Sunday, 7 May 2017

Skye Wall and Stairway to Heaven

Boat in, climb out.

Life as a guide take me all over the country and abroad so I have to make early plans if I want to see friends and go climbing.  So months ago, Murdoch and I planned and hoped we could get out climbing.  The weekend finally came round and surprise! suprise!  the weather was perfect.  We could do anything and not get bothered by seepage, rain or midgies.  As always, Murdoch has a plan but we finally agreed on going up to Blaven to climb Stairway to Heaven (E5 6a) on Day one.  Yes it's in the shade but a very interesting route with a very 'adventurous' feel to it.  We bumped into Donald on the drive down so he joined in for some laughter on the belays...not so funny when Murdoch accidentally pissed on us from his belay! :(
Stairway to Heaven has a crux traverse with not a great deal of gear.  With a massive swing potential and a very high risk of both our ropes being chopped we opted for a back rope which made it slightly more comfortable.  Maybe a route best done in a pair rather than a 3!
The view from the crag

Day two was one we had been looking forward to for a while.  Murdoch wanted to climb Dave Birketts Skye Wall (E7/8 6b/c).  Fortunately with this route, it is a plumb line so if I fell off at least im not going to swing.  Donald came along also to help with carrying some kit, some rigging and took some photos.  The rest was up to Murdoch.  And unsurprisingly, he made quick work of it.  Making it look quite easy, not even needing a shake out.  A truly stunning piece of rock on immaculate gabbro made some a superb route in a superb location.  It was a privilege to climb it with Murdoch as I know he had wanted to do it for quite a while.  Just for record, I did shake out on it...I even did some 2 handed shaking out!  We travelled in on the boat from Elgol and returned to Glen Brittle via An Dorus.  A long but brilliant day.
Me seconding the 1st Pitch (E6 6b).  Photo:Donald King

On another note, huge admiration to Caff (James Mchaffie) who on-sighted it!
Murdoch cruising the main pitch (E7 6b/c).  Photo:Donald King

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