Scottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UKScottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UK
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Sgorr Dhearg from the bealach on the way from Sgorr Bhan.
Ballachulish Horseshoe Map Photos
Beinn A Bheithir stands impressively above Ballachulish on Loch Leven and its sharp ridges hang down with alpine menace. The highlight of this route is the NE Ridge of Sgorr Bhan which turns out to be eminently 'do-able' and, when combined with the 3 summits of Beinn A Bheithir, makes for a terrific outing.
Area: Central Highlands, Glencoe
Grade: Winter I    what does that mean?
Total Distance: 17 km
Total Ascent: 1300 m
Time: 7½ hours
Maps:
  • Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50,000 Sheet 41
  • Ordnance Survey Explorer 384 1:25,000
  • Avalanche hazard: Relatively safe.
    Avalanche Forecast area: Glencoe   more
    Gear: 25-metre rope.
    Tips: 2 cars, if available, would save a walk along the road at the end of the day. Alternatively, there is a taxi driver in Glencoe!
    Alternatives: If the rock is icy or there is a lot of new snow, the NE ridge of Sgorr Bhan can be trying. The easier alternative is to ascend the NNE ridge.
    Start 

    Take the first signpost for Ballachulish shortly after you pass Glencoe, traveling West on the A82. Turn left before the pub (Laroch Arms) and continue, crossing over a bridge after about 200 m. Park in a small car park on the left a little beyond the bridge.

    Grid Reference NN104589.

    Approach 

    Walk back to the bridge and follow signs to Glen Creran. Walk through gates at the side of a farmhouse to reach a good path which heads in a southerly direction towards Glen Creran. Follow the track through a gate and around the foot of the NE Ridge of Sgorr Bhan until you reach the far (Eastern) side of the ridge - about 600 m in distance

    Sgorr Bhan 

    Break off the path and head right (W) across bracken and heather, ascending the moderately angled slope to gain the crest of the ridge. Follow the ridge, which is straightforward to begin with but you soon come to a number of rock steps which can give problems if the rock is icy or plastered with soft snow - a rope may well be required here.

    Above these steps, the ridge eases off and joins with the NNE ridge (from the right) shortly before the summit is reached.

    Escape Route!
    If it's been enough already, retrace your steps to locate the NNE ridge which gives a straightforward descent

    Sgorr Dhearg 

    Follow the 'banana-shaped' ridge towards Sgorr Dhearg, giving ample clearance to any cornice on your right (N) side. You are now 1/2 way

    Sgorr Dhonuill 

    From the summit of Sgorr Dhearg, the ridge drops down significantly to a bealach at around 760 m. It then reascends, steeply at first, before narrowing as you approach the nice rocky summit of Sgorr Dhonuill

    Descent 

    Continue along the ridge, WSW at first, gradually veering north. About 1.4 km beyond Sgorr Dhonuill you come to a broad, inviting gully. Descend the gully, which will probably be snow-filled, to reach the forested glen below. Make your way through the dense wood and pick up the forestry road that finally takes you back to South Ballachulish

    Return 

    Walk back to Ballachulish along the A82 to collect your car. At least there is the Laroch Arms to look forward to

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