Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cuillin Ridge September 2013

A long drive north in September for another attempt on the Cuillin for Russ, who was very keen to complete the traverse after an aborted attempt last July. We were joined by Kevin, who had done sections of the ridge before but had always had his sights on the complete traverse. So it was a pretty enthusiastic team, despite the uncertainty of the weather, that headed out from Glenbrittle in the dark early hours on Tuesday.

We made good time to Gars Bheinn and were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise as we topped out, with the sun burning off the mists rolling in from the west. Everyone was in good form and the difficulties were ticked off fairly rapidly, although the TD gap slowed us down a bit even though it was dry and sunny. The mists started to close in again before we reached An Stac and our world contracted to just a few metres in front of us. Both Russ and Kevin had experienced this section of the ridge in better visibility and so weren't missing out too much, instead we concentrated on moving efficiently and safely on the now wet rock, without even breaking stride for the Inn Pinn. After collecting our stashed bivvi kit we carried on to our campsite below Sgurr Greadaidh and a well earned meal. 

A few glimpses of stars during the night suggested better things for our second day, but we awoke to a thick wetting mist and complete darkness. The poor conditions required a slow, deliberate approach over the complicated terrain of Greadaidh & Mhadaidh and it was a relief when daylight made progress easier over Bidein Druim nan Ramh. Kevin was very keen on attempting Naismith's Route on the Bhastier Tooth and with conditions improving we traversed in to the start. A loose block on the crux added an extra element of excitement, but despite a little hesitation we managed to reach the summit of Am Bhastier in good style. Sgurr nan Gillean is never an anti-climax, and after dropping off our heavy packs at the col, it was a enjoyable finish to the traverse.

A great sense of achievement for the guys - they'd been waiting a long time to complete the traverse - and to do it in good style, in poor conditions heightened the feeling, especially after the congratulations from a couple of teams who aborted their attempt late on Tuesday. Well done guys!


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