Hills: Buachaille Etive Beag (Stob Coire Raineach & Stob Dubh)
Date: Saturday 21st November 2015
Company: Just myself
Distance: 8.3km, Ascent: 880m
Time: 4Hrs 15Mins

I was expecting to be ascending some featureless Graham today in fairly awful weather. However, on checking the weather forecast last night, the fairly awful forecast had changed to a pretty good forecast . I therefore gladly abandoned Graham plans and instead opted to repeat some Munros. Having had a great day out on Buachaille Etive Mor just under three weeks previous, I decided to return to Glencoe today to ascend its wee neighbour, Buachaille Etive Beag.

I last ascended Buachaille Etive Beag in 2000, approaching via the Lairig Gartain. From memory this was mostly a steep, pathless ascent. Today I decided to approach via Lairig Eilde to make use of the excellent track leading right up onto the ridge.

En-route to the hill, I stopped near Ballachullish to take a photo of Loch Leven and the Pap of Glencoe. It was a stunning morning.

Loch Leven and the Pap of Glencoe from Ballachullish:

I parked in the Glen Coe car park opposite the beehive cairn.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

From the car park, I set off along the Lairig Eilde track. After a hundred metres or so, I left the track to ascend a wee knoll to take some photos.

The Three Sisters from a wee knoll above the Lairig Eilde track:

Aonach Eagach:

I then returned to the track which I followed all the way up onto the ridge of Buachaille Etive Beag.

Looking towards 902m top and Stob Dubh during ascent:

As I gained height the track was increasingly covered in clear ice. I took care to avoid standing on the ice; for the time being the crampons would stay in the bag.

Ascent to the col between Stob Coire Raineach and the 902m top:

Aonach Eagach:

On reaching the col, I had a wee break to put on crampons, get out the ice axe and change my Dachstein mitts for a thinner pair of gloves.

I didn't see anyone else wearing crampons today although some others did have their ice axe out. It is safer to have crampons on your feet and ice axe in your hand than for them to be in or attached to your rucksack.

Looking across to Stob na Doire and Stob Coire Altruim of Buachaille Etive Mor from Buachaille Etive Beag col:

Looking towards Stob Dearg and Stob na Doire of Buachaille Etive Mor:

Stob Coire Raineach from the col:

During the ascent of Stob Coire Raineach, I passed a ptarmigan that was almost in full winter garb.


I stopped several times during the ascent of Stob Coire Raineach a) because my pack was far too heavy (why I needed 4 jackets with me I just don't know) and b) the views were outstanding!

Looking along Buachaille Etive Beag's ridge towards Stob Dubh:

Bidean nam Bian from Stob Coire Raineach:

Bidean nam Bian and the Aonach Eagach from Stob Coire Raineach:

Glen Etive hills, Stob Dubh and Stob Coire Sgreamhach:

On reaching the summit, I stopped to take a photograph and then returned back down to the col.

At the summit of Stob Coire Raineach:

On reaching the col, I began the ascent of the 902m top which is en-route to Stob Dubh, Buachaille Etive Beag's highest peak.

About to ascend the 902m top:

I was glad of the crampons during the ascent (and descent) of the 902m top as there was a large section of reasonably steep hard, compact snow.

Looking towards Stob Dubh from the 902m top:

As I progressed towards Stob Dubh, I could hear a helicopter nearby. It was hovering for quite some time above Am Bodach on the Aonach Eagach. Someone would appear to have been winched-off. I hope they are ok as the downclimb from Am Bodach is very steep and dangerous.

Someone being winched off the Aonach Eagach (zoom):

Heading out to Stob Dubh:

Bidean nam Bian from Stob Dubh:

Stob Dubh provided good views towards Glen Etive.

Ben Starav and Loch Etive from Stob Dubh (zoom):

Instead of stopping at the summit, I continued onto the viewpoint cairn a few hundred metres beyond.

At the summit of Stob Dubh:

Glen Etive from viewpoint cairn beyond the summit of Stob Dubh:

After taking lots of photos, I made my way back along the ridge to the 902m top and then down to the col.

Looking back along Buachaille Etive Beag's ridge towards Stob Coire Raineach:

Looking back to Stob Dubh:

From the col, I made my way back down the excellent track towards Lairig Eilde. I kept my crampons on during the descent such that I could just walk directly over the sections of ice instead of having to avoid them.

Aonach Eagach:

This was a really short day out as I was back to the car by 13:00. On the plus side, the Clachaig Inn was nearby; an ideal venue to warm up and rehydrate .