Skye is a climbing Mecca
Generations of climbers have dreamt of climbing big routes in the world famous Black Cuillin mountains. Nearly 700 miles of coast line hosts a wide variety of climbs that compliment the traditional Cuillin routes. Whatever route you climb it is sure to be a great adventure in a beautiful landscape. Our guides are all active climbers with a high level of ability to both climb and teach climbing. We use our in-depth knowledge of the climbing areas and the weather patterns on Skye to make the most your time. Mike Lates is director of Skye Guides and wrote the current guidebook Skye The Cuillin. This and coastal guidebooks are available directly from us.
All courses are suitable for bookings of 1 to 4 days.
Skye Guides specialise in teaching rock climbing at all levels.
- Fun days out
- Learn & develop skills
- Rock climbing masterclasses
- Classic Routes
A photo gallery is at the bottom of this page. Many examples and ideas are listed below with more descriptions and pictures of where we go on the Rock Climbing Venues page. To discuss possibilities feel free to get in touch by phone or e-mail via the Contact and Prices page.
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Introduction to Outdoor Rock Climbing
Most people are now starting climbing on indoor walls. This is our most popular course and is suitable for those with limited or no experience of climbing on outdoor rock. We aim to climb as much as possible but also give a clear overview of the most impotant aspects of traditional rock climbing. We introduce clients to the gear used, learn some basic knots and explain simple systems of rope-work. We discuss hazards, effects of weather, choice of venues, grades & routes. These are taught at a variety of venues with Elgol, Flodigarry and the Cioch face amongst the most popular.
Classic Cuillin Climbs
In recent years publicity of climbing in the Cuillin has become polarised onto a few well-known climbs such as the Cioch, Inaccessible Pinnacle, Integrity and Vulcan Wall. The brand new SMC guidebook Skye The Cuillin covers almost 100 different cliffs and is rekindling interest in hundreds of forgotten classic routes. Mallory’s Slab and Groove, Commando Crack, Slanting Gully, Trap Face Route and Crack of Doom are all climbs that have been high on any climber’s hit-list for generations and epitomise the spirit of adventure and exploration that mountain lovers crave.
When the mountain crags are dry the opportunity to explore should not be missed!
More than 400 new routes have been climbed on sea cliffs around Skye since the last guidebook was printed in 1996. This popularity is due to a combination of easy access and fine weather even when other parts of the island can be shrouded in mist. Both Neist and Elgol have very sunny aspects on the west coast and are located in the driest parts of the island.
Ruabh Huinish at the north of the island stays dry in all but the fiercest of wet westerly airflows. Meanwhile Flodigarry, Kilt Rock and Staffin crags on the east coast are sheltered from strong winds. Basking sharks, dolphins and whales are frequently sighted right beside the climbs.
Learn to Lead
This serious course is ideal for those with ambitions to tackle climbing “at the sharp end”. We start with the basics of establishing a solid anchor for top-roping or abseiling. This is then progressed to placing gear for running belays. Initially the protection is often placed from an abseiling position with the instructor beside the pupil discssing the merits of a piece of gear. The same route can be used repeatedly until skills and confidence are high enough to commit to the lead.
Flodigarry provides superb cracklines on low grade routes; Kilt Rock’s easier routes swallow gear in their numerous cracks; Elgol rock requires cunning thinking both to place gear and to minimise rope drag; Sron na Ciche provides a face of Alpine proportions to put your skills to the test. We also cover important issues such as self-rescue, pulley systems & other emergency actions
Skye Guides can provide all of the necessary equipment. Clients with their own gear are encouraged to bring this in order to increase their familiarity with their equipment.
An intimate knowledge of the Cuillin and an extensive collection of crag shots has revealed huge potential for new climbs. We have pioneered more than 20 in the last couple of years alone, many with clients and mostly in the lower or middle grades between V. Diff and E1. There are dozens of similar unclimbed lines and adventurous clients are welcome to push us towards thes with fun guaranteed and a name-check in climbing history for any successes.
Most climbing is done under duress with little chance to analyse performance. We all suffer from the same problem and can all learn crucial lessons from climbers with more experience. The classes are tied in with most multi-day courses but can also be booked specifically. Areas commonly dealt with are correct use of feet, dealing with fear, simplifying rope-work and intense training in placing protection. We have an indoor facility if weather conditions are not suitable but always prefer to teach on real rock. Half-days are available for the indoor sessions.
Instruction in alpine rope techniques suitable for use in the Cuillin is one of the most common requests and is available in conjunction with many outings. A single day of instruction can greatly improve enjoyment and safety once the basics of moving together has been grasped.