Cuillin ridge Diary 2007; Inaccessible Pinnacle to Am Basteir

View into Coruisk

View into Coruisk

Inaccessible Pinnacle to Am Basteir
We should be able to jog the next section down a steep scree path, after the Inn Pin, as there is no scrambling for a while, but fatigue and stiffness and the wrong shoes seem to prevent this. We start wondering whether it would be better to wear some kind of fell running shoes with studs.
The top of Sgurr Banachdaich is one of the benchmarks of Andy Hyslops timings for the traverse, so we are dismayed to find that we are half an hour down on the time giver for slow walkers, let alone runners, even though we think we have been moving pretty sharply. This gives me a big low, and I wonder if we should give up as the projected total time means that we will run out of light.
Jim encourages me, saying ‘Just treat it as a day out, What else would we be doing?’ Yeah right, But I take it on and keep going. What else would I do?
The next section seems really difficult. Every peak has one name, but 3 or 4 different tops and you have to go to all of them. Sgurr a Ghreadaidh, Sgurr a Mhadaidh, and bad boy Bidean Druim nan Ramh,
The scrambling down from these peaks is very steep, very exposed, sometimes suspended by your fingers, slewed disturbingly sideways above a chasm separating one peak from its neighbours. We make one descent like this that we have only used a rope on before as it is so exposed out over a stony chasm and the position it forces you into is slanting and overhanding out over this drop. But this time we go unroped for speed. Every time we arrive at the top of a hard downclimb, it seems that there is no way down, no easy way is visible, all you see is a great amount of space with the nearest visible rock about 500feet below. The place where the col comes up to meet the ridge is often invisible at this point.
We arrive eventually at the narrow saddle from which you thread a way to the bottom of Naismiths route on Am Basteir. We are extremely tired, and in the low evening sunlight there is a gigantic swarm of midges about 30 feet high covering the area where we would belay and climb the route on the Basteir Tooth. It sounds funny now, but this is what makes me give up. I cannot face being bitten to death while belaying Jim and then climbing up through the midges. This is a matter of some regret, and is an extremely difficult decision to make, but there it is. We spin round and descend from the bealach to the Sligachan Hotel. We have been going for 17 hours and that seems like enough.

At the Inaccessible Pinnacle

At the Inaccessible Pinnacle

At the Inaccessible Pinnacle

At the Inaccessible Pinnacle

The route ahead is along the ridge

The route ahead is along the ridge

Jim snatches a quick drink - we never stopped for a long break

Jim snatches a quick drink – we never stopped for a long break

view donw into uninhabited Coruisk from Bidean nam Ramh

View down into uninhabited Coruisk from Bidean Druim nam Ramh

The Basteir Toothe and the site of the midge swarm

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