Aonach Eagach

Today after looking at the winter conditions for a week due to work and having a cold I finally got out.  I wanted something a bit more than just a walk so went for the Aonach Eagach in Glen Coe a grade 2 ridge in winter.  Having done the ridge a few years ago in winter and about 4 times in summer I knew it quite well, so I was confident about getting along it on my own.

With the powder snow starting at about 750 meters I made my way up to Am Bodach and the start of the ridge.  Just off the summit there is a steep section that can be ab’ed or there is a delicate traverse left then right.  Knowing that the rock under the snow was flat and not slabby I carefully made my way round.

I continued along the crest of the ridge with quite a lot of snow build up, but there had been a mountain hare that had been before me to show me the way (although it managed to skip across the top of the snow, where I sank a bit more).  I made my way up and over a few rocky steps along the way and down climbing a few sections, which were made trickier with the loose snow covering everything.  There wasn’t any ice around so I went along in my boots finding the steps under the snow.

I then got to the trickier central pinacles, which is the main graded section.  With a few of the garde 2 chimneys dispatched I made my way along to the one section that I knew would be a bit trickier under power.  There is a small wall about 3 meters high with a slab on the left side, a foot hold at the base and one near the top of the slab with side pulls for the hands above.  It is only one rock-over move to the higher foot hold but with gloves on and powder covering it I knew it was a section that I needed to take care on.  But it turned out that getting to it turned out to be harder, trying to make my way over the thin ridge and round the big blocks.

When you are mountaineering it is good to keep to a steady pace where you can keep going to give yourself time for the trickier sections, then at those sections take it slowly slowly, and make time up on the simple sections.

Before I knew it I was heading towards the final summit where I descended off south down the slopes of Sgorr nam Fiannaidh towards the Loch at the base of Glen Coe.  Just the 3 km along the road back to the car.

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