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It's been 21 years...(Aonach Eagach)

It's been 21 years...(Aonach Eagach)


Postby matt_outandabout » Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:25 pm

Route description: Aonach Eagach

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

Date walked: 11/07/2020

Time taken: 6.5 hours

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This is my wife 21 years ago. A late autumn break after a long season at the outdoor centre in Galloway found us in Glencoe for a week. We spent the week walking and canoeing, with an eye on finishing up the Aonach Eagach. As you can see, as we climbed Am Bodach the ice was forming around us, the temperature plummeting as the sky initially cleared and then a damp cold front moved in from the west. At the first bad step covered in fresh ice, we rightly bailed out, vowing to return on a safer day.

ImageAonach Eagach 20 years ago by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

For one reason and another, we have just never made it back up there. That includes 5 years living 40 minutes away in Killin and 7 years now in Dunblane, still a relative hop and skip away, and many, many more hill days.

However, just in time for a 25th Wedding anniversary and with three 'new' additions in tow, we headed up with an iffy forecast last Saturday as birthday treat for me.

The beast of a first climb was dispatched relatively quickly, after escaping a car park 'advisor' who started putting the fear into an already nervous son.
Despite being damp (read: heavy showers blowing through) it was warm. The first tops provided and atmospheric view and hid much of our challenge.
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

We soon stopped for 'first lunch' and started down the challenges. I think the first step being one of the main challenges en-route, along with third pinnacle.
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

We were now on the ridge proper, and sticking to the top where we could. As ever, there are cheeky paths off to the side to ignore as many are not as solid as being on the rock itself.
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

This impressive looking chimney was actually very straightforward.
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

This sums up much of the ridge - a fabulous ridge of easy but rough walking. The challenges are quite spaced out, although they do come thick and fast.
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

Finally things cleared up a little - the calm before the storm however....
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr


Things now stepped up a gear on the pinnacles. There were a few 'mini pinnacles', slightly confusing where exactly we were. The last pinnacle had the most challenging move, and my wife took a peach of a tumble as she tried to follow a significantly taller boy up the sloping slab. Thankfully a scare, a bruised shin and toe the only outcome. The fellow hillwalker and I watching from further back however had a full on heart attack, seeing the drop she jumped and the further drop below...
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

The worst/best behind us, the weather was now blowing in and we could see rain moving in from the coast. Time to shift up a gear....
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

We didn't take any pics for the next hour - the rain came in horizontally and near freezing as per a Scottish summer. I even had the compass and pacing out to ensure we found the cairn marking the junction down the Clachaig Gully vs Pap path.

The Pap path, although much safer, shows how brutal descents can be. 3km along, 1km down all on loose, hard rock... My quads can still feel it...
ImageAonach Eagach by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
Last edited by matt_outandabout on Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
matt_outandabout
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 123
Munros:53   Corbetts:18
Grahams:15   Donalds:17
Sub 2000:17   Hewitts:147
Wainwrights:141   
Joined: Nov 3, 2013

Re: It's been 21 years...

Postby soleman1972 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:56 pm

Well done to all involved, thinking of doing this myself and you have provided a very useful guide, and quite an entertaining read,
cheers
User avatar
soleman1972
 
Posts: 10
Munros:9   Corbetts:3
Grahams:2   Donalds:2
Joined: Sep 8, 2013

Re: It's been 21 years...(Aonach Eagach)

Postby matt_outandabout » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:32 am

Thanks soleman - an interesting day out as well!

Let us know how you get on.
User avatar
matt_outandabout
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 123
Munros:53   Corbetts:18
Grahams:15   Donalds:17
Sub 2000:17   Hewitts:147
Wainwrights:141   
Joined: Nov 3, 2013

Re: It's been 21 years...(Aonach Eagach)

Postby Raynor » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:37 am

Well done! The photos really tell a story. I was up at Am Bodach the other night having a wee look. A really nice but also intimidating place :)
Raynor
 
Posts: 176
Munros:77   Corbetts:8
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:12   
Islands:4
Joined: Jun 11, 2017

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