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First walk report - Aonach Eagach Ridge!

First walk report - Aonach Eagach Ridge!


Postby aicadle » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:12 pm

Route description: Aonach Eagach

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

Date walked: 01/10/2013

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 1150m

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A friend and I had intended to do a couple of days of wild camping in the Mamores, but a prolonged journey up on Monday, lead us to the Red Squirrel Campsite (where else!) and to contemplate what to do with our few days up in the highlands.

I had expressed an interest in doing the Aonach Eagach a while back, but was a bit wary about the forecast of high winds above 750m on the Tuesday. We decided we should head up onto the ridge to see what conditions were like and turn back if necessary.

So at 9.20 we left the car by the side of the A82 and began the tough slog up the South East ridge of Am Bodach. A really strenuous ascent took it out of me (a severe lack of training on my part I'm afraid) but within an hour and half we were at the summit of Am Bodach with Meall Dearg in site. We had truly immense views back across Glencoe of Bidean and, having climbed this in winter several years ago I can honestly say the view from the this side of the valley gives Bidean such an amazing presence! It truly is a huge hill.

After a quick trot out onto The Chancellor...
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...we made the call to give the ridge a crack!

The first section of the ridge proved to be the most blustery, with some nice little scrambles to keep the tension up! Before too long we were on the summit of Meall Dearg with the rest of the ridge stretching out in front of us.
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It really is an intimidating site and looked impassable from where we stood but after a quick bite to eat, out of the 50mph winds, we set off down and up and down and up over the seemingly endless pinnacles of the Aonach Eagach.

I have read a lot into the ridge and have spoken to many who have done it, but all I can say is wow! Nothing could have prepared me for the high levels of exposure and terrifying drop offs on both sides. The wind was not as bad along the ridge but it was still high enough to keep 110% concentration levels up!

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We had to stop a couple of times along the ridge to grab a bite to eat and drink to keep the energy levels up but I must say there is nothing greater than sitting with legs dangling off a ledge while eating a pie and some chocolate! Looking back along the ridge just before the final pull up to Stob Coire Leith I was in awe of that ridge in that spectacular place.
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Having driven up and down Glencoe hundreds of times I'm sure I've never seen it in such a light before (granted most of the time it's shrouded in cloud!)

The final pull from Stob Coire Leith to Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh was relatively straight forward although the fearsome wind was back - making it tougher than it should have been, I was really feeling the burn by this point and cursing myself for not being fitter! But soon enough we were on the summit with some pretty special views in all directions particularly back along the Aonach Eagach...
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...and out to Loch Linnhe
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We had read before hand, about the route off being a tricky one because of the amount of scree on the south flank of Fiannaidh but were now pretty bushed and looking forward to a brew back at the campsite and a beer at the pub. It was a fairly straight forward (if very tiring) descent due south off the summit but true enough the scree made it a little more challenging. A good many times we stopped to look back up at the ridge and from below it looks even more impassable than we had thought before...
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The legs were ruined by the time we hit the road at the Clachaig turn off from the A82. Then it was a pleasant walk back up Glencoe to the car, but both of us being shattered by the time we got there it was a glorious site after one of the best days in the hills I can remember! Numbers 61 and 62 for me but certainly ones I will be returning to!
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Thanks for reading

P.S Sorry about the minimal photos, but as it was so windy I was very wary about keeping my camera out to take pictures!
aicadle
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Re: First walk report - Aonach Eagach Ridge!

Postby bootsandpaddles » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:25 pm

A good one to start on! The photos are great by the way.
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Re: First walk report - Aonach Eagach Ridge!

Postby dogplodder » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:05 pm

Enjoyed that. :D
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