Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Golden Oldie on Everest!

 Stunning views over the Great Glen

Another stunning day in Lochaber tempted us on to the classic Golden Oldie II on the West face of Aonach Mor. Surprisingly the approach was very quick despite some very deep drifts. The east face of Carn Dearg Mheadhonach opposite us was looking very white with some significant cornices. These caught at least 3 walkers out this week, luckily without serious injury despite some big falls.
Our ridge was almost buried but still the best option on this face. The other popular route, Western Rib III, was totally buried and all four teams in the valley opted for Golden Oldie. Going first meant that there was a lot of digging to find decent belays but good snow over most of the tricky rock steps meant progress was quick. There was some suggestion of cross loading and cornicing on the easy final slopes so we opted to pitch the final 70m but in the event they were stable and well frozen and we topped out in time for lunch.

 Fort William enjoying some early morning sunshine

Deep snow on the approach

 Approaching the first belay

Linking together patches of neve

Three teams behind us enjoying the buried conditions

 On the exposed and corniced crest

Retrieving one of the few pieces of protection we placed

The exit slopes to the summit of Aonach Mor

A very snowy Ben Nevis

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