Scottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UKScottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UK
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East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn.
East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn Map Photos
This is a pleasingly long and enjoyable ridge and is less well travelled than the nearby crags of Creag Meagaidh.
Area: Central Highlands
Grade: Winter I   what does that mean?
Total Distance: 13 km
Total Ascent: 835 m
Time: 5½ hours
  • Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50,000 Sheet 34
  • Ordnance Survey Explorer 401 1:25,000
  • Avalanche hazard: A fairly safe route.
    Avalanche Forecast area: Creag Meagaidh   more
    Gear: Take a 25-metre rope, a selection of nuts and some slings.
    Alternatives: You could combine this route with an ascent of Creag Meagaidh. Continue upwards from the Bealach a Bharnish to Creag Meagaidh and descend its south ridge (follow the stone wall).

    The route lies along the A86 between Spean Bridge and Laggan. Park in a small layby about 30 m east of where the A86 crossed the Allt na h-Uamha. There is a waterfall clearly visible by the roadside at this point.

    Grid Reference NN400818.


    Follow a small path on the right (west) bank of the Allt na h-Uamha that takes you through a plantation. The path does its best to weave through the trees but the first few hundred metres (distance) are pretty desperate and you have to force your way through the trees. After this initial section, head back to the burn as the land alongside the bank is largely free of forestation.

    Follow a the burn (small path) until you reach the end of the plantation (NN402828). Turn left and follow the plantation edge (fence) until you reach a forestry road after 200 m.

    Follow the road through another plantation until you clear the trees (NN399850). Turn left and follow the plantation edge to the end and continue east across rising moorland to the foot of the East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn.

    East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn 

    Ascend the foot of the ridge to reach a flatter section which then leads to a steep section. Work your way up the steep section via a series of small gullies finishing up with a short but delicate rock step (crux). Above this, stick as close to the crest of the ridge as you can, finally reaching the slopes directly below the summit of Beinn a Chaorainn.

    Escape Route!
    Once on the ridge, there are no easy escape routes. A quick escape can be made from the summit by descending the northeast ridge, which descends from the south summit (Point 1049). However, caution is required on account of the incut gully south of the main summit which is not terribly obvious on the map and is a known accident blackspot.

    Beinn a Chaorainn 

    From the summit, head right (north) to the subsidiary summit Point 1044, taking care to avoid the in-cut gully. From Point 1044, continue north and follow the ridge that descends to the Bealach a Bharnish. From here gentle slopes lead into Coire na h-Uamha.


    Stay on the right (west) bank of the burn and return to the point where you exited the second plantation. There are landrover tracks that will lead you pack to this point, if they are not covered by snow. Return via the approach route to the car.

    © 2007