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aonach eagach, a winter traversse

aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby mgmt! » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:09 am

Route description: Aonach Eagach

Munros included on this walk: Meall Dearg (Aonach Eagach), Sgorr nam Fiannaidh (Aonach Eagach)

Date walked: 18/12/2011

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 6 km

Ascent: 914m

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my original plan was for some winter climbing in stob coie nan lochan with some members of the lomond mountaineering club. we met at the car park at 9 30, burly and ben were climbing the day before and said most of the routes were banked out ! climbing talk for too much snow. so harry suggested the aonach eagach ? too right i said this has been on my to do list for a number of years. me being the least experienced of the group became rope boy, that means i get to lug the rope up :( .
half moon above stob coire nan lochan
there seemed to be some people in front of us as there was fresh footprints, a joy that someone else has broke the trail.
view west down glencoe

the sun was out views all around were spectacular as we continued up steeply towards am bodach.
sun out on the ascent

this is a really steep start to any walk and i was glad to see the final approach to am bodach
final approach

we stopped at the top to don crampons, helmets and harnesses, a single technical axe was the weapons of choice. we start walking westward towards the start of the ridge, sun still out and excitement building.
1st look along the ridge

the going was good, soft snow and the way ahead marked out by the people who were ahead of us, but we hadnt seen them yet. it wasnt long before we came to our first akward bit, a difficult down climb, but a sling had been left in situe, so we abseiled down, i felt we were now getting into it.
1st abseil
im really enjoying this

we continued along toward meall dearg we could see a front heading our way
grey skies

harry was leading the way, he is very experieced and no slouch speed wise either, he seems to glide up rock and ice with ease
harry leading the way

it wasnt long before we reached the summit of the first munro of the day meall dearg
final approach to meall dearg

after meall dearg, things start to really hot up, lots of ascents and descents and of coarse the pinnicles, to make matters worse the clag came down and we had a few snow showers to contend with.
hotting up
clagging up

the ridge now becomes well definned, in some places no more then a few feet wide, and maybe the clag hid some of the exposure on either side.
dont look ( or fall ) down

it was around here we met the couple who were in front, a man and wife couple from kinlochleven, we overtook them and broke the trail for them, wasnt long before the next tricky section, the pinnicles .ben is a rock climber and asked we get the rope out again, so out came the rope as we tackle a few tricky steps.
tricky section

it seemed now to be quite challenging, the soft snow giving way and ice axe placements few and far between. downclimbing was especially difficult and another abseil was set up.
another abseil

it was now full on, narrowing ridges, soft snow, steep climbs and harry like a mountain goat, makes it look so easy. the next bit was pure squeeky bum material, a difficult downclimb to a snow ledge a foot wide with a 10 metre steep ascent up soft snow and rock. i solo,ed it behind harry, ben and the lady ( who ha caught us up ) wanted the safety of the rope back up.
squeeky bum bit

but it just kept coming, another pinniclem another ascent
how do we get up that ?

harry kept taking about a little arete he remembered, ah here it is he says as he dances over it, the rest of us taking care of feet placements and more slowly.
harry on the aret
ben and burly on the arete

that was the hard stuff over and we soon reached stob coire leith, the snow was extremly deep here but we new the end was in sight, although we couldnt see it. we stopped at the coll before the final rise to sgorr nam fiannaidh for a drink. 200 odd metres of ascent later and we were on the summit.
one contented chappie at the end
ben and burly aproaching the summit
the four summiteers

we descended straight of the summit in a southerly direction, taking care in the steep snow, there were enough rocks visable through the snow but care was needed as the slopes were very steep. in no time we were back at the car, just a tad over 7 hours, really good considering the conditions. it was one of my best days in the hills, the aonach eagach holds a special place for me, it reminds me of a friend i once walked and climbed with in glencoe, who sadly died in glencoe. i thought about him lots today, he probably brought the clag and snow showers in for me, he wouldnt have wanted it to be too easy!!

for jed

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Last edited by mgmt! on Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby rockhopper » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:18 am

Sweaty palms just reading that - epic stuff and absolutely no way would I ever try anything like it ! :D Certainly a fitting way to remember your friend.
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby dooterbang » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:20 am

People on this site think i'm mad but thers no way i would do that :shock:

Was scared just reading and looking at the photos.

Great stuff MGMT.

You should have gave MT a call as shes choking to do these :D
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby HighlandSC » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:29 am

Fantastic 8) Would love to give that a shot one day but no way I'd attempt it just now!
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby Bod » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:47 am

Great report and well done! Something to aspire to, perhaps!? Sounds like you all made a great team with a good balance of experience :)
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby Cameron94 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:31 am

That looked like an awesome day out! :D
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby SMRussell » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:39 am

That blew my mind! Looks like heart thumping excitement. I would have LOVED to be out there with you. I'm a tad on the inexperienced side for such antics at the moment - for shame - but this report has really inspired me to keep getting out into the hills and pick up new skills!

Really great stuff :D
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby foggieclimber » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:01 am

Superb stuff done in pretty-good time.
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby MarilynMunro » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:48 am

Jaw dropping stuff, something I'll happily experience from the safety of my sofa :lol: Go Ape was enough for me.
Thanks for posting
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:21 am

BRILLIANT!!! I so want to do that in the snow!!! Really enjoyed the pictures!! Its good to see what it is like...even though some of them left me with a feeling of OMG! Obviously I am already started thinking if I could do that solo in winter :D
But I guess I need to learn a few more skills before hand! :?
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby daveh » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:31 am

Great report and having done the AE in winter i do remember some of the more interesting moments.I went with a few experienced guys too and that made a big difference although i felt i slowed them down at times.Well done and whenever i drive on the glen good to look up and say i have done that 8)
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby Fudgie » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:34 am

I'm thinking about braving that in the summer never mind in weather like that. Well done.
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby gammy leg walker » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:01 pm

Brilliant MGMT,takes a big pair of b***s to do this under winter conditions. :clap: :clap:
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby NickyRannoch » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:56 pm

Thats is , in equal measure, one of the most amazing and most horrifying reports have seen. I'm sitting here shaking and feeling sick on your behalf :lol:

fantastic report
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Re: aonach eagach, a winter traversse

Postby brpro26 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:32 pm

Great report. I'm still sitting here making buttons.
That's the way to do it with experienced guys and all tooled up.
How were the other 2 you met geared up for the conditions.
A fitting tribute to your friend...well done.
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