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Am Basteir & Gillean the Toothy way
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Byrdman
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:11 pm    Post subject: Am Basteir & Gillean the Toothy way Reply with quote

TRIP REPORT: Show trip details

Basteir Tooth, Am Basteir & Sgurr nan Gillean

Date: 29 October 2019


I hadn’t been looking forward to our appointment with The Executioner. Nor, despite the lure of Young Men, had Caroline been at all eager for a date with Gillean. Both had been looming over us for a while. They were our last remaining Skye Munros together. Actually, I’d done them before, but in both cases attached to a reassuring bit of string at vital moments. I was in two minds about whether this time round we could do them on our own, or whether we should get a guide. We borrowed a bit of gear, and had a go at replicating Am Basteir’s Bad Step at home (belayed to what became known as Am Banister). Trouble is, we’re both less than useless with knots and the basic physics of protection. Incompetence which seemed comical on our stairs (“er, this rope I’m pulling on doesn’t, er, seem to be attached to anything”) might not seem quite so funny perched above Coir’ a’Bhasteir. So we took the guided route – a brilliant decision, as it turned out. We certainly got more than we bargained for.

Having booked into Skye Basecamp in Broadford, when we were chatting to Mike Lates of Skye Guides I mentioned that I’d been trying to do non-standard routes on my second round. “Well then,” Mike suggested, “what about Collie’s Route onto the Tooth first, then Am Basteir and Gillean?” Gulp! Even as late as the following morning I was trying to weasel our way out of it.
“Er, Mike, wouldn’t it make more sense to do the Munros first and then the Tooth if we’ve still got the light?”
“You mean, just do the bagging route? You’re not worried, are you? Trust me, I’m a doctor!”

We actually ended up with two guides for the price of one. Mike was being shadowed by Tim Miller. Now, Mike’s praises have been sung often enough on this site, but Tim deserves a bit of a shout-out. An old head on very young shoulders – altogether an impressive individual: I suspect that in a few years Caroline and I will be shamelessly name-dropping about the day we shared a rope with Tim.

Anyway, enough blether. Time for a photo…
JQZT2297 by byrdman1962, Mike Lates on Flickr
…of the lochan above Sligachan and Marsco in the background. A view we’ve seen countless times before, but you can’t have too much of a good thing, eh? The weather, as you can see, was definitely a Good Thing – autumn at its very, very best. Sunny and windless, even on the Ridge itself.

Speaking of ridges, here is…
KSLJ2687 by byrdman1962, on Flickr
…Pinnacle Ridge viewed on our way up towards the Bealach nan Lice. By this time there was snow on the ground and glaze on the rocks, so we had microspikes on. They stayed on all day – I wouldn’t have fancied it at all without.

A glance out beyond the Red Cuilin…
IMG_4579 by byrdman1962, on Flickr
…to the mainland.

We didn’t pass anyone else all day, but that’s not to say that we didn’t have company. A pair of ravens were keeping an eye on us from here onwards – always nice to have family along – and one of them can be seen here…
IMG_4582 by byrdman1962, on Flickr
…flying above the Tooth.

So, round the back of the Tooth we went, and down to the start of Collie’s Route in Lota Corrie. A neat bit of psychology on Mike’s part here: he had us roped up a few yards before we got to the foot of the climb, so that there was no nervous dithering. We were straight up and at it, and before I could muster any more objections we were scrambling up the first pitch into…
EDOJ8371 by byrdman1962, Tim Miller on Flickr
…the gully. I hate to admit it, but it was fairly straightforward, and before we knew where we were, the slanting roof leading up to the Tooth was right in front of us. And here…
IMG_4612 by byrdman1962, on Flickr
…we all are – or least our shadows on Am Basteir opposite. Happy Days!

We went up the little overhanging crack onto Am Basteir in Victorian fashion. Yes, there was pushing and pulling involved. Despite the efforts of others, this was the most knackering bit of the day. I felt like I was a fish being landed – and somehow having to help in the process. So be it – we wouldn’t have been getting up there otherwise. Neither did I cover myself in glory going up the Bad Step on Am Basteir. More arhythmic flailing, I’m afraid.

After a bit to eat down at the Bealach, the West Ridge of Gillean went fine. Deep breaths were taken as we crossed the thinner bits, but neither of us threw our toys out of the pram. And then…
BUXZ1172 by byrdman1962, Mike Lates on Flickr
…we were there, arriving at the top of Gillean.

Now just the Tourist Route to go down. After the West Ridge, the necky bit leading off from Gillean’s summit…
LURR4692 by byrdman1962, Tim Miller on Flickr
…didn’t seem too bad.

With The Ridge of Eternal Peril behind us, we could start to enjoy…
IBEQ5124 by byrdman1962, Tim Miller on Flickr
…the view…
HVOX3624 by byrdman1962, Tim Miller on Flickr

One of the great things about this experience was that, although for half the party it was a day’s work, it never felt like they were thinking of it as ‘just’ as day’s work. After all, it was Mike’s idea to add on the extras. And either he and Tim really enjoyed the day, or they are the best fakers in the business. Their photos (for which I’m very grateful to them for sharing) suggest that the magic of the day wasn’t exactly lost on them.

Where was I? Ah yes, the view…
HGOU8900 by byrdman1962, Tim Miller on Flickr
…of Blaven…
and…
XCMK8923 by byrdman1962, Tim Miller on Flickr
…Glamaig in the gloaming.

One person who needs a special vote of thanks here is Catriona back at Skye Basecamp in Broadford. She dog-sat Shinty for us, taking her out on the beach with her own dog Cloudy. Our absence hadn’t been missed. Speaking of Shinty (and I know there are those who like a Cute Doggie pic) here…
IMG_4233 by byrdman1962, on Flickr
…she is, saving herself for next year.

So, with Skye now behind us, we have a long line of Munros left to share with Shinty – from Ladhar Bheinn over to Ben Avon. Realistically, we won’t be able to do this in a single trip. In fact, we’ll do well to manage it in a single year. But at least it now feels as if the gate for the Long March to the east has been opened.


Last edited by Byrdman on Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AdrianL
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was up in the Highlands at the same time. Tuesday was the best day of the lot. I could just see the Cuillin from where I was (TR to follow).

After the snow that arrived on the higher peaks over the week-end, I think I might have got the jitters on the Cuillin, even though I didn't come across anything icy. Well done for venturing up there. I think the decision to employ a guide was a good one.

And what a reward. Those views with such a clear sky (or do I mean Skye) must have made the day for you. Cool Fantastic!

Well done on completing the Cuillin Munros. I remember that being a notable milestone in my own round.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to do the Lota Corrie route to the Tooth but my guide wouldn't do it as he said it was too loose. We did Am Basteir and then descended to the Tooth, did the cave (loved that bit) and abseiled down Shadbolt's Chimney. Still haven't done the West Ridge of SnG - just the 'tourist route'. I have to say I wouldn't fancy any of it in snow though! Surprised
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant, and brilliant photos whoever took them. I do like a nice Shinty pic too..

We had a similar Am Banister type practice before we went to Austria with friends in our early twenties. Someone suggested we rope up on glaciers in case we fell into crevasses. One of us got a book from the library and set to teaching the others how (in theory) to climb a rope on prussic loops (I think I could still do it, very much in the same way that I could amputate a leg in the desert following the instructions of G. A. Henty in "With Kitchener in the Sudan"). Then we went to the basement of the Uni chemistry labs and R went down to be rescued, at which point we nearly fell out with our friends "For God's sake, let's get someone down there who knows what he's doing!" R "I'm not coming out until I'm sure you can rescue me.!"
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superb ! Great photos and an enjoyable read to boot. Not sure I'd be brave enough to try that at this time of year but a great reward for the effort. Thanks Smile
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vuirich
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tremendous. Cool Cool A challenging route in interesting conditions. Great photos. I liked the shadow image.

Hope the rest of your eastward progression is as enjoyable and rewarding.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a difference a few weeks makes.Fantastic conditions.
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oatcakeman
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report & great photos.

I've scrambled that route along the skyline a couple of times but both times had to use a sling for aid to get up the wee undercut chimney high up on Am Basteir, I think it's called the Mouth?

My wife & I were in Glen Brittle for a few days in early October but the only decent day we had weather wise we went out to the point.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great stuff. Nice contrasts of sunshine, rock and snow.Cool

Thanks for posting.👍🏻

machriemoor wrote:
I wanted to do the Lota Corrie route to the Tooth but my guide wouldn't do it as he said it was too loose.


Ted, Rob and I did the Lota Corrie route with Andy Ravenhill. I found it a struggle with my dodge left arm. Only with encouragement from Rob (below) and Ted (above) did I manage to scabble my way up.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Done, I was up on Sgurr A Bhastier that day and saw a party on the Bhastier tooth ( got a distant photo) and as I went up onto Bruach Na Frithe saw the party ascend Am Bastier. it was indeed a superb day, best conditions I've had in the Highlands for a while
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

snoopdawg wrote:
Well Done, I was up on Sgurr A Bhastier that day and saw a party on the Bhastier tooth ( got a distant photo) and as I went up onto Bruach Na Frithe saw the party ascend Am Bastier. it was indeed a superb day, best conditions I've had in the Highlands for a while

Small world, eh? It must have been you we saw from the top of the Tooth!
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow - I wasn't expecting the date to be so recent on this report, as a couple of days earlier it was miserable as hell Laughing . Laughing . That looked like an absolute steal, especially by that route as well!

I'm keen to get up onto the tooth at some point, but still hoping I might have the guts to do it myself. Doubt I'd manage up the chimney onto Am Basteir though, so I suspect I will be going back down the same way.

There has been a bit of a dearth of Byrdman reports here of late, so good to see a return with a potential report of the month Cool
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great photos and report. The Cuillin is hard enough without the snow cover. Don't think I would want to be there in these conditions although the views are wonderful.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! What weather. What everyone dreams of for The Cullin.

Love the Shinty pic. So freakin' cute!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant - enjoyed that, thanks. Lovely day you had...
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