Winter ascent of mountain high above festival's location.
Perfect weather and ideal snow conditions made for the ideal chance to scale Sgurr nan Gilean by it's so called "Tourist Route." In summer it's a grade 3 scramble but in winter it's a grade 2 climb with stunning view to much of the Cuillin Ridge, Bla Bheinn and down o the Sligachan Hotel.
Robert Jessop and I left the Slig at 0700 and walked in under a starry sky. A stunning sunrise lit the sky behind the Red Cuillin and the first rays of sun lit the flanks of Sgurr nan Gillean, picking out our target for the day.
Crampons on, we crunched up firm snow to emerge into dazzling sunshine. Blue skies, sun and the heat, it all seemed very alpinesque and we could easily have been high above Chamonix. Above us towered the ridge we were to ascend, our angle of view foreshortening the climb and making it look more fearsome than it actually is.
Axes and crampons on perfect snow saw us rapidly ascend to the summit, the final ridge narrows with huge drops on both sides. Unfortunately our arrival at the summit coincide with clouds rolling in and the view disappearing.
The descent of the west ridge was trickier than usual with minimal snow over rocky slabs. Gradually the clouds rolled back and fantastic vistas opened up all around. Far below was the distinctive white house at Allt Dearg and the Sligachan Hotel and Seumas's Bar. One short abseil and the difficulties were over and it was just a long slog back to the Slig.
Ideal conditions underfoot, pretty good weather on the whole, great company and a challenging mountain....what more could one ask for?
Robert low down on the "Tourist Route".
At the base of the west ridge with Am Basteir in the background.
Low on west ridge with the Sligachan Hotel visible in background to left of the loch.