Aonach Eagach

Aonach Eagach
Aonach Eagach
The Aonach Eagach is a rocky ridge lying to the north of Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands, boasting two Munro summits. In length the full ridge continues for 10 km from the Pap of Glencoe at the west to the eastern end at the Devil’s Staircase. The central section, some 2 km in length, is very rocky and the route along it requires scrambling ability. The slopes to each side are extremely dangerous, with steep grass and scree slopes hiding even steeper slopes which end in cliffs on both north and south sides of the ridge.

The Aonach Eagach is usually regarded as the most difficult horizontal ‘scrambling’ ridge in mainland Scotland, though it vies with Liathach (and, in winter, An Teallach) for this title. In his book “Scrambles in Lochaber”, local climber Noel Williams warns that there are no other ridges in the area that are “so narrow and so difficult to escape from once committed. Some sections are extremely exposed. This makes it a difficult outing to grade, because the technical difficulties are not great”. Williams settled on grade 2, implying it is easier than the (optional) grade 2/3 approach scramble up A’Chailleach, but added a further warning (in bold type) that “there are no safe descents on the south side of the ridge”.


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