Buachaille Etive Mor is one of the most striking mountains in Scotland. Driving north along the A82 across Rannoch Moor, the highest peak of the mountain, Stob Dearg, suddenly comes into view, appearing as a massive, steep-sided cone. It is one of the most photographed views in the country, and for good reason. Despite its fearsome appearance from the moor below, walkers will be glad to know that there is an easy route of ascent that avoids all cliffs, via Coire na Tulaich.
Despite appearing as a solitary cone, the mountain is actually a long ridge of several summits. From NE to SW, these are: Stob Dearg (1022m), Stob na Doire (1011m), Stob Coire Altruim (941m), and Stob na Broige (956m). The traverse of all of these makes a good day out, without being unduly long.
Its great mass of cliffs made Buachaille Etive Mor one of the most important mountains in the development of mountaineering in Scotland. The first rock-climb on the north face was made in 1894 by Collie, Solly, and Collier, and it is now known as Collie's Climb. By 1896, Curved Ridge and Crowberry Ridge had been climbed.
Nowadays, Curved Ridge is the most popular scrambling route on the mountain. It should be noted that this is at the more serious end of scrambling, and a rope should be used. Other scrambles include the Lagangarbh Buttress, and the North Buttress.
The usual start point is from the A82 road on Rannoch Moor, This is the main road from the south to Fort William. The start point for the usual route is a car park near the Lagangarbh hut, a few miles beyond the Kingshouse Hotel. Scottish Citylink buses run along the road from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Fort William.
No red tape. Rescue service - dial 999 and ask for mountain resuce.
When To Climb
Most people will want to climb the Buachaille in the summer months, when it is straighforward by the usual route, although with some easy scrambling at the top of Coire na Tualich. Snow lies on this route well into May most years, so an ice axe is advisable until then. In the winter, the normal route will require an ice axe and crampons. The top of the Coire is very steep, and may become slightly corniced, so the mountain should not be attempted in winter except by experienced winter walkers.
Also bear in mind that the midges can be quite annoying from June-August!
There are campsites in Glen Coe, a NTS one and the Red Squirrel one on the minor road past the Clachaig Inn. There is also a Youth Hostel and bunkhouse on this road. Camping is also available at the Kingshouse Hotel.
Many people car camp (no facilities) in Glen Etive to the south of the mountain, but it gets very busy here in the summer, and is not recommended at these times.