Thursday, 23 August 2012

Aonach Eagach, 17 Aug'12

On the days leading up to our guided Aonach Eagach traverses, we watch the weather forecasts anxiously. This trip was no exception and with heavy rain forecast the night before, but clearing by late morning or early afternoon, we postponed our 9am start to 11am.

I drove up from Edinburgh and arrived with enough time to stop at the Glencoe Mountain Ski Centre for a coffee and check the forecasts again - it was promising ! In Glencoe itself, the group gradually formed at the Aonach Eagach car-park. The ridge and Bidean on the other side sulked in low cloud, but we decided to go for it. Our group consisted of 8 hardy souls being guided by Martin and myself.

We headed up the hillside, keeping to the main path on the crest, rather than the old path that follows the burn. Quite quickly we were on the first minor summit Am Bodach, still in mist, then onto the first of the tricky rock-scrambling sections - a short descent. Steady progress was made and once down, the group looked back up in awe at what they'd just come down. We were asked if it got any more difficult, and re-assured folks that if the could manage that, then they could manage the remainder of the day. Onto the first Munro summit, Meall Dearg and time for lunch.

My personal favourite part of the ridge was next, a short chimney in which to climb up. Again the group progressed with aplomb, not put off by the greasiness of the wet rock. We continued along the ridge, stopping occasionally when the weather teased us with glimpses of views down Glencoe though the mist. We arrived at the crux of the ridge - the pinnacles. With 8 people and greasy rock, Martin and myself decided to take the lower path which avoids the difficulties. This route is not normally recommended - it is loose, steep and has a rather long drop on the north side. But it is easier to manage and fairly quickly we were on the other side of the gap. On to Stob a'Choire Leith, we could then put our hands in our pockets for the short walk over to the last Munro, Sgor nam Fiannaidh, still stuck in mist !

We returned a short distance to the previous col, then descended screes. Some people love this stuff, others hate it. Julia, who is a runner, fell into the former category, Margaret was in the latter, with the others all somewhere in between. The views opened further down out of the cloud and we walked on a constructed path back to the roadside. A great day !

More photos are on
our Flickr site .