Thursday, 13 December 2012

A winter Cuillin traverse.

After my visit to Skye last week and seeing how much snow was on the ridge I had been keeping an eye on the forecast to see if the weather was going to do what I wanted it to. Thankfully it did and after a quick phone call to Mike to confirm my thoughts Ken and I packed our bags on Monday and headed up to Skye.


Abseiling off the West ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean.

A cup of tea at Mikes and some info about a couple of bivvy spots and then we sorted the transport out and left the car at about 8pm so we could bivvy in Coire a' Bhasteir to put us at the start of the ridge first thing in the morning. A cold nights bivvy and I woke about 3.45am to head torches on the West ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean which turned out to be Guy, Kenny, Donald and Friend. We packed up and made our way onto the ridge and were stood on top of Sgurr nan Gillean at 6am. We made good progress South along the ridge from here with great conditions under foot and a track pointing the way so route finding wasn't exactly a problem.


Sunrise from An Caisteal.


A counter balance abseil off the North peak of Bidein Druim nan Ramh.

We made it to Sgurr Dearg at about 3.45 pm and stood and looked at the In Pinn and decided to do it first thing in the morning when we were feeling a little fresher. We popped down to our bivvy spot and had a  good feed and plenty of rest. Another cold night but it was a little warmer in our cave and we both got a  good nights sleep. Morning came and we made our way back up to the In Pinn which was a great wake up call and we had to switch on pretty quickly. Down the other side and we made quick progress round An Stac and over Sgurr Mhic Choinnich and Sgurr Thearlaich. We had a bite to eat at the top of the great stone shoot and took in Sgurr Alasdair before we carried on to the T-D gap and continued South.


The start of the In Pinn at first light.


Ken just teetering up the last few moves on the In Pin.


Kings Chimney abseil.

The legs are feeling tired now and the up to Sgurr nan Eag seemed to take forever but at the top we can see the summit of Gars-bheinn, the last on the ridge and it doesn't seem that far away. At the summit we bumped into John and Ronnie who had been on the traverse too, we had a quick catch up and then made our way to Gars-bheinn as a team of four.


The start of the last rise upto Gars-bheinn


Looking North back along the ridge from Gars-bheinn. 

Reaching the top of Gars-bheinn was a fantastic feeling and to be able to look back and see the whole ridge was brilliant. Not often to you get the right conditions, with the right forecast, the time off and a good friend that is in the same position. I do consider myself lucky to have managed to get this classic British tick.

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