Buachaille Etive Mòr was long in the waiting and originally planned for September or thereabouts but with the extended dry spell combined with my recent ascent of the nearby Corbett Beinn a'Chrulaiste i persuaded workmate Big Jie to do this ridge at the first opportunity regardless of the July crowds and traffic.
We parked near Altnafeadh on the rocky access "road" to the cottage and set off up the Coire na Tulaich sticking to the winding rocky path where just below the bealach it turned to an easy but enjoyable scramble up and on to the ridge.
From here the ascent to the first Munro Stob Dearg was reminiscent of last years ascent of Stob Coire Raineach on Etive Beag but with a sense of some real drops on either side of the ridge. By this point the skies were overcast and a cool breeze ensured no more sunscreen would run into my eyes which was really problematic climbing up the gully.
The final push to the busy summit area was level and gave some truly fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and the expanse of Rannoch Moor which was quite extensive.
Once the photo sessions were over we headed back down to the bealach and began the steep winding ascent of Stob na Doire which gave great views of the Etive Beag ridge as well as a much needed lunch break. I consulted my OS map here and debated with Big Jie about the requirements for Munro status given the climb we had to get to the summit of this mere top. The descent from here was equally as steep and displayed exactly what lay ahead of us, two more hills!
The next bealach revealed our path down off the ridge which although tempting wasn't an option at that point in the walk therefore it was on to Stob Coire Altruim, the ascent of which gave a view of some steep drops down into Lairig Gartain.
The final push to the summit of the second Munro Stob na Broige was easier than i expected although when we finally got there we found it fairly busy, such is Etive Mor in July i suppose. The highlight for me here was the superb view down to Loch Etive which shimmered in the distance under the now clearing skies.
The path off the ridge which we'd past earlier was a mixture of loose gravel, stone steps and rock slabs which required a bit of careful negotiating and it took quite a bit of time to get down to the Lairig Gartain path which was level and straightforward giving us a chance to pick up the pace although getting back to Altnafeadh seemed to take ages but i think that was a mixture of leaving that awesome ridge and some serious hunger for a meal and a cold beer !
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