Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These Conditions Reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Yesterday I got back from a brilliant trip to Skye with Jane and James. We had this scheduled for last year but the weather at the time was terrible. This time it worked out very well. We had a warm up and shake down on Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean. This is a great taster (or tester) for the full traverse. There is plenty of exposed scrambling on a rope and an intimidating and awkward abseil too. We got to Sgurr nan Gillean and went across to Am Basteir as well before going down the snow on the coire and getting ready for our traverse.

Tuesday was a perfect day to be in The Cuillin. The air was cool, the rock was dry and the sun was shining. James, Jane and I took full advantage of the great conditions and went along from Sgurr nan Eag to our bivi at The Three Teeth in good time. Several teams were out enjoying the day and it was nice to share the traverse with them. We did not get held up at The Inaccessible Pinnacle and the sunset was superb from the bivi spot.

The sunrise was quite spectacular as well but it did not last. Clouds were soon growing on the slopes and there was a cool breeze to keep us moving. The cloud turned to drizzle by late morning and when we got to Bruach na Frithe it was really quite windy and wet. So, having bagged the last two on Monday, we made our way down the snow again and straight back to Sligachan. Jane and James did a fantastic job on this traverse and kept me very well fed with home made goodies (always a good thing to feed your guide as you go along!). I'm sure not many grandmothers have traversed the Cuillin Ridge!

Conditions on the ridge are very good. There are one or two snow patches in gullies off to the sides of the ridge and quite a lot left in Coire a'Basteir which does need to be crossed. We did not take an ice axe but we knew the snow would be soft enough. In colder conditions, an ice axe would be a very good thing to have with you.

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