Climb the Old Man of Stoer Seastack
Thursday 28th & Friday 29th April 2022
Monday 8th & Tuesday 9th August 2022
£300 per person, 1:2 Ratio
The Old Man of Stoer is an improbable looking sixty-metre stack of Torridonian sandstone, protruding from the ocean in North West Scotland. Climbing the stack is a full on adventure from the moment you leave the car park! The day involves walking along a dramatic cliff-top peninsula, scrambling down the landward cliff, a “tyrolean” across the water, 5 pitches of rock climbing, and a 60 metre abseil back down!
The weekend will include one day of skills practice either at Reiff Sea Cliffs or on Stac Pollaidh, and one day where we will attempt to climb the Sea Stack.
These weekends will be run by 2 instructors, with 4 spaces available – paired up on a 1:2 ratio. Your instructors will be Anna Wells and Matt Pavitt. We both hold the “MCI” – Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor qualification, which is the highest level summer award in the UK. You can read about us further down.
Each day we will agree on a meeting time and place. On Day 1 this will either be the car-park for Stac Pollaidh or Reiff. On Day 2 this will be the car-park at Stoer Lighthouse.
- 2 days of guiding / instruction on a 1:2 ratio, with qualified Mountaineering and Climbing Instructors, who are members of the AMI (Association of Mountaineering Instructors)
- Harness and helmet hire, if required
- All technical climbing equipment
What’s not included
- Food, transport and accommodation (recommendations below)
- Personal clothing and mountain kit – you will be given a kit list
- Personal accident insurance or travel insurance (see T&Cs. We hold public liability insurance but this does not compensate you in the case of non-negligent accidents)
Where to stay
I have drawn the following map to help orientate you to the area! The biggest nearby places are Ullapool (just south of Ardmair off the bottom of the map) and Lochinver. I do not have personal experience of any of these campsites (except good fish and chips at Shore Caravan Site!) but here are some links:
- Shore Caravan Site (also for tents), Achmelvich – www.shorecaravansite.yolasite.com
- Ardmair Point Holiday Park, near Ullapool – www.ardmair.com
- Port a Bhaigh Campsite, Achiltibuie – www.portabhaigh.co.uk
- Clachtoll Beach Campsite, Clachtoll – www.clachtollbeachcampsite.com/
- Or you could search for hotels/pods/b&bs using www.bookings.com or www.airbnb.co.uk
How much experience do I need?
Participants must have some climbing experience, either indoor or outdoor.
Those with indoor only experience should be comfortable top-roping grade F6a.
Those with outdoor experience should be happy seconding routes graded VS 5a.
Please get in touch if you are unsure and would like to discuss your experience.
An Outline of the Weekend
Day 1: Ropework and Skills
This will be our opportunity to cover the essential ropework skills required to safely ascend the sea-stack and will include:
- Tying in and belaying
- Removing “gear” from the rock
- Attaching to belay anchors and dismantling belay anchors
For those of you who already have considerable experience climbing outdoors, we can tailor this day to help you progress and develop your skills more generally – for example looking at building anchors, gear placement, guidebook use, movement skills etc
Day 2: The Old Man of Stoer
The day begins with an hour-long walk along the top of the sea cliffs. We then descend the landward face, which is a fairly exposed scramble for which we will use ropes. This takes us to a rocky platform, from where there is about a 10m gap between us and the stack! Your instructor will swim over and set up a “Tyrolean” – a horizontal rope , which allows you to “zip-wire” across above the water!
The climb itself is graded VS 5a. It is 67m long and split into 5 pitches. The first pitch is the hardest, so once you have done this one, it’s nice to know that it only gets easier!
The descent is by abseil, and can be done as a single, free-hanging, 60m abseil! We then use the same Tyrollean to get back across the water. We scramble back up the cliff face onto the mainland, before walking very happily back to the car!
The whole day takes 8-10 hours and is an adventure from start to finish.
Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor, International Mountain Leader
Anna grew up in the Scottish Highlands, and has a background in competitive climbing. She has represented Britain in several ice climbing world cups, and has climbed extensively all over the world. She loves sharing outdoor adventures with people of all ages and backgrounds, and teaching them the skills to be able to go forth independently. In 2018, Anna left her full-time job as a Doctor to focus on climbing and guiding, and founded “Rocks and Trails”.
Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor, Paddlesport Instructor level 1, Mountain Bike Leader level 2
Matt was fortunate to grow up in the shadows of Mont Blanc where he spent most of his days skiing, and was a regular competitor on the European Freeride circuit. Through ski touring, mentors and watching guides he found the bigger mountains, and discovered a love for climbing. Matt’s favourite thing in the world is to take people on adventures they never thought they’d have.
There are 4 spaces available on a first-come-first-served basis, at £300 per person.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or wish to discuss your experience.
Get in touch by email, whatsapp, facebook or instagram to book your place: