You Can’t Win ‘Em All

View across Coire Lagan to Sgurr Alasdair on the Cuillin Ridge from the top of the new addition Un Pin (I), which is seen just left of the Inaccessible Pinnacle. (Photo Andy Nisbet)

“Whilst many times guiding the Inaccessible Pinnacle in the 1990s, I often looked down its Coruisg side to where slabby ground dropped away rapidly,” Andy Nisbet writes. “Because the slope was convex, all you could see was what was in your imagination. I always meant to go back and climb up the imagined line but kept getting distracted by icefalls nearby (I only went as far as Skye when conditions were excellent). The closest was two years ago when I went with Sandy Allan to do the line, but we climbed steeper and thicker ice to the right (Inaccessible Icefall, Grade IV,4). But the line itself looked easier, although with a couple of tricky ice steps.

With conditions being good in the west this year, it was raised up my ‘To Do’ list so I drove over to Skye on March 13 and headed up to Bealach na Banachdich. It was probably shorter to approach via Coire Lagan but I went the way I knew, descending from the Bealach and going back up to the start.

There wasn’t much ice left but a huge amount of snow, deep and wet but comfortably taking my weight. The real surprise was that any potential difficulties were banked out leaving a mixture of walking and easy climbing. Which was disappointing but still an unusual line, where the drips from the thaw fell out from me because I was tucked under the overhanging sidewall of An Stac. And quite a drop underneath when I moved out under the Inn Pinn itself.

And a brief but spectacular view from the summit of Sgurr Dearg before the mist closed in and I got lost in the whiteness. I know the ground well but with a clear afternoon forecast, I didn’t take a compass. So I followed footprints down, finding out too late that they came from Coire Lagan and not the usual way up. But no-one was there to confiscate my winter ML. So 25 years of curiosity has been resolved, although not with the excitement I expected. I’ve called it The Un Pin (250m Grade I), although it will rarely be that easy.”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
This entry was posted in New Routes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.