Scottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UKScottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UK
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Ben Cruachan from Stob Diamh.
North ridge of Ben Cruachan Map Photos
Although Ben Cruachan is normally climbed from the south, the remote north side is a much more impressive winter venue consisting of snowy corries and narrow ridges. This route takes you over one of those ridges - the north ridge of Ben Cruachan - and completes the day with a traverse of the the main Cruachan ridge.
Area: Southern Highlands
Grade: Winter I   what does that mean?
Total Distance: 18 km
Total Ascent: 1650 m
Time: 10 hours
Maps:
  • Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50,000 Sheet 50
  • Ordnance Survey Explorer 377 1:25,000
  • Avalanche hazard: Relatively safe.
    Avalanche Forecast area: SAIS do not currently issue a forecast covering this area. The nearest forecast area is Glencoe.   more
    Tips: If there is a lot of snow low-down, it may be more realistic to tackle Ben Cruachan from the south on account of the length of the approach from the north. This variant is a good option if the A82 is closed at Tyndrum for snow.
    Alternatives:
  • The day could be extended by taking in Stob Dearg.
  • The ridge known as the Drochaid Ghlas goes at similar grade to the north ridge of Ben Cruachan.
  • Start 

    Follow the A85 from Tyndrum towards Oban. About 2 miles west of Dalmally, take a minor road on your right signposted for Stronmilchan (ignore the first signpost to Stronmilchan). Park in a layby about 1/3 mile further on, just before a bridge.

    Grid Reference NN135287.

    Lairg Noe 

    On the other side of the bridge, walk through a gate and follow an estate track north towards the obvious road cut into the hillside beneath Beinn Eunaich. Follow this road until you get to the tunnel workings close to the Lairg Noe. Follow the posts to the high point of the pass.

    North ridge of Ben Cruachan 

    From the Lairg Noe, you can just make out the start of the north ridge, sandwiched between the mighty Drochaid Glas and Stob Dearg beyond. Descend WSW towards the very foot of the ridge (around NN083320).

    After about 150 m ascent, the ridge becomes more clearly defined and climbs steeply to a point where it meets a subsidiary ridge joining from the left (E). From here, continue over narrow but flatter ground before the final pull up to the main Cruachan ridge. Turn right (W) and reach the summit of Ben Cruachan after a few minutes of scrambling.

    Drochaid Ghlas 

    Turn round and head back along the ridge towards Drochaid Ghlas. Slightly beyound the point where you meet your ascent route, there is a tricky slab which is most easily overcome on the south (right hand) side. Continue on to Drochaid Ghlas.

    Stob Diamh 

    From the summit of Drochaid Ghlas, double-back about 100 m (distance) until you can safely continue east along the ridge to Stob Diamh.

    Stob Garbh 

    Follow the ridge south. A short descent and re-ascent takes you to the summit of Stob Garbh.

    Descent 

    Walk SSE over the broad summit ridge of Stob Garbh for about 300 m (distance) and then bear left to pick up the ridge descending ESE

    Return 

    The ridge brings you out at another large estate track which takes back to the road. Turn left and walk about 500m back to the car.

    © ScottishWinterRoutes.com 2007