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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Eeeeeegach on the Aonach in Glen Coe!

Thomas and I traversed a wintry, slippery and deserted Aonach Eagach on Saturday, while Fi and Ian were enjoying the sun and powder skiing on Cairngorm.
We'd arranged to do this outing a few months ago, expecting warm sun and dry rock after March's heatwave.
The weather had other ideas which became increasingly apparent as I crossed the country, surrounded by the hills in their full winter glory!
I'd normally expect the carparks to be full on most May weekends in Glencoe, especially at the start of one of the great hillwalking and scrambling classics, but not today. Glencoe was quiet and the carpark even quieter, with only one other car at 10.00am!
Prepared for the worse, we headed up with axes and crampons in reserve, to the the soft wet snow a few hundred metres below the ridge crest.
We decided to keep the crampons off while we short roped the ridge. It was neither summer nor full winter conditions. The snowy descent from Am Bodach being the most unnerving compared to the exposed but positive and less snowy Pinnacles.
Whatever we did it would have been awkward. Climbing on the snowy rock and slippery snow, slush covered slabs. The fifteen metres of short-rope provided extra security and a tight rope or counter balance as and when required!
Given the conditions it was a challenging alpine ridge traverse that Thomas and I will remember for some time to come.

Back on our local hills there was even more snow, an avalanche and some great Cairngorm skiing both on and off-piste....
See Fi's blog here for more details and lots of snowy photos.

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