UKC

/ Am Basteir bad step

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Catriona on 20 Jun 2018

Could anybody tell me what gear they've used to set up the short abseil down the bad step on Am Basteir please?

Fiona Reid - on 20 Jun 2018
In reply to Catriona:

There was a sling and carabiner / mallion in place when we did it two years back. Probably a good idea to take some tat and sacraficial carabiner just in case. 

Catriona on 20 Jun 2018
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Thanks.

Andy Moles - on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to Catriona:

No need for the gear to be sacrificial if you are going back that way. The thread is not normally in situ.

subtle on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to Catriona:

There's a "bad step"? Tell me more please.

Catriona on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to subtle:

I can't. I haven't been there yet! It's mentioned in Skye Scrambles and there are a few YouTube videos though.

Catriona on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to Andy Moles:

> No need for the gear to be sacrificial if you are going back that way. The thread is not normally in situ.

Thanks. I will be heading back the same way.

Samuel Wainwright - on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to Catriona:

If you're talking about the east ridge, there is an easier option to down climb on the southern side of the ridge about 100m back from the bad step itself (which is only about 3-4m in height anyway). Using that would save you from leaving some gear.

Sam

Catriona on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to Samuel Wainwright:

Thanks Sam. I wondered about that but wanted to leave my options open in case that alternative is difficult to find? Is it?

Wanderer100 - on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to subtle:

> There's a "bad step"? Tell me more please.

From what I remember there is a step towards the summit end of the ridge. I was with my 8 year old daughter at the time and thought it was possible to downclimb but not with an 8 year old. We retraced our steps a little and descended slightly to the left of the ridge which allowed us to bypass the step and attain the summit. It was a fairly simple and straight forward scramble. 

Post edited at 12:26
Jim C - on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to subtle:

It's a few years back, but as long as you can hold your weight on your hands for a few seconds, you can easily lower yourself down and feel around with your feet for a foothold, then it's  a straightforward short down climb.  

When I did it, there was a couple behind who were a little wary , so I placed short comfort rope for them , and continued on.

As I looked back they  down- climbed  it easily,and  did not need to use the rope ,  but  they said later that they were glad to have it there ' just in case' . 

Post edited at 23:22
subtle on 22 Jun 2018
In reply to Wanderer100 & Jim C:

Thanks - have only been up there once, it was in the mist and I was on my own - got to a point where there was a definite step down that required a down climb - not being sure how far it went down (it was that misty) I decided against it and retreated.

Sounds like I found the bad step then, didn't know about it previously, obviously didn't know about the route round, or how "easy" it was.

Oh well, just means I need to go back  - not too much of a hardship is it now. 

Deleted bagger - on 22 Jun 2018
In reply to Catriona:

I'm no climber but I've done the trade route twice. Didn't have any problem. Obviously easier going up than done. ;-)

SimonCRMC - on 22 Jun 2018
In reply to subtle:

If this is any use to you and anyone else who hasn't gone past the Bad Step, the direct downclimb is graded Severe in Skye Scrambles, and downclimbing a little further back is Diff, so how easy it is depends on how many grades you have in hand (very few in my case) - you certainly wouldn't want to fall off it!  The bypass traverse which starts a bit further back does involve some very loose rock on the ledges (or at least it was like that when I did it ten years ago) so a bit of care is required.  Some on here will breeze it!

subtle on 22 Jun 2018
In reply to SimonCRMC:

Thanks.

Perhaps I will be able to see through the mist and past the end of my arm the next time I venture there  

Simon Caldwell - on 22 Jun 2018
In reply to SimonCRMC:

We abbed down it due to the Severe grade, but as we descended we couldn't understand why it got that grade, it looked like maybe Diff at most. I scrambled half way back up to check and it felt fine so maybe the severe bit was higher up!

Dave Hewitt - on 22 Jun 2018
In reply to Catriona:

There have been at least two rockfalls here in the past 20-30 years, both of which seemingly made the bad step harder. I was there in July 1986, the only time I've been to the top of Am Basteir, and managed down the step OK facing inwards with a little foot-placement guidance from a friend who was usefully coming the other way at just the right moment. It felt like a middling-grade scramble (and very short), although pretty exposed. I got back up alone no problem, and none of this involved a rope.

Was back there in June 1993 with three people including a Skye-based friend who, like me, had been to the top once before. We got to the step in rapidly deteriorating weather and both Chris and I were surprised to find it not as we remembered, and looking quite a lot harder. After a bit of faffing, one of the party got down OK and reached the summit while the rest of us decided against it. I had a brief scout along the top of the Lota Corrie slope to see if there was a reasonable alternative, but didn't fancy anything so we backed off with the rain arriving. I later heard that there had been a rockfall a few years before this (but evidently post-July 1986), and I think there was another one after that 1993 visit. As SimonCRMC says, Noel Williams in Skye Scrambles gives it as Severe (I think that was published in 2011 so there could have been further changes since then); I've been trying and thus far failing to find my copy of Shirley Bull's earlier edition, but I'm pretty sure she reckoned it was quite a bit easier at that stage. As with quite a few of the busier parts of the Cuillin, bits have a habit of falling off and generally it tends to get more awkward each time.

Catriona on 22 Jun 2018
In reply to Catriona:

Thanks everyone. I think I'll take a rope and maybe a couple of nuts and ab down the bad step. I'm not sure I fancy the detour - the crest of a the ridge is often the safest.

Humphrey Jungle - on 09 Jul 2018
In reply to Jim C:

I was also glad it was there!

tradmonkey - on 09 Jul 2018
In reply to Catriona:

was up there a couple of weeks ago, we just put the rope around a block at the top and abbed down, no gear required. we also abbed off the other side and went onto the tooth then down kings chimney.

Siward on 09 Jul 2018
In reply to subtle:

I recall downclimbing it without drama. However a friend said he tried to avoid it by, as some have suggested here, sneaking around the side. He found it horribly scary, scrabbling around on insecure steep slopes above the yawning void. I think he'd have been better off downclimbing.

SimonCRMC - on 09 Jul 2018
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Hi Dave

Just seen your reply and knowing you're someone who likes documentary accuracy I dug out my copy which describes it as "a short descent with some 3m of exposed and moderate scrambling.  The holds are there but difficult to see with two long steps down."  I also recall a good day in the hills with you and Chris about 18 years ago!!

Simon

 

Dave Hewitt - on 09 Jul 2018
In reply to SimonCRMC:

> Just seen your reply and knowing you're someone who likes documentary accuracy I dug out my copy which describes it as "a short descent with some 3m of exposed and moderate scrambling.  The holds are there but difficult to see with two long steps down." 

Thanks - that was much as I remembered it from 1986 - awkward but doable. Re the quote, the annoying thing is that I've got two copies of Shirley Bull's book in the house somewhere and I've got no idea where they are.

> I also recall a good day in the hills with you and Chris about 18 years ago!!

That's good - have had a rummage though notes and found it - 12 August 2001, up into Coire Lagan with you and Chris plus Kevin Sutton and Eddie Moore, then just you and I went up Ben Lee (the others probably headed to the pub or something). Hope the intervening years have treated you well.

SimonCRMC - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Lots and lots more good hill days in the intervening years, thanks Dave.

gilliesp on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

In the eighties there used to be a wee hidden "thank God" hold/jug low down on left. If you knew it was there it was an easy descent. Then geology and the rock cycle happened! After which the descent became decidedly more awkward and committing...

petestack - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> I later heard that there had been a rockfall a few years before this (but evidently post-July 1986), and I think there was another one after that 1993 visit. As SimonCRMC says, Noel Williams in Skye Scrambles gives it as Severe (I think that was published in 2011 so there could have been further changes since then)

The first edition was published 2000, and second in 2011. The text from the ridge traverse section at the end says:

(2000) 'a recent rockfall has turned a fairly easy step down on the crest into a formidable Bad Step.'

(2011) 'a rockfall late last century has turned a fairly easy step down on the crest into a formidable Bad Step. This can be down-climbed at Very Difficult Standard by those with a long reach.'

In both cases he also describes a Difficult alternative and tells you it can be bypassed lower at Grade 2.

 

JohnnyW - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Siward:

> I recall downclimbing it without drama. However a friend said he tried to avoid it by, as some have suggested here, sneaking around the side. He found it horribly scary, scrabbling around on insecure steep slopes above the yawning void. I think he'd have been better off downclimbing.

I have done it both ways, twice, and definitely preferred the scramble/ab, rather than the side route, as I too hated the loose, gravel-covered ledges.

oldie - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to JohnnyW:

Did Am Basteir (via Basteir gorge) a few days ago and chose to do it via the 2 scramble below the gap....actually stayed too high first time and came up before Bad Step so had to return down ridge and then spotted the lower start. Thought route finding was the main difficulty.
 


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