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Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach


Postby jupe1407 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:14 pm

Route description: Aonach Eagach

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

Date walked: 28/08/2013

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 9.43 km

Ascent: 1182m

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Some weeks ago, GillC posted up the AE thread and after much anticipation, waiting, nervousness and extensive research on the route, I headed for Glen Coe on Tuesday afternoon, enduring the worst drive i can ever remember. A series of tractors, impossible-to-overtake agricultural crop spraying machinery, camper vans and people driving Nissan Micras unacceptably slowly contrived to make the drive from Crieff to Crianlarich an exercise in spirit-crushing misery.

However, once past Bridge of Orchy, the scenery truly opens out, and is magnificent. Soon, Stob Dearg comes into view, standing guard over Glens Coe and Etive. A truly stunning piece of the country. The weather was good, so i stopped for a few photos, and to stretched my near-cramping up legs.

Aonach Eagach-1.jpg
Creise


Aonach Eagach-2.jpg
Stob Dearg


A few minutes later, i'd arrived at the excellent Red Squirrel Campsite and met up with GillC. Harry would be joining us later on. At only £9.50 a night and with good facilities, loads of space and numerous wee fire spots, this is a cracking site and one i'll definitely use again. Pitched the Vango Banshee 200 tent i'd bought a month ago for the first time without any disasters, other than one bent peg and about 50 midge bites. That all sorted it was time for a beer and a nice sunset.

Aonach Eagach-4.jpg
Sunset in the Glen


A visit to the Clachaig followed, as did a decent sleep overnight, although we were all woken by the Rescue choppers, presumably looking for the chap lost on BEM. Hopefully that turned out ok, although they were still flying about for much of the morning.

Anyway, onto the main event. The Aonach Eagach. Something i've wanted to do for a while, but was unsure of my ability to do it. A successful and highly enjoyable scramble up the Forcan Ridge the fortnight before had given me a good confidence boost, and i was really looking forward to tackling this ridge, if only to get away from the psychopathic midges that attacked the hell out of us waiting at the start point. Disappointingly conditions were claggy, but hopes were high that this would clear. ( :lol: )

Aonach Eagach-5.jpg
Claggy ridge


The path up to Am Bodach is steep, but height is quickly gained, and the splendour of the Glen is gradually revealed.

Aonach Eagach-7.jpg
Down Glen Coe towards Loch Achtriochtan


Before long, the summit area of Am Bodach was getting closer. Of course, so was the rumoured unpleasant drop from that top onto the ridge ....

Aonach Eagach-8.jpg
Am Bodach


The top of Am Bodach reached, it was time for the short walk to the start of the down-scramble. I have to say, that it's not quite as bad as I expected. Luckily the rock was still dry and quite grippy. It's really a case of taking time and looking for the holds, of which there are plenty. We all safely made it down, muttered "thank **** for that" and looked back up at the scramble.

Aonach Eagach-10.jpg
The down-scramble from Am Bodach


From there, there are some non-exposed and straightforward scrambly bits, with intermittent easy walking to get to the summit of the first Munro, Meall Dearg. Some cracking views along the way as well.

Aonach Eagach-11.jpg
Back towards Am Bodach


Aonach Eagach-13.jpg
Down to the Glen


The summit was soon reached, with the clag threatening occasionally to reveal the ridge ahead, and giving us tantalising glimpses of the fun that lay ahead.

Aonach Eagach-2-2.jpg
Meall Dearg Summit


Aonach Eagach-12.jpg
The ridge ahead & pinnacles


The work starts not long after the drop off Meall Dearg. A slight down scramble, with decent exposure to reach the base of the chimney. Peter shot up there first, then me, giving me the opportunity to get a picture looking back down. The chimney is a great and enjoyable wee up scramble. Again there are plenty of holds and the rock is nice and grippy.

Aonach Eagach-15.jpg
The group about to tackle the chimney


It's hard to describe the remaining pinnacles in great step-by-step details, because after a couple of hours of concentration and almost non stop scrambling, it's hard to seperate. However, the general rule of thumbs seems to be to follow the greatest concentrations of crampon scratches. I had also read previously about the awful bypass off to the right of one of the final pinnacles and didn't even consider it. However, the other paths were only taken when really necessary. The hairiest bit of scrambling is towards the second last pinnacle where the crest become a knife-edge with tremendous exposure either side. Here the bypass path to the right appears, and is best avoided. We scrambled over the far end of the knife-edge onto a wee ledge and climbed up the pinnacle from there, which looked far better.

Aonach Eagach-16.jpg
Martin considered walking down to this...


Aonach Eagach-17.jpg
One of the pinnacles


Every so often the clag would clear slightly, revealing truly wonderful views.

Aonach Eagach-19.jpg
Another bonnie view into the Glen


Aonach Eagach-21.jpg
Western end of Glen Coe


However, these breaks were short, giving us plenty of time to concentrate on the scrambling. The pinnacles looks really imposing from a distance, but once you're on them, they are hugely enjoyable scrambles.

Aonach Eagach-22.jpg
Stunning pinnacle


Aonach Eagach-24.jpg
The scramble after the awkward knife-edge stretch


Aonach Eagach-30.jpg
A bit narrow!


The final pinnacle isn't great in size but is a little awkward as the route kind of forces you to hang left towards a drop, but it's quickly negotiated. I wouldn't fancy it after a few fish suppers :lol:

Aonach Eagach-28.jpg
Last pinnacle


From here, there are a couple of wee downscrambles, then it's a steep-ish climb up to the second top, Stob a'Choire Leith, then a nice easy 1K stoll along to Sgorr nam Fionnaidh.

Aonach Eagach-31.jpg
Rusted fenceposts


The views back down the glen were simply brilliant.

Aonach Eagach-26.jpg
Towards Rannoch Moor etc


It didn't take long to reach the welcome shelter cairn on Sgorr nam Fionnaidh, where food was taken and banter enjoyed. The descent back towards the Pap path was tedious and annoying rocky scree and it took about 1h 45m to get back to the welcoming flat tarmac.

Aonach Eagach-32.jpg
Glen Coe Village & Ballachulish from Sgorr nam Fionnaidh


Aonach Eagach-35.jpg
Messing around with Macro


All that was left was to sort the cars out, and demolish the menu at the Clachaig. All in all, this was a magnificent day, and i'd highly recommend the ridge to anyone (on a dry day). Great company and thanks to the rest of the group for great company.
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jupe1407
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby The Rodmiester » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:28 pm

Looks like a cracking day to do it, no rain, no wind. Love the photographs looking down to Glen Coe, well done all :clap: :clap:
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby trekker53 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:38 pm

Good report there John,
I'm sure glad that you got that ridge out of the way now. Some very good photos there. Done it twice now a good few years ago so your pictures bring it all back.
Well done to you all. :clap: :clap:
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby chrisandbex » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:07 pm

:clap:
Great report and lovely pics. Well done to all. Still haven't quite plucked up the courage yet. Have been debating whether my very agile collie could manage it but I think, looking at the those pinnacles, the answer is, I wouldn't want to risk it!!

Bex
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby mrssanta » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:16 pm

woo hoo you did it! well done to all :clap:
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby jupe1407 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:26 pm

chrisandbex wrote::clap:
Great report and lovely pics. Well done to all. Still haven't quite plucked up the courage yet. Have been debating whether my very agile collie could manage it but I think, looking at the those pinnacles, the answer is, I wouldn't want to risk it!!

Bex


Thanks Bex, and yeah, right decision re the dog. This actually came up in conversation yesterday. We just couldn't figure out how a dog could have made it across, or down a few of the scrambles.
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby Fife Flyer » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:40 pm

Great report John wasn't expecting you to be the composer :lol:
Some of the photo's still make my legs go all wobbly, am glad I did it & enjoyed the majority of it, in a way it was just as well we spent some of the time in cloud as the exposed bits did have a little bit of drop :D
I cannot imagine anyone tackling this little walk on their own :shock:
Agree with John we had a great bunch & thoroughly enjoyed talking to each & every one of you in between the scary bits :wink:
One theme of conversation that cropped up occasionally was the time that the walk SHOULD apparently take, all the books seem to agree that the walk should take between 3 to 5 hours :shock: :o Can someone explain to us how the whole of the walk can be done in that time :crazy: It certainly kept us amused :clap: :clap:
One thing we also noticed was how any conversation ceased when the scrambling began :lol:
Here are a few of my photo's, there were times when getting my camera out of my rucksack was the last thing on my mind :lol:
DSCF2151.JPG
The willing volunteers (apart from me of course)

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Pete reminding us that time is moving on & the 3 hour deadline is approaching

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Form a queue

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Martin looking down, not to be recommended

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John looking ahead - penny for his thoughts

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Not sure if went up or down that, either way it looks pretty scary

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Gill concentrating?

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A bit of a path

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Another path that you know is going to have a scary end

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Gill making watching closely

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Bum shuffling was definitely the order of the day

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The chimney

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Harry concentrating & not smiling

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Jimmy pretending to smile

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A bit more scrambling

DSCF2212.JPG
Smile for the camera

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More scrambling

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Scary or what?

DSCF2227.JPG
One thing to note - you are able to keep an eye on your car in case someone is breaking into it. The bad news is it may take a wee while to return!

DSCF2228.JPG
Gill looking forward to a bit more scrambling

DSCF2239.JPG
Penny for Jimmy's thoughts

DSCF2243.JPG
After 55 attempts in a strong breeze Gill finally managed to display the flag

DSCF2246.JPG
The view on the way down


A great day out, with great company, managed to get home at 9.15pm :D
What's next?
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby jupe1407 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:09 pm

Fine Pics there Martin. The one you weren't sure about whether we came down or up, that's the descent from Am Bodach you've got there.

Penny for my thoughts on that other one? Probably "WTF?"

:lol:
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby peter tindal » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:30 pm

Martin and John

Great report and fantastic pictures :clap: :clap: :clap:

I was a bit stiff and sore by the time I got home last night but it was so worth it. Great walk, great company and great topics of conversations ..... politics, Wainwrights :lol: , 3 hours, yes vote....... we covered them all.......

Oh Wainwrights ..... that reminds me ...... :shock: :clap: :lol: :) :D :wink:

Thanks again to all who made it a great day out

Pete
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby MG1976 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:24 pm

peter tindal wrote:
Oh Wainwrights ..... that reminds me ...... :shock: :clap: :lol: :) :D :wink:



"What's a Wainright ?" :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Great Report John, made me think twice about posting my own.

My OCD is telling me I must: I have one for every other walk, so I can't not do one for this one.
It'll be a "Support Act", not a "Rival", to your own.
Not sure my pictures are in the same league as yours.
You were a brave man taking your DSLR up there.

Working on it now, should be finished in about "3 Hours".
Peter, can you be my time keeper please.....
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby Malckyb » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:31 pm

Great pics and a good report..looks like a fab day. Its deffo on my wish list, a nice, dry wind free day please!!..lol
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby simon-b » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:04 pm

A great story from what looks like a really exciting route, JP. It's good to see my friend Jimmy taking those pinnacles in his stride with the rest of you; he's becoming quite a scrambler.
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby jupe1407 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:25 pm

simon-b wrote:A great story from what looks like a really exciting route, JP. It's good to see my friend Jimmy taking those pinnacles in his stride with the rest of you; he's becoming quite a scrambler.


Thanks Simon. It was a tremendous route, the views were fairly intermittent but still a superb day.

Everyone had a ball.
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby GillC » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:30 pm

Loved it loved it loved it. thanks all,, :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Awesome Atmospheric Aonach Eagach

Postby PeteR » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:29 pm

Nice one jupe :D And the rest of the gang :D

So glad you all enjoyed your day. This certainly is a special ridge :D

First looked at your photos on my phone, but it wasn't until looking on the laptop just now that I appreciated just how good they were :thumbup:
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