Having climbed Aonach Shasuinn before by the most popular route (Ceann Aonach Shasuinn ridge to the summit and back down the same way), we always wanted to traverse more tops when repeating this Corbett. Our idea was to include Carn nan Coireachan Cruaidh and Cnap na Stri (both are SIMMS) in a circular walk around Coire Gorm and Toll Odhar. This route looked like it would make the most out of Aonach Shasuinn ridge without taking detours to outlying tops. Creag nan Calman and Carn a'Choire Bhuidhe could also be added, but the latter is just a flat extension of the main ridge, not really worth the bother, and the former involves deer fence climbing, so we were happy to skip them. Eventually, our route ended up looking like this:
Still nearly a 1000m of ascent and some wet and overgrown ground, but very enjoyable walking high on the ridge, with fantastic views to the other side of Glen Affric as well as the Glen Shiel peaks.
Starting from the main Affric car park, we were glad to see blue sky above us - it was going to be a good day, hopefully!
River Affric from the bridge:
Public mudbath to Cougie, the only downside of the southern side of Loch Affric
We set off up the boggy path. It was the third time this year we were walking up that mess and hopefully the last! Sadly, when approaching Aonach Shasuinn from the main Affric car park, there is no other way to reach it. The alternative approach along the hydro track from Cougie is dry but much longer.
Views from the banks of Allt Garbh:
A right of way?... More like a right to snorkeling. Or kayaking (photo taken on the way back)
At last! Once on the upper track, we enjoyed some dry walking. Our target hill on the horizon:
The bridge over Allt Garbh is useful when climbing Carn a'Choire Ghairbh, but today we stayed on the northern side of the river:
Locals watching us:
We followed the main river into the glen for a short time, before aiming SW in the direction of Ceann Aonach Shasuinn, which looked like an easy way of gaining the main ridge of the Corbett. We had done it once before, but it was in winter conditions, we marched up the compact snow in crampons. Today, there was no need for winter gear:
Mullach Fraoch-choire reminding us that winter is not fully over:
On the map, the ascent route looks benign but on a closer encounter, it does feel quite steep and tiring:
A glimpse into Coire Gorm and the ridge we intended to walk:
The day was shaping up nicely and I simply couldn't stop the excitement of being "up there" once again. I'm always like that: when I can feel the mountain madness in my veins, I'm ready to meow!
The lower Glen Affric and Loch Beinn a'Mheadhoin from the 873m top:
Melting snow overhang on the edge of Coire Gorm:
The highest tops of the surrounding mountains were still covered in cloud when we reached the main ridge of the Corbett, but forecast was for more sunny spells in the afternoon, so we were full of hope, we might still see the panorama of Affric.
From the 873m top, it is only a short, flat stroll to the summit proper:
The summit cairn is about 50m from the highest point (which is marked with another, much smaller cairn). Lucy celebrated her 120th Corbett! She hasn't been to Aonach Shasuinn before, unlike us:
Our 2nd Corbett in 2021. We have been sitting on 165 Corbetts since last summer and can hardly wait for restrictions to be lifted, so we can travel further away from home to bag new tops!
I shouldn't complain too much about the current lockdown anyway - we are in so much better position than many other hillgoers, living in the Highlands and close to such a fantastic set of mountains. Sometimes I feel guilty when posting our trip descriptions, thinking that some of you are restricted to TUMPS at the moment
The Affric pano slowly beginning to reveal itself:
A glimpse into Glen Shiel:
The true summit cairn - can easily be overlooked, especially when wandering around in the mist:
Looking back the way we came, with the bigger cairn in the foreground:
The continuation of our route follows the edge of Toll Odhar to the eastern part of the ridge, Carn nan Coireachan Cruaidh (also known as the top with unpronounceable name )
There is only about 50 m of reascent to the highest spot on the eastern ridge (872m). Very enjoyable and easy underfoot, great views in all directions.
Panoramic view of the main summit of Aonach Shasuinn and the "backside of the triplets" (Sgùrr nan Conbhairean trio):
Càrn Mhic an Toisich, the Graham we walked the day before. plus the wind turbines, of course. There's always a windfarm in sight, said Kevin:
On the top of Carn nan Coireachan Cruaidh (thank heavens for the copy-paste function ):
One more panoramic snap, with Aonach Shasuinn in the middle:
North to the main ridge of Affric:
The ridge now turned north and we walked over several minor tops, enjoying views from each one:
The descent to Bealach Fraoch-choire was rather gentle if a bit squelchy. I spent time examining every patch of snow, not even noticing the improving conditions on the high peaks on the horizon
Cnap na Stri looming above Bealach Fraoch-choire:
Another 50m of ascent, much steeper than it looks on the map, but Kevin didn't complain:
Mam Sodhail, Sgurr na Lapaich & co. from Cnap na Stri:
The final descent from Cnap na Stri back to the track in the glen was the wettest part of the route, quite bumpy and in places overgrown with heather. We aimed for a deer fence below Carn an Daimh and intended to follow it down to the track. Some fences are not marked on any maps so this area can be confusing, careful navigation is necessary. But the views are second to none:
The last 50m down along the fence were the most annoying, high heather everywhere and very slippery. But it was a small price to pay for such a fantastic day of hillwalking.
Kevin searching for the best line of descent:
One last glimpse at the Affric pano:
Once on the track, we retraced our steps don the Cougie public mudbath, most of the time we had to follow the vegetation alongside the path rather than the path itself
I think this is the bast way of climbing Aonach Shasuinn, exploring the ridge to the full in a circular route. I can understand that for those who want to bag both Corbetts on the south side of Affric, this might be to much of an extension, but we always preferred to climb Affric Corbetts separately as it gives us more opportunities to get to know them better.
I have two more stories to write, from Easter break, and both are from local Munros. TRs to come soon.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.