/ Account of Friday's attempt on the Cuillin Ridge

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Martin Davies on 15 Sep 2013
For anyone interested, I've written a blog post on my recent attempt on the Cuillin Ridge: http://scottishelective.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/day-fourty-seven-friday-cuillin-ridge.html
Any thoughts much appreciated!
Crofty - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Martin Davies:
Well done on getting as far as you did in those sort of conditions and time of year. It took me two attempts (may and june), the first time we were rained off on a 2 day attempt at the notch before ascending Bruach na Frithe (sp?) sounds like you were not too far from there at the first point you considered retreat. The basalt intrusions were as slippery as ice and we roped up on what is normally a walk!
10 days later we did it in a day, 12 hrs summit to summit (16 car at GB to Slig pub) on a warm, but windy day
I am sure you will do it, when the weather is more suitable.
Deciding to go light and fast or bivi is always debateable, we did it light and fast in the end, but I would like to do a 2 dayer and savour it more
Mark Collins - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Martin Davies:
Thanks for sharing your experience, I admire your ethics in keeping true to the established challenge.

I had a half hearted attempt this year in much better conditions than you. I did a bivi at Coir a Ghrunda but upon my return from doing the tail end I chased off two Ravens who had opened the top pocket of my sack and nicked all my food!

I think you did well considering the conditions, I'd have been tempted to do the ultimate cheat; circumvent the top of peaks as much as poss, forget about Sgurr Dubh Mor as its in another postcode, miss climbing out of the TD Gap via West Ridge of Alasdair, Collie's Ledge, walk around the In Pin, and so on). You could probably still have a really good and shorter day, plus reach Gillean. Then go back for a proper go when the weather improves.

Also, leave another set of camping gear in the car so you could get your heads down properly at Sligachan.
Andy Nisbet - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Mark Collins:

You can do whatever you like, but you can't walk round the Inn Pinn, not with a clear conscience anyway.
wilkie14c - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet: Yea, true enough, the pinn is THE ridge summit after all. I agree with Mark though on other time saving dodges - miss the TD via the left side scramble and Collies ledge is just so much better than kings plus you are moving in the right direction while on it. Walk past the tooth too and straight to SNG. Thats the sytle i did it in in poor weather but as you say, do whatever you want, I consider the challenge is to get to the slig via SNG, how you do it is up to you. Well done to the OP for a brave attempt at this time of year, I've bailed in mid sept too and know how disapointing it feels, these guys got a lot further than we did though.
Nice write up, thanks.
Gordon Stainforth - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to wilkie14c:

When you say, 'walk past the Tooth', do you mean walk past the whole of Am Basteir? That is unforgiveable. It's bad enough to bypass the Tooth itself, which is right on the crest at over 3000 ft, and one of finest pinnacles in whole of Britain.
Mike Lates - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Martin Davies: Just to confirm your feelings about King's Chimney- it is now a lot harder- the block above the one with the wedged sling has gone. Scarily I thought it was the best of the 3, the one to haul on & place the thread around!
wilkie14c - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to wilkie14c)
>
> When you say, 'walk past the Tooth', do you mean walk past the whole of Am Basteir? That is unforgiveable. It's bad enough to bypass the Tooth itself, which is right on the crest at over 3000 ft, and one of finest pinnacles in whole of Britain.

Hey Gordon
No, not saying to walk past the tooth as a means of doing the ridge but in inclement weather and with darkness approaching it is worth considering missing it and making your goal SNG. I guess it all depends upon ones purity. I have completed the ridge in early summer in great weather and yes, the usual style of the whole ridge, climbing routes and minor diversions is the only acceptable way of claiming the ridge in these conditions but in mid sept, with mist & rain and daylight short, unless you know the ridge very well I find it acceptable to adjust ones tactics to give you the greatest chance of making it to the Slig. I think its about being honest about your cababilities coupled with the right tactic on the day, speed and safety go hand in hand if planned correctly as we know. No other route in Britain offers so many varied opinions eh?!

BTW, not long finished FIVA! and found it extremely entertaining and exciting. Read it cover to cover during a 36 hour marathon trip from LA to Manchester, the trip seemed to pass rather quickly thanks to that book. Thank you!
wilkie14c - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Mike Lates:
> (In reply to Martin Davies) Just to confirm your feelings about King's Chimney- it is now a lot harder- the block above the one with the wedged sling has gone. Scarily I thought it was the best of the 3, the one to haul on & place the thread around!

I bet that was brown trousers for whoever pulled that out. Was it the last good thread before stepping out right?
estivoautumnal - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to wilkie14c)
>
> When you say, 'walk past the Tooth', do you mean walk past the whole of Am Basteir? That is unforgiveable. It's bad enough to bypass the Tooth itself, which is right on the crest at over 3000 ft, and one of finest pinnacles in whole of Britain.

Surely it's up to the individual to do what they want? If your goal is to do the ridge, ticking all the tops then that's what you are out to do. If you just want the up high experience and an enjoyable day out then you can miss out as much as you want. Why bring rules into hillwalking? It's a different matter if they 'claim' the ridge.

Gordon Stainforth - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to wilkie14c:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> Hey Gordon
> No, not saying to walk past the tooth as a means of doing the ridge but in inclement weather and with darkness approaching it is worth considering missing it and making your goal SNG. I guess it all depends upon ones purity. I have completed the ridge in early summer in great weather and yes, the usual style of the whole ridge, climbing routes and minor diversions is the only acceptable way of claiming the ridge in these conditions but in mid sept, with mist & rain and daylight short, unless you know the ridge very well I find it acceptable to adjust ones tactics to give you the greatest chance of making it to the Slig. I think its about being honest about your cababilities coupled with the right tactic on the day, speed and safety go hand in hand if planned correctly as we know. No other route in Britain offers so many varied opinions eh?!
>

Ah, I agree entirely about the weather thing, and of course safety comes first. And if it's then a choice between AB and SNG then the latter has to take precedence, being one of the v best summits in Britain. And also of course, to do the Ridge like that is still many times better than not completing it, and baling out before the end.

> BTW, not long finished FIVA! and found it extremely entertaining and exciting. Read it cover to cover during a 36 hour marathon trip from LA to Manchester, the trip seemed to pass rather quickly thanks to that book. Thank you!

Great to hear your reactions. Thanks. ... Just keep spreading the word! (mind you, that seems to be happening anyway)

Gordon Stainforth - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to estivoautumnal:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> Surely it's up to the individual to do what they want? If your goal is to do the ridge, ticking all the tops then that's what you are out to do. If you just want the up high experience and an enjoyable day out then you can miss out as much as you want. Why bring rules into hillwalking? It's a different matter if they 'claim' the ridge.

Well of course there are no rules, and there are many circumstances where one might have to miss out the Tooth. But to miss out Am Basteir itself would surely be a bit like saying you've done the Snowdon Horseshoe if you miss out Lliwedd. But obviously in bad weather you could easily be forced to miss out Am Basteir, because it's quite a nasty ascent from the SNG col, with a lot of it shelving at a scary angle over the abyss of Coruisk (to follow the ridge direct is more secure but harder). Plus there's a bit of a boulder problem move on the crest higher up which I don't think can be avoided.

Mike Lates - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to wilkie14c: Hi Paul, No, higher thread is still there but creates a bit more drag as more recessed. There's also plenty space for a big nut/hex/cam before moving right.
I'll have to go back again and check quite how hard it is now. Last week my head state flipped out of confident mode and I instantly decided to clip the ancient old sling (which i would never normally contemplate as its been there since I can remember). Then slithered & flobbed my way onto the same chock whilst avoiding pulling on what appears to be the 2 halves of the missing block.
Very similar effect on the brain to last year when my favourite hand hold snapped off the crux of Naismith's. I've since gone back and, mentally prepared, not found it so much different to how it was.
JohnnyW - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Martin Davies:

Yeah, well done lads, in those conditions. We were successful in our attempt last month, but we had good conditions. I would not have continued in the wet myself, as I hate the slippy basalt!

And I do think the pic that you say is Mhadaidh is actually Bidean, from the col before An Caisteal.

Cheers for sharing it with us, it's a great route isn't it?
JohnnyW - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Martin Davies:

Oh, and that 'nails' downclimb after the ab on An Caisteal can be abbed too. You may have missed the tat at the top of the easier part of the downclimb (as you go slightly Left/North before cutting back right into the gap down the wall).
You just have to watch the rope over the edges.

Cheers
marzi - on 16 Sep 2013
Good effort lads. Its well hard up there and a long day out and the climbs are much harder than the grades suggest.

Isn't hauling the bags behind you the norm?
victorclimber - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Mark Collins: I agree with Andy Nisbet no Inn Pinn no ridge ..
Jim C - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Mark Collins:
> (In reply to Martin Davies)
> Thanks for sharing your experience, I admire your ethics in keeping true to the established challenge.
>
> I did a bivi at Coir a Ghrunda but upon my return from doing the tail end I chased off two Ravens who had opened the top pocket of my sack and nicked all my food....

No surprise there
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2jMSzsvWJ0

Some reports already of sacks being shredded and credit cards keys etc being removed and strewn around, and food taken.

What will they learn to do next year?
Mark Collins - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to victorclimber and Andy Nisbet:
I'm not trying to suggest claiming something you haven't done, just making the best of poor conditions.

I got the impression from the blog that part of the reason those guys went as far as they did, was so that they could get down to their car without too much bother. They seemed well aware of their timings throughout and could therefore have adjusted the route to get to Gillean, which I'd have thought would make a more complete ending to the day. However, I can see that I might have a problem returning if I did such a thing, as merely reaching Gillean would give some degree of closure.
Mark Collins - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Jim C:
> (In reply to Mark Collins)
> [...]
>
> No surprise there
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2jMSzsvWJ0
>
> Some reports already of sacks being shredded and credit cards keys etc being removed and strewn around, and food taken.
>
> What will they learn to do next year?

Thanks. Yes, I've seen what they're capable of on Autumnwatch. I suppose perhaps the most surprising thing is that this hasn't happened to me before. Oh yeah, the Dewerstone squirrel!
Martin Davies on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Mark Collins: It's a fair suggestion, but could never had lived with myself!! I'm happier that we did the bits we did properly, and now I can do a short day (maybe next week) to finish off the last section without too much bother, starting and finishing in Sligachan.
Then I'll have done the whole ridge properly, albeit not in one go... Next time!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Mark Collins - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Martin Davies:
> (In reply to Mark Collins) It's a fair suggestion, but could never had lived with myself!! I'm happier that we did the bits we did properly, and now I can do a short day (maybe next week) to finish off the last section without too much bother, starting and finishing in Sligachan.
> Then I'll have done the whole ridge properly, albeit not in one go... Next time!

Funny, that's pretty much what I did. Somewhere around the mid nineties I bailed down Coir A Bhasteir after Sgurr Na Frithe 11pm ish in mid May, having started from Glen Brittle around 3am. I took a pretty pure approach but not quite as good as yours but I did go solo, so I guess that counts for something. In 2011 I went back and finished it off, starting and finishing at Slig. Now I want to do it all again, only with a guidebook and a clue.

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