/ Cullin ridge

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CharlieMack - on 18 Jun 2013
Heading to do the Cullin ridge in August with a friend, either at the beginning or end of the month.

My main question is regarding footwear. I've got some 5.10 Daesents, would these be appropriate? I'm thinking they will be very comfy and make the climbing sections very easy. Though won't be great for long walking distance. As far as i can tell, most of the ridge is climbing/scrambling, so it's mainly the approach and descent from the ridge i'm thinking whether or not these would be appropriate.
Otherwise it's big boots all the way as i don't have anything in between like a normal approach shoe.

Also, any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers in advance.
johncoxmysteriously - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

I've no idea what 5.10 Daesents are, but I can tell you that by far the majority of the ridge is walking.

jcm
CharlieMack - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Daescents http://www.bananafingers.co.uk/five-ten-daescent-p-435.html
Very flimsy soft climbing trainers, no support for walking, but they are very comfy and good for climbing. If it's pretty pathy, then they might be a winner, otherwise i might go for boots if it's pretty ankle unfriendly.
johncoxmysteriously - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

Hmm. No idea then. It's a rough hill day out with a load of scrambling thrown in, basically, and a couple of set-piece climbs which aren't really any harder than the scrambling. 'Soft climbing trainers' don't sound great to me for the purpose, but I've no idea really what they are. Presumably the record-setters use Walshes or the like, so obviously it can be done.

jcm
cas smerdon - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: Do they have sticky soles? 5:10 guide tennies would be ok but not ordinary trainers.

What do you normally wear for scrambling? You need to be able to climb VDiff in them unless you are going to avoid the climbs. I find my Scarpa approach shoes are more grippy on the rock than big boots.
ablackett - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: I reckon you will trash the 5.10's by the end of the ridge so it will be an extra 50 on your day out (if they survive till the end) The rock is very sharp and grippy and the 5.10's have a very soft though very grippy rubber sole so they won't last.

I would go for something like Inov8 X-tallon 212's fell running shoe. Great on rock, and if you can climb VD in them you are away. If not then stick a pair of climbing shoes in for whoever is doing the leading and they are light enough to clip to your harness and forget about them. Again they are very grippy but only last about 100 miles of rock/road before the studs are worn down so you will take a good chunk off their life.

Otherwise it's boots + climbing shoes and the second has to carry the boots up the climb.

There are more important weight saving things to think about such as which nuts to take and how long your rope is.
colinkeb - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: we did a large part of it in hiking boots, including the TD gap, Inn pin and eastern gully and didn't miss rock boots at all. in fact for the TD gap I thought the hiking boots were far better. we took climbing boots for the cioch and arrow route, we just changed foot ware at the start of the slab, wouldn't fancy it in hiking boots to be honest even though the rock is amazingly grippy.
wilkie14c - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:
I had some similar 5.10 shoes and to be honest they were a bit clumpy and feet rolled in them a bit but with thick scoks and tightening them down before the climbing bits they should be fine. To be sure you need to climb in them, get out scrambling for a day and see how you go. I last did the ridge in 5.10 guide tennies and brilliant for climbing as they are, my soles hurt by the end as the tennies are a bit flat footed.
punj - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: i done the ridge in Scarpa manta SL's, next time i do it, i'll probably use them again.
AlanLittle - on 18 Jun 2013
Did it in walking boots, wished I had fell running shoes instead. Was leading about E1 at the time so had plenty in reserve on the climbing bits except the hideous TD Gap
CharlieMack - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

As far as the climbing goes, i'm not too bothered to do it in either the 5.10's or big boots, as i won't be taking climbing shoes. I'll quite happily lead HVS in the 5.10 Daescents. Which is what is making me want to take them, so i can do everything in them without swapping shoes.

My main concern is getting to and from the ridge in them, if it's boggy, etc. where boots would be a better choice. As we are going in August, i'm thinking i'm going to get really hot and sweaty in big boots, which is pretty much the only reason i'm against them.

Granted if i go in big boots, i should be fine on all of the set route, but then doing the pinnacle and other mini climbs on the route that are not necessary will prove tricky and may warrant taking climbing shoes as well.
AlanLittle - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

How it the Pinnacle "not necessary"? It's one of the best bits, it's directly on the line of the ridge and it's a munro. And it's much easier than the other "climbing" sections. Get yourself up it.
estivoautumnal - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to CharlieMack)
>
> Hmm. No idea then. It's a rough hill day out with a load of scrambling thrown in, basically, and a couple of set-piece climbs which aren't really any harder than the scrambling.

That's a bit of a misleading macho description. I'll re-phrase that, a false description.

The climbing bits are harder than the scrambling bits. I've done it a few times and found the best footwear is a stiffish summer boot. Not a flexi fabric boot but not a full on rigid sole. Something in the middle.
Cameron94 on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: If it's been dry and sunny for three ish days before you are going out you shouldn't have problems with wet approaches.
If you are in some of the more bouldery coires I'm guessing your ankles will get bashed about a bit and the descents don't look all that hard wearing.
CharlieMack - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to AlanLittle:

To get from one end to the other it is not necessary, of course i am going to do it. I'll be climbing it regardless of whether i take boots or trainers. Was planning on doing the VS(?) fun route up it. In which case i'd need rock boots if i were to go in big boots.

I'm basically trying to work out if i can just go in my climbing trainers. My main worry is getting to and from the ridge, which doesn't seem to be covered in the articles on the ridge.
I don't think the climbing/ scrambling will prove tricky. Just working out appropriate footwear for getting there and back.
a lakeland climber on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

Slightly boggy to begin with for the approach then it's either scree or bare rock to get on the ridge. Getting from Gillean to Sligachan isn't much different from say using the Miners' Track to get from Snowdon to Pen y Pass.

I'd use fell running shoes for the whole ridge.

ALC
CharlieMack - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Cheers, just the answer i was after :) Think i'll risk it in the trainers, if it gets a little wet, they should dry out quickly in the August heat... fingers crossed. Hopefully no overbearing sun though!
Wilbur - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

I did it in sportiva boulder x style approach shoes including any climbing and that was fine even for the td gap but imagine you might want climbing shoes if for example your lead grade was HS..
leemagowan - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: Ive done the ridge a few times now, good stiff boots or even a flex 3 season boot would work, approach shoes are ok for the walk in from the north, not suitable for the walk in from glenbrittle bay. I would go for la sportive trango...in my opinion the best for the job, don't forget a 40/50m 1 rope, better safe than sorry, would never take a half rope as the rock(grabbo) will tear it up, a harness and some slings, sg krabs, mallions, tat(3x 5m pieces) and a sence of humour.

don't do it by yourself and stick to timmings and have an intended route map left with someone who knows what to do if you don't make timmings or the phonecalls.

If bivi is required, ensure you dropp off the ridge to a suitable bit of cover and ensure you get to a water point along the route, an idea is to take a really long straw/ tube to suck water out from under the rocks near the top, it saves you having to drop down 300m to the only 2/3 water pits along the route. keep it simple and slick for when you are using protection.

goodluck
leemagowan - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: don't do it in trainers, you will damage your anckle or legs, if you wish I will call you to advise, its a serious place, not like other scrambles in the uk or Ireland, its a beast and trainers will get you in trouble, if its dry in boots its hard work, in the wet the boots are troublesome also.

Perhaps go to the lakes and try some grade 1 scrambles in trainers next to the road, and have a medic on standby......up on the cullins you have no-one to help, you get injured up there.....their is often no way back, phone signal is not the best and compass is affected by the rock, gps has a week signal and also there are lots of black spots in the area.

Boots all the way
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JLS on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

I did it in Scarpa Mojito...

http://www.climbnewcastle.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=32_35&products_id=458&osCsid=7da27...

...they were ideal for the most part but I was glad when the walkout ended as the soles of my feet had had just about enough. (to put that in context other things hurt much more)

I've seen them in the shops, I think those 5.10's you have are probably just too soft and there is a fair chance that even if they make it, your feet won't.
a lakeland climber on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to leemagowan:

I did the full ridge in boots while my companions all wore fell running shoes. I'd have worn Walshes but I'd sprained my ankle a week before so needed a bit of support. At the end of twelve hours or more on the ridge boots just feel like lead weights on the end of your legs.

I've done quite a bit of the ridge in fell running shoes (these are not "trainers") and they are more than suitable - you are much more nimble and tend to be on top of scree boulders rather than clattering through them. What on earth do you mean by "damage your legs".

ALC
victorclimber - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: pair of brasher suede walking boots did me fine..
victorclimber - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to leemagowan: get a grip man!!
Mike Lates - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: Cameron's answer was the best advice on footwear; approach shoes if its been dry for 3 or more days & staying that way.
A bigger problem may be nonchalence & underestimation which is common with virgins.
As a hardcore rock-jock opinion, in perfect weather, Ben Moon's summary gives a clue-
"As it turned out it was probably the hardest thing I have ever done! It just seemed endless and although the final summit of Sgurr nan Gillean is pretty much in view all the time it never seems to get any closer."
Sadly his full account (Moonblog) doesn't appear to be available any more.

Do some proper research matching maps & descriptions to hundreds of pics that are available on-line; don't try it unless you have 100% vis and you may have a fighting chance.
johncoxmysteriously - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

>I don't think the climbing/ scrambling will prove tricky

In my experience (not that much, only done it once), the climbing will not prove tricky, but the scrambling might, especially if you don't pick the easiest line, which will almost certainly happen regularly, and/or pull off a hold at some unexpected moment, which certainly happened to me a couple of times.

I can't imagine why anybody takes ropes on this. You'll be in a position a hundred times in the day where a fall would be fatal; I really don't see that roping up for a pitch or two of V Diff is going to reduce the odds much, specially when these bits are so well-travelled and hence the loose stuff is gone.

While there's a load of scrambling, I still maintain that in distance terms, and probably also chronological terms, the large majority of the day is walking.

jcm
Pero - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to CharlieMack)
>
> I can't imagine why anybody takes ropes on this.

Because you're an E6 climber and most of us aren't. I was confident of scrambling all day, but a fall on the TD Gap at HS 4b or whatever is not impossible. I've never fallen scrambling, but I have fallen on polished 4b moves before.

Not to take a rope on the ridge traverse would be very bad advice for the average climber/scrambler.
Pero - on 19 Jun 2013
... also, we abseiled 5 times in all, going South to North. The down-climbing, especially across the middle section (Bidean Druim nan Ramh) would be very tricky.
johncoxmysteriously - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Pero:

Yeah, I suppose if you're going to abseil. Seems like cheating to me, and decidedly unaesthetic, but if that's what people want to do.

Fair point about the TD gap as well; I went round this bit, which is easy enough. Although I suppose some people would say that's cheating as well.

I wasn't climbing E6 or anything like it when I did the ridge, in fact I was barely climbing at all. I remember meeting a fellow on it who climbed E3 and had done the Bob Graham and being totally in awe; both of those seemed like inconceivable achievements to me at the time. Now I know only one of them was!

jcm
CharlieMack - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to leemagowan:

They are hardly DC trainers, if anything they will be far more suitable for the climbing/ scrambling sections as i can climb reasonably hard in them. The issue may well be that they are too soft so over the course of the two days my feet may get worn out, although i do a fair bit of barefoot running/ training, so i have reasonably strong feet.

It was mainly the issue of bogs etc on the way to and from the ridge i was worried about.
Offwidth - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

Another vote for approach shoes. You can rock hop most of the way to keep your feet dry and we did the ridge on a dry day after several days of rain with drizzle slowly reducing to nothing on the approach. Wimps can take some plastic bags and wrap em round the feet in case of hitting a bog impasse. Go light: Bob's website leads the way

http://bobwightman.co.uk/climb/skye_ridge.php
Doghouse - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to leemagowan:
> (In reply to CharlieMack) don't do it in trainers, you will damage your anckle or legs, if you wish I will call you to advise, its a serious place, not like other scrambles in the uk or Ireland, its a beast and trainers will get you in trouble, if its dry in boots its hard work, in the wet the boots are troublesome also.
>
> Perhaps go to the lakes and try some grade 1 scrambles in trainers next to the road, and have a medic on standby......up on the cullins you have no-one to help, you get injured up there.....their is often no way back, phone signal is not the best and compass is affected by the rock, gps has a week signal and also there are lots of black spots in the area.
>
> Boots all the way

Hahaha Rubbish! :-)
CharlieMack - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

Cheers for all the feedback. Think i'm going for the trainers then.

Final question: Rope length?? I have an old 50m 9.8 single that has some very worn/ core showing places in 2-3 places.

If i cut off the core showing sections it makes it 40m, if i cut the worn sheath section at the other end it makes it 30m.

Is 30m enough? or should i leave it 40? As the third bit of the rope is sound, just the sheath is very furry where it's clearly rubbed on an edge a few times while someone was dogging up something on a second most likely.

I'm going to retire the rope after this trip/ turn it into a 30m confidence rope/ rigging rope. So i'll not be leading or using it for any other climbing than the ridge.
Cameron94 on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: 35m is the ideal length imo. Long enough to do short pitches, not to heavy if you want to short rope quite a lot of the ridge and long enough for the abseils.

Carry some 6mm ab tat to leave behind that way you don't have to chop the rope while on the ridge at all.

CharlieMack - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to Cameron94:

Cheers, i'll go for 40m to save cutting the other end as the end is obviously bonded properly. I was half wondering about ab tat, as i assumed since it was such a well traveled route that it would be fairly equipped. Always have some tat with me anyway though.
Nath93 - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: 30m won't get you down the Inn Pinn abseil, IIRC. I think its a 17m ab so the 40m rope will do you fine.

Ab stations are always worth backing up with your own stuff, just for peace of mind.

Have a good one !
Cameron94 on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack: I've carried some ab tat roughly 3 long every time I was out on the ridge and I've left three bits behind in total and two slings.

Despite it being popular the ab tat can be old and frayed especially bits without a biner or mallion, which doesn't seem to stop others but I would be cautious.
Archy Styrigg - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

I'm planning on my 3rd attempt end of July/early August.
Going as light as possible, so I've almost decided on a pair of Scarpa Crux.
Any thoughts on 2 x 25m of 9mm rope? Got on old 50m to chop in half. (share the weight out!)
Cameron94 on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to Archy Styrigg: As Nath said the ab of the inn pinn is 17 meters so a 35 would do or two 25 but that seems like it would add weight to rucksacks overall.

I was climbing in my crux shoes the other night and they were no problems on severes etc so would be fine. If it's dry it's probably what I would use over my Charmoz boots now.
spidermac on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:
Lots of good advice above. I have done the ridge twice once in summer & once in winter both times ina day & both times on my first attempt. Summer was solo, winter with a partner but we never roped up. Advice on tactics & gear is going to totaly depend on weather; fitness & ability of the party.
As Mike says above don`t even think about it in anything less than perfect vis & a good forecast. DO your research - route finding is not easy & can cost a lot of time. If you choose to go heavy - lots of climbing gear big boots you will almost certainly bivy. The approach from Glenbrittle to Gars Bheinn especially the last 1000 ft is a horrible scree slope that would be unpleasant to say the least in trainers. I went up Coire a Ghrunnda & backtracked along the ridge - much nicer. Take as much water as you can if its hot dehydration will slow you considerably. The climbing is at max VS downsoloing the Inaccess pinnacle. If you can solo this no need to abseil. I wore approach shoes which were great. ( summmer of course!!) Get a good forecast go light & fast. Good luck
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CharlieMack - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to spidermac:

Cheers for the advice. Doing lots of research into it all at the moment. Still slightly unsure for footwear. If i had normal approach shoes it would be a no brainer. Scree slope in the daescents sounds painful :/
I'll see what the weather/ temperature is like, and if it's slightly cooler/cloudy i may just opt for the boots.
Archy Styrigg - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to CharlieMack:

That scree approach is 'soul' destroying!
I'm planning on going further East and gently traverse up to about half way up Gars bheinn's East ridge. Adds an extra mile or so, but looks a lot easier.
JLS on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to Archy Styrigg:

>"Adds an extra mile or so, but looks a lot easier."

Don't go that way! As spidermac says, go up Coire a Ghrunnda & backtrack along the ridge.

It's a great path (rather than bog trotting) and you can dump kit on the ridge near Sgurr nan Eag. Much easier allround.
bpmclimb - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to leemagowan:

>
> Perhaps go to the lakes and try some grade 1 scrambles in trainers next to the road, and have a medic on standby.....

You must know some unusually obliging medics! Or do you pay them? :)

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