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Grey Corries and the Aonachs

Grey Corries and the Aonachs


Postby bootsandpaddles » Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:55 pm

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Beag (Nevis Range), Aonach Mor, Sgurr Choinnich Mor, Stob Ban (Grey Corries), Stob Choire Claurigh, Stob Coire an Laoigh

Date walked: 14/06/2009

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THE GREY CORRIES AND THE AONACHS

Looking across from An Gearanach a couple of weeks ago I was struck by the possibility of doing the Grey Corries from Glen Nevis. The ridge looked magnificent, all the way from Sgurr Choinnich Beag to Stob Claurigh and then across to Stob Ban.
temptation.jpg
And by camping at Steall I would be in a good position to do Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag the next day.

Arriving late on Thursday afternoon I found a good camping spot near the ruins at Steall.
campsite.jpg
A stiff breeze kept the midgies at bay and I enjoyed a pleasant evening stroll along the glen.
evening in glen nevis.jpg
The next day I was away from the tent at about 7am. I kept to the higher path going east up the glen and just opposite the point where the Water of Nevis does a sharp turn to the right up into the Mamores I set off across the grassy hillside aiming for the bealach between Stob Coire Bhealaich and Sgurr Choinnich Beag. I couldn’t resist taking a few shots of the Ring of Steall.
an gearanach.jpg
devil's ridge and sgurr a'mhaim.jpg
Higher up you go beneath some rocky outcrops and then get a first glimpse of the ridge itself, looking a bit like camel’s humps.
first glimpse of the ridge.jpg
Once on the ridge you can see the plateau of Aonach Mor across a huge corrie. Going up the steep slopes of Sgurr Choinnich Beag there were masses of wild flowers including the ones shown below which I later identified as a dwarf cornel.
dwarf cornel.jpg
I’ve never seen so many different species of flowers in one small area before. A short steep drop leads to the ascent of Sgurr Choinnich Mor, the first Munro of the day.
view along the ridge from sgurr choinich mor.jpg
The ridge is rocky and quite narrow and the east face of Aonach Beag with its fringe of snow looms up behind.
aonach beag and aonach mor plateau.jpg
A rocky descent down the north east ridge reaches level ground briefly before you begin the scrambly climb over slabby rocks to the summit of Stob Coire Easain.
stob coire easain.jpg
A ptarmigan peaked out from behind a rock as I went past.
ptarmigan.jpg
Then there is a 90 degree change of direction towards the second Munro, Stob Coire an Laoigh. Stob Ban looks very small from this vantage point – it is difficult to believe it is a Munro it looks such a long way down.
stob ban.jpg
From here there is still a long way to go, over An Castail, where the ridge becomes very narrow, to Stob a Coire Leith and the finally Stob Choire Claurigh, the third of the day’s Munros.
looking towards stob choire claurigh.jpg
The quartzite screes were dazzling in the bright sun and I could see Ben Lomond in the south, all the way to the huge sandy beach at the far end of Loch Laggan,
loch laggan.jpg
Ben Nevis behind me,
aonach beag and ben nevis.jpg
a panorama of mountains to the north and the Mamores to the south west. Unfortunately it is then necessary to lose about 300 metres of height down to a small lochan
route to stob ban.jpg
and then to climb an unpleasant slope of loose rock and scree to the summit of Stob Ban, which all of sudden didn’t seem quite as small as it had earlier on. Here I met the only person I encountered the whole day, struggling down the scree. Walking down the broad grassy slope towards Meall a Bhuirich gave me plenty of time to look across to the splendid ridge that I had traversed. It had been a brilliant walk, one of the best I have ever done. Looking back from the cairn on Meall a Bhuirich I had one last glimpse of Stob Ban and Stob Choire Claurigh before dropping down to the glen, crossing the burn and following the track all the way back to the tent.
summit of meall a bhuirich stob ban and stob choire claurigh.jpg
The walk took me about 9 hours altogether.

As I settled down for the night it started to rain. :( It rained all night. :( :( It was still raining when I woke up at about 6.30am. :( :( :( But not quite so hard. I decided to have a wander up into the corrie towards the Aonachs and see if the weather improved. And I had to try out my new jacket as well. So I set off beside the waterfalls of the Allt Coire Giubhsachan and as I reached the lip of the corrie the rain stopped. :) The cloud was still low over Aonach Beag
aonach beag.jpg
but in the distance I could make out the bealach between Aonach Mor and Carn Mor Dearg.
corrie with bealach in the distance.jpg
So I carried on across boggy ground, crossed the burn and soon found myself at the bealach. It rained on and off but having come so far I decided I might as well at least do Aonach Mor. So I set off up the very steep slope to the plateau, unable to see much at all, either above or below. After gaining the plateau it was an easy stroll up to the summit cairn.
summit aonach mor.jpg
Retracing my steps I headed through the clouds to Aonach Beag. The wide plateau narrows and grass gives way to rocks as you approach the climb up to the summit of Aonach Beag. There was an impressive amount of snow on the east side of the ridge.
snow on aonach beag.jpg
I followed the edge of the corrie south and then the path headed south east and then east to Stob Coire Bhealaich. From there I decided to go down into the corrie rather than carry on to Sgurr a Bhuic. On reflection I don’t think this was a good idea as the going was rather boggy, but I was fed up with clouds. :thumbdown: But I eventually made it back to the tent after about 6 hours. And then the sun came out! :D I hadn’t seen a soul all day. As I drove home down Glen Nevis I pulled in to the visitor centre to use their facilities. There was nowhere to park. I have never seen so many minibuses and coaches. There must have been a queue of people all the way up Ben Nevis and back down again. Where is the pleasure in that? :?
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Re: Grey Corries and the Aonachs

Postby kevsbald » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:33 am

I enjoyed that report. It looks like you had a cracking day. I have often wondered if it would be possible to do this route by Glen Nevis and I might have to replicate that some day. It doesn't take much to get off the beaten track but it's worth that extra bit of effort to get back to the wild places. Nice mix of fauna and panoramas.
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Re: Grey Corries and the Aonachs

Postby Paul Webster » Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:40 pm

Excellent report and a bit of originality in the route once again :D Shame about the weather on day 2.
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Re: Grey Corries and the Aonachs

Postby davidmhodgey » Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:52 pm

Nice post. I love the photo of the ptarmigan!
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Re: Grey Corries and the Aonachs

Postby DavidBird » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:44 pm

Thinking of a trip for next summer. Grey Corries and Aonachs from the "normal" side, over 2 days with a high camp. There's a couple of small lochans on the south side of the ridge below Bealach Coire Easain at NN234720. Anybody know if this is suitable for a campsite, or if not is there any other suitable spot high up on the ridge? Thanks
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Re: Grey Corries and the Aonachs

Postby mountain coward » Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:46 am

Great to see my favourite Scottish ridge in pictures - I'll put my own fave Grey Corrie photo on this post (hope you don't mind) as I'm not going to write about our traverse of the ridge I don't think as nothing noteworthy happened really. I couldn't believe what a superb ridge walk it was though! I love the ptarmy pic too :D
Corries ridge fm Caisteal.jpg
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Re: Grey Corries and the Aonachs

Postby Wanderlust » Sun May 09, 2010 1:29 pm

DavidBird wrote:Thinking of a trip for next summer. Grey Corries and Aonachs from the "normal" side, over 2 days with a high camp. There's a couple of small lochans on the south side of the ridge below Bealach Coire Easain at NN234720. Anybody know if this is suitable for a campsite, or if not is there any other suitable spot high up on the ridge? Thanks


I'm planning on doing a wild camp up on the Grey Corries ridge later this month, and the spot that I'm thinking of pitching on is here, on the col in-between Sgurr Choinnich Beag and Sgurr Choinnich Mor.

I've seen a photo taken (in my Cicerone guidebook - Ben Nevis and Glencoe) from this exact spot, and it looks perfect - flat and grassy with a tiny Lochan, and views of Aonach Beag.
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Re: Grey Corries and the Aonachs

Postby Wanderlust » Wed May 12, 2010 11:02 pm

I'm thinking of walking in through Lairig Leacach, from Spean Bridge, doing Stob Ban and the Grey Corries ridge, camping at the spot I mentioned in the above post, then doing the Aonachs and descending into Glen Nevis.

Some very nice photos in this thread, hope I get some good weather for it.
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