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Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose

Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose


Postby scottishkennyg » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:35 pm

Munros included on this walk: Am Basteir, Bruach na Frithe

Date walked: 06/09/2013

Time taken: 5.5 hours

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I just found out that if you click on the images they will enlarge to the size of the screen which might provide more details.
Anyway, the time had arrived for an impromptu go at the Am Basteir (the executioner) and hope that the bad step was not as bad as published. The option to go across to Bruach na Frithe was going to be the safe alternative or addition.
I parked outside the Mountain rescue building just along from the Sligachan Hotel. Not the ideal sign you want to see before heading into the hills with a notoriously exposed crumbly rocky terrain. I packed the harness and belay device then realised no rope…I left a note of the route in the car just in case.
Image
AmBastierSep62013 005 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Anyway, the path started across the road and led easily up to a cairn about 300m.
Image
AmBastierSep62013 006 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Turn left if you wish to go up to Sgurr nan Gillean (I went up there last year at this time).
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AmBastierSep62013 018 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
The atmosphere was pierced by the sound of an RAF jet flying through the Sligachan glen.
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AmBastierSep62013 014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I continued up the left hand side of the gorge leading to the base of the pinnacles of SnG. Traversed the base of the rocks heading for the scree climb to the bhealach a Bhasteir at 833m.
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AmBastierSep62013 020 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
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AmBastierSep62013 023 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
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AmBastierSep62013 031 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
The spectacular cliffs and rocky pinnacles surrounding the coire a bhasteir provided an awe inspiring atmosphere. It reminds us that we really are minute in the big picture.
Image
AmBastierSep62013 039 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The climb up the scree was tiresome and doubly so when you realise you have to return this way to get to Bruach na Frithe.
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AmBastierSep62013 044 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Nice views back down to Sligachan and to the gorge.
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AmBastierSep62013 032 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
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AmBastierSep62013 041 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

At the bhealach a Bhastier the views of the cuillin ridge were in full view.
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AmBastierSep62013 058 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
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AmBastierSep62013 059 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
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AmBastierSep62013 062 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

A wee zoom over to the "in pin" which is on the to do list along with Sgurr Mhic Choinnich
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AmBastierSep62013 061 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Some people were at the base of the ridge to SnG and must have heard the deafening thud as a rock which I accidentally dislodged freefell into the coire below with a harrowing echo. I could clearly see that there was no one below so I did not shout a warning for fear of causing alarm to those on the rock face of SnG. Stark reminder of the sheer exposed landscape of the Cuillins.
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AmBastierSep62013 054 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I stored the poles in the rucksack and set off up the east ridge scramble toward Am Basteir summit.
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AmBastierSep62013 065 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Still great views over the range.
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AmBastierSep62013 067 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The ridge narrowed higher up and at first I did not notice the bad step as it appeared ahead.
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AmBastierSep62013 069 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I definitely did not notice any sign of a by pass path or down climb route on the approach. I sat down on the edge of the step and took off the rucksack to complete my dynamic risk assessment. (lol..Too far …!!!)
Image
AmBastierSep62013 072 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
The polished rock had a strong prominent hand hold at the top and two obvious foot holds near the centre and immediately below the hand hold. No sign of any other holds beyond these ones. There were plenty of signs of scratch marks (from fingernails?) on the smooth rocks.

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AmBastierSep62013 075 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
A scan to the left hand side uncovered a possible route down.
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AmBastierSep62013 077 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I wandered along and surveyed a couple of what seemed to be reasonably sound ledges, although just a bit out of reach. Decision time, the fall arrest height on the bad step was definitely less compared to the exposed face below.
Image
AmBastierSep62013 081 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I decided to go along a wee bit further, I avoided the loose stones on the first ledge and sidled along facing the rock. I used the overhanging rocks to support a stretch move lower to the next ledge. I rested there and used the large gabbro rock to support my right forearm. The next safe looking ledge was directly beneath the large rock but just out of reach for my 30" inside leg.
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AmBastierSep62013 082 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I rotated very slowly into the rock to get a better centre of gravity and eased my left leg down searching for the ledge. Then I was beyond the point of no up return as I lowered my core and right arm. Thankfully my left leg found the ledge and I was able to place the right one down and lower my arm to just beneath the rock then a much needed rest. The hold was sound but my thigh muscles were aching. I had never experienced that many muscle spasms on any climbing wall movements yet. Still this was the real deal and the concentration, adrenalin and fight or flight levels were in overdrive.

I scoped a viable route to the left, sticking to a narrow ledge before turning back to the right and using the limited available ledges to reach solid ground. Then it was a straight forward scramble up to below the step.
Image
AmBastierSep62013 085 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

As most people will verify it certainly did not look as difficult from the base and the holds were obvious. But the rocks were riddled with cracks and fissures. After looking more closely at the photos later I reckon there will be a lot more sections damaged in the future from the effects of weather and impact from climbers.
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AmBastierSep62013 086 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

A view of rock and rucksack just visible higher up on right hand side of start of ledge.
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AmBastierSep62013 088 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The scramble up to the summit was short and a very small cairn was located at the 935m summit. Definitely a prized and well earned munro summit after 2.5 hours, including the extended period at the step.
ImageAmBastierSep62013 092 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
When I returned to the bad step I met three other climbers getting ready for the descent. Harnesses and ropes and I felt like I had the cheap seats.
Image
AmBastierSep62013 098 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The upclimb was straightforward with four very obvious moves for a wee guy like me. I even moved back down and up to check that they were sound.
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AmBastierSep62013 099 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
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AmBastierSep62013 100 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr


Anyway safely back up on the ridge I chatted with the group to confirm that Danny only had 5 to go to compleat. Nice one Danny and good luck with the last one in Dundee.
Image
AmBastierSep62013 101 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I headed back down to the bhealeach a bhasteir with one last view before entering the clag..

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AmBastierSep62013 103 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I descended back down the scree into the coire a bhasteir then skirted below the black salivating rocks of Am Basteir and the tooth, before climbing up the scree to the bealach na lice. A well earned sandwich was called for then a brief chat with a gang who emerged from the clouds seeking their first munro.

I took a bearing and headed up over the top of Sgurr a Fionn Choire then along the rocky ridge up to summit of Bruach na Frithe at 958m an hour after Am Basteir. Summit..
ImageAmBastierSep62013 107 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Then it was back down into the Coire a Basteir to retrace the route back to the car.
Nice views across to Portree and Storr
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AmBastierSep62013 119 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Arrived back at the car safe and sound 5.5 hours after departure.

Would I recommend to a friend or an enemy to do the bad step without a rope???? :crazy: Conscience and survival instinct would say yes for the added protection.

Hopefully the close up detail in the photographs will help any reader to make your own mind up.
Last edited by scottishkennyg on Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose

Postby basscadet » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:40 am

Oh you got a nice day for it :)
I was just up a few weeks ago, and we managed to find a route, but like you point out, the rock there is surprisingly all crumbly and rubbish - a far cry from other parts of the cuillin I have visited. At least its nae far from the bealach really :wink:
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Re: Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose

Postby The Rodmiester » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:05 pm

Nice one scottishkennyg! its a fair old drop right enough, especially since the rocks at the bottom fall away at quite a gradient, a wee slip and your awaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Some great photographs to allow others to make their mind up right enough. :D
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Re: Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose

Postby Gavin99 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:17 pm

Good stuff , we spent a while scrabbling around on those loose ledges below the step too , a rope would have made it a lot safer and quicker . As you say going back up the step is simple when you can see the holds . Some lovely clear photos of the route too :D
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Re: Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose

Postby scottishkennyg » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:03 pm

basscadet wrote:Oh you got a nice day for it :)
I was just up a few weeks ago, and we managed to find a route, but like you point out, the rock there is surprisingly all crumbly and rubbish - a far cry from other parts of the cuillin I have visited. At least its nae far from the bealach really :wink:

Aye you are right BC, not too far up the ridge...I read your blog too..nice one...looked a bit wet and slippery!!! :clap:
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Re: Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose

Postby scottishkennyg » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:08 pm

The Rodmiester wrote:Nice one scottishkennyg! its a fair old drop right enough, especially since the rocks at the bottom fall away at quite a gradient, a wee slip and your awaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Some great photographs to allow others to make their mind up right enough. :D

Cheers Rodmeister, you are spot on about the exposure...hopefully the images will be clear enough to help others get prepared....
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Re: Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose

Postby scottishkennyg » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:40 pm

Gavin99 wrote:Good stuff , we spent a while scrabbling around on those loose ledges below the step too , a rope would have made it a lot safer and quicker . As you say going back up the step is simple when you can see the holds . Some lovely clear photos of the route too :D

Cheers Gavin...the photos turned out well and you can see the holds, steps and cracks...
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Re: Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose

Postby lochlaggan » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:25 am

Great report and brilliant photos. A nice reminder of a wee climb I did there earlier this year.

Thanks for sharing. :clap:

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Re: Am Basteir Rope or No Rope You Choose

Postby scottishkennyg » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:34 pm

lochlaggan wrote:Great report and brilliant photos. A nice reminder of a wee climb I did there earlier this year.

Thanks for sharing. :clap:

Grant


Cheers Grant, I see you have almost compleated...nice one... :clap:
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