Arran – South Ridge, Rosa Pinnacle

Terry had a plan – to make tracks for the Isle of Arran to climb the Hard Rock classic, the South Ridge of Cir Mhor (the Rosa Pinnacle)…

The kats left the Lakes on Saturday morning with a fantastic forecast further north – while the south of the country enjoyed the rain, we headed for the forecasted sun in Scotland. We made it to Ardrossan with just 10 minutes to spare before the ferry left for the Isle of Arran. Phew, the 1st leg of our journey was complete.


The team (Paul, Pete, Laetitia & Terry) at Ardrossan ferry port


Arran ferry


Paul’s excitement at landing on Arran!

Our bags were very heavy and we must have looked an amusing sight as we cycled from the ferry port to the Glen Rosa campsite. We were told it was very busy as we booked in, but when we arrived there were only 10 tents there. So we pitched up next to the river.


Pitching tents at the Glen Rosa campsite

With the long daylight hours we decided we didn’t need too early a start – we left the campsite at 9.30am and cycled towards the route – the weather was ominous! Most of the mountain was cloaked in heavy cloud…


Cycling to the Rosa Pinnacle (Cir Mhor)

The track deteriorated pretty quickly, but we continued to push our bikes until we got to the deer fence. Only to be overtaken by the walkers we’d just cycled past.

After a long and steep walk we eventually got to the bottom of the route. The weather hadn’t improved! There was much debate, should we opt for the easier Sou Wester Slabs? But we resolved that we should try the route we’d come for. After all this was what we had come all this way for. We started preparing for an epic…


Shivering at the start of the South Ridge
The ‘S’ and ‘Y’ cracks can be seen near the top of this much foreshortened picture

After the first couple of pitches (with teeth chattering conditions) the clouds appeared to be clearing – possibly aided by the gale force winds blowing up the valley. You might have thought this wind could have propelled us up the route but instead it just made us shiver and slowed our progress, but at least it eventually took the clouds away.


Paul and Laetitia smiling as the sun makes an appearance before the ‘S’ crack

The friction on the beautiful grey granite was amazing. We’d reached the first test, the ‘S’ crack, this produced some grunts from Paul. This is immediately followed by the infamous ‘Y’ crack. Which Terry savoured, but Paul demolished in the fine style of gritstone climber!

The guide had rated the ‘Y’ crack at 4c. However, we’d read varying reports ranging from 4b to 5b. We thought it nearer the harder end of that scale – especially with a gale, carrying packs and with the temperatures. But at least it was now sunny and still dry…


‘Y’ Crack

After having successfully dispensed with the ‘S’ and ‘Y’ cracks, welcomed the passing of the dark clouds and the arrival of the sun (but sadly not the departure of the gale) we enjoyed the remainder of the South Ridge and ate our lunch before tackling the last (not to be missed) Rosa Pinnacle continuation to the summit.


Terry high on the Rosa Pinnacle


Laetitia on the amazing slab before the summit!

An awesome trip!

:star: Car – Ferry – Bike – Camp – Bike – Walk – Climb – Eat – Climb – Walk – Bike – Eat – Sleep – Bike – Ferry – Car :star:

8 thoughts on “Arran – South Ridge, Rosa Pinnacle”

  1. Hmmm, I was quite envious when I heard you were all going to Arran (I have had the map and book for years) but now I am not so sure. I expect I would have hated the gale and cold. Now I know the truth the map can go on e-Bay.

  2. You are not kidding Ian! Paul made the overhanging jamming crack look easy with his gritstone finesse, while I just struggled to stay on at all! 😯 At least it was well protected… There was even an in-situ hex, which you can see me clipping in the video. 😉 I expect an awful lot of people end up aiding this pitch?

  3. Yeah, that crack is well hard 😯 Pete has my full permission to publish his picture of my hands after ‘savouring’ that crack for a long time 👿 Well, the ‘Hard Rock’ account does say that ‘only philistines will do the Y- crack at the first attempt’ 😥 It’s a gritstone problem, set well high, and I believe it gets a lot of aid :good:

    But what an amazing trip and adventure in total 😛

  4. Here ya go – Terry’s hands after their encounter with the ‘Y’ crack! I just hope the numerous abrasions can be seen in this scaled version for the web? They looked even more dramatic on the day when all blood smeared…

  5. I think terry could do with some barnsley traning on real grit like the vice stanage how about it paul
    cos as I remember S.R.Direct says the holds are adequate and the situation impressive

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