Monday, 17 June 2013

10/6/13 - Cuillin Ridge one day traverse

Dave and I had been discussing a traverse of the Cuillins for as long as we had known each other but had always insisted that we waited for perfect conditions to optimise our chances of success.  On the 10th of this month, we had those conditions and emerged from our bivvy in coire a Grhunnda, dropped the rucksacks and headed to the south end of the ridge, only to double back on ourselves, full of excitement!  Although the excitement soon got a bit too much for Dave on Sgurr Dubh Mor when a large block (that looked like you could swing a car off it) suddenly detached when he pulled on it, after a few acrobatic moves and a sigh of relief we were back on track heading towards the TD gap.  The TD gap, we knew was the technical crux of the route and had a reputation for being polished.  This lead to a great deal of debate on whether or not we should take some rock shoes.  Im glad we didnt.  In my opinion the gap might even feel more polished and harder for the grade in rock shoes as a good old boot jam or 2 seemed to be all there was for the footwork side of things.  Dave lead up the gap within minutes I seconded and we were off again towards Sgurr Alasdair.

After baggin Sgurr Alasdair and we descended down to the bealach before making a superb traverse of Collies Ledge on Sgurr Mhic Choinnich before pressing on to the surprisingly deserted Inn Pin on the top of Sgurr Dearg. 

After baggin the pin we headed off to Sgurr Banachdaich, leading to Sgurr a Mhadaidh.  We were very aware that the section between Sgurr a Mhadaidh and Bruach na Frithe was the most technically intensive section as far as route finding and terrain went.  Once this was passed and after a few abseils we found ourselves slogging a very long way up Bruach na Frithe wich was summited with relief! 

Bruach na Frithe now reached, the end was in sight with Sgurr nan Gillean looking close.  We were fortunate enough to have a very good friend, Peter Khambatta in the area who had earlier stashed us a litre of water at the bealach, this was a most welcome sight, and Dave downed it almost in a oner, I dont think it touched the sides!  with the last top now in sight we pressed on to bag Sgurr nan Gillean via the West ridge.  This route served as a wake up call, providing amazingly exposed Mod/Diff climbing and swinging from pinnacle to pinnacle above the eye opening drop below.  A short while later we found ourselves on the summit.  Cuillin ridge, one day traverse ...TICK!  

All that was then left to do was endure the agonising walk off back to the Slig.  After what seemed like the walk off of all walk offs, we drove back to Glen Brittle and toyed with the idea of eating before sacking this idea in favor of sleep.  We each slept in our cars to avoid the midgies and even though crammed in the front seat of a Citroen Saxo, I still managed 10hrs uninterrupted sleep! 

This was without a doubt the hardest, most exciting, most painful and incredible day I have ever spent in the mountains, the memories of which i will treasure for a life time.  A massive thanks to my climbing partner Dave Anderson for a truly amazing day! 

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