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The Aonach Eagach Ridge, in winter.

The Aonach Eagach Ridge, in winter.

Postby mountainstar » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:19 pm

Route description: Aonach Eagach

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

Date walked: 12/02/2010

Time taken: 6 hours

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The Aonach Eagach Ridge
Friday 12th Feb 2010.

Weather, Cloudy with sunny periods, some snow showers, calm with slight breezes on ridge, visibility: - excellent.
Having done the The Aonach Eagach before 3 times in summer conditions, I had contemplated doing it on this trip (and others before) in winter conditions, but by myself? :? I wasn’t sure I would be up to it and what the snow and ice would be like up on the ridge, also there was the problem of getting to the start of the walk, without walking the road.
So at the youth hostel at 8.30am I was my plan was to do Bidean Nam Bian that day, when someone who I was talking to the night before offered me a lift “to anywhere I wanted around Glencoe” ….it took me around 1 minute to decide I would take the offer and “go for it !” :crazy:
20 mins later I was in the car, and 10 mins later at 9.15 am I was dropped off in the small car park where the path up to Am Bodach starts. A good well maintained path leads steeply upwards, where at around 650 meters I met the snow line. I reached Am Bodach at around 11am, from here on for the next hour it snowed lightly, and the cloud base teased me with glimpses of the fantastic ridge ahead. As I set off from the Munro, 2 different groups of 3 walkers were roping up ahead of me, which was a little daunting to me on my lonesome self! :? So with Crampons on and ice axe at the ready, I was off.
Aonach Eagach Ridge (600 x 266).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (2) (600 x 450).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (3) (600 x 413).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (4) (450 x 600).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (5) (600 x 279).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (6) (600 x 450).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (7) (600 x 315).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (8) (600 x 273).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (9) (600 x 450).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (10) (600 x 450).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (11) (600 x 450).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge (12) (450 x 600).jpg

Aonach Eagach Ridge looking to the Mamores (600 x 263).jpg

The first tricky section was soon encountered “The Chancellor” a big drop down a rock face, It was here I caught up to the 2 groups, who turned out to be beginners with guides, which made me feel somewhat more confident as I passed them. The weather slowly improved as I continued over Meall Dearg and along the middle section of the ridge, and although it continued to challenge me, I never felt out of my depth and was really enjoying the experience, and looking to a cloud covered Bidean Nam Bian, I was glad that I had made, what had turned out to be the right decision.
One thing I found strange, with all the freezing (-10 C) nights and sunny days of late, that there was little ice along the ridge.
After many, many ups and downs I finally made my last climb up to The 2nd munro Sgorr nam Fiannaide at 2pm, where all the major difficulties were now over, it felt good that I had done it, another notch for my winter mountain experiences. :D
After swapping cameras with some others for a photo, :)
Aonach Eagach Ridge (thats me) (13) (600 x 232).jpg

I dropped down the NW ridge towards the Pap,
Aonach Eagach Ridge looking to Loch Leven (600 x 323).jpg

and then dropped steeply down a snow gully that lasted way below the snow line,
Aonach Eagach, Dropping down to Glencoe (600 x 375).jpg

which led to a rough path by a burn to lead to the road, and a mile or so walk back to the Hostel by 3.40pm.
Brilliant!!! :D
Last edited by mountainstar on Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Aonach Eagach Ridge, in winter.

Postby walk aboot » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:30 pm

Top report mountain star :thumbup: ...something I'll probably never see for myself (too hairy scarey, yikes! :shock: ) so thanks very much for sharing the photos/views with us.
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Re: The Aonach Eagach Ridge, in winter.

Postby Stretch » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:31 pm

Spectacular stuff Mountainstar! Well out of my league, but spectacular!
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Re: The Aonach Eagach Ridge, in winter.

Postby gaffr » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:59 pm

Many thanks for the images of the ridge and down towards Loch Leven...seems like a good descent route....avoiding the awkwardness of down to the Clachaig beside the Gulley! :shock:
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Re: The Aonach Eagach Ridge, in winter.

Postby Lochivraon » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:08 pm

Top trip! Great photos of the ridge in true winter condition. Well done on your solo traverse! A mate and I went to do it in a February many years ago, armed with all the gear. Not a scrap of snow, just one wee icy puddle going down off Am Bodach. :lol:
Good to see you have a quality winter's day on it.
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Re: The Aonach Eagach Ridge, in winter.

Postby bazer100 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:18 pm

yeah, well done, takes a bit of something special to do that in winter conditions, nice report and the main thing was you enjoyed it, good stuff

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Re: The Aonach Eagach Ridge, in winter.

Postby malky_c » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:26 pm

Hmm...have always fancied doing this in winter conditions. Probably not on my own though!

A few years back, I missed out on the chance to do this, as a friend was planning it with a couple of others. Probably best I did miss out in the end. They took far too long and ended up on Sgurr nan Fiannadh at about 5 pm in the dark. Using headtorches, they slowly descended the side of the Clachaig gully (stupid route in my opinion, don't know why it is so popular). At 7pm or so, and about 300m above the pub, they discovered they hadn't paid attention to the guidebook, and had descended the wrong side of the gully! They couldn't find their way down the last bit, so had to climb all the way back to the top and come down the other side... By the time they got to the pub, it was about 10.30pm! The 4th guy (who had gone somewhere else) got rather fed up waiting for them, especially as he had been able to see their torches for the last 4 hours or so.
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