Tuesday, 24 July 2012


Last weekend i managed to climb a couple of classic mountain routes with a good friend Glen Dickson. Glen is relatively new to trad and these were his first mountain routes, and good ones at that! We headed up to Applecross early on Friday morning and decided to do the route with the longer walk-in first as  i had a long drive back on Saturday. Our first route was the absolute classic, Cioch Nose - Severe(4 stars). It turned into a bit of an epic just getting to the route, starting with the road to the car park which was so steep i thought we were going to roll back down! However, my wee car struggled up and we got some awesome views over the Skye and Raasay.

After some photaes, we headed into the climb. Now to say that the guidebook was not very descriptive is a bit of an understatement(or maybe it was our bad nav skills) but it took us ages to find the crag. Relieved that we had finally made it we began looking for our chosen route. This was difficult as there was only a narrow ledge running along the base of the crag and so looking up was hard without falling off! After looking for a while, we eventually spotted 'CN' and an arrow pointing upwards etched into the rock. Although this should not be done at crags, it definitely helped us! We alternated the pitches and climbed the route without any hiccups.

amazing views from the belay

tut tut (but thanks!)

gun show!

making it look hard

final big pitch

The fun really began when we reached the top! It was really our fault for not reading the guidebook properly but we assumed that we could walk back to the car after topping out. This was not the case, in fact we had to scramble(pretty tricky) for miles and mile!( slight exaggeration). Although the ridge is probably a very enjoyable scramble, it was unexpected and quite tiring with heavy rucksacks. We eventually made it back to our tents where i enjoyed a pot noodle with wee loch beasties floating in it, yummy.

We had planned to get up early but it rained all night so we were in no rush to get climbing. We packed up our stuff and headed 5 minuts back down the road to climb Sword of Gideon - VS 4c(3 stars). This is a four pitch route with a 5 minute walk-in! That's unheard of in Scotland.

South face of Sgurr a'Chaorachain

 The rock was a little damp and we decided to miss out the first pitch as it looked pretty wet. We traversed under the second crux pitch and Glen headed up putting in an amazing effort past the tricky crux and the airy traverse to the belay! He did a good job of managing the ropes on the little ledge but the donut dropped his belay device! Luckily it landed on a ledge on the first pitch and i scrambled down to get it. Finally i seconded up the second pitch and lead the third up to a ledge with spectacular views! 

The last pitch was a fairly easy scramble and fortunately the this route had an easy descent!

Back at the car, we headed towards Skye where i was dropping Glen off to catch his ferry the Raasay. We stopped for some food and a game of pool (obviously i won) on the way and then i said goodbye and began my long drive home. A good weekend with classic routes and dry(ish) weather!

Coolest car ever!

Some more photos...

Dribbling with excitement!

pitch one on Cioch nose

a wee snack

we made it up the road!

first pitch

absolute trek in :P



exposure on pitch 3

last pitch

thanks glen...

trying to push boulder off

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