Sgurr Dearg - The Innaccessible Pinnacle
Sgurr Dearg the mountain is fairly straightforward walking for the most part, although the ridge is quite entertaining. What makes this mountain so special (and different from other mountains on skye) is it's summit - technically the summit isn't much smaller than that of Sgurr nan Gillean - the difference is how you get there - the Innaccessible Pinnacle is a huge fin of rock, only few metres wide with vertical drops on all sides. The top of the fin is a few (important) metres higher than the main mass of the mountain, therefor the top of the fin is the summit!
Many walkers and munroists leave the "In. pin" to the end and make it the final Munro on their tick-list. Many people choose to scale the peak in the company of a professional guide (there are several on the island and nearby) or a rock-climbing friend. Either will do, but you must climb this mountain - if only to see the expressions and antics of your fellow climbers: fear, joy, daredevilry, compassion, satisfaction - almost every human emotion but especially companionship - all the walkers seem to form a "support group" swapping tales and experiences and bolstering each others confidences for the climb - it's great to see!
With a little help and encouragement anyone can climb The In Pin...
Ascend Sgurr Dearg from Glen Brittle: the path starts at the Glen Brittle Memorial hut (412216) and follows he stream up to a large (and beautiful) waterfall. The path soon splits in two - the lower track leads into Coire Lagan (marked on map) - the path up sgurr Dearg is distinct but not on the OS Map.
Further up the path there is some scrambling involved before reaching the main ridge.
The Pinnacle - Going up
There are two ways to tackle the pinnacle - directly and by the fin!
The front of the fin can be climbed (rock climbed) at a grade of
Very Difficultand should be attempted by rock climbers only using the appropriate safetly equipment!
- The crest of a wave
After going up the crest of the fin you'll either feel terrified or euphoric - "Wow - I can't believe I did that!!!", is a popular expression on reaching the relative security of the platform atop the fin.
Starting at the bottom it's best to scale the fin in two stages - you need a climbing friend etc to go first with the rope to ensure your safety while you're climbing. Climb the fin until about 1/2 way (20m) up the crest then belay your partner - make sure they're safe and continue to the summit before belaying them to "safety".
The Pinnacle - Going down?
For simplicity, there is only one way down - abseil. You WILL enjoy it. There is a wire sling at the abseil point which is probably maintained by the guides who take parties here every day however the responsible person (the climber) should be satisfied with the safety of the anchor before doing anything - it is always best to either back up an anchor or arange your own!
Make sure you have someone available to take your picture being lowered off the pinnacle - you'll want to record this for posterity and your "climber" will have their hands full.
Return route you came up.
Navigation & Weather
In bad weather navigation in the Cuillin can be extremely difficult. Routfinding can be hard enough in good conditions! - you don't want to be climbing the pinnacle in terrible weather but remember that the weather at the summit can be different from that on the ground and the weather by the time you reach the summit can have changed completely - if it looks bad, seek some local knowledge.
Climbing the pinnacle in winter is a serious proposition...