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Ridiculous week part 3

Ridiculous week part 3


Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:55 pm

Route description: Aonach Mor and Beag via the Gondola

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

Date walked: 15/03/2016

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A real surprise on WH is that there is only one other report on this superb route: an excellent TR by Dogplodder.

That report had inspired me to suggest the route for our week at the Saddle Mountain Hostel. We might not manage the Andes by Frog - but the Aonachs by Gondola were on our menu.

(Don't worry if you have no idea what I'm talking about. You are probably lucky enough to be too young to remember.)

Driving along Loch Lochy towards the Nevis Ski Range, we saw an odd cloud on the flanks of Meall na Teanga.

ImageIMG_7407 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We were soon riding into the skies on the Gondola.

ImageIMG_7419 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The top station gave us a great view over Fort WIlliam and Loch Eil. In the distance is Rùm. Trivia for the day; apparently the island was renamed Rhum for a while by the owner because he did not want to be known as the Laird of Rùm. Alcoholics Eponymous.

ImageIMG_7423 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I don't understand how to do "proper" panoramic photos. However for this view due North from the top station I have had a go at cropping the sky and ground from the picture to create a panoramic effect. I clicked on the Flickr link and then on the little + sign to magnify this view, and I think the panorama is as follows.

Gleouraich on the left, then a glimpse of the western South Cluanie Ridge above the Fia Bealach, then the prominent scarp of Spidean Mialach above Gairich. Then Aonach air Chrith with the little "horn" of A'Chioch, then Sgurr a'Bhealiach Dearg, Aonach Meadhoin, Druim Shionnach and Creag a'Mhaim and a tiny glimpse of Ciste Dubh. Then Sgurr nan Ceathreamnan looking very big, then A'Chralaig looking tall and pointy, then Mullach Frothy Coffee (sorry) just beyond it on the right, then Sgurr nan Conbhairean with the twin domes of Mam Sodhail and Carn Eige over towards the right of the view.

ImageIMG_7436 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We went left of the ski slopes and plodded up a grassy bank interspersed with boulders towards the crest of Aonach an Nid, left of the top ski tow. Here we popped our crampons on and set off up the icy slopes towards Aonach Mor.

ImageIMG_7508 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The view across the Back Corrie felt like a taste of the Alps (made more so by the sight of skiers zooming down the slopes!) The weather was like an alpine summer day too: warm sun, almost windless. The distant spiky top is I think Binnean Mor, behind Stob Coire a'Chùl Choire.

ImageIMG_7452 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Onwards and upwards... Grey Corries in the background, with the Cairngorms in the far top left.

ImageIMG_7530 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Nice bit of cornicing with Sgurr Choinnich Mor in the background.

ImageIMG_7543 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We kept to the left-hand edge of the summit plateau, so we could enjoy the views down the east face. The going on the plateau was fast and easy, and we soon had a view back towards the Coire an Lochain cliffs

ImageIMG_7554 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Aonach Beag with Binnean Mor and the Blackmount beyond.

ImageIMG_7560 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Similar view but also including Sgurr Eilde Mor and, below it, Binnean Beag.

ImageIMG_7583 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Then we went over to Aonach Mor's summit. From a point just west of the cairn we had great views of Carn Dearg Meadhonach and Loch Eil...

ImageIMG_7600 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

And Carn Mor Dearg / Ben Nevis.

ImageIMG_7605 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Snappy Time at the cairn: like yesterday, lenticular clouds had begun to appear.

ImageIMG_7610 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

On the walk to Aonach Beag we were treated to a nine-course banquet of views. Here are the Mamores and Glen Coe hills over Coire Giubhsachan.

ImageIMG_7632 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Prominently curving quartzite strata on the Grey Corries

ImageIMG_7727 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Ben Nevis looking mean and craggy

ImageIMG_7640 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The Ben above its supporting hills: the twin tops of Beinn a'Bheithir in the distance on the left

ImageIMG_7643 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Arctic/Alpine scenery approaching the Aonachs col

ImageIMG_7667 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Mhaim centre stage

ImageIMG_7652 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Just before the col, we noticed a distant Schiehallion looking like a smoking volcano. Appropriate as I am visiting Vesuvius / Pompeii / Herculaneum in a couple of weeks' time.

ImageIMG_7807 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

From the col, the path up to Beag weaves cleverly among the rocks, giving a great backwards view of Aonach Mor.

ImageIMG_7785 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

There was also a good view from here of the deep trench of Coire Giubhsachan.

ImageIMG_7792 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Above the rocks, a slope of ice and rocky patches slants up to the summit. From here we could see the north west Highlands spread out beyond Aonach Mor.

ImageIMG_7747 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

There was no cairn, nor do I remember one from my only previous visit around 24 years ago. My guess is that there is a cairn, but it is buried under the snow.

ImageIMG_7721 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Big Ben and Tiny Tim

ImageIMG_7723 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

An Gearanach...

ImageIMG_7712 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Close up of Sgurr a'Mhaim

ImageIMG_7711 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The sinuous northern ridge of Binnein Mor. I am guessing that the two top left hills are Beinn Achaladair and Beinn Dothaidh fronting onto Rannoch Moor.

ImageIMG_7699 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

But the best view of all was probably the galaxy of snowy peaks and craggy ridges to the South.

ImageIMG_7657 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Again these are not proper panoramas - just an attempt to capture something of the scene by cropping top and bottom

South

ImageIMG_7701 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

South-west. Ben More on Mull is visible very faintly.

ImageIMG_7702 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

At last it was time to go... descending back towards the col after an unforgettable mountain day,

ImageIMG_7766 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr



our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Last edited by HalfManHalfTitanium on Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby Graeme D » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:46 pm

What a wonderful set of pictures! :clap:
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby litljortindan » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:49 pm

Some superb pictures there. I particularly the "approaching the col" one.
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:27 am

Thanks Graeme D and litljortindan!

It is an amazingly scenic route - I couldn't go wrong with the photos really!

Cheers

HMHT
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby Beery Hiker » Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:08 am

Some fantastic photos here 8) (I was there - look for the bushy beard)
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby maxie23 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:37 am

:shock:
Fantastic photos mate.
What a great day out.
:clap:
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby ancancha » Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:56 am

Great photos, you got a fabulous day :clap:
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:56 pm

Wow! Some brilliant pics here - I particularly like 7632 and 7712 - the colours are wonderful!

What a great day you had for it. I was out that day in Glen Etive, and it was equally brilliant. I guess we've earned all this good weather after the long spell of wet since September!
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:36 pm

Thanks all!

It's nice to have the memory of some great weather... in Cumbria now, and the weekend forecast is WET....
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby IdahoGirl » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:23 am

Fantastic shots. I guess the snow will all be gone by July?

Is there a bus from Fort William to the ski resort?
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Re: Ridiculous week part 3

Postby Beery Hiker » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:04 am

IdahoGirl wrote:Fantastic shots. I guess the snow will all be gone by July?

Is there a bus from Fort William to the ski resort?


Yes - the links are available here:
http://www.nevisrange.co.uk/plan_your_trip_how_to_get_here.asp
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