Cuillin Ridge Diaries 2004; Attempt 2

Wednesday 2 June 2004
From our mountain top eyrie, we arise at 2 am for cups of tea and chorley cakes. We pack all our bivvi gear up and stuff it together with our day sacs. For the first small stretch of the route we can travel without any luggage, – out to the summit of Gars Bheinn and back to our bivvi ring. We start moving at 3 am. We make the first summit as it is only just light enough to see, having had to use head torches to move over the rough ground to get here.

At 3.20 a.m. we start the Cuillin Traverse route. Last time we ran, this time we try to move steadily but not to stop. Back our the bivvi site we collect all our gear, and carry the whole lot to the Bealach a Garbh Choire above Coir’ a Ghrunnda, where we leave everything except our days food, water and climbing gear with ropes and harnesses.

Today the abseil into the Thearlich Dubh Gap goes well and I am extremely pleased to manage the climb, as I have never done it before, and have watched other parties struggling and gasping at the slippery crux. It is brilliant. It is a lovely experience to emerge once again into the sunlight at the top of the climb, and to take the slight detour without our bags over to the summit of Sgurr Alasdair treading with care on the tilted and lichenous plates.

A lovely ridge section follows, so airy and exposed, leading to the summit of Sgurr Mich Choinnich. In our inexperience we use the abseil descent form the summit here, which takes ages, and also, because ones gaze is directed round to the North side of the mountain it all looks very scary. Later from Kings Chimney, we see people threading down a tiny perilous track to get to the Base of Kings Chimney.

We climb King’s Chimney, and find one or two tricky moments in this climb, with difficult slippery holds negotiated with rucksacks and boots.
have lunch and have difficulty finding our way down to the Bealach. After a sunny hot start to the morning, mist comes in. We climb up beside An Stac, which in retrospect is probably harder than taking the ridge, see long queues at the Inn Pin, – it looks like rain, we are completely knackered, and we decide to call it a day. Going back to the cottage was a trial, and in our tiredness, we took a footpath off the pass which led, not to our homely cottage, but to a great cliff from which we had to climb right back up to the top again. When we got back, Jim fell asleep with the full whisky glass in his hands, and we slept for 15 hours without waking up once. We decided afterwards that we had travelled far too slowly.

On Sgurr nan Eag

On Sgurr nan Eag

Abseiling into the TD Gap

Abseiling into the TD Gap

Climbing the TD Gap

Climbing the TD Gap

The In Pin

The In Pin

An Stac

An Stac

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