Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Aonach Eagach, 1 Oct'11

Here's what Raymond Clark wrote about our guided trip along the Aonach Eagach with Jim Groark (photos are copyright Raymond Clark) :

"Went up to Glencoe at the weekend to tackle the Aonach Eagach - this was my third attempt this year with the previous 2 cancelled due to high winds and heavy rain.

The forecast was for showers and very little wind so on Saturday morning I found myself leaving Edinburgh at 5.30am to rendezvous at Perth at 6.30 with my guide for the day, Jim Groark. Arrived at the lay-by at the start of the walk a bit earlier than our 9.30 scheduled start time so there was plenty of time to admire the scenery. A couple of ambulances and a police car sped past going South and with the two other climbers travelling up from Glasgow and with very little traffic heading north, we expected the worst - a bad accident and major hold ups. Luckily not as at about 9.15 they turned up - a quick trip along to the Clachaig to drop off one car for the return journey and then back to the starting point and we were on route 10 minutes after our scheduled start.

The trek up Am Bodach took us just over an hour and being the first to set out, had no queues in front of us. The 20m descent of Am Bodach set us up nicely for the day giving us our first chance to get our hands on the rock and check our nerves would hold up - especially with the rock being damp and greasy. The first obstacle tackled with no incident, we had a break to allow two faster climbers past and set off for our first munro of the day, Meal Dearg - bypassing the Chancellor - maybe leave that one for another day.

A bit weird as most of the time we were in a cloud sandwich with low cloud preventing us from seeing what was below us and high cloud blocking out the sun. Meall Dearg came and went and then we were on the Pinnacles and the Aonach Eagach itself - I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the day (definitely prefer ascending to descending though). It was at this point that the low cloud cleared to give us a clear view of the valley below and our surroundings - even the Ben was clear on the summit!! - it was also the point we had our first and only shower of the day.

Up and over the Pinnacles and before we knew it, we had bagged the minor top of Stob Coire Leith and were heading along to the second munro of the day, Sgorr nam Fiannaidh. Luckily the showers had stopped by then but with no wind at all, this brought out the flies - absolutely hundreds of them. We spent a bit of time here gawping at the view and then headed down to the Clachaig - we took the route heading towards the Pap and before you knew it we were on the road to the Clachaig. Back at the car, we took a timecheck and worked out we had taken 8 hours for the whole day - it felt like 4 I was enjoying myself so much.

I've now bagged the 11 Munro's on the Cuillins and the 2 on the Aonach Eagach in the last month so I think I'll take it easy now with some "easy" Munros!!"