Friday, 16 September 2011

A great start to the autumn on Skye (posted by James)

Clach Glas - Blaven Traverse (grade Diff by route taken)

After 6 days of torrential rain, the starlit sky and frost which greeted me at 4am yesterday was a sight for sore eyes.

The promise of a great morning ahead, so I headed to that most awe-inspiring of places, the Cuillin of Skye. A few days ago a mate of mine had suggested the Clach Glas-Blaven traverse as one of the best days you can have in the Scottish mountains….enough to get me curious!

Perfect weather on Clach Glas

It turned into one of those days which started great and got better with every moment. As I started the walk-in, the sunrise slowly lit up Blaven and Clach Glas. The sky started to turn more blue and the moon sat just above Blaven's South ridge. And all the time a real chill in the air.

The NE Face of Blaven - the crux of the route follows a chimney up the steep right-hand ridge line.

Emerging at the ridge crest was a moment I'm going to remember for quite a while. The whole of the Cuillin Ridge suddenly in view, to me unquestionably the most impressive panorama I've ever seen in Scotland.

The view to Am Basteir and Sgurr nan Gillean

The traverse is great, absolutely great. Soon after you start the climbing you come to the view of the North Ridge of Clach Glas, and it is quite a sight to behold -Ashley Abraham was quite right in giving it the nickname of "The Matterhorn of Skye".

Clach Glas - "The Matterhorn of Skye"

The route up the North Ridge looks improbable for a Moderate climb, and it is a devious line requiring good route-finding skills. It takes you through absolutely sensational surroundings with false-turns possible all over the place. In fact the whole traverse is a test of good route-finding, especially when soloing as I was.

Crisp light and cool air

Down to The Imposter, the great vertical bastion underneath the summit of Clach Glas, and then a long down-climb to The Putting Green - a rare patch of grass on the ridge.

The Imposter

From here you weave upwards through complicated ground to the crux of the route, the 18 Metre Chimney. It's a fun crux, very in keeping with the Diff Grade - i.e some reachy moves and a few small holds but never serious, and I felt perfectly secure without a rope.

The crux - The 18 Metre Chimney

And then on to the summit of Blaven, and one of the absolute best summit views I've seen yet in Scotland. Lochs, the sea and islands on every side, the Cuillin Ridge standing proud before me, and not a cloud in the sky.


1 comment:

  1. It was a fine day indeed, although we were just 'strolling' in Glen Slig this day. Good description and pics, what a day eh?, sounds like your first trip up Blaven?