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43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn


Postby giladt » Fri Sep 02, 2016 10:51 am

Route description: Sgurr Dearg and the In Pinn

Munros included on this walk: Inaccessible Pinnacle

Date walked: 29/08/2016

Time taken: 9 hours

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You know that sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach when you first hear about the In Pinn?

It started back in January when, after a few beers, I agreed to walk the Cuillins with friends. With hindsight, in the following days and weeks, I wouldn't have watched all those GoPro videos on YouTube, or read the walkhighlands reports, or looked at the photos, or the map. They just made me more and more anxious. Talk about the power of negative thinking. I was teaching my brain to be afraid.

They say the only thing worse than the torture is the waiting. I'd been waiting 6 months. As the time approached, the sickening feeling got worse and worse. I took up vaping, like a baby needing a dummy for comfort.

I took what I thought were practical steps to prepare. Firstly, I took a guided walk of the Aonagh Eagach ridge in Glencoe. Secondly, I took instruction at a climbing wall. I'm not sure they helped. Yes, I felt the exposure on Glencoe. Yes, I got basic scrambling experience. But they also reinforced my fear of heights. Now I was certain I'd be terrified on the In Pinn.

When the day finally arrived, I was totally s******g it.

The walk in was much shorter than I'd anticipated. Our guide, the phenomenal Scott from Skye Guides, took us up Sgurr Mhic Choinnich as a warm up, which got us into using our hands. The weather was deteriorating fast so we high-tailed it to the In Pinn. There were 4 in our group, which meant two to go with Scott, two to wait for the second run. I elected to wait. I reasoned that I'd gain confidence from the safe return of the first pair, which is thankfully how it turned out. But that was the longest 45 minutes of my life. Freezing cold, huddled up in a stone circle, with the prospect of the In Pinn towering over me, literally and metaphorically.

When my time came, I forced myself to take the first step onto the rock and upwards, ever upwards. It was an emotional rollercoaster. There were moments I thought I couldn't go on, and others when it felt easier than I'd expected. Being roped up was essential for my confidence because, whenever I stopped climbing, there was upward momentum via a friendly tug on the rope by Scott. Movement allayed the fear. Concentration allayed the fear. I had to remind myself to breathe. I tried shifting my perspective to see what felt better. Turns out it was best if I focussed on the square inches of rock in front of me.

The abseil down, and the waiting in driving wind and rain for the abseil down, made me nauseous in the extreme. My relief at the bottom was palpable, I was virtually in tears. I hugged my friends and thanked them profusely for pushing me further outside my comfort zone than I ever imagined myself capable of.

And now it's over, how do I feel? Simply, that no one can take this away from me.
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby OpenC » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:59 pm

Well done :) I'm 41 now and I'm going to have to get this one out of the way sooner than later. I'm not scared of heights but I am alarmed at the prospect of climbing this thing, and posts like this help immeasurably :clap:
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby Sgurr » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:10 pm

very well done. You must be super relieved and/or buzzing just now. . I think I know a bit how you feel. Husband's final Munro was the Inn Pin and we had been rained off it twice with friends and a guide. We asked Mike Lates to let us know if he had any spare spaces with someone wanting to share the cost, so I only knew on Saturday that Tuesday was likely.Even then, I wasn't sure I'd do it, but Mike just assumed I was coming too, I got a hard hat to put on over my sun-hat which luckily gave me blinkers, and up I went. We had practiced abseiling off a wooden tower at the local outdoor centre. Don't know what they thought of a grandad and granny doing it, one of whom managed to get upside down. Finally did it aged 64. I think Nature had told me that i could throw myself off a cliff now the grandkids were here and I had passed on my genes....would never have done it earlier. (Apologies for re-telling this story).

OpenC, there's no hurry.
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby OpenC » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:15 pm

Evidently not :) Posts like that help immeasurably as well, thank you :)
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby seriousjon » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:58 pm

I was lucky enough to go up the In Pin 3m behind Giladt. The 45 minute wait was certainly one of freezing cold anxiety, however it was during that period that I built the actual commitment required to do the pin. I had travelled from Melbourne and decided that it would be a crying shame to waste the opportunity. By the time Scot and our first two climbing partners returned (with I must say exactly the right level of confidence and encouragement) I was actually very eager to get started if only to warm up. Once we did begin, Giladt moved at a steady constant pace which was extremely easy to follow (thanks mate!). On the second pitch the elements added some strong wind gusts and what felts like buckets of rain to add to the mix. I actually remember thinking "Oh, for crying out loud - how much harder can this get?" then before I knew it we had arrived at the top. After that I actually enjoyed the abseil down and was wide-eyed with elation when I joined the rest of the team. I too have an aversion to heights. :D
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby mrssanta » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:58 pm

Well done you!
we did the Inn Pinn with a guide in 2012 when we were in our late 40s. My husband was terrified but he actually enjoyed it as he felt safe with the rope. we had a gorgeous day with a rainbow and a golden eagle thrown in! We did all the cuillin munros with a guide actually and had a brilliant week with a lovely group of people. Go for it OpenC I still get a buzz remembering it.
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:51 am

Well done you! I'm OK with heights, but I periodically walk with someone who is, and it's clearly a wholly uncontrollable thing that is very difficult to rationalise away - he will romp up short climbs where the consequences of falling would be quite serious, but gets the heebie geebies on exposed but easy slopes, where one couldn't really fall at all. Dealing with exposure is a huge challenge for him. So again: well done! And what a sense of satisfaction at the end!!!

OpenC: if you're OK with heights, you'll be fine with the Inn Pinn. It's very easy scrambling, comprising - except for the start - really big and easy step foot placements and good hand-holds. And the start is pretty straightforward too - just a bit more vertical, whereas the rest is a gentle slope of about 40 degrees.
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby Mountainlove » Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:15 am

Well done you and the feeling afterwards is always the best...you have done it :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby giladt » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:34 pm

Thanks everyone for your kind words.

Go for it OpenC.
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:00 pm

Congratulations, that really takes courage. I remember the nervousness I felt doing climbing this one, only to realise part way up that I was enjoying myself, and that I regretted never having taken up climbing in my youth. (The kids treated me to a Coulins guided trip for my 60th birthday, possibly hoping to come into an inheritance earlier :lol: :lol: )

Long may you elation last :clap: :clap:
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Re: 43, scared of heights, climbed In Pinn

Postby Sunset tripper » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:51 pm

Well done the rest will be a piece of cake now :D
Its always a bad idea agreeing to something after a few hours on the beer :D
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