain.
(Photo 1: Katherine Mcquitty on the summit of Sgur nan Gillean)
(Photo 2: Loch Coruisk from Ghreadaidh)
We went for a go at the pinn but, like everyone else, were taken by surprise by the quantity of snow. Beautiful it was but climbing the pinn was opted against; this made Raymond happy but not our Marco.
Fanastic views back to Banachdich
Some happier than others!
Gillian was out with Robbie again and had to tackle the slabs of Am Basteir in a series of small pitches.
Contemplating the final section of Am Basteir from the top of the Bad Step
Gill makes precarious moves near the summit.
Very different from the simple wander that many of us had done the day before! Compare yesterdays shots of Pinnacle Ridge with todays-
Heavy overnight precipitation and a fast moving thunderstorm this morning suddenly transformed the Cuillin back to winter and caught every team by surprise today. With up to 6 inches of snow any steeper sections would have warranted crampons so there was much rapid changing of plans. Matt had an exciting time around Coire Lagan and An Stac with Alan, Nigel and Cole today with several activities including walking, scrambling, winter climbing, glissading and finishing with rock climbing in the sunshine.
Winter returns- Cole on the An Stac bypass
Strong westerly winds are deflected by the mighty bulk of Sgurr nan Gillean and, along with solid rough gabbro, make Pinnacle Ridge a good option for days like today. Marco & Raymond had a fine introduction to Cuillin scrambling and positively revelled in it. We’re now looking for a weather window to get a Traverse done.
Francis and Scott guided their parties across all 3 Northern Munros and Gillian did a round of Coire a’ Ghreadaidh with regular Bill Bell.
“Mind your gloves don’t blow off in the wind!”
Raymond in clover on the 4th pinnacle with the Basteirs behind.
Don’t leave me up here please!!
Despite the dire weather forecasts it has been possible to get out on dry rock the last two days. I was on Sgurr nan Fheadain with Alan yesterday and we had good fun on the scramble. It was a case of listening for the roar of an approaching gust and then crouching down and clinging on for a few seconds. This had the advantage of drying out the rock instantly and we both enjoyed a memorable day!
Looking at Sgurr nan Fheadain and the obvious dog leg of Waterpipe Gully
Today I was out with Alan and Cole and we enjoyed a dry ascent of Pinnacle Ridge and finished with a quick dash up and down the East Ridge of Am Basteir. There was one heavy shower in the morning but the day was dry and the wind was quite gentle-ideal!
Hail showers obscuring Pinnacle Ridge
Abseiling off the 3rd Pinnacle
Descending the west ridge of Gillean
Gillian and Francis had similar agendas for their clients yesterday with the Pinn top priority. Good early starts avoided any greasy work on Mhicchoinnich and the worst weather didn’t arrive until the Pinn had been climbed.
“Yesterday Francis, James and Rebecca got cooking with a round of Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, the Inaccessible Pinnacle and Sgurr na Banachdich; only one pic and though and they don’t look that happy they definately were!”
Gillian’s party had been out with me on Alasdair the day before helping Clive knock off one of his 5 remaining Munros. Despite the wettest weather I’ve ever witnessed in the Cuillin everyone stayed warm & felt suitably deserving of Red Cuillin beers as a reward!
16 May; Dennis Silverwood adopts a continental approach to the mountain rain problem!
On his fifth outing with Skye Guides Dave had faith with our ability to find dry rock despite the forecast as he left Aberdeen on Monday. An early start out to Neist let us do 4 routes before the predicted storms actually hit. Conductor Cove is so-called because the thick copper conductor from the lighthouse gives the scrambling approach to the foot of the climbs. Grades in the last guidebook have gained a certain notoriety and I’ve labelled the photos below with my opinions.
Lucky Strike, Severe, takes the crack left of the rope. Our direct start has a stiff 5a move to reach positive holds.
Dave leads Dulux Corner, Hard V. Diff. A good route and the easiest climb in the cove.
Dave on the steep finish of Natural Look, Severe which I think is the best route hereabouts if the lower wall is added as mentioned in the description.
Gannet Crack which, in my opinion, deserves upgrading to Hard Severe or even VS (for the short) because of the ferocity of the crux.
After a day in the rain yesterday I was out with Alan, Nigel and Cole again today. We were hoping for better things and were not disappointed. The Dubh ridge was dry, the main ridge was in view and the rain held off until we had finished scrambling for the day; brilliant! I could not praise the fun and quality of a Dubh Ridge day out enough-everyone who loves Skye mountaineering should try and do this ridge at least once. Immaculate rock, wilderness setting, slabs, knife edge crests, down climbing, route finding and great summits all combine to make this an unforgettable day out.
Approaching Coriusk by boat
Three wise men?
Acres of Gabbro
High above Loch Coriusk