A day on the Cuillin 21/06/2007 Am Basteir Bruach na Frithe and Sgurr a Mhadaidh.
Its fair to say one of my someday ambitions would be a complete traverse of Skye`s Cuillin Ridge. The KMC are at Skye walkers hostel this w/e and the forecast according to our hosts is to be good. It was. Having previously climbed with Big Ian I`m sporting rope and gear for when we reach “the Executioner”. Been there twice already but the big man would like to climb it so add it to my game plan of completing the only section of the ridge I`ve still to do. Drive to Glen Brittle YH and gear up. The massive bulk of Sgurr Thuilm hugs the N side of Coir A Ghreadaidh as we follow a stream towards Corie an Dorus. We cross where it flows over a series of slabs then take the left burn up to reach crags about 400m. Pass the first triangular slab then head up over scree to rock outcrops then reach the ridge and summit of Thuilm @ 879m. Just under 3hrs doing well. You don`t pay much attention to the views when your`e toiling but, there`s the southern end o Skye, the isle of Rum and the Hebrides. Magical. A break then down a steep gravelly walk to where an exposed spikey ridge rises after a R turn to Sgurr a` Mhadaigh @ 918m. We rest here eyeing up the twin tops of its larger neighbour Sgurr A Ghreadaidh @ 973m boasting the longest rockclimbs on Skye. Ahead lie five tasks. Mhadaighs three East tops, the three top triangle of Bidean Druim nan Rahm, a gap in the ridge beyond An Caisteal, the Basteir Tooth and the climb “out of the Nick” to Am Basteir. This section of the ridge sees sparse traffic, requiring a reasonable aptitude for climbing. Descend on the crest to a blocky barrier come dyke ( Deep gash gully) reached after a short traverse, on then on for the three tops of Mhadaidh. Only the first gives some thought before moving on. Grass at the Bealach na Glaic Moire, a crossing over the lowest point of the ridge gives views of loch Coruisk and the triple peaks of Bidean Druim nam Rahm I pull a script from my pocket and go thro it with Ian. From the bealach an easy climb past a cottage sized block for two basalt staircases to gain and leave the Western top @ 847m. Traverse R down slabs to a deep gap for the “Bridge rock” at the end of a gap. Up a scoop then scree, a short basalt chimney trending R to the grassy platform of the highest point, Central peak@869m. Return from the top to take the first dyke back to the crest. Down slabs right on the crest to a gap follow this to another dyke L side of the crest. Here a steep zigzag downclimb into Bealach Harta required a stiff climb for the North summit @760m then rest. E we a can see Blaven, the long ridge of Druim and Loch Coruisk. Take on fluids then down over slabs to bealach Harta @ 760m. Left we can see Sgurr an Fheadain. Cross several wide steps, one a jump, then scramble to An Caisteal @830m A deep gash in the ridge is solved by a red ramp leading to an awkward downclimb so reach the bealach. Traverse up across a stone shoot. Now a good path just below the crest of Sgurr na Bhairnich leads on to the summit of Bruach na Frithe @958m. People here, the only route in the Cuillin you can do wi yer hands in yer pockets. A pause here beneath the overhanging Axe of the Tooth to take on food, fluid and shake out the rope. Hang some gear on a sling round my neck and we`re good to go. I`ve climb this in rock shoes and big boots like now, I prefer big boots. The Tooth watches as we drop over the corrie lip and make a right ascending traverse on small ledges. towards a large blocky shelf below an obvious crack. The crack runs up for 6m before curving out R and requires a mantleshelf move to reach safety on roof of the Tooth. Naismith`s route 45m severe is described as the most intimidating route on the main ridge. You can either step from the block to a narrow shelf and shuffle along to the crack or grab a fist sized hold in the crack, step up and climb from there. I lead placing then clipping gear, to top out onto the roof, then bring Ian up. We walk up the Tooth to sit on the edge, feet dangling and eat to the amazement of the gathering on Frithe. The climb out of the nick can be strenuous. My route climbs the coire end of Bhasteirs wall as before on small ledges to reach the back of the axe and safe ground. Then bring up Ian. Over Am Basteir @935m. Skirt the “bad step” for slabs to reach Bealach a Bhasteir. A dipped return to Fionn Choire, then Bealach Mhaim, the road, car and hut. So a good day with great company, the big man did good, when everything just clicked plus closure of another todo item,
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