Golden Oldie

Page Type Page Type: Route
Additional Information Route Type: Mixed snow/rock climb
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Grade II
Sign the Climber's Log


By far the easiest approach is to take the Gondola from the Aonach Mor ski center ( During the winter they run a climbers Gondola at 8am before they open for skiers at 9am. As the route is quite long (500m) I would advise taking the 8am one.

From the top of the Gondola follow a track to the west. After 15 minutes this track ends, but a small path can be seen descending into the valley below. Follow this then conintue up the valley for about 1.5 hours until you can see a number of rocky ridges descending from the summit. These ridges are not obvious until you are almost below them. Pinnacle Ridge is the furthest left ridge and has a small gendarme near the top. Golden Oldie takes the ridge to the right. Harder climbes (grade II/III and III) take the ridges further right.

The start of the climb can be hard to locate in poor visibility, as the whole west face is without huge features. Gear up at NN 1877 7301 which is below the buttress (thanks to "tf" for the coordinates).

Route Description

The route is 500m long and longer than it looks from below. When I did it we pitches the entire ridge very quickly (I was taking a beginner) and we got to the gondola 20 minutes before it shut.

There are two options for the lower section, both reaching a small platform on the crest of the ridge. Going striaght up the crest of the ridge offers a fun chimney pitch.

If time is short then slopes to the left can be ascended for a hundred metres or so to the platform.

From here the route follows the crest of the ridge directly. In lean conditions the first pitch above the platform has an awkward mantleshelf. In heavier build-up a chimney to the left may be easier.

The way is now obvious almost to the summit. One final complication is a final knife-edge before reaching easier ground. A delicate traverse on the right hand side can be taken, or the bold can descend the knife-edge directly. Continue up easier ground to the summit.

Essential Gear

Good spikes abound on the ridge, giving regular belays, simple protection and allowing long pitches.

I would recommend:

=A single technical axe. There is some turf climbing, lots of hooking, and plenty of edges for your other hand. I carried two, but only used one except for the initial chimney.

=60m single rope. The route is direct and so doesn't require double-ropes.

=Lots of slings. Especially long ones - 15ft cordalette is particularly useful. We carried 4 double-length and 2 extra-long slings.

=Some hexes. I used them ones or twice.

Obviously you will need crampons, full winter gear etc.

For the vast majority of the climb, we just used the slings for our belays and protection. On 60m pitches, I often had a 30m run-out. Decide for yourself if this is enough protection for you to feel happy. If it isn't, then you may not be fast enough to get the gondola back down, as this climb requires a fair bit of speed.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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tf - Mar 6, 2005 5:39 am - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

The start of the climb can be hard to locate in poor visibility, as the whole west face is without huge features. We geared up at NN 1877 7301 which is below the buttres.

Stuart Buchanan

Stuart Buchanan - May 11, 2005 4:58 am - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

Thanks for the coordinates. I've added them to the approach description.

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