|Myself on the ridge...|
The Aonach Eagach ridge forms a great, seemingly impenetrable, barrier on the Northern side of Glencoe. Running East to West, the ridge has four summits. Two of which are given Munro status. This route is a grade II in winter and is deserving of its classic status.
|Darren chimney sweeping...|
The visibility clears to show the majority of the ridge ahead. The wind, however, is relentless. A quick snow-blasting and we are quickly descending. The Chancellor looking imposing down to our left hand side. We make quick progress passing several 'bad steps' and arrive on the summit of Meall Dearg (red hill). The first Munro of the day. We stop here briefly to inhale some breakfast and have a quick drink. I pull a frozen banana from my bag and debate whether to eat it or use it for a potential belay. I go for the former, not a particularly hard decision.
|Darren back on the crest...|
From here we snake along the ridge proper passing several interesting scrambles and arrive at the 'crazy' pinnacles. Not quite 'crazy' but interesting none the less. A series of chimneys, narrow crests and steep drops keeping us focused. At one point we even get the rope out to make a short 15 metre abseil to bypass a sloping slab.
|Loch Linnhe in the distance...|
We have now tackled the major difficulties of the day and arrive on the summit of Stob Coire Leith. From here it is a slow slog to the top of Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh (Peak of the fair haired warriors. I kid you not!) in deeper snow to 'bag' the second Munro of the day. We have a quick drink here whilst de-harnessing and discuss our descent options. The direct descent South to the A82 and the Clachaig gully are advised against so we head in the direction of the shoulder of Sgorr na Ciche (Pap of Glencoe).
As is customary in Scottish hills, the descent is brutal and unrelenting all the way to the road. Once down at the road we shed some layers and make the long trek back to the car. A cracking Alpine-esque day with great conditions.
Height gain: 1,150 metres.
Munros: 2 - Meall Dearg and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh.
Time taken: 7 hours.