Non-stop sunshine and smiles.
You might have noticed we're in the grips of a heatwave here on the west coast. This m,eans the mountains are really very dry and the climbing and scrambling on the crags is amazing. It also means that you're going to be baked if you go and do anything in the mountains! So after three years of trying, Tanya, Chris and I were delighted to see guaranteed dry weather for our Cuillin Ridge Traverse but we also knew that it was not going to be easy!
We walked in to the sound of skylarks to Coire a'Ghrunnda where we drank our fill and filled our water bottles. We carried two litres each and after starting out very well hydrated this lasted until the over night camp. I drank about 5 litres altogether during the day and felt pretty dry! It's so nice when you know the weather will be excellent because it means you can trim down your gear and not feel in quite so much rush. Also, the TD Gap is actually quite a nice place to be instead of the cold and windy hole it normally feels like! The cool draft of air coming out of the groove was very welcome! The encouragement from the other guys in the gap was also very well received.
We spent the night on the col before Sgurr a'Greadaidh where there are fabulous sleeping spots. There is also still a large enough patch of snow in Diagonal Gully on the side of Sgurr a'Greadaidh which gave us all the water we needed. I filled up with 12 litres which did us for the over night and we filled up with some more in the morning. There are many snow pathces along the way so getting water is not too difficult despite the lengthy dry spell of weather. The sunset was stunning even though we went to bed early ready for an early start
Traversing Sgurr a'Greadaidh and Sgurr a'Mhadaidh in the morning sunshine is one of the best experiences you can have in the mountains. The light picks out the ridges and the warm sunshine loosens stiff legs and joints from a hard mattress and a long day previously. We made steady progress and got to Sgurr nan Gillean at 4pm,a great effort in the heat. Chris had done the whole traverse a couple of times a few years ago but it was the first time for Tanya. It was worth waiting for the good weather but the Cuillins will never be the same again, knowing that we have traversed all of them!
Back at home on Ben Nevis there has been lots of traffic on Carn Dearg Buttress. The climbs are dry and the climbing is good. Titan's Wall, Torro, Centurion, King Kong and others have been climbed recently. There are some snow patches around on access slopes and descents down the gullies but the rock is dry. Slime Wall and the Etive Slabs are great as well. Get into the mountains and go climbing but take a sun hat!
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Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and 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.