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As I get my head around my 2nd day's ridge traverse , what some 9 days away now!. I'm looking for an updated escape route should the conditions E of Carn Eighe cause me to bottle out and retrace my route. Rather than an extended retrace (which is the fallback) it would be good to drop off down Coire Leachavie. Arial imagery doesn't help me to decide much , does anyone here have local knowledge as to the quality of the path down?
Honesty compels me to concede that I haven't walked the route down into Coire Leachavie but I can't see it presenting any problems. If a remote hill such as Mam Sodhail had a tourist route then this would be it; it's certainly the most frequented way of ascent. The snow is melting in the Highlands at the moment but even if there is some residual cover remaining, this path down shouldn't be badly affected. Large build ups and cornices tend to form on north and west facing slopes and this one is safely south east. If you manage to follow the ridge this far then the drop off should be straightforward. Yet don't bottle out unless you need to, you'll be missing a fine traverse.
Thanks for your comments. Given this day is with the heaviest pack load of the trip with a full water load, as pickings on the ridge seem slim, I’m looking to have bail outs. Covid came to call, and while my immune system is fully topped up my fitness took a bit of a hit. Having said all of that I do hope the weather gods are on side for this memorable traverse. (I.e it would be nice to see something!)
I have reached the ridge this way (going up the track). The bottom part is a good but rough track, and higher up there is a good path. I am not sure about the path on the last wee bit to the ridge as it was under snow when I did it. I was backpacking part of the ridge and I would have no issues in using this route to descend. Once you are down in the glen, there is a good path on the North side of Loch Affric taking you to the public car park - this can be busy. There are toilets here. You could probably find a place to camp away from the car park.
Back to the corrie, If you look at the map, not far down off the ridge, following the path down, there is a flat bit of ground where you could camp if you are running out of time.
Down at the Loch, It is not possible to cross to the south side at the Lodge, which would be handy if you were going to Cougie. Lots of fences, gates and notices. Probably guns and dogs as well!
Thanks Allan ...