Superb conditions on Alasdair. 5th January


I didn’t know what to expect after the past few days of extreme weather but big dumps of snow & big thaws followed by a temperature drop should produce some useful conditions; despite knowing the theory I was amazed at what we found. From Coire Lagan we climbed NW Ramp of Sgumain in 3 full pitches. It is definitely grade II (as opposed to I in the guidebook) with some laid-back but only thinly iced slabs concentrating the mind well.

View of the route from Coire Lagan

2nd belay

Maybe next time this icicle will grow big enough to climb

Above me the top pitch weaves between snow patches & ice smears before finishing below The Final Tower, an impressive Severe rock climb in summer.

Traversing onto Sgumain and taking in the views

 Looking to the South end over Loch Choire a’ Ghrunnda

Around Sgumain; Blabheinn in the background

Lunch in the cave; Dubhs behind

Above here the views got even better and we continued around Sgumain and onto Alasdair by the SW Flank (II). Above the chimney there were a few small rock steps before the long runnel to the summit. The snow in this was in superb nick with just enough give for the toes and front points.

Rich & Andy on the last few steps to the top of Skye

Descending from the summit.

The narrow crest down the Stone Shoot was also in good nick but didn’t disguise the big drops. Descending the Stone Shoot was a dream with heels digging in and crampons off pretty quickly before the obligatory bumslide to finish.

Sgurr Dearg & the In Pinn in evening light seen from the Great Stone Shoot

Bright moon & stunning sunset colours to finish; what more could a boy want? Off to the ceilidh to find out.