Andy and Kevin ascend Stac Pollaidh (5 August 2011)

On Friday, I ascended Stac Pollaidh for the third time. On the first two occasions, I only proceeded as far as the false top located before the rock tower. Both of these times I was on my own and didn’t have a rope with me, so I erred on the side of caution.

However, on Friday I was accompanied by Kevin and I had a rope (that we didn’t actually need/use).
I was definitely going to the true summit this time .

We made our way up the “tourist” path and before long were making good progress up the hill.

Stac Pollaidh:

Unfortunately, the cloud was down to around 550m, which meant the top of Stac Pollaidh was in clag, as were the neighbouring Corbetts and Grahams .

Beinn an Eoin and Loch Lurgainn:

We passed a number of people during the ascent – the car park was full.

Ascending path towards Stac Pollaidh:

Ascending towards the col on the ridge of Stac Pollaidh:

It didn’t take long to reach the col. From there, we continued along the ridge towards the summit.

Stac Pollaidh ridge from col:

Kevin:

There are a number of possible routes along the ridge. We traversed the initial pinnacle on the left and then ascended a gully to reach the ridge.

Misty ridge:

Pinnacles:

About half-way along the ridge:

My biggest surprise was passing two children, one only four years-old, half-way along the ridge .
IMO, way too risky doing this unroped scramble with such little ones!!!

It was disappointing that all of the pinnacles were in clag. I assume the one below is “Punch and Judy”. I don’t think we saw “Andy Capp”.

Punch and Judy:

After carefully shimmying round a large boulder we reached the false summit.

Approaching the false summit with rock tower to the right:

At the false summit, we put on harnesses and I tied my rope round my back with a view to soloing the rock tower and then dropping the rope down for Kevin to tie-on. We could also use the rope to abseil off, if desired.

Looking down on the rock tower:

False summit:

The rock tower and summit beyond:

I took the direct route up the rock tower. I think I would grade the direct ascent Mod/Diff – albeit the crux is right at the bottom and after two or three moves it all becomes really easy.

Myself climbing the rock tower:

Myself at the top of the rock tower:

On reaching the top of the rock tower, I had a quick look around for potential anchors to bring up Kevin. However, before I even had a chance to take the rope off, Kevin was up at the top too .

Kevin ascended via the leaning slab, which he thought was fairly easy (Edit: “bearable”).

We then both made our way along to the summit. Disappointing to get no views but great to reach the top .

Kevin at the summit:

Looking back towards the false summit from the true summit:

Myself at the summit of Stac Pollaidh:

On the way back, we opted to descend via the slab. I found the descent, via the slab, much easier than expected – albeit I had to take the rope off my back to fit through the gap – definitely easier without a rucksack if going this way. The slab is probably about a grade 2 scramble.

Large pinnacle:

As we made our way back along the ridge, the clag began to lift .

A view along Loch Lurgainn:

Looking back along the ridge:

Returning along the ridge:

Loch Lurgainn:

Before descending, we quickly ascended the top to the East of the col.

View from top East of the col:

It didn’t take long to get back to the car. Again, we passed lots of tourists.

Looking back to Stac Pollaidh:

Beinn an Eoin, Sgurr an Fhidhleir and Ben More Coigach:

Stac Pollaidh:

Stac Pollaidh from A835:

Will definitely come back to do Stac Pollaidh again on a clag-free day .

Posted 06/08/2011 by turriffmc in Unofficial Meets

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