The last week of June and the first week or so of July have been a great mix of personal climbing time and work on the Skye Cuillin. I had a week hanging out with friends in Torridon climbing some brilliant different rock types and going to the beach in glorious weather.
We used one of the wetter days that week to give Ruari the opportunity to work on preparing for his upcoming MCI assessment in August. This assessment will enable Ruari to guide and instruct in all non-winter climbing and mountaineering terrain, one of the highest awards in the UK Mountain Training scheme. During the day Ruari guided Owen and I up the Cioch Nose and it's continuation whilst we chatted about different ways of doing things and being efficient and safe. Brilliant fun to help out a friend going through the scheme on such a cool and classic route. Good luck in August buddy!
Either side of this I've been working on the Cuillin Ridge. Generally it's been pretty atmospheric weather working for The Highland Mountain Company, Skye Guides and Abacus Mountain Guides.
I had four days with Eunice for Skye Guides climbing some of the classic scrambles and mountains on the ridge. With poor weather on the first day we started off with an ascent of the Cioch via Cioch Gully. On the second day we had some fairly nice weather and smashed the Coire Lagan Round.
Over the four days we worked on building confidence and technical skills. With abseiling being a particular challenge we found various opportunities for some practice including abseiling off the Inaccessible Pinnacle and the abseils on Sgurr nan Gillean.
On our third day we went for an ascent of Sgurr nan Gillean via the uber classic scramble, Pinnacle Ridge, with it's many interesting pinnacles, traverses and exposed sections. Getting to the top of Sgurr nan Gillean via this route is a real must! Especially when complemented with a descent of the West Ridge.
With more poor weather for our final day we opted for one of the classic but shorter sections of the ridge, the traverse of Sgurr a'Ghreadaidh. A brilliant route in almost any condition and one of the most ridgey sections of the traverse with big drops on either side. To top this off we finished the day with an ascent of Sgurr a'Mhadaidh. Well done to Eunice for four excellent days on the ridge!
My last bit of work in July before heading to the Alps for a few weeks was out for Abacus Mountain Guides with Dick. Dick had wanted to go and spend a couple of days on the ridge getting a feel for it and experiencing the best parts, preferably with a bivvy high on the ridge. With trickey weather we opted for a late start and a bivvy near Sgurr Alasdair after visiting the southern end of the ridge.
After a short but sweet night, and Dick's first bivvy, we had an early start and traverse over, Alasdair, Mhic Choinnich, the Pinn, Banachdich and Ghreadaidh. With many of the classic parts of the ridge under Dick's belt at this point and with a full-on experience of the ridge over a couple of fairly intense days we headed down off the ridge. Well done Dick!
With a few great weeks in Scotland over it's now Alps time!