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Quarter Century (+1) on the Fort William Aonachs

Quarter Century (+1) on the Fort William Aonachs

Postby Driver84 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:04 pm

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Beag (Nevis Range), Aonach Mor

Date walked: 11/07/2011

Time taken: 6.25 hours

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With the weather being generally crap of late, a very keen eye was kept on the MWIS, their forecast being reasonably good weather up on the hills. Talk of where to go and what to do had been quickly whittled down to Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag, with a final weather check late Friday afternoon.
With all the thunder and rain on Friday I had fully expected the MWIS to have changed the forecast: but, alas, no it was the same. A phone call later all the arrangements were made for the Saturday.

Up at 6 on Saturday morning - after a late night :( - we were on our way by 6:45. Driving up the A82 the roads were surprisingly quiet in both directions, and we didn't any form of traffic until Onich. The drive, and views, through a cloudy Glen Coe were still spectacular - the place still amazes me. but after passing Glencoe village the sky was clearing in front of us: patchy blue sky. Was the forecast going to remain correct? :shock:

Now some may see this a "cheat's"/"non-purist's" way of doing it, but we were taking the gondola from the ski centre up. Use what is given to you, I say. It is, after all, no different from climbing Cairn Gorm, for example, where you are already at a considerable altitude.

Pulled into the ski centre car park at about 9:30, minus a rear license plate! :shock:
Booted up, we were in the gondola and relaxing as we made the steady climb to the top station (09:50).
It was then to be a case of follow the ski lifts to the top. However, "cheating" or not, it wasn’t easy! It certainly was a real slog up.
straight up you say???

The views were good over Corpach and down Loch Eil, though the cloud was forming and closing in over Locheil Forrest.
Loch Eil

A quick rest and re-fuel at the top of the final ski tow, we made our way along the eastern ridge only to be engulfed in the clag; Really thick at times and visibility down to about 15/20 meters or so.
Mor's east face

reducing visibility

Micro-navigating our way across the barren plateau we made it to the summit cairn (12:15) where we met a solo walker and had a good chat with him, while catching glimpses through the broken cloud of Carn Mor Dearg to our west.
first glimpse of clouded CMD and The Ben

The cloud wasn't for clearing, so we abandoned the traditional summit pictures hoping to get better ones on our return.

Descending off the south of Aonach Mor, the rain came on, and for the third time in as many trips the waterproofs were on, we made our way down to the bealach and immediately onto the ascent of Aonach Beag.
Aonach Beag fae Aonach Mor

The rockier ground underneath made for a welcome change. A little uneasy at one point led to both poles being held in the one hand while the other helped against the rock to support. All very easy stuff. The ascent was quick and by 13:15 we had summited. Obligatory photos were taken before we made our way over to a large lump of quartzite to sit and have lunch, looking over towards The Ben, the cloud now clear of the CMD but still shrouding the last 100m of The Ben's massive bulk.
CMD clearing

Folks on the CMD

east over Stob Coire an Laoigh and Stob Coire Claurigh

Moi, on Aonach Beag

RosythAlly, on Aonach Beag

We sat until 13:35 and started to re-trace our route.
Aonach Mor, cloud free!?! =0o

Just as we made it down to the bealach again to make our re-ascent of Aonach Mor, the cloud drew in and encased us again.
However, as we arrived at the cairn again the cloud quickly dispersed showing the CMD in full, and the same views over Corpach and Loch Eil that we had been treated too earlier.
moi, on Aonach Mor

RosythAlly, Aonach Mor

Corpach and Loch Eil

The distant Sgurr Dhomhnuill and the likes (corbetts)

Sticking to the exact route of decent as we took on the up, once we hit the ski tow we were back down at the gondola station in 30 mins.

Although the steep descent played havoc with the thighs, and at one point my quads were trembling, but nothing too drastic. Followed by a leisurely ride on the gondola we arrived back at the car and were setting off at 16:00.

The drive back treated us to cloudless blue sky through Glencoe, absolutely spectacular. The roads were quiet until Lochearnhead, from which we were stranded - along with half of Scotland - behind a coach as he crawled the whole distance back to the M9, adding on a full hour/hour and half to the journey. Was less than impressed.
And despite keeping an eager eye out, I never did see my license plate. :(

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Re: Quarter Century (+1) on the Fort William Aonachs

Postby LeithySuburbs » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:17 pm

I think I might cheat on these hills too then maybe add CMD & the Ben. Nice report :)
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Re: Quarter Century (+1) on the Fort William Aonachs

Postby Driver84 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:27 pm

Thanks Leithy! :)
Certainly do-able, not that we had the time, or the weather for it. Just means another trip to look forward too1 :D

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