Mountain Guide running Skye Guides.
Author of the SMC climber's guidebook Skye, The Cuillin (2011).
Owner of Skye Basecamp Climbers' Hostel in Broadford.
Researching and writing the guidebook gave a privileged insight to the best mountains in the UK. The pioneers were hard as nails and very, very good climbers. They're routes are the definition of sporting climbing. It has also brought me into new routing which adds such a superb dimension.
I've been contracted to UKC to provide winter conditions on Skye for the past few years. Along with the guidebook and blogs the myth about the island being a poor bet in winter has been dispelled: Many top Scottish climbers have put it very high on their lists any time there's any sign of the white stuff.
I've run Skye Guides for too many years now, specialising in Ridge Traverses. I'm a rock climber first and foremost and enjoy teaching a lot of climbing around the wonderful Skye sea-cliffs as well as the Cuillin crags when conditions are good. Winter is my play time, the changing effects of snow & ice on such familiar terrain never ceases to amaze me. Discovering mixed rather than waiting for ice to form means I can winter climb in the Cuillin whenever it snows. Fat ice in 2013 and 2015 seasons was a real bonus though.
Increasingly I stay away from the fleshpots; crowds of gortex really aren't my idea of a good climbing space. Luckily the Cuillin are so extensive it never seems busy apart from the May bank holiday week.
My introduction to the Cuillin was a baptism of fire (and whisky!) with Gordon Stainforth when he was writing his book up here. His influence on my outlook on climbing is something of which I am increasingly aware. I'm just as passionate but nowhere near as articulate. I hope that some of the lessons learnt from Gordon show in an occasional pic or two.
Isle of Skye
Best Climbing Experience
My first Winter Traverse of Cuillin Ridge (2001) touching rock for only 10 steps from 1 end to the other.
Matterhorn (1999)- moonlit evening approach, bivvy @ 4000m and summit to ourselves for 3/4 hour without a cloud in the sky.
The Naked Saltire, E2 5c, In Pinn, 1999. I found this perfect line on the back of the most famous rock in the Cuillin 40 years after climbers were first climbing at this grade; so glad they missed it.
Since 2003 so many new lines that have given me a great microknowledge of the Cuillin I love.
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Articles by Mike Lates
Moderator for 5 crags, checking missing climbs added to the logbooks: Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr a' Bhastier, Coire Scamadal, Banachdich Slabs, Bla Bheinn (Isle of Skye) South Ridge, SE Buttress
Interests Outside Climbing
Pretty much any sport. First passion is Welsh Rugby and used to say I'd give up every climbing experience for a match in the red shirt. Being English but moving to Bridgend when 2 is confusing for many but not me. I can be seen shouting at the screen for almost any event. Watching Spain win the world cup whilst on holiday out there was a real highlight. Surfing could be my new weakness if I can get a wetsuit thick enough for Highland winter!
About My Photography
In addition to trying to take the odd quality shot I use my ukc gallery to show useful or pics of intererst, usually regarding routes in the Cuillin. These tie in with various posts reporting on conditions; I'm increasingly trying to cross-reference these so both pictures and reports make more sense and are of more use. Panasonic DMC TZ25 is a fantastic improvement for a small camera user.
Click to list photo comments written by me. (296 comments)
I've voted for 142 photos, average vote 4.2.
(52% superb - 25% good - 15% average - 6% poor - 0% rubbish)
Been Climbing For
More than 20 years
Winter - VI
Trad - E4
The Breadline V 5
Lota Corrie Route M
Escape From Colditz III
Foxes Rake IV 3
Le Diedre Blanc IV 5
Striptease VS 5a
Wen HVS 5a
The Concrete Chimney HVS 5b
Lighthouse Arete VS 4c
Wind HVS 5b
Wind HVS 5b
Brant Direct HVS 5a
Wallwork's Route VD
Ardverikie Wall HS 4b
Inbred HVS 5a
... list all 26 climbs
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