Aonach Eagach

With an excellent forecast, combined with the outstanding late season conditions we decided to head up to Scotland to climb Aonach Eagach. Aonach Eagach is a ridge which I have done before in summer and winter, however it has been on Becky’s list for quite some time now. When I last climbed the ridge in winter the weather was very good, but it did not compare to the weather we had this time. The snow underfoot was mostly firm, the ridge generally had a good covering of snow other than some of the steeper rock sections and the weather was outstanding with a mixture of sun and cloud all day, without a breath of wind.

We made the most of the clocks having changed and the longer daylight and enjoyed a relatively late start to miss the bad weather early in the morning, which was a good decision based on the amount of rain as we were driving towards the ridge. The initial climb doesn’t get any easier with successive attempts at the ridge, and felt as abrupt as ever, but thankfully it is over fairly quickly and once it is completed the rest of the day is really enjoyable.

Due to the conditions we only used the rope for the abseil at the start, the crux and the section which followed the crux. The conditions on the ridge were just superb, with excellent views in every direction, amazing scrambling and fantastic exposure. I enjoyed watching the RAF practicing their low level flying skills a long way below us in Glencoe as we were passed by a pair of C130s and a Eurofighter Typhoon.

The descent was much quicker than previous attempts, as the beast from the east had loaded a west facing gully with snow which meant that we had a quick descent down to below 500m. Unfortunately our attempts to hitch somewhat failed which meant we had a long walk back to the main road to retrieve the car.

Becky at the start of Aonach Eagach

Stunning views down Glencoe after the abseil

Great conditions on the ridge

Amazing views as the clouds lifted

Becky on Meall Dearg

Us on Meall Dearg in front of the rest of the ridge

Aonach Eagach looking fantastic

Becky heading towards the rest of the ridge

Great conditions

Me at the crux

Becky high above Glencoe

Looking back towards the start of the ridge

Me in front of the ridge

Amazing 360 degree panorama from Stob Coire Leith

Becky heading towards Sgor nam Fiannaidh

Becky on the summit of Sgor nam Fiannaidh

Us on the final summit

Heading off on the long descent with Loch Linnhe in the distance

Sgurr na Bana-Mhoraire

With another day of cold weather and strong winds we decided to have a short walk up Sgurr na Bana-Mhoraire, which is a stunning viewpoint overlooking Loch Torridon on the shoulder of Beinn Damh.

The walk up was on an excellent track, so we made good time to the summit. The views from the top did not disappoint, and we were glad that we didn’t need to spend too long in the winds on the summit ridge!

Stunning views down towards Beinn Bhan

Looking over Loch Torridon towards Beinn Alligin

Stunning scenary

Panorama of the Torridon mountains

Summit photo

Looking over towards Liathach

 

 

Deep South Gully & Beinn Alligin

The whole country seemed to have forecasts for heavy snow, apart from the small part of north west Scotland around Torridon. Despite the lack of a forecast for snow, the forecast did remain bitterly cold with temperatures of -10 being forecast on the summits, with easterly winds which were gusting up to 50mph and a “feels like” temperature of -30 according to the Met Office.

Due to this we developed the plan to walk around to the back of Beinn Alligin and climb the atmospheric looking Deep South Gully as the descent off the back is quick, which should have limited our exposure to the strong winds.

We made quick progress around to the back of Beinn Alligin, and despite forgetting the guidebook, easily identified the gully. There was bomber neve all the way up the gully, which extended down to the valley floor. This enabled us to make rapid progress up the gully, which was fantastic. It was very atmospheric inside the deep sided valley, which combined with the snow quality made for a very enjoyable climb.

We were surprised when we got to the top to find that it wasn’t too windy, so we decided to head over and do the traverse of Beinn Alligin. We powered across the route without stopping to keep warm, but it wasn’t too bad as somehow we were mostly sheltered from the wind. When we weren’t the wind was brutal!

The descent gully was very much in the wind, and combined with the reduction in effort on the descent meant that it was very very cold! We made quick progress on the descent and were back in the car in under five hours.

In the entrance to Deep South Gully

Icy crux to Deep South Gully

Looking back down the atmospheric Deep South Gully

Topping out of Deep South Gully

Looking forward over the final horn

Jon and James on the final horn

Jon and James descending from the final horn

On the slog up to the first Munro

Stunning views from the top of Sgùrr Mòr

Looking towards Skye

Looking over towards Liathach

Approaching Tom na Gruagaich

James and Jon on Tom na Gruagaich

Descending from Tom na Gruagaich

Stunning views over Liathach and Loch Torridon

Moruisg

After three days of walking and seven Munros our legs were starting to feel fairly tired. As the weather for the rest of the week is looking somewhat more unsettled we decided to have a short day and climb our local Munro, Moruisg.

We woke up in the morning to a surprise covering of snow, which made the walk into the mountain very attractive. The walk is very short, but with lots of ascent over a short distance. As we finished the steep section of the ascent we were greeted by a very strong and cold wind, this combined with the intermittent low cloud cover felt far more like Scottish winter than the last few days!

The summit was very cold, so other than a brief photo we didn’t spend much time there before heading back down as quickly as possible. On the way down the cloud lifted and provided us with some stunning views of the local mountains, we could even see the grand Glencarron estate house which we are staying in on the descent.

Climbing Moruisg with Glencarron in the background

Climbing Moruisg

Windy summit ridge on Moruisg

Becky on the summit of Moruisg

Group summit photo

Descending from Moruisg

Sun on the descent

Stunning views down Glencarron