Tower Ridge (summer ascent)

Page Type
GlenCoe, Scotland, Europe
Route Type:
Scramble/Rock climb
Time Required:
Most of a day
Difficult UK grade rock climb

Route Quality: 15 Votes

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Tower Ridge (summer ascent)
Created On: Jul 21, 2003
Last Edited On: Jul 21, 2003


From the North Face car park, Torlundy, A82, near Fort William.

Route Description

Make your way from the car park via a path through wooded ground, then moorland, along the side of the Allt a' Mhuilin river. After about two hours of walking you should reach a climbers hut at the foot of Ben Nevis (CIC hut). From here the Douglas Boulder can be seen to the south (confirm with a map). This marks the true beginning of Tower Ridge. In the interest of time It is better to gain the ridge just past the Douglas Boulder. Routes onto the ridge can be found on either side of the ridge. Once on the crest of Tower ridge the exposure is striking, even on the lower sections. The best route to take should be obvious in good visibility: follow the rocks with the most scratch marks from crampons. It is probably best to climb constantly roped to your climbing partner and set up quick belays when required. This can often be done on Tower Ridge by looping the rope around rocks to create friction rather than by placing gear. The little tower is merely a steeper section of the ridge and poses no significant difficulty. Keep climbing until you reach the Great Tower. This is unmistakable because it is an almost vertical rock face and markedly more difficult than what you have been doing up until now. At this point there is an almost level path, approximately one metre wide, to the east of the Tower. This ledge is known as the Eastern Traverse, and allows you to climb the Great Tower at an easier section further on. A belay may be reassuring while crossing the Eastern Traverse if you dislike severe exposure since the drop to your left is immense, although it has the technical difficulty of a pavement. After this the route carries on through a tunnel created by a fallen slab of rock. You emerge from this to find a steep section of Moderate/Diff rock climbing (about 70-80 degrees) on your right which leads to the top of the Great Tower. It is advisable to set up a belay for this ascent. Once on the crest of the ridge again walk a few metres further on and you will see the last remaining challenge: Tower Gap. Progress to the edge of the gap, where a belay must be set up since there are major drops on either side of the gap. An eight-foot sling can give good protection here; loop it around the vertical slab that makes up the near side of the gap. The climb out of the far side of the gap shouldn't pose any difficulty. There remains only a short scramble to the summit of Ben Nevis.

Essential Gear

50 metre full rope. Several slings including an 8 foot sling. Technical friends e.g. 2, 3, 4 if you have them. 6 quick draws. A few hexes/rockcentrics. Nuts might be useful but not essential.

Miscellaneous Info

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Tower Ridge (summer ascent)

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