Traversing the Aonach Eagach is a lot of fun. Stretching approximately 4km along the Glencoe skyline and a total distance of 10km, it deserves the hype as the most iconic ridge traverse in Glencoe. With exception of Skye’s Cuillin Ridge, the ridge walk is one of the narrowest you will find in the UK, yet thankfully this scrambling route is never too difficult for most of its length.
In summer the Aonach Eagach ridge is typically completed from East to West starting with a steep approach up Am Bodach and some airy downclimbing shortly after. Sections of the ridge such as the crazy pinnacles are quite narrow and to some people, the exposure can feel considerable which is why we carry lightweight harnesses and a short climbing rope to help us on our way.
In wintertime, the ridge takes on a different character. Double overhanging cornices, icy holds and a cutting wind will not only lengthen the time for a traverse but also the requirement for a lower climbing ratio. It is important to have some Winter Mountaineering experience before embarking on a winter traverse.
Many of our team have run the ridge, some have even raced along its narrow crest in the Glencoe Skyline Race. Rest assured by booking a Summer or Winter traverse of the Aonach Eagach you will be accompanied by a very experienced guide.
DARE TO EXPERIENCE ADVENTURE
When we traverse the Aonach Eagach your team will be attached to one rope. In Summer this might mean some sections the rope will be used and others without. This does not mean we aren’t looking after you! Your guide will be advising and safeguarding your movement along the way. With this technique known as ‘spotting’, we can allow a higher ratio. In the winter, however; a max ratio of 2 participants to 1 guide is key as the ridge becomes more serious and we are all tied in throughout. The price includes the use of harnesses and helmets plus the use of any technical equipment. If you have a bigger team requiring an additional mountain guide, get in touch. We believe we are very competitive on price.
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The Aonach Eagach is great preparation for a Cuillin Ridge Traverse. Although not as long or technical it does have exposed sections and is ideal to practice some of the basic ropework needed to scramble on Skye. More often than not, our Cuillin Ridge guides work in Glencoe between time on the island so can offer plenty of advice on how to progress your skill and confidence before climbing in the Cuillin.
A guided traverse of the Aonach Eagach
As your traverse approaches your guide will be in contact to discuss any final arrangements and discuss the prevailing weather forecast. At which time you can agree to a suitable time to meet in the morning and inform them of any kit requirements you have.
(Example itinerary base on previous participants)
0830 – You will be collected from your accommodation or meet at the predetermined place in Glencoe.
0845 – After sorting through the kit one vehicle will be left near the Clachaig for the return journey. The travel to the start of the ridge takes about 5 minutes.
0900 – To start the ridge we must ascend approximately 800 meters to the summit of Am Bodach which has great views towards Stob Coire Leith and the three sisters of Glencoe.
1045 – Traverse the Aonach Eagach ridge! Almost immediately after leaving the summit of Am Bodach, we scramble down an exposed section; some might say this is the hardest part of the entire ridge. The first Munro of Meall Darg is reached swiftly afterwards but the majority of the scrambling is then to come as the ridge gradually narrows from here on in. Crossing the ‘crazy pinnacles’ is a thrilling experience. In dry weather, you may not think twice but care is needed as the exposure is sensational and a good head for heights is required. The final third of the ridge to gain the Munro of Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh is walking terrain, the views back to where we have come from are impressive.
1400 – There are many ways to descend from here, but we usually follow the runner’s path from the skyline mountain race. It is a nice easy trail looking down onto loch Achtriochtan. Alternatively, we might use the Pap of Glencoe path which is much longer but even simpler. Your guide knows the best line to take to make it as safe as possible for you.
1615 – Expect to be back at the car park where we can shuttle back to the start to pick up the vehicle.
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