/ Advice on access to Sgurr Alasdair from Sron na Ciche , Skye.

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jack_eadie - on 06 May 2012
Hi there. Next weekend I return to Skye with my father for the first time in a few years. In previous years we have done most of the easy classic mountaineering lines, the Dubh Ridge, Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean, the Inn Pin, Clach Glas - Bla Bheinn traverse, Coire a Ghreadaidh skyline etc.

My dad would dearly love to stand on the Cioch and has said this would be his (and mine) preferred choice. So accessing via the terrace then Collies Route seems the best option, or Arrow Route if he feels up to it (he's 69).

He is trying also to bag his last few munros and Sgurr Alasdair remains. After consulting the guide it seems there is no real easy route from the Cioch up onto the ridge to Sgurr Sgumain - Sgurr Alasdair, Wallworks Route looks to be the easiest at V Diff.

If he's confident and feeling fit he could probably manage this but I don't want to take him out of his comfort zone and feel this may be a bit much.

Is there any other way up onto Sgurr Alasdair from the Cioch without descending and going round to the Great Stone shoot? Also what is the ridge like from Sgurr Sgumain to Sgurr Alasdair.

I think he would take the Summit at the expense of the Cioch at the end of the day but want to make it as memorable day as possible for us.

Thanks for your advice/info. J
JLS on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

I'm not sure but I think if you traverse "the shelf" you can then ascend "eastern gully". If not, you can descend "eastern gully" (includes a short ab) pick-up Collie's again and traverse to the Sgumain stone shoot which certainly can be walked up to the ridge, from where the South West Ridge is a grade 3 scramble to Sgurr Alasdair summit. There is no need to go as far a the great stone shoot. The smc Skye scrambles details a few other options ie 108 north ridge (mod) and 109 northwest ramp grade 3 scramble.
JLS on 06 May 2012
In reply to JLS:

Yes, you can go up the eastern gully as I'd though. Here's the bit from the guide talking about being on top of the cioch.

after enjoying the vistas... Some trick moves have to be reversed... Follow the shelf all the way back to eastern gully. It is possible to descend eastern gully but involves an ab.

A more entertaining option is to continue up eastern gully. An athletic wriggle to get past a big chock stone on the lefthand side is followed by an awkward little traverse on the left wall. Higher up take the right fork. Emerge on the southwest flank of sron an ciche and continue without difficult to the summit...
Tim Chappell - on 06 May 2012
I don't recommend Eastern Gully. It's a bit of a bomb alley, both because of natural stonefall and because of foot-loosened scree. The climbing is not technically hard, but it is quite ugly, with green and grease and at least one tricky overhang that might well stop even a good climber who was feeling prudent.

Myself, given the choice between gnarly gardening in the dark in Eastern Gully, and sunkissed secure gabbro on Wallwork's Route-- I wouldn't have to think hard about it.
Joe G - on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

> A more entertaining option is to continue up eastern gully. An athletic wriggle to get past a big chock stone on the lefthand side is followed by an awkward little traverse on the left wall.

I did this recently, it's definately entertaining. As you approach the chockstone it's impossible to see the way through, it becomes clearer once you're there, kind of underneath and up to the left, chimneying / caving experience helpful! "An athletic wriggle" is a good descrpition. Not all 69 year olds would be up for it but if your Dad's fit enough to get up them hills I'm sure he'll be fine! You'll need to take rucsacs off and a rope might be helpful, but you'll have that anyway.
Joe G - on 06 May 2012
In reply to Tim Chappell:

You do have a good point - it was a typically wet Skye day when I was mucking aobut in Eastern Gully, Wallwork's Route is really nice and gets you up to the top. A bit polished if I remember rightly so might be quite tricky if it is wet.
jack_eadie - on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie: Cheers guys. The "athletic Wriggle" in Eastern Gully sounds interesting! My dad though experienced enough hasn't done much scrambling climbing in recent years so I think sun kissed gabbro may be more his thing!

V Diff would be about his limit though. Is Wallworks particularly exposed/sustained? Are the belays nice and spacious? I imagine its nice and slabby rather than steep? I'm sure he'll cruise it but don't want to take him into overly intimidating terrain.

What is the scramble up the Glacis onto the ridge like? Also whats it like up Sgurr Sgumain onto Sgurr Alasdair?

Many thanks for your help, just hope it stays dry or might just have to pop up Bruach na Frithe! J
Tim Chappell - on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

The real go-to man for Skye is Mike Lates. He'll probably be on here later.

The other thing about the bad steps in E Gully: I don't recall seeing a lot of gear there, apart from in-situ ab tat that may or may not be trustworthy. But then, I was going down it not up. (And thinking: I'm very glad I'm *not* going up this beast...)
gilliesp on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

If your dad manages it all the way up and on to the actual Cioch he will, I am sure, readily manage the scramble up Eastern Gully. As I recall the only awkward bit is thrutching yourself through the chockstone tunnel. An adjacent but harder short left wall bypass is possible with security of a short rope perhaps. So with assistance I see no probs for someone as fit and experienced as your dad.
However I have seen scramblers reach an impasse at the V Diff 'bad step' on Alasdair's SW Ridge which as you probably know is easily sidestepped using the chimney just a little down and close by to right of it.
Wallworks would be a great route also but might slow the day up a bit?? Spoiled for choice really!
I would only attempt these routes with a decent weather forecast, mainly because it would make for a quality day out and one to remember.
Jamie B - on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

Wallworks is stiff at the grade, probably Severe. You'll be needing your rope back then?
jack_eadie - on 06 May 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead: Cheers Jamie, will probably avoid it then, will see how he feels after getting up to the Cioch but a stiff V Diff after the fun of Collies Route may be pushing it a bit.

What do you reckon my best option is? As I said it would be great to combine the Cioch with Sgurr Alasdair but not essential, a nice sporting way up to bag the munro would be fine. I was also considering the Lota Corrie route up the Bhastier Tooth then onto Am Bhastier.

I'll probably just take my 50m rope with me pal so no great rush for the rope back, J.
Jamie B - on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

What I'd probably do would be get onto the terrace below the Cioch slab and then do either Arrow Route (bold but easy VDiff) or Cioch Corner (well-protected Diff) to get up to the shelf leading onto the terrace. There is normally tat at the top of the latter which you could use to ab. I dont recall any great difficulty with the scramble across to the terrace.

Inclined to agree; getting the Cioch AND Sgurr Alastair ticked on the same day is tempting but actually quite a full itinerary.

I'm passing tommorow so will drop your kit off if you're about?

Tom Last - on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

Might be worth taking a short rope for Lota Corrie route too. I remember a short, sharp and quite exposed bit of climbing near the top up from the big ramp, we weren't roped, but wouldn't have argued with one. But we have have confused matters as it was late in the day, so may not be strictly necessary to go that way.
Jamie B - on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

> I was also considering the Lota Corrie route up the Bhastier Tooth then onto Am Bhastier.

Lota Corrie route easy enough but the continuation onto Am Basteir is desperate - hardest move on the Ridge traverse by far!
jack_eadie - on 06 May 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead: I'm not in during the day mate, get back from work around 6pm. Any evening is fine I'll be in, cheers, J
Tom Last - on 06 May 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
> (In reply to jack_eadie)
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> [...]
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> Lota Corrie route easy enough but the continuation onto Am Basteir is desperate - hardest move on the Ridge traverse by far!

Ah, wasn't sure if I'd remembered correctly, but that'll be it I guess.
jack_eadie - on 06 May 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead: Hmm, that probably won't do. Think we've both got our hearts set on the Cioch anyway. The days are long so if we just take our time I'm sure we'll make it up to the summit too, I'm just super excited to get back up there whatever we do!
Tim Chappell - on 06 May 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
> (In reply to jack_eadie)
>
> [...]
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> Lota Corrie route easy enough but the continuation onto Am Basteir is desperate - hardest move on the Ridge traverse by far!

It's a boulder problem! I tried it. And found it annoying. And didn't solve it :-(
JLS on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

If you've got your heart set on cioch and aren't overly worried about a long day then the eastern gully descent (with ab) and Sgumain shoot ascent route I suggested earlier will be relatively time efficient and of very low in technical difficulty. You could always have a quick look at the chock stone in eastern gully and see if you fancy it and if not make your way down and round to Sgumain shoot. Though as others have said a helmet would be wise as I'd guess there might be climbers descending the shoot by the time you are going up...
jack_eadie - on 06 May 2012
In reply to JLS: Yeah nice one, seems like a good option, scoping the chockstone in Eastern Gully and see if it'll go and abbing down to the stone shoot if not.

Been checking the new Skye guide (which rocks by the way!) and as mentioned earlier cheers, the bad step (mauvais-pas), of the SW ridge of Alasdair can also be bypassed if need be by the cheeky SW flank scramble.

Thanks for all the advice folks, canny wait now! J
JLS on 06 May 2012
In reply to jack_eadie:

From memory the eastern gully ab is only about 8m long so not a big deal. We just slung the rope around a large boulder and it pulled fine.

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