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Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor

Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor


Postby Cairngorm creeper » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:04 pm

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Mor

Date walked: 01/10/2016

Time taken: 10.5 hours

Distance: 17.8 km

Ascent: 1281m

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We have previously been up Aonach Mor in winter, with a little help from the Gondola and Aonach Beag from Glen Nevis but our route today, following a ridge around the eastern side of Aonach Mor where the remote coiries and glens were free from the distractions of the Ski Centre.
We do walk slowly, but this route took so long because we kept stopping every few minutes to admire the views :D . A bit of a move on and it could easily be combined with Aonach Beag.
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The Route.

We left home at 07:15, dashed through Strathspeys where the morning mist was lying in the glens
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Early morning mist over the Spey.
and sped past Laggan admiring the autumn colours reflected in the Loch. By 08:50 we were parked in the Nevis Range carpark and ready to negotiate the confusing maze of forest tracks that would lead us around to Tom na Sroine. There was a surprising number of construction vehicles on the move through the forest for a Saturday morning but good views across Loch Long through gaps in the trees.
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Looking across Loch Long.

We passed the track leading up to the dam thinking we may find a faint path leading out of the forest after the next bridge. Instead we found a newly constructed, steep but ugly track, which continued past the forest boundary and towards the Glen :( . It did make for easier walking though and we must have looked rather pitiful struggling up it as a kindly member of the construction team said we could stop at their welfare van and help ourselves to a cup of tea. :lol: .
Just past the forest fence we turned left to slog up the grassy slopes to gain the ridge.
IMG_2119.JPG
Slogging up the slopes of Tom na Sroine.
Once on the ridge the construction work was soon out of sight and the mountain scenery opened up before us. On our left was the green Glen of the Allt Coire an Eoin with the Grey Coires rising above it and on our right were the grassy coires, lochans and rocky ridges on the eastern face of Aonach Mor. The photos in this report give but a small taster of our experience and don't come close to reflecting the vast, magnificence of this area. We were stopping every few minutes to admire the views and take more, totally inadequate pictures. In fact, it is quite surprising that we every made the summit. :lol:
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Checking our progress with the Grey Coires behind.
The ridge leading up to the summit of Tom na Sroine, at 918m, is broad and grassy, but having reached this summit at 12:30 much of the days ascent was completed :D so we stopped to brew up in celebration and enjoy the situation..
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Coire Choille Rais and Stob an Chul Choire ahead
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East face of Aonach Mor

The next section of the ridge was much narrower leading to the rounded tower like top of Stob Coire an Fhir Dhuibh. It was as though someone suddenly sprayed mountain atmosphere around us as a mist appeared, floating around the ridge and stags starting bellowing below and above us. Whoops, I forgot to check the stalking information, :shock: my red coat should make me visible to any hunters but the OH may not be so lucky :lol: .
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The misty ridge
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Stob Coire an Fhir Dhuibh ahead

At Stob Coire an Fhir Dhuibh the ridge turned sharply westwards and suddenly the mighty rock face of Aonach Beag loomed before us. As we approached the third top, Stob an Chul Choire the views became multi directional, almost multi dimensional, with every aspect of mountain scenery represented, peaks, glens, coires, ridges, crags ... even a small patch of snow. And we have it all to ourselves, we haven't seen another soul since we left the track, although small figures are just visible on the summit of Aonach Mor.
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Looking south from Stob Coire and Fhir Dhuibh
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The Rocky Face of Aonach Beag
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South from the Stob an Chul Choire
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Across Stob an Chul Choire to the North East
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Aonach Mor
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North towards Loch Long

From Stob an Chul Choire it was easy to identfy the spur straight ahead which led directly to the summit of Aonach Mor, there is something that seems very pleasing about a ridge or spur that ends on a summit :D. But first we had to descend into the Bealach, :( , so decided to brew up and relieve ourselves of some weight before the final climb.
IMG_2130.JPG
Jeremy Jetboil doing his stuff with his winter accessories. Aonach Beag photobombing.

With all the dawdling and stopping it was 15:45 before we started up the final ascent, which thankfully was not as steep as it appeared on the map. Part way up there is a small rocky tower, which can be avoided on the right but after a short deliberation we decided to scramble up it via the grassy rake and groove. A short scramble, but the groove was a bit harder than it looked and just as slippery, although there were good holds.
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The rocky tower
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The groove
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A scenic scramble
We were not sure what we would find at the top :roll: but from above it wasn't a tower at all, just a continuation of the ridge and no decent (tricky or otherwise) required.
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Looking back at the ridge curving round
Just before we reached the top we met the first other walker of the day. A man and his staffordshire bull terrier who had already covered 18 tops today and was heading back in the direction we had just come. Impressive achievement. 16:45 it had started raining and we were on the summit of Aonach Mor.
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Aonach Mor summit
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Storm clouds moving in
. We decided to stop for a drink and enjoy the summit despite the rain and by the time we started moving the sun was out again.
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The vast summit plateau of Aonach Mor
We had not planned the exact route of our descent except that we would come down on the side of the Ski Centre and Gondola.. It is quite hard from the maps to work out which are footpaths and which are mountain bike tracks.
IMG_2139.JPG
The footpath down led over the veiwpoint.
It became clear that the footpath led either to the top of the Gondola or over the viewpoint hill and the zig zag path leading all the way down was a bike track. As the Gondola had stopped running and there were no bikes in sight we decided to follow the bike tracks. It was an enjoyable if meandering descent route and most of the way we could have dived into the bog in the unlikely event that a bike came along. :lol:.
IMG_2140.JPG
Following the bike track as the sunsets.
All went well until we reached forest. It was starting to get dark and the track we were on appeared to be heading away from the car park. There were numerous other tracks heading in all directions and we had images of spending the night wandering through forestry. In the end we resorted to consulting the satnav, surprisingly it worked despite the trees and we were back at the car by 19:30.
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Cairngorm creeper
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Re: Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:45 am

That looks great, another interesting route and stunning brew stop :lol: :lol:
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Re: Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:12 am

Huff_n_Puff wrote:That looks great, another interesting route and stunning brew stop :lol: :lol:
Thank you Huff_n_Puff, it was an excellent outing.
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Cairngorm creeper
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Re: Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor

Postby jacob » Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:27 am

Wow, some great atmospheric pictures in there CC, nice report, great looking scramble. :thumbup:
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Re: Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor

Postby prog99 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:22 pm

I've gone up this way a few times. A bit of a battle getting up the first top through the woods when the track wasnt there.
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Re: Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor

Postby Sunset tripper » Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:46 am

That looks a great route. I've had a look at that top recently and fancy giving it a go. 8)
I walked the full length of the downhill a couple of years back and that was bad enough. I doubt if I would survive it on a bike. :shock:
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Re: Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:51 pm

jacob wrote:Wow, some great atmospheric pictures in there CC, nice report, great looking scramble. :thumbup:

Thank you Jacob, it was a very atmospheric place on the day. The scramble was short but fun :D
prog99 wrote:I've gone up this way a few times. A bit of a battle getting up the first top through the woods when the track wasnt there.

I can imagine that, :lol: a battle through the woods was more what we were expecting. Although the track made the going much easier it was disappointing to find the consustruction work there going so far up the Glen, I hope they clear up when they've finished.
Sunset tripper wrote:That looks a great route. I've had a look at that top recently and fancy giving it a go. 8)
I walked the full length of the downhill a couple of years back and that was bad enough. I doubt if I would survive it on a bike. :shock:

Thank you, as you can tell we enjoyed the route. We thought the track was quite exciting to walk down :lol: but would be totally terrifying on a bike :roll:
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Cairngorm creeper
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Re: Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor

Postby robertphillips » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:59 am

hi CC it was me you met with the dog near aonach mor, it was a tough day he slept all next day after that. :)
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Re: Easterly Toppings of Aonach Mor

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:14 am

robertphillips wrote:hi CC it was me you met with the dog near aonach mor, it was a tough day he slept all next day after that. :)

Hi Robert, Thanks for saying hi, nice to meet you. Your day sounded very tough indeed, if ever a dog deserved a day in bed it was your Staffie, he was surprisingly energetic and keen to get moving when we met you despite how far you had already walked.
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