Alpine Adventure on the Cuillin Ridge


Matt set out with Simon and Tony early on Saturday morning to see if (my!) rumours of incredible neve on the ridge were true! We experienced a certain amount of trepidation when we saw that the snow line was 500 metres lower than two days ago. However we decided to have faith and press on to the South-East ridge of Sgurr Nan Gillean, where we were rewarded with a view of the entire Cuillin ridge.

Sadly the rumours of quality neve on the crest of the ridge turned out to be just that. Fortunately the amazing situation, incredible views, sunshine and enjoyment of the climbing more than made up for this.

The ridge seemed truly Alpine in appearance and appropriately an alpine approach of moving together provided maximum enjoyment in continuous but safe progress. Am Bhasteir had a massive covering of snow that made progress easier than in summer conditions. There was even a soft landing below the bad step!

We made good progress along the ridge despite the occasional bout of wading and arrived at the An Caisteal cave just as dark fell. There was a lot more snow than we expected in the cave so we decided to make our way past Bidean Druim nan Ramh to another bivouac site at Bealach na Glaic Moire. The 10ft deep drifts on the Bealach put paid to this plan so we found an alternative site to eat and lay our heads down at.

Sunday morning found us picking our way down the slopes of Coir a Mhadaidh and admiring the amazing views all along the ridge. There is an amazing amount of snow on the Cuillin and all the gullies seem complete (even Waterpipe Gully) and while it is mainly powder just now the mixed climbing should be in good condition and gullies should hopefully respond well to the upcoming melt-freeze cycle…

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