/ Cuillin ridge bivy options hammocks and tents
We're having another go at the Cuillin in July and we've got a new guy on board who comes from a bushcraft background. He's come up with the idea of taking his hammock with him. Naturally we smirked at first but after some discussion he actually got us thinking. With an anchor each side using your rack and a couple of slings he might be onto something. It's off the ground, waterproof, breathable, ultralightweight but is it practical? I can't remember many areas with dips or chimneys where such a set up could be used. I still think he's mad but didn't they say that about Galileo?
Somebody else suggested pitching a 2 man ultralight tent and placing a rock wind barrier round it. I've done something similar on mountain terrain but I remember the Cuillin being very rocky with very few places to do that. I'm still packing my miserable bivy bag for now but opinions would be welcome from those who know the ridge well.
Yes it's a daft idea but if he doesn't mind the extra weight then why not?
Used a hammock a few times as a lightweight sleeping device. Secured it off my rack a few times.
Please take photos to amuse us 😊
There's tons of pre-made stone circles for bivvies up there. Just bring a bag and a mat and you'll be grand.
> I still think he's mad but didn't they say that about Galileo?
They (the Roman Inquisition) said he was a heretic, actually.
What about between the walls of the TD Gap? That would make a great photo.
But also a possible wind tunnel? So might get really cold.
Thanks for the replies so far. Some say only a mat and bag are needed in stone circles but I'm working on the asumption that a bivy bag would be essential incase the weather changes in the night. I'm aware also there are a few places under rocks that provide natural shelter but we don't know where they are. We are going south to north so expect to be somewhere around just n of the Inn pin
On the topic of our friend, we don't want to talk him out of it just incase he pulls it off, it would be quite something and an extra weight saving on a bivy bag. He uses this hammock to winter camp and claims to be very warm due to the cold not coming through the floor, this allows use of a lighter bag. He also claims better comfort than a sleeping mat. We will report back after the trip, it should be an interesting experiment.
If he pulls it off well, get a good picture and enter the "Best Bivvy" comp... https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/competitions/rab_best_bivvy_competition-11705
Presumably someone must have slacklined the TD gap.
I might enter this: https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=271725
Have done this in a hammock once and does feel warmer than in a tent on the floor. The sleeping position is average and doesn't allow you to move at all but if you can get on board with that it's okay, probably as good as a bivvy bag on the floor.
Can't say if you'd find a place for it but it shouldn't be too hard to find two anchors a suitable distance apart.
Another point in favour of kipping on a mat on the ground is that you'll have more shelter from the wind. If the wind picks up and your mate is in his thinner bag, he'll freeze.....
Added to the fact that your mate will have to faff around for half an hour to find his ideal bivvy spot. You won't.
If he doesn't take an underquilt or decent inflatable mat he will be cold as cold shit.
I take my hammock with me often when I go sunny sport climbing and even with a rack and a few tree options it's often a right bloody faff to find somewhere. You often end up with a rock digging into you. I can't imagine much things worse than trying to find a hammock pitch after a hard day of slog, and it will limit you guys as to where you bivi as well (unless you're lucky or don't mind being miles away from each other).
There's a reason you sometimes find bolts on boulders next to crags.
For a time I used a hammock at weekends eg slung across a cave. Light, compact and comfy. However it was cold because it was tight against my body where it compressed all the down in my sleeping bag to nil. Later I put a karrimat in it which somewhat destroyed the point.
FWIW last year I did part of the ridge with a short karrimat and the lighter version of the Blizzard survival bag which weighs about 250g and provides waterproofness and a claimed 6 tog in one. However I didn't try it because the weather was surprisingly warm and I didn't want the bother of compressing it again once it was deployed.
If doing it in July the amount of daylight will mean any sleep time is short so if dry (a big if) then hammock would be fine, otherwise bivy bag and sleeping bag would be fine.
Plenty of places to stick up a hammock, also plenty of windbreaks already formed on the ridge, also, its errr a ridge so just doss on the lee side of the wind and you should be fine.
Whatever happened to sticking your legs in your rucksack, sticking on a duvet and a hat and just bedding down like that - real light weight!
Enjoy your trip
I should send him a link to the thread but I think we'll let him give it a shot instead. Let's see what happens.
Is it April fools day? I think your mate should stick to the bush he sounds like a liability to me. Just bring a small roll mat a bivvy bag and a down jacket or better still travel light and do it in a day.
Remember there's no water up there so you'll need to carry a fair amount. I'd honestly get up early (like 3.30am) and do the thing in a day.
The Cuillin ridge is best savoured over two days. Sunset at the bivi is something special.
In any case, I'm not fast enough to do it in a day. It would take me about 21-24 hours, Glenbrittle to the Slig. I'll leave the one-day traverses to younger and fitter men and women.
> The Cuillin ridge is best savoured over two days. Sunset at the bivi is something special.
One of the most enjoyable bivvies I've had was spent on the ridge, watching the sun still suspended above the sea, working my way through a hip flask of Talisker. A two-day traverse is just as stylish and memorable as a one-dayer.
Hi, I remember meeting you at the Dibona hut in 2012. You were doing Voie Obligatoire if I recall.
Hi. Yes, Visite Obligatoire is another of my favourite climbing memories: a lovely route on one of the most dramatic peaks anyone could wish for. One of the few bolted routes I've done that I'd repeat. Good luck with the 4000ers.
I'm inclined to agree with those advocating a fast and light approach. I'm sure that anybody who can haul a bag with bivvy kit and food, water etc for a two day slog could manage it in a day if only they'd drop the gear. You really only need a 35 or 40m rope, a few slings, odd or even sizes of nuts 1-10 and some food and water.
You're so much more likely to fail on a two day push. You double the length of weather window you need and if you're having to do it in two days then it's likely that you're only just competent to get round anway (having to rope up for lots of terrain where it's not necessary etc).
It's worth pointing out that going for a two-day traverse doesn't necessitate carrying all the required water. The party concerned may well be planning to do a stash the day before. This has the advantage of enabling you to leave all the makings for a sumptuous evening meal with aperitifs, main, dessert and after-dinner drinks, as we enjoyed. After all, there's no reason to suffer unduly.
This issue of water is quite a deterrent, in fact I'm sure I've seen complaints about it on Tripadvisor. Can't somebody put a couple of taps on the ridge?
> and if you're having to do it in two days then it's likely that you're only just competent to get round anway (having to rope up for lots of terrain where it's not necessary etc).
That's a shockingly elitist point of view. I've done in four times, always over two days - and with a stash of my bivi gear, food and water.
I've never roped up except for abseils and the three rock climbs: TD gap, Kings Chimney and Basteir Tooth.
I'm not sure that my age and lack of swiftness makes me "only just competent".
> You're so much more likely to fail on a two day push. You double the length of weather window you need and if you're having to do it in two days then it's likely that you're only just competent to get round anway (having to rope up for lots of terrain where it's not necessary etc).
What absolute twaddle; patronising nonsense.
A well planned, lightweight two day approach is far more likely to be both successful and enjoyable for someone not really confident of getting it done in a day.
Each to their own, I suppose. If that's the style that you did it in I'm surprised you didn't get around faster. Those are the sections that we roped up for and we went from top to top in 12 and a bit hours. We weren't fast or fit, we just didn't mess around with the rope all that often and didn't get lost.
The other advantage of nipping around in a day is that you don't have to spend a day on either side of your traverse faffing about with stashing kit and food and water and retrieving anything you left behind. If you're on a trip to Skye then I'd presume that maximising your time to do other great routes is something you'd want to do.
First time I did it we opted for the two day option as it provides a good bit more forgiveness for time when you inevitably go off-route and have to backtrack/faff.
Armed with a knowledge of the route was then pretty handy for a one day hit.
Ok, to clarify, here's the approach we're doing and why.
No stash drops
Boating in from Elgol and drinking much liquid before kicking off
4 competent climbers pairing off and POSSIBLY meeting for the bivy, up from the Inn pin
1 in hammock, 3 of us bivy bags, mat and dried food, pack weight 9kg's each and that's EVERYTHING
Carry 2l water and maybe dropping down to water source to fill up for day 2
The reason for the 2 days is because we want to enjoy it. We could do this thing fast and light, we've done plenty of that elsewhere but this isn't an exercise in ticking something off. Please feel free to tear our plans apart like lions ploughing through a herd of wildebeest, feedback is always welcome. Thanks for the replies so far.
A good compromise way that I've done it is to have a reasonably leisurely day doing the southern part as far as the Dubhs (well actually we did Bla Bheinn too......... ) then dropping into Coire a'Ghrunnda for a comfy bivi and water, then doing the rest in a single day.
Edit: I do think the hammock thing sounds nuts though!
We looked at that but it does feel like cheating a bit dropping off the top for the night. The hammock idea is mad but we're not going to tell him that!
> 1 in hammock, 3 of us bivy bags, mat and dried food, pack weight 9kg's each and that's EVERYTHING
> Carry 2l water and maybe dropping down to water source to fill up for day 2
If your packs are only 9kg I would put in another 2-3 litres of liquid. Water is a long detour down and back.
If you are doing it from Elgol (and not doubling back to Gars Bheinn!) then that is a big time saving over the Glenbrittle start. You could reasonably expect to get well past the In Pinn, as far as Banachdich at least. Otherwise, the second day will be a lot longer than the first.
There are bivi sites all along there.
PS I assume you are doing the Dudhs and picking up the ridge from there?
Thanks for the info. The water situation will depend on what happens weather wise on the days before. We'll be keeping an eye on the reports from the Facebook group to see whats been coming out of the sky, hopefully this should give a clue what the water situation might be like. The approach from the boat will be via Coire Beag to get us to the start. Does that sound something like a good idea?
I assumed you were doing the Dubh slabs. Although it means you don't do the full ridge proper and you miss out the first Munro, Sgurr nan Eag, it's a unique ascent for the UK, with the Alpine scale of slab scrambing and there's an argument that it's better than the normal ridge route to do it that way.
If instead you are heading up to Gars Bheinn from Loch Coruisg, I haven't done that so I can't comment.
You can retain the purity of doing the full ridge by taking the alternative slab ascent out of Coruisk to the summit of Sgurr a Coire Bhig, shorter but as enjoyable as the Dubh slabs, trickier in fact with a short Diff pitch. Or ascend the coire to the left to the summit of Gars Bheinn as they are probably intending.
Hi, I'm the insane guy with the hammock; for all criticisms please join the que to your left.
Id just like to add a few points to this, first of all, I am fully aware that this idea is mad however the one i have is a very light one, so wont be adding much weight to the pack, so I thought what the hell, you never know until you try. As far as cold goes, I wild camp every december with just a hammock, a sleeping bag, and something to keep the rain off, so it shouldnt bother me too much. I realize there is a very good chance that i wont find anywhere to put one up, however on the off chance i am planning to use gear in rock to hang it then have a sleeping bag in a very basic bivy (not much more than a glorified bin bag) to keep the rain off. In the likely situation that I cant find anywhere to put the hammock up I will just go in the sleeping bag in a bivy straight on the ground (I never use sleeping mats anyway).
I will be sure to update this after we have done and should it actually work out Ill add some pictures. Its easy to say something is mad but trying out ideas even when you know its mad is one of the things that make life fun, and occasionally they actually work.
Thanks for posting. Good luck - I hope whatever happens, it's all good fun. Ignore the keyboard warriors on here, and let us know if it works.
Surprised to hear that. If they were cairns there'd be uproar.
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