Friday 16 August 2013
9.1 km/1062 m/07:30 hrs
Munros: Sgùrr Dearg – Inaccessible Pinnacle (No. 282)
2nd round: Sgùrr na Banachdich (No. 1)
Munro Top: Sgùrr na Banachdich – Central Top (No. 1)
A few days after my return from Skye, I read a post on the walkhighlands forum that sounded extremely interesting: A small group of forum users had booked a guide for the InPin and offered a couple of spare places to share the cost 😀
That was exactly what I needed and I replied immediately. After sending a few PM’s back and forth all was organised, the only problem was the weather. The forecast didn’t look very promising, and I wasn’t interested in doing another, less challenging walk as an alternative in case the weather wasn’t good enough for the InPin.
I spent the rest of the week watching all available weather forecasts, and when the one for Friday wasn’t too bad (but not great either), I finally decided to drive to Skye on Thursday late afternoon. In Kyle of Lochalsh I got a phone signal and phoned the guide to make sure the next day would go ahead as planned, and to find out the time and place where to meet.
I camped in Glenbrittle again, and after cooking my dinner it suddenly dawned on me that I would actually climb the InPin the next day – something I had been looking forward to for so long, and now I was becoming a little bit nervous. I didn’t sleep very well that night!
The next morning I drove to the Glen Brittle Hut and met my walking companions Dean, Pete, Charlie and David, and our guide for the day, George Yeomans. Those of us who didn’t have their own, were given harnesses and helmets, and we were soon on our way up the path along the Allt Coire na Banachdich.
During our short introduction we had been surrounded by swarms of midges as it was very warm with no wind, and so we started walking with midge nets on.
Eas Mòr Waterfall.
Higher up, there was a light breeze, and we could take the midge nets off, thankfully.
(Photo courtesy of Charlie)
Heading up the end of Sgùrr Dearg’s W ridge, we were soon surrounded by low clouds.
We made our way along the ridge without getting any views.
And all of a sudden, there it was, looming out of the mist – the Inaccessible Pinnacle! 😯
In the meantime the wind had picked up, and it was quite chilly on the ridge. George suggested we’d put more layers on as it would be even colder during the climb. We put on fleeces, jackets, hats and gloves, and also our harnesses. Then we left our rucksacks on the ridge and descended to the foot of the InPin.
We were going to climb in two groups, with me on my own going first, taking the second rope up for Dean and Pete who were roped together, and then Charlie and David roped together. That way each group could take photos of the others (although there really wasn’t much to see due to the thick fog).
Strangely enough, I was totally calm when I was tied into the rope and got my instructions from George. Then he disappeared up into the fog, and after a while he shouted for me to start climbing. There was a bit of a delay when I realised I could not climb with my gloves on, so I had to stop and take them off. That way I did get cold hands, but at least I got a good grip on the rock.
The first part of the ascent is almost like a staircase with lots of hand- and footholds.
The crux of the route is towards the end of the first pitch. When I couldn’t go any further on the left-hand side of the ridge, I had to climb to my right onto the crest and over a huge block without any obvious holds.
Somehow I managed, but I think I had to use my knees at this point which is not good practice, but at that moment I really didn’t care too much!
And sooner than expected, I had arrived at the top of the first pitch, George assured me that the hardest part was over, and I sat down behind him to wait for Dean and Pete.
When they had arrived, George climbed the second pitch and I followed when he was ready. The ridge on the second part of the ascent is much narrower, but also a lot less steep than the first part. I found this part easier (possibly because we were in the clouds and couldn’t see the exposure), but it was still a huge relief when I actually arrived at the top.
Woohooo, my final Munro – the moment I had been waiting for since October 2012 😀
In the meantime, another guide with his clients had arrived and it became a bit crowded on the small platform at the top. George set up a belay for us and again, I was the first to descend. I had expected to abseil down, but he lowered us down (which I found a bit scary, I would have rather been in control myself).
When Dean and Pete had been lowered down as well, George abseiled down and we all gathered at the top of the ridge, where our rucksacks were. In the meantime the notorious Cuillin ravens (that George had warned us about) had managed to get into a couple of rucksacks that belonged to the other guide’s group, and had eaten their sandwiches 😯
We sat down for a break while we waited for Charlie and David to do their climb. It had become very cold by now, it was windy and it even started to rain. I was very glad that I had been in the first group, and could climb when the rock was still dry.
When Charlie, David and George were finished, they joined us and we all discussed which route to take next. The rest of the group had planned to continue to Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich, but George advised against it in these weather conditions. In the end we decided to walk over to Sgùrr na Banachdich as that was more of a walk than a climb, and could be done safely in the wind and rain.
I didn’t take any photos of this section as I was struggling to keep up with the others who were moving very fast, and I needed to concentrate on where I put my feet (some of the rock is basalt which is very slippery when wet).
I had mentioned to George that on my second round I was planning to do the Munro Tops as well, so we made a short detour to Sgùrr na Banachdich’s Central Top. Two of our group joined George and myself, while the other two waited patiently in the cold and rain – thank you for your patience and for putting up with this!
Eventually we arrived at the summit of Sgùrr na Banachdich, my first Munro of my second round 😀
Group photo at the summit – all “a bit” wet, but happy!
During our descent into Coir’ an Eich, the rain stopped and it became warmer again.
Coir’ an Eich.
Pete, Dean, David, myself and Charlie near the end of the walk.
Back at the cars, we paid George for the guiding (£ 65 each), handed the equipment back and finally said our goodbyes. The rest of the group stayed at the Sligachan Bunkhouse or the campsite, as there was a meet of walkhighlands forum users taking place that weekend. It would have been nice to celebrate my Munro completion with them, but the weather forecast for the weekend was awful and I didn’t feel like camping in these conditions, so I drove back home that evening.
Thanks again to all of you for making this such a memorable day, I really enjoyed your company 😀
I was so happy to have finally achieved this, it had taken me around 11 years (my first Munro was Ben Nevis on 31 July 2002), but I hope it won’t take me that long to finish my second round.
For my second round I set myself some high standards:
- I want to include the Munro Tops
- If possible, I will try and climb the Munros by different routes or in different combinations than before
- And I would like to get views from all the summits
(That last one is probably the hardest one to achieve!)