UKC

NEWS: Uisdean Hawthorn Sets Winter Cuillin Record

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 UKC/UKH News 28 Feb 2018
His new sub-5-hour time seems likely to be a winter speed record, 5 kbOn Monday 26th Feb Uisdean Hawthorn set a probable new speed record for a winter Cuillin traverse, travelling solo and unsupported to record a blistering time of 4:57:07. We caught up with him to find out more.

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 Pipecleaner 28 Feb 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

Absolutely fantastic! Massive congratulations. 

 99ster 28 Feb 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

Staggering achievement.  Wow!

 Bob Kemp 28 Feb 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

Love the attitude - feeling fit, conditions great, just go for it!

 petestack 28 Feb 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

> [From the article] In February 2016 we reported Finlay Wild and Tim Gomersall's 6:14:17 as a probable winter record – in terms of records, and in the absence of any other known contenders, your 4:57:07 really has to be considered the new fastest time doesn't it?

From http://www.scottishhillrunners.uk/LongDistanceRecords.aspx?LongDistanceRecordID=19 (updated last night):

'On Monday 26th February 2018 (the same day Finlay Wild set a new winter Tranter's Round time), Uisdean Hawthorn traversed the Cuillin ridge from Sgurr nan Gillean to Gars-bheinn in just 4 hours 57 minutes 7 secs [Refs: Facebook, UKC and personal communication]. Uisdean's traverse took in all Munros, Bidein Druim nan Ramh and Sgurr Thearlaich, but omitted the TD Gap as he was climbing solo. Since there is good precedent for the omission of the Gap in winter dating back to Tiso and Moriarty in 1965, and other 'required' summer sections (Naismith's Route and King's Chimney) are bypassed by abseiling on a north-to-south winter traverse, it seems sensible to propose that the required elements of a winter record traverse are simply the required summer peaks and proper winter conditions (the question of acceptable date range possibly remaining open with available daylight not being the issue it is with, for example, Ramsay's Round). So we acknowledge Uisdean's stunning time as the fastest known and challenge others to better it following the same guidelines.'

For sure, I wrote it and it's currently just my opinion, but how could anyone seriously question Uisdean's time as the new best?

 

 

In reply to UKC/UKH News:

Wowsers - chapeau!

"60m of 5.5mm Edelweiss aramid rope - it's super light and very strong, but it does take a little getting used to!"

I think I'd shut my eyes abseiling on that

In reply to steveriley:

That's exactly what I thought too! 

What an achievement

Bogwalloper 28 Feb 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

"Fundamentally though I'm not too fussed if it's considered a record or not; it's a record for myself and I had a good day so I'm just happy with that!"

That's the best thing I've read on UKC this week.

W

In reply to UKC/UKH News:

It took me two days. In May. And I was shot at the end of that! Extraordinary achievement.

In reply to petestack:

> For sure, I wrote it and it's currently just my opinion, but how could anyone seriously question Uisdean's time as the new best?

Is anyone questioning it?

In reply to UKC/UKH News:

Great article and stunning photos thanks.

I recently had the idea that maybe I could attempt this one day, not the speed record but the route in winter, so am curious about the Inaccessible Pinnacle. I know Mr. Hawthorn went north to south as is usual in winter, but went the easy way up the Inaccessible Pinnacle as there is a photo documenting it. I assume there was then an ab off the short end but what next? and down the brown ramp? I guess I should probably just go look up the route description.

 Dave 88 01 Mar 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

I wonder what belay plate you use to abseil on 5.5mm!

 

 Rob Parsons 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Southvillain:

Under *perfect* snow conditions (i.e. complete cover; polystyrene snow/ice), and in good weather, it ought to be easier and quicker in Winter than in Summer.

(That's not trying to take anything away from the achievement here of course; it's just a general comment on the ease of travelling over broken rocky ground, such as occurs on many Scottish hills.)

 

Post edited at 09:16
 malx 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I think you're right that it may be easier, but i doubt it could be done quicker as you need to wear boots and crampons rather than running shoes.

 Rob Parsons 01 Mar 2018
In reply to malx:

Yes, true.

In reply to Dave 88:

> I wonder what belay plate you use to abseil on 5.5mm!

Yes that would be interesting to know. I've used 6mm chord combined with a figure of eight in series with a petzl reverso I think. A clumsy solution which felt like it might just end up in a massive tangle. Also, having to carry another belay device seems like over kill.

 Rank_Bajin 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> Under *perfect* snow conditions (i.e. complete cover; polystyrene snow/ice), and in good weather, it ought to be easier and quicker in Winter than in Summer.

> (That's not trying to take anything away from the achievement here of course; it's just a general comment on the ease of travelling over broken rocky ground, such as occurs on many Scottish hills.)

Factor in the extra weight of clothing and equipment needed for a winter ascent and I can see that would never happen. 

 
 Captain Solo 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Mark Collins:

It would have been an ab off the short (west) ridge from the in situ anchor. The in pin was looking quite dry on Sunday and more of a Mod. You then descend the 'brown ramp' (but this had a coverage of good neve) under An Stac and around to the bealach before Sgurr Mhic Coinnich.

In reply to Captain Solo:

Thanks. According tut logbook it doesn't look like anyone's done the short side in winter, perhaps its off limits, nails or not worth it. Who knows...

 lithos 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Mark Collins:

good question - Dan can you ask ?

i'd be tempted by 2 (or more) dmm bugettes in series !  v.light and may provide enough friction or combine with an italian hitch

 

EDit: looking at the photo (which i presume isnt of the day as he has more than 3  wires) he has a petzl reverso and what looks like a micro traction or similar

Post edited at 13:10
In reply to lithos:

Since posting I've looked back at previous threads about this and heat can be a major factor, which I also now recall from my own experiments. Somewhere I read that modern belay plates are better at dissipating heat, but I have no idea why that would be.

Anyway, congratulations to Uisdean Hawthorn and hope he doesn't mind me filling up this thread with my ramblings.

 petestack 01 Mar 2018
In reply to planetmarshall:

> Is anyone questioning it?

Not that I know of, but they might...

You'll note that this UKC topic starts 'Uisdean Hawthorn set a probable new speed record for a winter Cuillin traverse', that Uisdean answers Dan's question 'your 4:57:07 really has to be considered the new fastest time doesn't it?' in a way that acknowledges the possibility of doubt ('I suppose there are no set rules for winter, for example') and my SHR report also addresses the probable ground rules. So it's not really for Dan, me or anyone else to definitively declare this a record, hence my wee covering statement/question above.

In reply to Bogwalloper:

> "Fundamentally though I'm not too fussed if it's considered a record or not; it's a record for myself and I had a good day so I'm just happy with that!"

> That's the best thing I've read on UKC this week.

It's great, and also chimes with my own frequent musing (despite being current SHR record keeper for this sort of thing) as to how meaningful a 'record' (as opposed to FKT or fastest known time) we can have for something as variable as a winter Cuillin traverse or Ramsay's Round. We call them records and report them as (sometimes just probable) records, but call them FKTs and some things become a little more straightforward... like who cares about the short side of the Gap when there's never been a specified winter record route and we've got a climber of Uisdean's ability basically saying he'd have found soloing it unjustifiable?

So... record? Yes, we (everyone I know or have heard from) think so. Fastest known time? Beyond all doubt!

In reply to Mark Collins:

> Thanks. According tut logbook it doesn't look like anyone's done the short side in winter, perhaps its off limits, nails or not worth it. Who knows...

Tiso and Moriarty did on the second winter traverse after being lured by tracks from the first party's attempts, but they subsequently failed to climb out of the Gap! The full story's in Patey's One Man's Mountains.

 J Brown 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> Under *perfect* snow conditions (i.e. complete cover; polystyrene snow/ice), and in good weather, it ought to be easier and quicker in Winter than in Summer.

> (That's not trying to take anything away from the achievement here of course; it's just a general comment on the ease of travelling over broken rocky ground, such as occurs on many Scottish hills.)

I seem to remember reading Jon Gay's (at least I think it was him) comments on his Ramsay Round winter record - where he said something about the perfect snow nick making it 'possibly' faster on some parts of the route than in summer.  I guess he was referring to the rough or boggy sections. 

In reply to J Brown:

Hesitate to even compare experiences but I did an evening fell race Friday and the boggy section over the tops was (mostly) frozen and much quicker than it would otherwise be. Crampons not involved obviously

 petestack 01 Mar 2018
In reply to J Brown:

Since Jon's also one of the most modest, self-effacing people I know, I think there was also an element of him playing down his achievement there. And his comments on conditions (in which respect consensus still holds his round the gold standard) were later used by another runner as justification (saying he probably had it harder than Jon) for something palpably less wintry.

But see also my comment above re. 'how meaningful a 'record' (as opposed to FKT or fastest known time) we can have for something as variable as a winter Cuillin traverse or Ramsay's Round.'

 Dave 88 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Mark Collins:

Two karabiners and an Italian hitch on each?!

In reply to J Brown:

But I imagine on the cullins as well as some sections that would be quicker under good snow cover,  there would be many more technical sections that would be slower with snow/ice/axes/crampons as opposed to dry rock/fell shoes.

I can see that on less technical rounds good snow conditions could speed things up, but even then you are very unlikely to have good conditions all the way.

In reply to petestack:

> In reply to Mark Collins:

> Tiso and Moriarty did on the second winter traverse after being lured by tracks from the first party's attempts, but they subsequently failed to climb out of the Gap! The full story's in Patey's One Man's Mountains.

Thanks I didn't know that. I believe the short side of the Inaccessible Pinnacle has been made harder since then though, after some bits fell off:
https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/skye_inn_pinn_query-677325?v=1#x8709514

Ah yes, I seem to remember the "Fox of Glencoe" used his cowboy skills to get out of the gap.

In reply to Dave 88:

When I was about fifteen, me and mate's used to abseil using 6mm cord. We used a 120cm sling and a screwgate as a harness and abbed using an Italian hitch.

Looking back now I do shudder.

In reply to Rob Parsons:

Mmmnnn. I know what you're saying but... some parts are so knife-edge and the exposure so great that even with perfect conditions you've still got to have balls-of-steel to effectively run along them in winter! I'd love to go back and do it (in Spring) in one day, and you can obviously move much more quickly when you're doing a one- rather than two-day traverse, as you're not carrying s/bag, bivi bag, food/water etc for a night out. Still...

In reply to Dave 88:

I used a dmm pivot with 2 Grivel plume screw gates (37g each!) I use one upside down if that makes sense. I wouldn't recommend Italian hitches as these skinny ropes are bad enough for getting twisted and tangled as it is. I only used my prusik for abing down the chimney of the Am Basteir didn't need it for the rest. I did a bit of testing in the farm shed abing from the roof beam a few days before. 

It is very strong 18kn, 6mm tat is normally about 7kn I think. and its very tough due to being aramide which is very similar to Kevlar. 
I feel I should add use it at your own risk and I dont think prusiking up it would be fun! 

But it could be worth buying for lots of people, I just take a single rope Ice climbing and then have this in the bag, much nicer and efficient climbing with a single rope.

On the speed point I actually looked back just yesterday and noticed my summer time was slower than this time. But I'm much fitter currently so hard to know, a great thing for people to do this spring (if we get good weather) would be do it from south to north with good snow cover but get to enjoy the rock sections if dry.  

cheers

ps: for anyone who is thinking about doing a traverse, just go and try worst thing that will happen is you get to have a good adventure! 

Lusk 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Uisdean hawthorn:

I like your rucksack!

 mike barnard 01 Mar 2018
In reply to petestack:

> In reply to Mark Collins:

> Tiso and Moriarty did on the second winter traverse after being lured by tracks from the first party's attempts, but they subsequently failed to climb out of the Gap! The full story's in Patey's One Man's Mountains.

I'll have to check One Man's Mountains again, as for some reason I thought this hadn't been done (it's not mentioned in the guide anyway). Last season I tried a line probably a bit left of West Ridge (the latter looked desperate for winter), but didn't get up it. Pretty sure Mike Lates mentioned someone else had tried and failed too. There's actually a fair bit of loose rock on this side of the Pinn, presumably partly to do with the rockfall scar. 

It may well be harder now, but still a sterling effort from that pair!    

 petestack 01 Mar 2018
In reply to mike barnard:

He says:

'We were not to know that merely forty-eight hours later the second victorious pair to complete the Traverse of the Cuillin Ridge would be persuaded by our tracks into tackling the Short Side of the Pinnacle.'

And:

'Moriarty and Tiso must have come to the same conclusion two days later. Although they had already dealt with the difficult "Short Side" of the Inaccessible Pinnacle they failed to climb out of the Gap and had to abseil all the way down to the corrie floor, only regaining the Ridge after a slight detour.'

 mike barnard 01 Mar 2018
In reply to petestack:

Thanks

Deadeye 01 Mar 2018
In reply to planetmarshall:

> Is anyone questioning it?


Someone will demand continuous video evidence shortly.  Otherwise he's no better than Rich Simpson.

 

Amazing fitness: well done.

... but, in conditions like that, weren't you tempted to simply savour it?

1
 simon cox 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Uisdean hawthorn:

Not wishing to be a real gear geek but how about an Edelrid micro jul for the belay device?  Designed for skinny ropes down to 6.9 as opposed to dmm pivot at 7.5?

I do like the edelrid device having got into using really fat (7.1) twin ropes last year for sunny rock climbing.

 S

Post edited at 19:18
estivoautumnal 01 Mar 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

The obvious question here is...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How on earth do you pronounce 'Uisdean'? 

 James Gordon 01 Mar 2018
In reply to estivoautumnal:

Ha! Ooos-tjen...or just Shug if you’re mash!

Post edited at 20:56
 Pipecleaner 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Uisdean hawthorn:

Congratulations on a fine time!

As a (mostly) fell runner, how much was runnable and how much running do you do as training?

Think Finlay will have a crack solo if conditions allow?

I like the bag too tho I'm more interested in the boots if im honest...had a few pairs of the original rebels and even they ran off a hill pretty well...I bet the ribelles are fantastic...running seems to kill GTX but OD seems to take the abuse much better.  

Well done again, look like a fun day out...or morning/afternoon if you're fast enough!

 Andy Moles 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Mark Collins:

I know folk have climbed the short side of the In Pin on winter traverses, but where that part is pretty much just very cold-fingered Severe rock climbing.

Having climbed up and down it a few times in summer, I think to climb it in 'full winter' condition would be really sketchy until you reached the cracked block about halfway up, which is also the first available gear. It's pretty polished and sloping up to that point.

In reply to Uisdean hawthorn:

>  It is very strong 18kn, 6mm tat is normally about 7kn I think. and its very tough due to being aramide which is very similar to Kevlar.

Kevlar is just DuPont's brand name for their aramid product. Are you actually able to cut the stuff in an emergency, Kevlar and similar fibres are marketed as being cut-proof.....

Well done on your afternoon jolly

 

Post edited at 10:16
 Dave 88 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Uisdean hawthorn:

Didn't expect a reply from the man himself! Cheers for that, and well done on your traverse

 

 Adam Long 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Toerag:

I've used aramid cord a bit in rope access applications. It's kernmantel construction with a nylon sheath. Not had any problem cutting it with a sharp knife, but it doesn't melt so the trick it to milk the sheath up a bit and melt that.

One issue is that the fibre is quite brittle so loses strength dramatically when bent around a tight radius. So it isn't recommended to knot it, which limits the usefulness for climbing.

 Rick Graham 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Adam Long:

There is the Mammut Ski Rappel system with 6mm cord.  This has "high" Aramid content and uses a special Fig 8 for the job.

Abbing on double 5mm cord (freehanging 20m ) I found an ATC and in line Italian hitch worked quite well.     There is also the double or monster Munter hitch which allegedly does not kink the rope/cord, not tried this though, myself.  As always a practice with a top rope is advisable.

 Rick Graham 02 Mar 2018
In reply to estivoautumnal:

> The obvious question here is...

> How on earth do you pronounce 'Uisdean'? 

When I was introduced to him, was told he answers to "Usdun" or similar.

I think he is quite bemused by the pronunctiation possibilities and being a chilled out sort does not really care.

BTW Well done, Us.

Post edited at 14:52
In reply to Rick Graham:

Another congratulation for Uisdean Hawthorn.

When I'll only need it for abseiling I sometimes carry and use ordinary 3 strand 8mm polypropylene which is readily and cheaply available on the internet and elsewhere  The weight is about 23 to 30g/m, though its bulkier, and up to about 960 Kg breaking strain depending on manufacturer ( Edelweiss 5.5 Aramid is apparently 23g/m with far superior strength). Given the choice I think I'd still prefer abbing on the polypropylene as it is thick enough to use normal equipment/techniques including classic abseil, sit sling and krab, and belay plate. Prusiking is possible. I'm no engineer (I got an improbably high kN value when I tried to convert the max load) and don't know if very low temperatures would affect handling or strength however (perhaps someone on here knows).

I'm well aware of the supposed risk of melting if abseiling with a metal device but IMHO damage should be visible well before becoming dangerous. Apparently there was an accident once on the long, free ab into Gaping Gill on a single polypropylene due to some sort of stress being set up (can't remember the terminology). Use it at your own risk certainly applies.

 


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