The weather has been very changeable this week. The first half of the week turned out to be quite wet, especially on Skye, whereas the end of the week was hot and dry. Unfortunately this is the lottery we play when we choose dates to go climbing. For Gary and Steve it did not work out very well. They were climbing in the Cuillin on Monday to Thursday including a traverse attempt. At the end of Wednesday they decided to return to the valley, soaked through after the rain did not ease off as hoped for. They did a lot of great climbing but it was not what was hoped for.
For Chris and I it worked out much better. We started up into Coire a'Grunda on Thursday morning in the mist hoping the forecast was more accurate and that the clouds would clear away. We got as far as Sgurr Alasdair before they did but eventually the clouds broke and the sun came out. A lot of rain had fallen though so the cracks and seeps were wet for a long time. We avoided TD Gap knowing that it would be really wet but we did have a go at King's Chimney. This turned out to be pretty wet also!
We made excellent time, especially when the rocks dried out properly. The sun was hot the wind stopped us from over heating. We got as far as An Dorus on the first day and settled down for a dry night. Since there was so much water in the ground still we found a very good dribble close to An Dorus to fill up with water. This meant we could drink as much as we liked to re-hydrate, a crucial thing to manage on any traverse.
Yesterday morning was dry and breezy again, keeping the heat of the sun at bay thankfully. We got an early start (6am) and continued steadily and smoothly over Bidean and An Casteal before we saw anyone else. The last three, Bruach na Frithe to Sgurr nan Gillean are always more busy and we saw a good few people on this section.
With no hold-ups though we got to the end at just after 12noon and made it down to Sligachan just after 3pm. This was Chris's first trip into the Cuillin and what a way to start out! He has a lot of experience of climbing, mountain marathons and Alpine climbing, so he was very comfortable on the Skye Ridge. It was so nice to be able to enjoy it in such brilliant conditions as well. If it does not work out first time, it really is worth trying again until you get a dry and clear traverse. It's world class!
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.