/ Scottish winter ridges

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Ann S 14 Dec 2019

If you had to recommend only one Scottish mainland winter ridge, which would it be.  Exclude the following which I have already done. Tower ridge, Aonach Eagach, Curved and Fiacail. 

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In reply to Ann S:

Not done either but the Forcan ridge and the CMD arete would both be on my list. Traverse of something in Torridon too but I can't remember the name off the top of my head. 

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In reply to Ann S:

Another vauge and nameless recommendation but I remember doing something not that far from aviemore that involved a cycle to a condemned bothy then a brilliant grade I ridge up then hang a left at the summit and come down a shorter ridge. I'm sure someone local to the area could fill in the details.

Edit. It's Ben Alder I'm thinking of and the obvious ridge on Geal-Charn - Sgor Iutharn looked really good too. 

Post edited at 20:40
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rogerwebb 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

An Teallach

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Myfyr Tomos 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

An Teallach. 

Ha. Beaten to it!

Post edited at 20:40
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In reply to rogerwebb:

That's the one! 

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Ann S 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Somerset swede basher:

Yes, I've got provisional plans for the Torridonian routes. I'm trying to flush out whether there's a strong vote for one particular 'must do' route, if my time is very limited. I forgot about CMD which I did do years ago on my first winter course. Cheers.

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Myfyr Tomos 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

Liathach traverse E to W would certainly be up there. 

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Joak 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

Flicking through some old climbing mags in the hut I was staying in last weekend there was a cracking article ref a winter traverse on Beinn Bhan's A' Chioch Ridge. I haven't done it yet, something I would like to remedy sometime soon after reading that article. It looked very, very nice.  

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jethro kiernan 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

Cuillin ridge

Am Teallach

Forcan

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Ann S 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Joak:

yes I've just become aware of that one after a bit of YouTubing and realised its shown on the cover of my edition of Martin Moran's book, Scotland's Winter mountains. It's defo going on my list as well.

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In reply to Ann S:

There's quite a difference between Fiacaill Ridge and Tower Ridge, so it depends what sort of thing you're after. Looking at the mountaineering end of things rather than harder stuff,  these are all brilliant days out (not an exhaustive list) - 

CMD arete I:

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/destinations/classic_winter_-_ben_nevis_via_the_cmd_arete-12415

An Teallach traverse II:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/destinations/an_teallach_in_winter-7111

Forcan Ridge II

Liathach traverse II

Beinn Alligin via the Horns I

Black Carls on Beinn Eighe I

Ledge Route on The Ben I/II: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/destinations/the_big_routes_lochaber_traverse-8313

Lancet Edge, Sgurr Iutharn I

Long Leachas and Short Leachas, Ben Alder I

Sron na Lairig, especially with a return along Beinn Fhada II

Beinn a' Bheithir via either Dragon's Tooth I/II (it also has a proper Gaelic name) or Schoolhouse Ridge I

Golden Oldie (II) or one of the other ribs on W face of Aonach Mor

NE Ridge Sgor an Lochan Uaine (Angel's Peak) I

N ridge Aonach Air Chrith I

S.Ridge Mullach Fraoch Choire I 

Cobbler traverse III

A'Chioch ridge Beinn Bhan II

East ridge of north peak, Stob Ban (Mamores) II/III ... which you could combine with the Devil's Ridge for a big day out

Ring of Steall (inc Devil's Ridge) I

...NE Ridge of Aonach beag looks amazing too but I've not done it in winter - possibly a bit undergraded at III on the cruxy bit though mostly easier

There are a few ideas in this old article:

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/destinations/grade_i_winter_12_must-do_routes-8078

and some slightly harder stuff here (the layout has gone funny - I'll try to sort that next week):

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/features/scottish_winter_ten_must-do_routes_at_ii_and_iii-5947

Post edited at 21:30
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Mike-W-99 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

I'm sure I saw a really good book which inspired us to many of these in our formative winter climbing years. Any ideas?

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Myfyr Tomos 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Often wondered what the East Ridge of Carn Dearg Meadhonach is like.  Looks short but quite a nice line.

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Ann S 14 Dec 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

I'm starting to read up as much as I can about the winter Cuillin as a long term goal.

Looking like AT is the must do route for the mainland. Cheers.

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subtle 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

> Liathach traverse E to W would certainly be up there. 

Liathach pinnacles are superb, best ridge by far - up Terminal Buttress and back along the pinnacles for a great, but long, day

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Ann S 14 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Thank you Dan for taking so much trouble with this list. It is indeed more the mountaineering end I had in mind, as I'm trying to revive my love affair with Scottish winter after a few years lay off, but currently have limited chances to get out. I'm going to use your list as a basis on which to start a re-entry programme. Cheers.

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Ann S 14 Dec 2019
In reply to subtle: 

I did Liathach summer route back in the 80s and it might have been May. Without axe or poons we accessed the ridge up an old snow slope with bare hands using large bucket steps. That was the first and only time I ever had the hot aches and well remember sticking my hands under my armpits and apologising to my companion for the torrent of rude words I was about to unleash. 

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jethro kiernan 15 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

I’m going up to Skye end of January but AT is definitely on the cards as soon as the weather looks good 😀

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jethro kiernan 15 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Cheers for the list Dan, do you know of any good books that cover Scottish ridges? 😉

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Billhook 15 Dec 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

Lovely book -!!  ;-)

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Ann S 15 Dec 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

Dan's too modest. I found his Cicerone book while googling last night.  It's winging its way to me as I write. 😄

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Ann S 15 Dec 2019
In reply to Mike-W-99:

This post was a bit too subtle for me but penny's dropped. Cheers.😊

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steveb2006 15 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

As well as all the above, the traverse of A'Chioch on Beinn Bhan, Applecross, looks really good. Not done it but been up in the vicinity.  Close to the Torridon options too.

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Myfyr Tomos 15 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

Another useful book with lots of ridge routes is "Scotland's Winter Mountains With One Axe" by Garry Smith.

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scoth 15 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

Ben More Assynt and Conival via the south ridge. It doesn’t appear to be in any guide books, but as good as Scotland mountain ridges go. Here is a wee vid I made a couple of weeks ago https://vimeo.com/377853446?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vimeo-cliptranscode-201504&utm_campaign=29220

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Ann S 15 Dec 2019
In reply to scoth:

thanks Scott. I enjoyed that. Quite a spicy little section in there.

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Ann S 15 Dec 2019
In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

Cheers. That's another one I'll be checking out. Lots of reading going to be done over Christmas. Just watch it turn out to be a lousy winter now that I've got my mojo back.

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Ann S 15 Dec 2019
In reply to steveb2006:

thats defo on the list now, cheers.

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Ann S 15 Dec 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

do you plan on a winter traverse of the Cuillin. If so, lots of piccies please.😊

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Jim Fraser 15 Dec 2019
Tom Last 15 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

Having done Brown’s Ridge this summer gone, I’d say that Ben Hope must be absolutely fantastic in winter, though I imagine most if not all of the routes there are quite the undertaking in winter - but honestly, what a place!

Ben Hope

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Ann S 15 Dec 2019
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Thanks Jim. Interesting.....

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jethro kiernan 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

I don’t think I’ll be doing the full traverse (unless the weather gods really make it an opportunity not to miss ), I’ll be doing a few of the Cuillin rounds as a recon and a stop off for the Forcan ridge on the way up or down, camera will definitely be in attendance 😁

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pasbury 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Bloody good list, thanks.

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In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

Yeah, it's fairly short but a good line and adds a whole extra ridge to your day if you're using ti to access the CMD arete

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In reply to Mike-W-99:

> I'm sure I saw a really good book which inspired us to many of these in our formative winter climbing years. Any ideas?

Thanks Mike!

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In reply to Ann S:

> I'm going to use your list as a basis on which to start a re-entry programme...

Great idea Ann!

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In reply to scoth:

> Ben More Assynt and Conival via the south ridge. It doesn’t appear to be in any guide books...

Yes, Conival SE ridge is surprisingly impressive, and you can combine it with a descent of the S ridge of Ben More Assynt for a longer grade I / II sort of day.

I didn't cover it in the Scotland's Mountain Ridges book but did a summer description of the round in another of my Cicerone books, Great Mountain Days in Scotland https://www.cicerone.co.uk/great-mountain-days-in-scotland  

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ScraggyGoat 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

If we are adding ill-frequented Far North West offerings for remote solitude, grand vista's and classic mountaineering ground far from the honey pots. Both escaping the 'guided' ground prevalent in 'Scottish Mountains With One Axe' and the oft covered ridges of other guide books, try the following, one long, one punchy and short, both far from the road:

Mainland only (as per the original request):

North ridge of Creag an Duine from Loch Choire Mhoir

Sgurr Dubh E ridge (of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair)

Sadly not on the same scale as AT, or Liatach

Post edited at 11:30
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In reply to ScraggyGoat:

Creag an Duine is a good call. I've not done it in winter, but sure it'd be spectacular. Not had a chance to look at Sgurr Dubh E Ridge yet in either season.

So many ridges, so little time 

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ScraggyGoat 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Sgurr Dubh is good as part of a day, rather than being a day in itself, if that makes sense.

Though if short of time on your next foray North, you should do the NE ridge of Anoach Beg.  A grand day, the approach via Glen Nevis adds the spice of time pressure, and with the likelihood of no foot-prints its a world away from Tower Ridge (and other trodden classics for that matter), providing an exploratory feel particularly if you dispense with the guidebook, giving the element of doubt and uncertainty to your route finding choices. Cunning outflanking traverses, accompanied by locally wild exposure, some run-outs and a feeling that the games not played out right up until you pull on to the shoulder made it one of my best days out. All followed by the final mauve tinge of the setting sun from the summit framing the Ben and a descent into the inky blackness of the unlit glen with no cultural lighting.

Post edited at 12:24
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Iain Thow 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Tom Last:

Brown's Ridge is brilliant in winter, better than in summer as it's got lots of lovely turfy bits, and as you say, quite a place. RIP Andy & Steve.

To the OP. Lots of great suggestions above but having done all the routes mentioned so far (though a few only in summer) the Liathach traverse tops all of them for me, especially if you do the Northern Pinnacles first. Wonderful day out. Forcan Ridge would be second.

A couple of others not mentioned yet are the south ridge of Conamheall in the Deargs, only Grade I but in a brilliant situation, and the N Buttress of Stob Coire Dhorcaill on Ladhar Bheinn (crap summer scramble but loads of turf in winter, easy II). Or if you want really remote, the ENE Ridge of Ben Aden is good, fun, lots of  Grade II problems in a great wild place. And I'm still jealous of a mate getting a winter traverse of Suilven, which would obviously be fantastic if you're there at the right time.

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ScraggyGoat 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Iain Thow:

Agree Laithach is the next obvious choice.

Stob Choire Dhorcaill, do you mean Stob a Chearcaill, or the promontory that splits the Coire into two about 700m NW of Chearcaill?  ~ I'm thinking of a another winter Knoydart foray this year.

I heard of someone that did the full Suilven Traverse W-E by moonlight, and had their feet back under the work desk the next/same day..............what style.

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Rob Parsons 16 Dec 2019
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> I heard of someone that did the full Suilven Traverse W-E by moonlight ...

What do you mean by the full traverse? Do you mean directly up the west nose from the ground-up? If so, what are the climbing grades involved?

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ScraggyGoat 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Correct including the nose, from memory of the guide I think there is a grotty (summer) gully that goes at about II/III ? in winter. I haven't done it, or even gone for a recce, so can't advise further.  Summer, there is a cleaner rock route at about HS, again I haven't done it.

Being a mere mortal I wouldn't be able cover the rough approach, gully, & traverse quick enough to keep up with the moon, let alone beat the clock back to work.

Post edited at 14:02
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In reply to Iain Thow:

A winter Suilven would be amazing... And as we're talking hen's teeth then let's add the Rum Cuillin traverse. That's got to be up there with the best of them, and I'm willing to bet it rarely gets done in full on-winter conditions. In deep untracked snow I imagine it'd feel as close to an expedition as you can get in Scotland

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ScraggyGoat 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

The Bacardi traverse, ah we can dream.......and for good measure the crossings would have to be by sea kayak.

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fmck 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

Achir ridge on the Isle of Arran. III. South to North direction. It doesn't rely on frozen turf more a coating of snow which it has at present.

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Ann S 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

And better still I've bought your book. Doh!!

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Ann S 16 Dec 2019
In reply to fmck:

Never been to Arran. I think you've just given me a good reason to put it on the list. Cheers.

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Ann S 16 Dec 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

good luck for your trip. ❄️

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Iain Thow 16 Dec 2019
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

The promontory that splits the corrie (actually called Stob Dhorcaill, just looked, sorry for the confusion). Noel put it into Scrambles in Lochaber but it's mostly grass in summer so figured it might be fun in winter, and it was. Did it with "Deleted Bagger" of this parish, possibly his first winter climb. Just one tricky bit, which was just above a large pit of soft snow so non serious. The exposed bits were easy, with lots of well frozen turf.

Winter moonlight on Suilven, wow!

Post edited at 16:08
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Iain Thow 16 Dec 2019
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

Yes, they did the grassy gully right of the main western nose, given Grade II in the SMC guide, then the rest of the ridge.

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Iain Thow 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Yes, the Rum Cuillin would be fantastic in proper winter conditions. I've done Askival and Hallival in semi-winter, but the rock was mostly snow free. Sopping wet actually, remember the Pinnacle Slab feeling quite hard.

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subtle 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

> Never been to Arran. I think you've just given me a good reason to put it on the list. Cheers.

You do know that Arran is not on the Scottish mainland as per your question?

Its a cracking place to go though in winter, off the ferry, on to the bus to Sannox, up cioch na h oighe, along the tops to Goatfell, back down the tourist path to Brodick and ferry home - a fine scramble on a winter (or summers) day

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Ann S 16 Dec 2019
In reply to subtle:

ha ha.  yes indeed but I've got a bit carried away now like a kid in a sweet shop. 

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Ann S 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Ann S:

Many thanks to everyone who took the trouble to post replies and I hope the info might have been of use to others. Here's to ridges without midges. Cheers.

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Jmacquarrie 16 Dec 2019
In reply to fmck:

Would you take the down climb on the bad step under winter conditions or take the abseil a few yards further on instead? Only ever done it in summer conditions.

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fmck 16 Dec 2019
In reply to Jmacquarrie:

I only did it North to South in the early 80s. This turned out to be a big mistake as we lost a lot of time getting out the gap. Far easier and quicker to abb coming in the other direction. 

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