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Aonach Eagach

A traverse of the Aonach Eagach is unquestionably one of the most classic scrambling routes in the whole UK (and perhaps the world over!).

Superb positions and great rock make this a really special outing which is made all the better for finishing at the legendary Clachaig Inn. Celebratory pints are de rigor!

The ridge itself is a very linear affair, running almost the entire length of the Glen Coe and therefore its best to be a bit organised and have a car at the other end to save the 7 km walk back up the valley after you’re done. If this isn’t an option, you can at least condole yourself with the presence of a pint on the way back.

The ridge has been the scene of many epics on account of its length and its difficulty. Once you’ve climbed down from the summit of Am Bodach, getting off the ridge before Stob Coire Leith would at best be incredibly arduous and at worst be terminally easy. You have been warned!

Aonach Eagach is a grade 2 scrambling route.

Start from the car park on the A82 at NN 17333 56746 (maps link).

Route Map

Below shows the route outline for Aonach Eagach.

Approach

1 – (NN 17333 56746) Follow the path out of the car park up the hillside keeping up a good pace to escape the bite of wee beasties. The path climbs steeply up the south east ridge of Am Bodach giving some really great views of the Lost Valley and the Three Sisters. Eventually the ridge becomes better defined and before you know it you’re stood on the top.

Aonach Eagach Ridge

The Scramble

2 – (NN 16838 58020) Its from the summit of Am Bodach that things really start to get exciting. The descent down its western flank is steep and forms the most difficult section of the whole traverse. Although some parties may opt to abseil, can you really say you’ve done the whole thing if you do? From the summit cairn continue down the increasingly exposed ridge before the ridge suddenly drops steeply down to the col. Follow a series of well worn ledges on the north side of the ridge before downclimbing a slight chimney and making a exposed step back across to the southern side of the ridge to reach easier ground.

3 – (NN 16630 58092) The next section of the ridge along to Meal Dearg goes without incident, providing some finely positioned with the odd section of scrambling. From the summit descend the path westwards, with the main event now clearly in view – ‘The Pinnacles’.

Aonach Eagach Pinnacles

4 – (NN 15741 58289) This is what you came for. The Pinnacles is a 500 m long very exposed section of the ridge and provides some fantastically committing and sustained scrambling. Some of the best in Scotland. From the end of the difficulties continue along to the summit of Stob Coire Leith.

Mid scrambling route
Scrambling route on Aonach Eagach

Descent

5 – (NN 14927 58493) From the summit of your second Munro of the day continue along to Sgorr nam Fiannaidh with great views back along the ridge. The easiest descent from the summit is to continue west for another 500 m before heading north and picking up the Pap of Glencoe path down towards the Red Squirel Campsite. It is possible to descend south directly into Glen Coe down Clachaig Gully, however this is loose and been the scene of numerous accidents and therefore can’t be recommended.

Once your at the road, pick up your car and go and order yourself a pint. Its well earned!

Recommended Guidebook & Map

The best guidebook for this route is found in the Cicerone Scrambles in Lochaber book, which is available via Paperback or Kindle Book here.

The best map for this route is the Ordnance Survey 384, Glen Coe and Glen Etive, available on Amazon here.

Recommended Scrambling Guide: (coming soon)

Recommended Accommodation

You can also check out good value accommodation nearby on Booking.com here.

Route Info

Distance10 km
Elevation1090m +/-
Duration7 - 9 hours
Grade2***
TransportCar - A82 Car Park

Navigation

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ContributorWho Contributed?

Route Contributed by: Sam Wainwright

“I live for everything outdoors and to me a bad day in the hills still beats a good day in the office.” Sam regularly publishes route blogs on his website Wainright Climbing here. This route was created by Sam Wainwright and donated to the UK Scrambles website through our contributor program. This generosity enables us to publish a whole range of scrambling routes to help you enjoy the outdoors. If you have a route you could contribute, submit it to us today.

Sam Wainwright
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