Colin's Munros


Aonach Eagach: Meall Dearg & Sgorr nam Fiannaidh, Map 384;
25th Nov 2004 & 11th Jun 2007

Route: 6.1 miles; 1295m=4250' ascent; 5-6 hrs in reasonable conditions.

View over to the middle Sister of Glen Coe from ascent path. Looking E back to the descent off Am Bodach Looking W towards Aonach Eagach from Meall Dearg. Looking back E to Aonach Eagach from its western end. Looking E to Aonach Eagach from Stob Coire Leith. Stob Coire Leith from Aonach Eagach. Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh (left) and Stob Coire Leith (right). Loch Leven, Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh and the Pap Of Glencoe from Sgorr Bhan

Route: The ridge is very much easier and more enjoyable in dry conditions. It involves some straightforward scrambling with intimidating exposure with much of the rock en route being highly polished and slippery strata sloping downhill. Both Munros can be climbed separately from the north to avoid any scrambling. There are some nice winter photos and more detail at
If you can manage the initial descent westwards from Am Bodach, you can probably manage the whole ridge. This is not quite the most difficult or exposed part, but it doesn't get much worse. Almost all difficulties are between Meall Dearg and Stob Coire Leith, which is Aonach Eagach. The difficulties are a combination of exposure, knife edge ridge with numerous unavoidable pinnacles, poorly angled, slippery rock with few handholds, and moss.
There are two big detours off the ridge to the north side. The second is at the W end under the third pinnacle and descends by nearly 30m/100'. The crux of the whole traverse is at the rather exposed lowest point of this. Foot and hand holds are neither very plentiful nor good here and it is not simple to keep one’s centre of balance within points of contact. However, currently (i.e. June 2019) there is a short, fixed rope to help.
Overall the ridge is technically harder, more exposed, and longer than any other that you are likely to encounter doing Munros or Munro Tops on mainland Scotland. This includes, for example, the Torridon ridges. The short section of about ¾ mile over three pinnacles will take most people at least an hour in good conditions and an hour and a half or more in poor, non-winter conditions.
Descent via the gully above the Clachaig Inn is possible but dangerous. An alternative descent is via the col with the Pap (Sgorr na Ciche). However, my preference is an almost direct line from Sgor nam Fiannaidh to the parking by Loch Achriochtan. There is a path which initially appears frighteningly steep, but there are no cliffs. It is very fast and handy with no significant problems other than the extensive loose scree at its angle of rest. This choice minimises the walk back to the start.
I have the opinion that an east-to-west traverse is easier than the opposite direction because of the down-climbing involved, but I have not been from west to east. Moreover, the made-up stepped path at the east end and the scree at the west end also favour an east-to-west route.
Weather 25/11/04: Overcast but dry till 1400; rain thereafter. Cloud falling from 1000m to 750m.
11/06/07: Very hot day: 25°C at car, no wind. Dry, overcast day with sunny intervals, dry underfoot.
Connectivity: Orange on all tops and on road at ends of route.

25/11/0411/06/07 Description Alt.Asc.DistGrid Ref
0930  Park on A82 at P just E of L. Achriochtan
(or Park at Helipad on A82 near Meeting of Three Waters)
90   00.0 milesNN14645713
10000910 Walk E to Helipad via path on S side of A82 along old road 163  751.5 milesNN16935684
10050915 Reach start of good path up Allt Ruigh at
small P on N side of A82 a few yds E of the Helipad
175  851.75 milesNN17315677
 – Ascend old route by Allt Ruigh to col NE of
Am Bodach or take the new faster path up the SE ridge.
816725 NN17205820
SW (or NW) to T Am Bodach. 9438552.75 milesNN16845802
 1045 Initially tricky descent NW to col.
(No further major difficulties until after Meall Dearg.)
866  NN16615812
 1050 WNW to cairn on bump 9248403.1 milesNN16315821
 1055 NW to col 896 3.15 milesNN16265826
NNW to M Meall Dearg
The next ¾ mile is the Aonach Eagach ridge.
Expect ¾ mph in dry conditions, ½ mph in wet, i.e. up to
1.5 hrs. This section contains almost all the difficulties.
953970 3.25 milesNN16155837
 1115 W to 1st pinnacle      
 1125 W to 2nd pinnacle      
 1130 W to col      
 1140 Skirt 3rd pinnacle on right, with substantial down climb.
(Optional 5m/5min detour to top when ridge is regained.)
 1155 W to col 830 3.8 miles NN15255832
NW to T Stob Coire Leith 94011854.0 milesNN14955850
SW to cols at ends of flat ridge traverse 870 4.4 miles NN14425825
W to M Sgor nam Fiannaidh (trig post) 96712954.6 milesNN14065830
   W for 10 yds to top of path. Then descend S down path
by Allt an t-Sidhein. Initially there is 500m/1500' of scree.
The path meets the A82 by the road to the Clachaig Inn
at NN138567 but the corner can be cut off easily.
  5.7 milesNN14045685
15351355 E along A82 to P just E of L. Achriochtan   90 6.1 milesNN14645713

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