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Pinnacle Ridge

Pinnacle Ridge


Postby foggieclimber » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:31 pm

Route description: Sgurr nan Gillean

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr nan Gillean

Date walked: 10/09/2009

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Hill: Sgurr nan Gillean (via Pinnacle Ridge)
Date: Thursday 10th September 2009
Company: Foggieclimber and AdrianL


Photo of Pinnacle Ridge in profile (taken June 2008):
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On Wednesday evening we agreed good and bad weather plans.
Good weather plan - ascent of Sgurr nan Gillean via Pinnacle Ridge.
Bad weather plan - ascent of three Grahams, near Kyleakin.

The Wednesday evening MWIS forecast was reasonable - minimal wind, no rain, but low cloud.
On looking out the bunkhouse window on Thursday morning, we could see the top of Sgurr nan Gillean. Superb, good weather plan was on :D

After some breakfast, we set off walking from the bunkhouse and before long reached the nice new bridge over the Allt Dearg Mhor.

New bridge near Sligachan:
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After crossing the bridge, we continued to follow the path towards the Northern Cuillin.
After c.1.5km we reached the Allt Dearg Beag, which has some waterfalls and impressive blue-coloured pools with lots of rounded pebbles.

Allt Dearg Beag:
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We crossed the planks over the Allt Dearg Beag and continued on until reaching the patch of oval stones that marks the split between the Tourist Route and the route towards Pinnacle Ridge and Bealach a’Bhasteir.

Junction of paths:
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We then followed the path towards the base of Pinnacle ridge, alongside the Allt Dearg Beag and then the Bhastier gorge. Until now, Pinnacle ridge was pretty-much hidden from view. At last we started to get views of what was still to come :shock: .

First glimpse of the Pinnacles:
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Pinnacle Ridge and Am Bastier (Photo by AdrianL):
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Pinnacles from above Bhastier gorge:
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We reached the base of Pinnacle ridge two hours subsequent to setting off. At the base of the ridge we geared-up with harnesses, helmets and a minimal climbing rack. We decided to short-rope as much of the ascent as possible, only pitching where the guidebook suggested the grade was Moderate.

Foggie geared-up and ready to go (Photo by AdrianL):
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Looking up first pinnacle from base:
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AdrianL set off in front. The initial scrambling was straight-forward apart from having to avoid the various wet sections. There was no need to refer to the guidebook for the ascent of the first pinnacle it was pretty-much just follow the route that looked best.

AdrianL on first pinnacle:
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Looking up first pinnacle:
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Foggie on pinnacle (Photo by AdrianL):
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It didn’t take too long to reach the top of the first pinnacle and I was quite surprised at how easy the going was up the second pinnacle, basically just a walk.

Gap between pinnacles:
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Bhastier gorge from Pinnacle Ridge:
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Looking back to top of second pinnacle:
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Before long we were at the top of the second pinnacle and onto the ascent of the third pinnacle. Very easy so far but things were about to get a bit harder.

The guidebook suggested that the steep groove on the third pinnacle was Moderate, so we decided to use the climbing gear for the first time and we pitched the ascent of the groove to the top of the third pinnacle. As the book describes there is really only one awkward move.

Foggie giving the thumbs-up after leading the pitch (Photo by AdrianL):
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On reaching the top of the third pinnacle, it was time for what the guidebook described as a ‘scary abseil’. We fed the rope through about six pieces of tat, tied a knot in the end of the doubled rope to prevent potentially abseiling off the end of it, and chucked the rope over the abyss.

The abseil wasn’t simple. The beginning was over-hanging and we couldn’t really see the bottom ledge/gap.

AdrianL set off abseiling first to the ledge 22m below. I also then abseiled to the ledge but continued-on abseiling down to the gap a further 5-6m lower. (Was handy having a 55m rope)

AdrianL about to abseil off the third pinnacle:
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AdrianL abseiling:
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Foggie abseiling off the third pinnacle (Photo by AdrianL):
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Foggie abseiling off the third pinnacle (Photo by AdrianL):
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On reaching the gap between the third pinnacle and the fourth pinnacle (Knight’s peak) we took coils again and set off short-roping.

We initially followed the obvious, but precarious, ledge leading right and round the corner.

Ledge at base of Knight’s peak:
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Looking back to the abseil descent of third pinnacle:
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Foggie round the corner from the ledge (Photo by AdrianL):
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Next we ascended Knight’s peak eventually reaching its’ twin tops.

First top of Knight’s peak:
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AdrianL at summit of Knight’s peak:
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Until now, apart from the abseil, everything was quite easy.
The descent from Knight’s peak to the gap between it and Sgurr nan Gillean was definitely not easy.

The guidebook states, “The descent from Knight’s peak gives quite sustained scrambling and requires good route-finding.”
Correct on both counts.

We spent significant time here searching for the right way off and when we found it, decided to pitch some of the descent traverse putting in gear to protect the second. The descent includes a 5m Diff chimney (with a considerable drop still below it).

Adrian descending final section of Knight’s peak:
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Looking back at descent from Knight’s peak:
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Descent route:
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Between Knight’s peak and Sgurr nan Gillean there is a minor pinnacle that you pass on the right.

... and finally, the ascent of the final pinnacle, Sgurr nan Gillean.

The guidebook suggests this section is Moderate so we decided to pitch it, myself leading the pitch. Between the gap and the ‘prominent ledge’ there are only two awkward moves. The very first move involves reaching up for a high handhold above a slab.

Sgurr nan Gillean:
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On Sgurr nan Gillean, above Knight’s Peak:
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On reaching the ledge we again took coils and moved together as far as the top of Sgurr nan Gillean. We followed a ledge that skirts Sgurr nan Gillean joining the West ridge above its chimneys. We then followed the remainder of the West ridge to the summit :D.

Foggie approaching West Ridge (Photo by AdrianL):
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Foggie in the West ridge window (Photo by AdrianL):
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AdrianL about to come through the West ridge window:
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Summit cairn of Sgurr nan Gillean:
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At the summit we took time to savour the views, have some much needed refreshments and pack away all the climbing gear. We were also treated to a brocken spectre :D

Brocken Spectre (Photo by AdrianL):
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Summit view of West ridge window:
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Bla Bheinn from summit of Sgurr nan Gillean:
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Am Bastier in swirling clouds (Photo by AdrianL):
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Sgurr a’ Fionn Choire and Am Basteir from summit:
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Looking further out to Sgurr na h-Uamha:
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We descended via the South-East ridge (Tourist Route) which seemed really easy in comparison to what we had faced descending Knight’s Peak.

Foggie descending South-East ridge [Tourist Route] (Photo by AdrianL):
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Knight’s peak and third pinnacle from descent:
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Foggie taking a breather (Photo by AdrianL):
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Glamaig and Beinn Dearg Mhor during descent (Photo by AdrianL):
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Looking back:
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This was one of my best ever day’s out.
Last edited by foggieclimber on Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby monarchming » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:05 pm

Absolutely magic pics and story Foggie! First class day out,I have still to do Sgurr nan Gillean but after climbing Am Basteir and Bruach na Frithe we ran out of time to complete this fine trio as a mate fairly new to the hills felt it was beyond him.Well done and with great days out like that it just wets the appetite even more to get out there! :clap: :thumbup:
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby foggieclimber » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:07 pm

Cheers Monarchming :)
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby skuk007 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:03 pm

Great report, and photos. Looks like some serious, but fun, stuff.
Well done :thumbup:
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:15 pm

Really interesting to look at these and get an idea of something that I've no intention of doing 8)
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby Stretch » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:49 pm

Wow! This is either one of the best trip reports I've read on here, or the scariest to look at. Amazing stuff Foggie!
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby HighlandSC » Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:13 pm

Excellent :thumbup: :clap:

Great report, great pics!

I hope I'm able(and willing) to try that sort of thing,...one day a long time from now!
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby mountain coward » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:25 pm

Paul Webster wrote:Really interesting to look at these and get an idea of something that I've no intention of doing 8)


:lol: me too! Great detailed photos though and interesting to see SnG from different angles. Love the Basteir shot in the mist - is that the Basteir Tooth or the main peak?
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby MacCookie » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:55 am

mountain coward wrote:Love the Basteir shot in the mist - is that the Basteir Tooth or the main peak?


You'll be looking at Am Basteir and Sgurr a Fionn Choire from Sgurr nan Gillean. The Basteir Tooth is visible from the other side or down below as it's on the west side of Am Basteir. From Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Bastair gets in the way.

Image
Sgurr nan Gillean would be over to the left, out of frame.

Image
This is a bit clearer perhaps. Sgurr a Fionn Choire is out of shot here though and would be behind Sgurr a Bhasteir, which is the pointy one to the right of Am Basteir. Bruach na Frithe is the peak furthest on the right and obviously Sgurr nan Gillean is the one on the left.

The Cuillin ridge is mighty complicated!!

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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby foggieclimber » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:02 am

MacCookie is correct. Am Basteir and Sgurr a Fionn Choire from Sgurr nan Gillean. Tooth is hidden behind Am Basteir.

Here is one of the Tooth looking up from below it.
Image
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby yokehead » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:23 pm

Another superb report with brilliant detail of what looks like a great climb, I hope to be able to do this sort of thing one day! 8)
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby munrowalker » Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:56 pm

Superb report, think we've maybe got a candidate for report of the month already!
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby rocket-ron » Wed May 02, 2012 10:46 pm

excellent foggie
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby SunnyAdventure » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:56 pm

Great Report Foggieclimber, a pity tat all the photos are not available, I bet they are amazing. trying to do it the ridge this Sunday, your report very helpful. You mentioned guidebook in your report, which guidebook did you refer to? Thank you for the excellent report.
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Re: Pinnacle Ridge

Postby prog99 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:54 am

Hi there, the latest is probably Skye Scrambles.

https://www.smc.org.uk/publications/scrambling/skye

Have fun, its a great day out.
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