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North Cuillin 3

North Cuillin 3


Postby gman » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:45 am

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

Date walked: 05/06/2016

Time taken: 8.1 hours

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 1300m

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According to Sky Scrambles, the tricky part of this route is getting up Gillean after Am Basteir. Everything else has a scrambling grade but the easiest way up the west ridge of Gillean has a moderate climbing grade.

Drove up on Friday night and got to Sligachan at the back of 9. Got out to take this pic and a cloud of midges formed around me.
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Moved to a layby past the start of the walk, folded down the back seats and slept in the car - good for avoiding midges but it doesn't really get dark in Sky in the summer apparently. View from the car in the morning: up the right hand ridge and back down the left hand ridge.
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Road to the white cottage, the path to Glen Brittle branches off before the cottage.
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Waterfalls en route, Pinnacle Ridge on the left and North West Ridge on the right.
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Took a left at a cairn for the path to Fionn Choire then took a right here to head towards the ridge. Hot day already and no breeze in the coire - went to a burn for a drink but the water had a sheep/chemical smell.
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Ridge
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Path zig zags up scree then the ridge narrows.
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Good scrambling on the crest or a bypass path on the right. I stuck to the crest to practise for the tricky stuff later, most of the rock is good but there's some loose flake with hairline cracks.
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Southern Cuillin, bit of a haze today that never lifted.
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Summit of Bruach na Frith ahead.
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From the left: Knight's Peak, Gillean, Am Basteir and Sgurr a'Fionn Choire
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Gillean from Bruach trig
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South Cuillin
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Am Basteir...The Executioner :lol:
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Back to Bruach with the NW ridge on the right. Met a guy who had come up the coire, he was going to Bruach then had the same plan for Am Basteir and Gillean.
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Bypassed Sgurr a'Fionn Choire and Am Basteir on the left, tried a shortcut along the crest before the tooth but it got a bit desperate so I had to backtrack. Got to the start of Basteir East Ridge with snow and scree in my shoes and the other walker had caught up, he had climbing gear with him which was handy.
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Towards the bad step on Basteir
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Didn't read the description of the bad step bypass path properly so missed the start of it and got on the wrong side of the wall. Faffed around for a while looking for it then gave up so I descended a dodgy wall and he went to abseil the bad step, so we ended up on different sides of the step at the same time. A guide & client had passed us while we were searching and they were on their way back the step. I had a look at the holds they were using and the guide let the other walker use his rope to down climb. looked easy enough but I could see where all the holds were from my side. The guide said the bad step was the easiest way to the summit, which is probably true if you've done it loads of times and have a rope. Climbing up was straightforward on good holds.
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Gillean from Basteir. The path goes to the foot of the West Ridge on Gillean, then a ledge leads to the left to a few chimneys. Tooth Chimney is recessed in from the ledge and just before it there's are a couple of rocks/boulders that mark the start of Tooth Groove & Arete, which is our route.
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Tooth Chimney on the left, Groove & Arete on the right. There are quite a few climbers abseiling down the chimney so a couple bypassed this bottleneck by descending the groove.
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Tooth Groove & Arete. The groove is a bit greasy but not as vertical as Tooth Chimney. Plenty of holds so it's like going up steps, one of the climbers who descended it faced out. Up the right had groove at the start then straight up where they merge.
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So the groove was easy, what about the arete? The book describes delicate moves in a very exposed position: there are a few small pinnacles with a big drops at the sides. I let the other guy go first :D . I had read a few reports on Scottish Hills: reach round to the right of the first boulder for a handhold and move round as you hug the rock. People belaying the chimney told us to go over the top of the next one, had to do a bit of smearing but the rock had good grip. Then an exposed step over to another block with better holds on it. Nothing really difficult... if it was at ground level :lol:
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After that, everything felt easy on the rest of the ridge.
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Am Basteir & Bruach na Frithe from the top. A large group had just come over Pinnacle Ridge and were descending West Ridge and some folk had come up the SE ridge so it was a busy summit. Hung about for a while, agreed that having other people on the arete is good for confidence.
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Narrow ledge after the summit
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We went down some slabs to the right on the way down.
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Ran out of water at the top so kept thinking about cans of coke in a cool bag in the car. My companion was headed to the Slig for a pint, I had a 4.5 hour drive home. Great day.
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Last edited by gman on Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby BobMcBob » Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:29 pm

Great stuff. The west ridge of nan Gillean is top of my to-do list so your description and especially those photos will be extremely helpful. Cheers.
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby basscadet » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:20 pm

Looked Brilliant :) Was a weekend to be in Skye right enough, and that route is definitely one of the classics 8)

Could of done with your help, we were trying to recue a stranded lamb in Waterpipe gully with no success - just not good enough.. :?
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby gman » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:17 pm

basscadet wrote:Looked Brilliant :) Was a weekend to be in Skye right enough, and that route is definitely one of the classics 8)

Could of done with your help, we were trying to recue a stranded lamb in Waterpipe gully with no success - just not good enough.. :?


Saw that on UKC, fingers crossed for a rescue.
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:30 am

Great photos and really appreciated the the photos and description of the west ridge as we are thinking of trying this. Lovely weather on Skye at the weekend. We were on Am Basteir on Saturday but down climbed the bad step with a rope although quite a few people were soloing it ( some getting a little aid from the gear we left in place).
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby harrison123 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:24 pm

Small world Gman, thanks for the company! :clap:
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby gman » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:42 pm

harrison123 wrote:Small world Gman, thanks for the company! :clap:


Bet that pint was refreshing, where are we going next week? :lol:
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby Jaxter » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:44 pm

Wow and I thought Liathach was scary :shock: :shock: :lol:

Amazing pictures :wink:
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby basscadet » Mon Jun 06, 2016 5:09 pm

gman wrote:
basscadet wrote:Looked Brilliant :) Was a weekend to be in Skye right enough, and that route is definitely one of the classics 8)

Could of done with your help, we were trying to recue a stranded lamb in Waterpipe gully with no success - just not good enough.. :?


Saw that on UKC, fingers crossed for a rescue.


Just got random facebook message - Lamb saved :clap: :D
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby gman » Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:34 pm

basscadet wrote:Just got random facebook message - Lamb saved :clap: :D


Great news, well done to the rescuer :clap:
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby jepsonscotland » Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:22 pm

Nice one :clap: :clap: :clap:
A cracking set of scrambles.
I'm surprised our paths didn't cross, as we were there all weekend Fri/Sat/Sun.
Belting weather, Factor 50 on all the time...... :D

Chris
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Re: North Cuillin 3

Postby gman » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:40 pm

My factor 20 was fading by the end of the day so 50 was a good call, sounds like a few of us were privileged enough to be on the Cuillin last weekend - cheers!
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