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Aonachs by gondola

Aonachs by gondola


Postby dogplodder » Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:11 pm

Route description: Aonach Mor and Beag via the Gondola

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Beag (Nevis Range), Aonach Mor

Date walked: 24/07/2014

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A combination of family coming to stay and a new grandchild (for me), cooking for a kids' camp and helping with a holiday club (for Moira) and being away (both of us) has meant we've not had much chance to get into the hills together lately. But at last a free day came up before the next few weeks of commitments and since it looked like being a scorcher we decided on something not too demanding so we could have a good catch up. :D

I'd been looking at the Aonachs, wondering if there was a way to avoid the steep descent and soggy return to Glen Nevis that folk complain about, and it struck me that using the gondola would avoid both and would be a shorter walk and drive as well. When I suggested it to Moira her intial response was it would be 'cheating' until I pointed out we haven't used boats or bikes to approach hills (which others do) and we weren't going to be lying about how we got our ticks. So for anyone else tempted to save some time and effort courtesy of the Aonach Mor gondola here's how we did it. 8)

Aonach Mor from Commando Monument
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The ticket for us was £10.25 and as far as we were concerned it was money well spent, especially in the late afternoon heat of a day when our greatest risk was probably dehydration and sunstroke. :think:

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From the gondola station we had the option of climbing straight up to the ridge alongside a ski tow or following a path west for a bit before heading up the slope in less brutal fashion. We chose the less direct approach but under the blazing sun either way was going to be energy-sapping and we were relieved to reach the ridge. It was much easier on the descent but you can't exactly romp down as the ground is lumpy with hidden holes, and there were parts I imagine must be mogul fields under snow. 8)

It's steeper than it looks!
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Fort William from ski slopes minus the snow
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View south from ridge
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Eastern cliffs of Aonach Mor
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First sighting of Ben Nevis and three men dangling from a post (they seemed to know what they were doing)
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I've always thought of Aonach Mor as a a massive green lump (or the one time I skied there, a massive white lump) but climbing it this way shows off its craggy side and character in a way I'm not sure the tradional approach does to quite the same extent?

Craggy east side
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Wedge of snow in eastern gully (M's pic)
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The Grey Corries
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Mamores (M's pic)
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Carn Mor Dearg with Ben Nevis behind
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Loch Eil to the west
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Aonach Mor summit (M's pic)
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The path between the Aonachs is a joy. The descent off Aonach Mor is on an easy path down grassy slopes to a small col before a steeper more rocky ascent.

Heading south for Aonach Beag
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The cliffs and col
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Looking back to Aonach Mor
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Aonach Beag summit
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Ring of Steall from Aonach Beag
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Grey Corries from Aonach Beag
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Ben Nevis from Aonach Beag
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The views all round were superb but our eyes were constantly drawn to the Ben and her henchman. We sat and had a leisurely lunch on the summit of Aonach Beag and watched stick people on Carn Mor Dearg - tiny bristles at the summit then in a procession making their way down to the arete. And gazing at the highest point in the land I remembered almost six years ago to the day being there with Moira and the dogs, on a similarly gorgeous day raising funds for Labrador Rescue and being entertained by cellos while we did it. So much has happened since then and we had a good reminisce while we sat. :D

Here's the money shot from Moira
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We saw one other person going up the way we did and several using the Glen Nevis approach. Having done it we would say don't knock the north approach (you don't have to use the gondola!) and if you have two vehicles consider starting at Glen Nevis and heading for the ski car park to give the full flavour of the amazing Aonachs. :thumbup:
Last edited by dogplodder on Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby weaselmaster » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:42 pm

Been wondering about using the gondolas to go back up and do the tops on these hills
Think I might just do that now - thanks for posting
Al
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby gizmogirl » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:43 pm

What a fabulous day we had! The views in every direction were absolutely amazing. Even with using the gondola it was still a substantial hillwalk, especially in yesterday's heat, so I definitely felt I had earned my two ticks for getting to the summits of Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag!
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby trish58 » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:06 pm

Hi Dogplodder

Brilliant. Reminded me of the time I took my mother, at 89 yrs old, up in the gondola to the restaurant. By the time I'd ordered some food and come back to the table she was chatting to another lady whose son had left her there whilst he'd gone "walkabout somewhere". My mother then suggested I should go away and "have a walk to myself". So I did...Aonachs bagged. :thumbup: Nae shame.

She celebrated her 90th with a wee trip up the Cairngorm funicular and loved it so much we were back up for her 91st. The views from both were absolutely stunning. Departed three years now but I still laugh to myself at her shooing me away for a walk... like we were in the middle of town.

Pics stunning. Thanks for posting
Tricia
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby spiderwebb » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:29 pm

Lovely pics there, thanks for posting, wot a day you had :D
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby dogplodder » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:14 pm

weaselmaster wrote:Been wondering about using the gondolas to go back up and do the tops on these hills
Think I might just do that now - thanks for posting
Al


Hope you get a day like we did when you do! :D
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby dogplodder » Sat Jul 26, 2014 4:44 pm

gizmogirl wrote:What a fabulous day we had! The views in every direction were absolutely amazing. Even with using the gondola it was still a substantial hillwalk, especially in yesterday's heat, so I definitely felt I had earned my two ticks for getting to the summits of Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag!


Thinking of you just now on Braeriach - well done both of you! :clap:
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby Hill-loving lady » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:44 pm

I too did this route, on Thursday in roasting hot weather - 29 degrees at car park. As I was walking with Bob the Dog, I was concerned with the chance of him and me becoming dehydrated, hence the gondolas coming into play. As it was, even by following the burn up the ski slopes and him drinking plenty from it on the ascent, he still drank almost 2l of water on the walk. He was absolutely fine though, and still running at the end.

Your pics are amazing - mine less so, as camera phone not focussing properly for some reason. Need to have a play with it I reckon.
bob aonach mor.jpg
Bob trying to get into the picture!
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me bob.jpg
a kind passer by took pic - in exchange for some water for his dog
ben nevis.jpg
Ben Nevis in all its glory
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:04 pm

Stunning views here, looks a fantastic trip, I think I'd have needed the gondola in that heat too. :clap: :clap:
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby dogplodder » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:42 pm

trish58 wrote:Hi Dogplodder

Brilliant. Reminded me of the time I took my mother, at 89 yrs old, up in the gondola to the restaurant. By the time I'd ordered some food and come back to the table she was chatting to another lady whose son had left her there whilst he'd gone "walkabout somewhere". My mother then suggested I should go away and "have a walk to myself". So I did...Aonachs bagged. :thumbup: Nae shame.

She celebrated her 90th with a wee trip up the Cairngorm funicular and loved it so much we were back up for her 91st. The views from both were absolutely stunning. Departed three years now but I still laugh to myself at her shooing me away for a walk... like we were in the middle of town.

Pics stunning. Thanks for posting
Tricia


Love that story about your mum - thanks for sharing it. What a star she was! :clap:
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby dogplodder » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:44 pm

spiderwebb wrote:Lovely pics there, thanks for posting, wot a day you had :D


It sure was. :D
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby rockhopper » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:16 pm

and there was me thinking that walking up the mountain bike track made it easier but this sounds an even better idea esp on a hot day - certainly a cracking day for it - cheers :)
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby dogplodder » Sun Jul 27, 2014 2:06 pm

Sorry we didn't meet you HLL as that's the day we were up. Well done keeping Bob hydrated - I was thankful not to have my pair as they struggle in the heat. We were very glad of the gondola on the way down although felt like out of the frying pan into the fire getting into the car! :shock:
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby dogplodder » Sun Jul 27, 2014 2:08 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Stunning views here, looks a fantastic trip, I think I'd have needed the gondola in that heat too. :clap: :clap:


The views were exceptional. :D
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Re: Aonachs by gondola

Postby AnnieMacD » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:11 pm

What a fantastic day you had and great pictures of it. Really loved the views of CMD and Ben Nevis. How much water do you carry on such a hot day and did you find anywhere to refill on the hill?
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