The weather was splendid, and we spent a long time basking at the summit of Beinn Fhada before following two folks with two labradors across the broad plateau and on to the ridge. 'It must be easier than we thought' we said, as we watched them slowly scramble along the easy start. We overtook them, and after some more very easy down scrambling, got to the bealach.
Then we questioned how they intended getting the dogs safely up the steep section once we saw it - It is relatively easy scrambling, especially in the dry conditions, but a slip would be serious, and in the wet it would be horrible. We enjoyed ourselves on it however, but were relieved to see the folks turn tail (sic) after having watched us negotiate it.
We did some more gratuitous basking, soaking up the rays and the views over Morvich before setting off on the continuation to the summit of Sgurr a'Coire Gairbh. This was much gnarlier than we had hoped, and the rock was very slippy and lichenous in the shade, and indeed still frozen in places. After what seemed like an age, we got to easier ground, but even that was unpleasant and steep, so it was with relief we hit the track to Morvich and our cars. It's a real shame the rest of the route is so unpleasant and rough, as the initial 'bobbles' are really nice, as is the ascent of the slabs. The rest of it doesn't really make it worthwhile however.
On Sunday we opted for the Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean, a route I have done a good few times, but one which Caroline hadn't, so off we went. The weather was still good for October, cool, but with no wind and high blanket cloud. The scramble up the initial gully onto the first pinnacle is always a loose and chossy affair, and this was no different, so I was glad to be out onto the ridge proper.
We were soon at the top of the second pinnacle, and I set about rigging the abseil. Caroline had been confident about this up to now, having abseiled a lot previously, but the difficult 'launch' unnerved her a little. It is tricky, but once committed to, it's fine, and moved steadily and safely up to the Knight's Peak. Here there is a loose and horrible down-climb, and I much prefer to abseil off this too, so was pleased to see some shiny ab tat for just that, and we were soon on the final climb.
I chose to make a pitch of this, as the steep initial move can be problematic for shorter folks, but Caroline was fine, and we moved together to the top, where we met a couple having a late lunch. After photos, they set off, and I got a great picture of one of them on the West Ridge descent. We caught them up at Nicholson's Chimney, the final abseil, and they were kind enough to let us use their rope, so we were soon down that and onto the steep scree path descent into Coire Bastier and onwards to the car.
A great weekend, and two nice big ridge ticks in the book for Caroline!