You have lot of time to think about the Inaccesible Pinnacle on the walk up from the Glen Brittle Mountain Rescue Post. As you leave the car behind you and wander alongside the Allt Coire na Banachdich you ask yourself whether what lays ahead can’t be as bad as some people make out.

 

Beyond the waterfalls the path begins to rise over the moorland with views across to Coire Lagan with the jawbone of Sgur Mhic Choinnich and Sgurr Alasdair thrusting upwards. Surely the route can’t be as bad as those precipitous crags? Above a grassy slope the path steepens winding through scree and small crags. Suddenly the scrambling begins, nothing challenging at first, but once on the shoulder of Sgurr Dearg the path narrows and you are exposed to the sheer drop into the coire below with a lochan ready to catch an unfortunate walker. At this stage you contemplate whether your will is up to date. However, soon you are concentrating on negotiating the minor bumps as you follow the ridge further upwards.

  

Catching your first glimpse of the Inaccessible Pinnacle in the distance you feel a sense of disappointment, a diminutive jag on an extremely jagged skyline. It is not until you reach the crest of Sgurr Dearg that the full effect of the pinnacle hits you, the imposing obelisk a pointing finger into the sky. Sitting looking at the vertical west ridge you linger on your lunch preparing for the final ascent. Watching a mountain rescue team practice does little to boost your confidence, although their presence at the summit is somehow comforting. I still have no doubts, I have come this far I am going to get to the top.

  

We gingerly slide down the steep scree and slabs at times grasping at the rocks by our side, to prevent us slipping uncontrollably, until we reach the stability of the plateau below the east ridge. A more experienced member of the team continues up the ridge and then we are ready to climb. There is a short steep easy climb to a small platform where we rope up. The rocks tower above us as we make slow and steady progress to the half way point. Here I glance down to my right to see the mountainside plummet down to the valley floor below me. The exposure is significant but I do not feel overwhelmed or nervous, it is an odd mixture of satisfaction and determination that I feel instead.

  

We linger for a long time here as those ahead make sure all is safe, the wind whips around us and it is difficult to find shelter out of the cold. Then it is off again, a few tricky steps at first and then a more obvious route appears before you. At times you think this is no different from crawling up some stairs and then you realise there is a 3000ft drop on one side. Then we are there climbing on to the small flat platform at the top. There is plenty of time to contemplate your achievement whilst sitting waiting for your fellow walkers to make the short and quicker descent from the pinnacle by abseiling down. You also get an opportunity to take in the grandeur of the Skye Cuillins around you, promising many days of challenging hillwalking in years to come.

  

Then it is over, you are down on the main ridge taking off your climbing harness, with more experienced club members congratulating on making it to the top of what must be the most spectacular Munro.

 

Now for the steep descent back to the cars. You have a lot of time to think about the Inaccessible Pinnacle on the walk down…..

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