Looking back down on the Northern Pinnacle of Mullach an Rathain after soloing Central Trinity Gully (II*).
The sound of my alarm fell on confused ears, waking me to the unwelcome sight of the inside of my car. I woke groggy and disoriented, a fifteen minute nap in a lay-by near Achnasheen making me even more tired, not less. The day before in the Cairngorms had been long and satisfying, but I just needed more sleep.
For the first time ever I drove into Glen Torridon without feeling a spark of excitement. Mist clung to every slope, and a dull ache in my legs and dull light on the hills were making me uninspired. As I slogged up the Coire Dubh path my mind was on the last time I'd been here rather than what this day might bring, and I just wasn't feeling it. I didn't really have a plan for what I might do, but I half-heartedly kept going towards Coire Mhic Fhearchair.
An hour later and I wasn't any more enthusiastic. That was until the cloud shifted and I saw Mullach an Rathain.
The view which changed my mind - the Northern Pinnacle of Mullach an Rathain.
I can't remember the last time my mood changed so rapidly. For two years I've drooled over the Torridon section of my climbing guidebook, fantasising about coming up here to solo winter routes. And here I was, with no thought that the day might include me climbing on Liathach, looking at a snow-filled and cloud-free Coire na Caime.
Central Trinity is behind the central and highest of the pinnacles, on the sunlight left face.
The Dru Face.
Upper Coire na Caime.
Looking towards Beinn Eighe.
The routes that I always want to climb the most are usually beautiful and natural lines. Central Trinity Gully might only be a 1 star grade II, but it's a route I've really wanted for ages. Its setting and position on Liathach is totally stunning, a prominent line going straight up to the crest of the beautiful Northern Pinnacles.
The Trinity face. Central Trinity is the right hand of the two prominent gullies in centre-frame.
300ft of snow and two ice pitches later, and I was stood on the crest of the Northern Pinnacles grinning ear to ear. I'd never climbed in Torridon in winter before, and the views were off the scale. Sitting on the summit of Mullach an Rathain, I reflected on how much ascent I'd done in the last two days and gazed along the length of the ridge traverse. It looked mighty appealing.
Looking towards the ridge crest, realising it looked too good to resist.
Looking back along the ridge traverse to the Northern Pinnacles.
Evening light settling on Beinn Alligin.