Much Better Adventurer Phillip Banks recently spent the weekend on our Introduction to Mountaineering adventure on the Isle of Skye, learning essential climbing skills in the Cuillin Mountains. He talks adrenaline, colour-coordination, and claiming first official ascents... this is his story.
Day one was a glorious spring day in Scotland, we only had a few wisps of snow and that just added to the already dramatic landscape that Skye had to offer. The first day of the trip was all about introducing us to the mountains and the techniques we’d need in order to explore the mountains effectively and ultimately conquer the Inaccessible Pinnacle in a couple of days' time.
Starting to get an idea of how to use the climbing equipment and techniques the guide was teaching us to navigate the mountains properly. The group sizes for this trip were ideal with a 2:1 client to guide ratio. This made things feel almost like you’re part of a climbing team rather than just a client. This photo was from when both groups crossed paths, which gave us a chance for a breather!
The face of confusion. I’ve always been a bit of a slow learner, so it was a good job that Sam our guide was extremely patient and supportive when it came to showing us the ropes, literally!
The trip was really flexible and our guide provided a few options on day two for us to choose from, depending upon our interest and what we wanted to get out of the trip. It was therefore an unexpected bonus when Sam suggested that we could do some sea cliff climbing, which was really good fun. Some questionable climbing technique was used at times - with the use of knees likely be frowned upon in the climbing community, but it worked for me! We even managed a first official ascent of one particular route, which has now been recorded into the history of UK Climbing.
Day three was literally the pinnacle of the trip. I remember the nerves building at this point and time going really slowly waiting for Sam to set up the pitch before we could set off. The rain also started to pour, which just added to the nerves even more.
Almost there! Adrenaline had overtaken the nerves at this point, and we were pushing on to the summit. The scenery in Skye was just epic throughout the trip and this photo just puts into perspective the immense scale of the Cuillin Mountains against the little specks of colour-coordinated humans trying to make their way to the top.
What goes up must come down, right? After making it up the Pinnacle in one piece, the next task in hand was getting down in one piece. This included a complementary abseil which almost felt normal with the amount of adrenaline pumping through my veins.
A celebratory dram of whisky! I probably needed a few of these before the climb to calm the nerves, to be fair, but it was a lovely gesture from Sam and very welcomed! We then made our way back down with our heads held high after a challenging but rewarding weekend of adventure!
*All photos courtesy of Phillip Banks. Thanks Phil!
Inspired? Check out our mountaineering trip on the Isle of Skye, and other mountain adventures.