Friday, 24 October 2014

Sgurr nan Gillean Scotland

Sgùrr nan Gillean is a 3162 feet (964 m) high mountain in the northern section of the Cuillin range on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, actually one of eleven Munros on the Cuillin ridge. The mountain is close to Sligachan, and its striking triangular profile is perceptible behind the Sligachan hotel, making it perhaps the most recognized peak in the Cuillin range. In November 2013 it was found that Knight's Peak is, in fact, six and a half inches too short to be classified as a Munro Top and is now considered a Corbett Top. Knight's Peak was named after W. Knight, who, with a guide, made the first recorded ascent in 1873.
Well, the most admired route of ascent is the Tourist Route, follows a path leading south from Sligachan, crossing a burn known the Allt Dearg Beag. This route continues up into a corrie, the Coire Rhiabhach. The ascent of the coire headwall is on loose rock and scree. The continuation up the southeast ridge to the summit is exposed, and calls for scrambling skill. The path up is very narrow so calls for single file when a party ascends. The top is a ridge which must be traversed to get to the final summit, and like the climb, requires few scrambling ability. Make sure, all sides are very exposed, and extra care is required if mist descends. The small airy summit platform is astonishingly flat and smooth with splendid views.
The other different route is the north ridge, recognized as Pinnacle Ridge, which is actually a rock climb that needs a climber to have a rope and harness and be skilled of abseiling, unless the third pinnacle is omitted by bypassing on the east side. Though rope is a sensible option for the moderate climb up Gillean, it is not necessary for Knight's Peak if the correct route is taken. So, to reach the base of the Pinnacle Ridge a climber starts in the similar place as for the route defined above but instead of crossing the burn continues up hill on the right hand side until just below the start of the Basteir gorge when the stream exiting the gorge is crossed to reach the base of the lowest pinnacle.
Another alternative route of ascent or descent is the West Ridge. The route leads from the summit down to a bealach separating Sgùrr nan Gillean from Am Basteir. About two-thirds of the way down, there is a particularly narrow and exposed section, which forms the remains of a large upright rock, known as the Gendarme which broke away due to the effects of frost shatter during the winter of 1986/87, leaving only the base. The narrow section can be avoided by abseiling down (or climbing up) a gully, known as Nicholson's Chimney, on the north side of the ridge.