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Aonach Eagach Ya Beauty!!!!
by GillC » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:19 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: 8.4 hours
Distance: 9.5 km
Ascent: 1100m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I arrived at the Red Squirrel campsite on Tuesday afternoon,,
plenty of time to set up my wee camp and wandered off down towards the Clachaig. Just before the pub, theres a gate in to the right, signposted to Signal Rock. There are 3 way marked paths around this forested area. Good paths that wind their way around, up and down. I chose the yellow, then black and on to blue,,this wound round and up to Signal Rock, shrouded in trees but on clambering up over the last boggy section, you get a cracking view of the Clachaig Gully above. (I spent some time later in the week, in the shadow of the gully, reading W H Murrays account of the first ascent of CG in the 1930's) This feat, deserved a pint at the pub before heading back to camp. I passed a large stag, hiding in the undergrowth, just off the road. (it was so still that initially I thought it was a joke,,some geezer hiding in the bracken with a stags head on a stick lol ) Eventually it started moving around, phew!
I was joined later by John and Harry and hey,,had another drink or two in the pub,,be rude not to. Walking back along the road to the campsite in the dark is scary enough with 3 of us,,it put me off a solo venture later in the week.
Up bright and early after a cold night and not a lot of sleep, the 3 campers headed off to the meet up point under Am Bodach, where our fellow madmen were waiting. 7 checked in,, 1 no show, we did get a txt a bit later but decided by 9:10am to head off,,if only to escape the ever increasing midgies.
The initial ascent up Am Bodach is fairly steep and the views came and went down the valley towards Loch Achtriochtan. This trip is totally weather dependent and so far,,this date,,which was agreed some months ago,, was proving to be fine. We had a fair amount of moving cloud,,but no rain (apart from some misty moisture about half way up when we hit the clouds) and little wind at all. We needed dry rocks for this please.
Our band of 7, me, Martin, John, Harry, Martin, Peter & Jimmy had varying degrees of experience,,but we had a vote and decided Peter was the most experienced in this kind of scrambling and for a while he was MOUNTAIN LEADER
The path splits with a less steep option to the right which takes you round and up Am Bodach from the East, we opted to take the left hand path and gain height as quickly as possible.
After 2 hrs, we reached the top of Am Bodach, this isn't a Munro but the descent from here to the ridge is the first tricky section. We headed on down and stopped to have a discussion about how we all felt about proceeding,,if you're going to turn back,,now's the time to do it! Varying levels of confidence in moving forward, I was certainly aware of my own limitations but also felt buoyed by the support of a good team so I was happy to give it a go. After a few minutes we all banded together and carried on with our descent on a very awkward cliff. But with lots of pointing, guiding etc, we all made it down, (5 points of contact being utilised for most of this lol )
Fairly straightforward sections from here, narrow, rocky etc,,the views came and went as the clouds swirled around and below us. The views of the various confluences of the River Coe, far below us in the Glen was fascinating, sweeping flows in the grass and sand that just can't be seen at ground level.
Pretty soon we reached the top of the first of todays 2 Munros, Meall Dearg. Number 37 for me wooohooo
So far, we were 3 hrs in , Cameron McNeish' Munro's book says the whole walk should take 3-5 hrs,,,was he on a unicycle?????? No way we were going to do that and even if 2 people were nipping across on their tippy toes,,I'm pretty sure that would still be a very optimistic time. A short break here for some lunch and a few snaps.
The views of the ridge to come were fantastic, the North side often completely shrouded in cloud making for some very atmospheric pictures. Martin (MG1976) was very gallant and always insisted on letting me go in front, thank you for your chivalry Martin
One or two of the rocky areas, chimneys etc force you to step out to exposed areas of rock, good tip,,,just don't look down. Much easier to focus on your hand holds and keeping your feet steady, if I realised there was a whole lot of nothing below,,,,I kept my eye on the rock immediately in front of me. I had 1 split second of doubt on the Caaaarrraaaaaaazzzeeeeeeeeeeee Pinnacles,,, but it was gone in a flash,,hey, you don't have a choice,,got to bite the bullet and just go! (these should really be called the WTF???? Pinnacles ) Up here,,you KNOW you're alive!!!
Can't go into every nook and cranny we negotiated but this was breathtaking, heartstopping and bloody mad! Other reports make it sound like a breeze, while others, more technical. By real rockclimbing standards, I know this isn't a biggy, but it was my most technical traverse to date. Short bursts of clambering for hand holds, somewhere to put any available body part, just to keep in contact with terra firma. Loved it.
After crossing Stob Coire Leith, and for a moment, thinking we were on the last Munro, we were past the trickiest bits, but hey,,none of us had been up here before so we kept telling ourselves there was worse to come,,,meant anything else didn't seem as bad in comparison lol.
The path continues from Coire Leith,,fairly broad and well worn. Did I mention the fence posts? Since Am Bodach (right at the bottom of the rocky part, at an angle,) the iron fenceposts started and continued along the ridge,,no wires anymore but lots of posts, how territorial can a landowner be???? Peter also found a tent peg on a narrow grassy ledge,,which was flattened, (the grass,,not the tent peg) had someone actually camped here? heck,,hope they weren't a restless sleeper
We reached the top of the second Munro, Sgorr nam Fiannaidh around 3 hrs after Meall Dearg,,so now 6 hrs in,,,Cameron,,what ARE you talking about?. Cracking stone shelter built here and we all had a sit around the trig point, reliving some precious moments from the previous few hours. Even the old saltire got an airing here. (Apologies to Jimmy,,the only Englishman in the group)
We had decided early on to descend by the path round to the North, towards the Pap. The is very rocky,,described as scree but too big to make fast progress. Im already a bit wary on my ankles after the Nevis fall last year,,but we enjoyed a good wander down,,with lovely expansive views down to Loch Leven, the Pap and over Ballachulish, cloud level having lifted pretty well by this point.
I couldn't believe it, after more than 8hrs of up,down, through, round and over...humour, concentration, sheer grit lol we were there, I had completed the Aonach Eagach ridge,,with some great help, support and company.
I would like to add,, the whole time I was in Glencoe, the mountain rescue, police, dog teams, helicopters etc worked incredibly hard to find a missing walker, unfortunately, his body was found at the end of the week on Stob na Doire on the Buachaille. But, hats off to this wonderful team of people, out in all weathers. So, dont make their job harder and be careful out there.
Thanks to all, John, Harry, Martin, Martin, Peter & Jimmy for a smashing day. My pictures don't do this any justice, so here are links to Martin and Johns reports, they say it all.
by Fife Flyer » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:45 pm
Thanks for the suggesting the day out Gill, still having nightmares 2 days later
by GillC » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:20 pm
Still cant believe I got over that,,
by Tomsie » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:29 pm
by GillC » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:31 pm
by Tomsie » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:39 pm
by Bob the Dog » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:33 pm
Tomsie wrote:Never seen a dog but a couple of kids passed us
Still, if that wee lassie hadn't skipped down off Am Bodach, my mum would still have been up there!!!
- Nae wee lassie noo, she and her brother were half way along the ridge!!!
And Tomsie - remember the lady with the jeans and silk scarf - and HANDBAG!!!
Well done GillC - you'll never forget your day...stays with you for ever
by GillC » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:45 pm
by MG1976 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:25 pm
I think between the three reports (John's, my own and yours) we've given a pretty good account of our day.
Anyone looking to do the AE, wouldn't go far wrong on reading our tales of Woe (or is that Woh!)
Great day. that'll take some beating.
Can't wait to go back in a few years and see my Chase taking it on; just too risky (IMO) at 6 years old.
Plenty of others for him to cut his teeth on before this one.
by GillC » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:28 pm
by Mountainlove » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:41 am
- Code: Select all
And Tomsie - remember the lady with the jeans and silk scarf - and HANDBAG!!!
??? Handbag up the hills? Am I missing something?
by Munchie » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:59 am
p.s. YOU DID IT !!!!!
- Posts: 33
- Joined: Jul 21, 2013
by GillC » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:45 am
Mountainlove wrote:Well done for getting the Aonach Eagach under your belt...love your pop up tent (they are the best!)
Great things,,,up in 30 seconds,,ok,,a few mins to put down again lol not exactly back packing friendly but great as a standby in the car. Ta much,,
And Munchie....cheers for all your support, x
by aicadle » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:34 pm