/ Cuillin Ridge in winter; timings for different sections
Winter is when the Cuillin truly takes on its "Alpine" status with conditions affecting the seriousness, line & techniques differently through the day. Descents are particularly thought provoking! With this in mind I've opted for using an alpine grading rather than Scottish winter. Timings are for (R) rounds, (S) sections or (A) approach. Approach & descents will vary hugely but allow 3.5 hours to the first summit in all but perfect conditions. Allow a min of 2 hours to descend but the last hour will probably be on a good footpath.
Daylight is about 7-30am to 4pm just now but will vary a lot with cloud cover.
(R) Traverse Gillean up Tourist rte, Descend from Bealach A Bhasteir E-W AD 9hrs
(S) Traverse Am Basteir & Tooth AD 1.5hrs
(S) Bruach na Frithe to Bealach Harta AD 2hrs
(S) Traverse Bidean N-S (col to col on Traverse) D 1.5hrs
(S) Glaic Moire to An Dorus AD 2hrs
(S) An Dorus- Banachdaich AD 2+hrs
(R) Coire na Banachdaich PD 8hrs
(A) Dearg W Ridge PD 3hrs in ascent
(R) Coire Lagan, Pinn to Alasdair D 9hrs
(R) Dubhs from Ghrunnda AD 7hrs
(R) Sgurr nan Eag to Gars-bheinn PD 8hrs
A brief overview is also available here & prints off easily in a single A4 sheet.
(R) Traverse Gillean up Tourist rte, Descend from Bealach A Bhasteir E-W AD 9hrs SHOULD BE 7 HOURS; IE ~5 HRS TO BEALACH A BHASTEIR ON AN ATTEMPT
All the timings are guideline only & conservative if perfect conditions prevail.
Thanks! Can't seem myself doing the full traverse in winter but this is really useful for day forays too. Did the Banachdaich Coire in powdery conds a few years back expecting a wintery walk. It still ranks as one of my best winter mountaineering days out! Found it harder than Tower Ridge which I did in same season under better conditions.
Looking perfect for a Traverse now 'til Wednesday (or Thursday possibly). I'll give up posting on UKC if I don't hear about anyone going for it.
Thanks for this Mike, very helpful.
Last winter, I took what I thought was a very slim chance on Skye after being turned back from Torridon late night by the Stromferry landslide.
I was with two winter newbies and we didn't have a guidebook, so knowing the ridge a bit we just did the southwest ridge of Sgurr Dearg, which despite the powdery conditions probably ranks as one of the best days out doing anything, anywhere, that I've ever had.
My friends couldn't quite believe they'd never been winter climbing before and I couldn't quite believe their luck - but I'll be taking the chance again for sure!
Any chance you could postpone the good clear weather until Saturday?! It's all happening a week too early!
Yes- it is a long way... but considering I used to live in Wales, its a bit nearer than it used to be! You get the conditions more than us, and your ridge is longer, so I enjoy reading your conditions reports, and sure one day I'll take a punt on them again.
Yes, Alpine grades make sense for this. Those who haven't experienced the magic of the ridge in wintry conditions (see pix of the In Pinn just posted on my profile) might note that you can have great lowish-grade days by bypassing some of the difficulties: e.g. northern third of the ridge but bypass Am Basteir and the Tooth, or bypass lower part of Gillean's Pinnacle Ridge by ascending 4/5 Gully.
Sitting here in the office reading about these condtions isn't helping my mood! Was going to nip to the lakes Tuesday night for a stretch but everything there seems to be falling down :-(
I can only start Tuesday night (late)/ Wednesday morning, do you think conditions would last to Thu evening?
yr- http://www.yr.no/place/United_Kingdom/Scotland/Portree/long.html agrees at the moment too & beeb alluded to the high winning out longer than initially expected.
Snow was ok, crusty in places and you would sometimes go up to your knee a bit unexpectedly but other than that it was good. Was going to descend the same way as last week but a look down into the corrie showed quite a bit of the boulder fields so I just went down Fionn Choire instead !
Your photos are visible now, thanks for those.
Ridge traversed in 12 hours today by "a strong team from Fort William", according to Mike Pescod on Twitter a short while ago.
Ken Applegate and Scott Kirkhope currently halfway through, having bivvied at the inn pinn. #scotwinter
Thursday ok, wind picking up but dry, probably a bit cloudy. Total gamble of setting off when you arrive tonight, lightweight packs & following the tracks could snatch it for you if you're very slick. You'll have a fantastic day anyway & Friday looks awful most of the highlands.
Friday windy, likely snowing on tops then similar for Sat & Sun. Not good for a Traverse unless you know it well given likely poor vis and steps getting filled in.
Overall its a very good forecast for an optimist for the week ahead;) XC, YR, & BBC have temps (sea-level) not forecast above the "magic" 6'C.
Realistically I wouldn't be surprised to see that creep up and met office is suggesting freezing level above the tops. Will the crest survive?- on the cusp and depends on precise line that the depressions track, effect of snow pack, wind-chill etc.
...but did they do a complete traverse?
"R) Sgurr nan Eag to Gars-bheinn PD 8hrs"
the "R" was used to abbreviate the "round" from Glen Brittle beach.
No, they didn't do a complete traverse. At the speed they were going at, that last bit wouldn't have taken them long either!
Wow, that's good going!
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