Scottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UKScottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UK
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The Horns of Alligin.
Horns of Alligin Map Photos
A committing mountaineering expedition over the dramatic towers of Ben Alligin, signature features of the Torridon landscape.
Area: Northwest Highlands, Torridon
Grade: Winter I (hard)   what does that mean?
Total Distance: 9.5 km
Total Ascent: 1250 m
Time: 6½ hours
Maps:
  • Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50,000 Sheet 24
  • Ordnance Survey Explorer 433 1:25,000
  • Harvey Torridon Map 1:25,000
  • Avalanche hazard: Reasonably safe apart from the descent into Coire nan Loagh which could be dangerous.
    Avalanche Forecast area: SAIS do not currently issue a forecast covering this area.   more
    Gear: Take a 25-metre rope and some slings, which may be needed for descending the second horn.
    Other routes in the area: The Liathach main ridge traverse is a classic at Winter grade II. The fearsome Black Carls of Beinn Eighe are also Winter grade II.
    Start 

    Reach the village of Torridon via the A896 and take the minor road towards Diabeg. Park in the large car park just beyond the point where this road crosses the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nòbuil, about 2 miles beyond Torridon.

    Grid Reference NG868576.

    Approach 

    Cross the road and follow a good track along the left (E) bank of Abhainn Coire Mhic Nòbuil. After about 1.75 km, cross the river by a bridge and follow the north branch of the track alongside the Allt a Bhealaich. After about 500 m, leave the track, cross the Allt a Bhealaich, and head towards the southeast ridge of Na Rathanan.

    Horns of Alligin 

    Ascend the SSE ridge of Na Rathanan. The terrain is easiest if you ascend slighly leftwards to avoid the steep, craggy ground. Continue until you reach the crest. From here the ridge is more defined and leads you to the summit of the first 'horn'. Continue on the crest of the ridge, scrambling over blocks, to reach the second horn. The descent from this tower is difficult and it is best to descend on the left-hand (W) side to reach the col small at the foot of the third and final horn. Climb the narrow ridge to the third horn. From here descend steeply down the west ridge of Na Rathanan towards a large col leading to Sgorr Mòhr.

    WarningOne established on the ridge, there are no good ways off it other than completing the route or turning back. In an emergency it would be possible to descend the slopes northwest of Sgurr Mhor but this would necessitate a long walk back to the road.

    Sgorr Mhòr (986m) 

    Beyond the col the ridge rises steeply to the summit of Sgorr Mhòr. From the summit, head west for 100m to avoid the deeply incut gully of Eag Dhuibh then regain the ridge. Continue over a minor top to another col at the foot of the final summit of the day, Tom na Gruagaich.

    Tom na Gruagaich (922m) 

    Scramble up the rocky ridge to reach the summit.

    Descent 

    From the gap about 100 m west of the summit (there is a large cairn here), descend into the wide gully leading into Coire nan Loagh. If the snow is dangerous, it is safer to stay close to or on the rock outcrops.

    Return 

    When you reach open ground at the foot of the corrie, head SSE. Pick up a good path which picks its way through the sandstone outcrops and leads back to the car park.

    © ScottishWinterRoutes.com 2007