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Pinn perfection, 2 May

02/05/12

Another glorious day treating us all to a good dose of sunburn today. Tom & I climbed Bomb Alley, roped across the last remaining snow on Collie’s Ledge and then tackled An Stac Direct before a leisurely ascent of the Pinn. The contrast with Monday’s wind & ice was unbelievable.

Big fresh bombs in the Alley

Ropes on Collie’s still

Pinn viewed from the top of An Stac Direct


Happy Tom after modestly climbing his last Munro; congratulations.

Coronation Route. 1st May

01/05/12

Had a great exploratory day with Chris Suttcliffe on the huge Western Buttress of Sron na Ciche today. The Coronation Routes were recorded independently in 1937 (George VI) and 1953 (Elizabeth II) but seem to follow a very similar line. For the new guidebook I reproduced the 1953 description & today it proved fairly accurate on the description side of things but very understated on both the length and severity (by modern standards).

Line diagram of the route

The start was a fierce 10m of thuggy but well protected jamming to leave West Central Gully.

Chris’s bulging forearms were a benefit on pitch 1!

A leftward traverse & layback gained the an easy groove for 70m. This ends abruptly in an undercut bulge as promised in the description which is fairly easily climbed.

Above the “formidable wall” was climbed by “a fine crack, easier than it looks”. This turned out to be a vertical 25m basalt dyke in a similar vein to The Snake but less enclosed. It is also now home to my favourite Link Cam and anyone retrieving it is welcome to keep it.

The Formidable Wall pitch

Heading up into the unknown on the crux pitch.


Chris finishing the crux pitch

Above here was supposed to be the crux, and a rusted old peg just as we crossed the line of Boomerang seemed to confirm this. Luckily it was considerably better rock & protection than the previous pitch and felt a whole lot less stressful. 3 fantastic 50m pitches of easier climbing on beautiful clean rock eventually led us to easier ground above Western Gully.

Chris leading the steep corner on pitch 6 of 7

We then scrambled roped together for another 100m before finally emerging on the SW flank of the mountain.

Shoes off & what did that book say?

There is superb clarity in the air just now and the views across to the hills of Harris and out to Rum, Eigg & Mull were superb

Overall the route took us about 7 hours, had 7 pitches (over 300m) and had 2 pitches with 4c moves. The crux groove was bold & protection was hard to assemble. I’d suggest a modern grade of HVS 4c as more suitable than the old grade of Severe. The climbing was very good and sustained throughout and I’d say it was worth at least 1 star for recommendation.

A day of 3 halves; 30th April

30/04/12

Waking in decent weather was a bonus but sadly the poor weather arrived mid-morning after commiting to  Pinn attempt. What wasn’t expected was the absolutely howling gale with big gusts that accompanied the snow.

I was very glad to have Ben Wallace along to belay me & help Ann-Marie, Jenny & Andy take my runners out of both pitches. Luckily the rime ice wasn’t on any of the horizontal holds, the snow stopped, winds died down as we climbed and the clouds parted to give great windows out to Rum.

Blaven appearing behind Andy as he tops out on the Pinn.

Congratulations to Jenny, Andy & Ann-Marie. We cracked on to Mhiccoinnich and before we reached the summit the tops were all clear.

Looking back to the Pinn. “Glad we couldn’t see it when we were on it!”

and happy girls looking back at Mhicchoinnich. Note the snow in the Stone Shoot.

Sadly the joy didn’t last with United failing us this evening but it ain’t over til the fat lad sings. More importantly A-M has finally climbed the Pinn after xxxxxx years of Cuillin climbing. See ya again soon me darling 😉

Ridge Traverse

30/04/12

Matt`s Report

Just finished a successful ridge traverse with Neil. We had scorching sunshine, snow, rain and the usual quota of amazing views.

The start

Soay, Eigg and Rhum

Kings Chimney

Sunset

Flodigarry Fun

28/04/12

Matt`s Report

Great day at the beautiful sea-cliffs of Flodigarry. Thanks to John, Norman and Murdo for a fun day in the sunshine! And for any surfers Staffin Bay looked clean and according to John would have been a lovely 3 foot swell.

Gillean & Basteir, 27th April

27/04/12

Had a great day out today despite the fresh coating of snow below 2000 feet. Matt & Sam climbed most of the Tourist Route on Sunday before the mist stopped play. Today I pointed out the easiest line to them while we tackled the narrow crest above which is one of my favourite sections of gabbro in the whole Cuillin. Snow made the ascent extra exciting.

Rime on the rocks

South East Ridge of Gillean taken direct (grade 3)

The West Ridge descent was very challenging but we still had enough in the tank to climb Am Basteir too. I’ll let the photos do the talking-

Heading through the Window at the top of the West Ridge

Retrieving the rope after abseiling the foot of the West Bridge

Matt climbing back up the Bad Step on Am Bastier

Stunning views back at the end of the day

Ice & wind means no go up the Pinn.

25/04/12

Despite a crack of dawn start to beat the predicted gales John & I were scuppered onour attempt to scale the Pinn today. I hadn’t forseen a coating of rime ice and a howling buffeting wind really made the Pinnacle Inaccessible today.

We headed north over Banachadaich and briefly indulged in some good scrambling on the 2nd top before ducking out of the gusting wind once more.

Cold Traverse 23/24 April

24/04/12

A few images from a hard won Traverse success with Iain over the past few days. Bitter temperatures and late snows were countered by mostly dry rock and a plenty of determination.

AquaXplore drop-off again.

Pitching across Collie’s Ledge

In Pinn summit

Sunset glory

Frosty morning

2nd abseil traversing Bidean Druim nanRamh

Misty finish over the north end; Martin Moran & client on Am Basteir

Am Basteir, the Tooth and Bruach na Frithe. 19th April

19/04/12

On Gary & Craigs last day we were just going to visit Am BAsteir and Bruach na Frithe but plans changed when Neil & Helen caught up with us and planted the idea of visiting the Basteir Tooth.

Stunning views on the approach; L-R Gillean, Am Basteir and Sgurr a’ Bhasteir

Final ascent to Bealach a’ Bhasteir

An abseil took us down to the Bhasteir nick-

Helen and Neil pulling the rope back down from the 1st abseil

from where a short rise leads to the top of the Tooth

We had to drop out of the sunny side and excitingly through the iced up slot of King’s Cave Chimney to reach our 2nd abseil point.

Craig enjoying himself far too much!

Gary equally happy; not quite what he envisaged on his Munro’s course this week!

Helen established that the kids were running the shop (Cioch Direct Outdoor Clothing) well enough that they didn’t need to run away so we all headed out to Bruach na Frithe to take in yet more of the wonderful views.

Gary snaps it up from Fionn Choire on our descent

Guy & Neil descended Sgurr a Bhasteir to prolong the fun while the rest of us headed for a well-earned pint at Sligachan; cheers to the Urquharts for an inspiring day out!

Pinnacle Ridge and Sgurr a Bhasteir

Sun & Snow fun on Ghreadaidh, 18th April

18/04/12

Guy and I went out with my good friend Chris today. He’s tackled all the easier Cuillin but never ventured onto the narrower ridges. Yesterdays snows had become solid in the overnight frost so we put the crampons on way below An Dorus; playing in crampons another first for Chris!

On the western flank of Mhadaidh with Ghreadaidh looming above and Alasdair in the background

We were greeted by stunning views down into Coruisk and out in every direction. After lunch on Mhadaidh we crossed An Dorus and found the snow on Ghreadaidh to be totally different, soft and thawing rapidly.

Ascending snow slopes on Ghreadaidh with Thuilm behind

Chris and Guy on top with Portree in the background

We removed crampons for the descent because they were more of a hazard than help. For a bit of added spice I opted to descend the dark narrow slot of Eag Dubh “Black Notch”. Normally it’s a dank greasy place but crammed full of deep snow it gave us great entertainment in wonderful rock scenery.

Deep inside Eag Dubh

Re-emerging into the sunlight


A couple of snow showers passed over our heads during the descent but were replaced by bright sunshine before we got wet.

Looking back up to Sgurr a’ Mhadaidh and Sgurr a’ Ghreadaidh