Archive for July, 2012

Collie’s Route to the Basteir Tooth, 24th July


On a showery day Lucy, Alan, Ben & I had a great time following in the footsteps of Norman Collie and John Mackenzie (1889). Also known as the Lota Corrie route the line took the famous duo 5 hours of searching before they breached the steep walls and the route is still a bit of an unknown quantity for many modern climbers.

You have to descend close to the steep southern wall of Am Basteir for 150m until access can be gained. After an initial 10m slab a gully is followed right back up to the Basteir Nick between the Tooth and Am Basteir.

Caution is needed with some loose debris in the bed of the gully but there is superb scrambling all the way up.

Above the Tooth another heavy shower hit us and made the steep moves through The Mouth very challenging.

We chucked Lucy at it with a promise of some traditional Victorian assistance. She placed a couple of pieces of gear to pull on while Ben & I shoved on feet from below. Once up Lucy dropped a long sling for the rest of us to pull up on.

On top the rain stopped once and for all and we whooped our way back to the pub.

Neist Rock, 21st July


Celia has climbed on bolts to a high level at home in Calgary and today had her first taste of climbing with traditional gear on the delightful dolerite at Neist. After warming up on Sonamara & Baywatch we moved over to Financial Sector where Matt, Beads & Murdo were already playing on Midas Touch.

We took their recommendation and first climbed this superb 25m VS. It deserves all the stars that it is given in the new seacliffs guidebook.

Out to our right Murdo was pointed at Shocks’ n’ Stares as a suitable route for him to lead and he made an impressively small amount of fuss.

Beads in a great position on Shocks’ n’ Stares

As we abseiled to the bottom for our next route it started to spit with rain but the craic was still good on the ground as Matt was engrossed in the crux moves of Terminal Bonus.

We opted for the right hand twin route to Midas Touch, an HVS called Insider Dealing. The climbing was just as good and both Celia and I finished before the rock got too wet. Pure Dead Brilliant!

Pinnacle Ridge and the Tooth with views and variations


I repeated the same route as I did last friday today but added in some new variations for myself with nearly 200ft of new climbing, not bad after nearly 20 years!

We started up Coopers Gully out of the Bhasteir Gorge. After the initial 50ft we took to the clean rib on the right that Rachel, Robin & I enjoyed last week.


Conditions were perfect as the early cloud burnt away and left us superb views all around.

On the 4th Pinnacle, after the initial zig zag, we took a direct line up the face instead of the usual ramp or subsidiary groove. Bit steeper & more exposed but good moves.

A ledge skirts the 4th Pinnacle on the east side and half way around a 15m crack leads directly to the summit block. This proved far more exciting than I planned with very loose rock & not one I recommend or will be doing again.

Alex on our new wee variation on the 4th pinnacle

We finally had company on the top of Gillean for a relaxed lunch before continuing over Am Basteir and the Tooth and a shorter abseil out of King’s Cave Chimney.

Pinnacle Ridge & Abseil Adventures on Friday the 13th.


Rachel. Robin & I enjoyed a misty day but on bone dry rock with a classic round of Coir’ a’ Bhasteir. We started with Pinnacle Ridge and climaxed with the huge abseil down the nose of the Basteir Tooth.

R&R on the exposed ledge at the start of Knight’s peak


Last time I did the big abseil from the Tooth we ended up with quite a bit of rope damage so I’ve been putting off repeatiing it for a while now. To add to the adventure we decided to test what I had been told, that a 60m rope doubled up is long enough to reach the ground!

Even in good visibility it’s impossible to see the landing from the top but the swirling mist added to the tension as I set off down.

It’s a long way down!

The knotted ends hung out on the windward side of the landing slab but I trusted my luck and dropped off the last huge overhang and reached the ground, just.

All of the spare half metre of rope that was left.


Rachel near the top


and Robin touching down


Luckily I only remembered the date once all of us had touched down and the rope had been retrieved safely!


Summer Continues. 6th July


There’s a weather pattern just now of overnight mists with the odd heavy shower chucked in. Through the day these are burning off in some very hot sunshine only for the clouds to build up again late evenings. With a good strong breeze chucked in to keep the midgies at bay we really couldn’t ask for a better summer set-up; long may it last! Here’s today’s selection-

Guy & Nick on South top of Ghreadaidh; Pinn behind.

Francis looking back at his first Cuillin peaks

For the second day on the trot we couldn’t resist the beautiful looking pools.

The water is a positively pleasant temperature

Guy also found some shallow-water-soloing to entertain us-

Quality new route- Techno Snob E2 5c 3rd July


Malcom & I made the most of our day off by visiting one of my virgin crags to try a the obvious central line.


We were treated to the full range of emotions; ecstacy with conditions being perfect with a warm breeze keeping midgies off, dry rock then a real stiff starting move that put us off so long it started raining. We were on the verge of running away but decided to take a look from above to see if the route was worth coming back for. What we saw didn’t encourage us hugely looking very steep & finishing in greasy loose stuff!


The rain stopped and the rock dried in front of our eyes. The move off the ground was now seeming a lot more positive so Malc tied on & went for it.  A wee bit of gardening was needed to find gear but the holds were all just superb. Near the top Malc made a couple of warning noises about the steepness & blankness so I ducked out of photography mode & into attentive belayer 😉


As the next shot shows I also found a need to really focus on the superb crux sequence at the top of the route. Fantastic effort Malcom on a beautiful route. 40m of very high quality climbing at about E2 5c. Techno Snob was the name we chose after much wracking of brains.