Monday, 13 July 2015

Curved Ridge and North East Ridge of Aonach Beag

A sneaky view of the moor
Love this route!
I have just spent two days out with Grahame who has been keen to climb some scrambling routes, to spice up his Munro ticking campaign.  He had already walked both munros on Buachaille Etive Mor but has had a burning desire to climb Curved Ridge so this was our objective for the first day.  A little surprised to see a deserted ridge on a Sunday but the forecast was pretty poor however it turned out pretty nice (not constant rain and some beams of sunlight).
Crux corner
Hero shot
We made steady progress up the ridge, chatting away merrily, rarely stopping other than to take some pictures when the views opened.  We arrived at the top of the ridge and nipped up Crowberry Tower for some excellent views of cloud to the north as well as the south!  With a press onto the summit we finally became exposed to the winds, we locked up our hoods, had a wee break on the summit then headed down into Corie nan Tulach.  A nicer day than expected.  Tomorrow on the North East ridge Aonach Beag will be mint....

Looking at what we have done
Orchids bring light to a gloomy day
Today Grahame and I took the Aonach Mor Gondola up to the top station then plodded up to the summit of Aonach Mor for some fantastic views of the clouds.  Just white and grey.
Descending into An Cul Choire, axe and cramoons!

I suppose I was a little apprehensive as I have never climbed the North East ridge of Aonach Beag but it was on Grahames to do list and the weather was to improve at midday, somewhere near the crux.  Views, sunshine and no rian!  Cant wait.  Well it did clear at about 6pm!  On the whole route we endured constant rain, thick low cloud and incredibly greasy rock.  I would strongly suggest to any folk off to try this route that they save it for a dry day with good views.  I would say it turned into the hardest days work this summer.
Mellow mountaineering
Abseiling off the crux section to bypass it

 We were both very relieved to get past the crux section which involved quite a bit of rope trickery and an assisted hoist.  Grahame did incredible well as every footstep was like soap and most handholds were the same.  We had thought about bailing earlier but we were holding onto the forecast that it would never did.  I suspect it is a great route in the dry in a fantastic setting, I am really keen to get back in more suitable conditions.  In winter, I suspect it will be amazing.
Greahame relieved to be at the top

Me tired and relieved.  

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