The Pink Rib of Beinn a' Chrulaiste Walking

Overlooking Rannoch Moor at the entrance to Glen Coe, Beinn a' Chrulaiste offers more scenic bang for your buck than its tame appearance suggests, including arguably the most impressive angle on Buachaille Etive Mor. But there's more to this hill than its views. Seek out the Pink Rib - it's easier climbed than found - for a delightful scramble on the sunny south side of the hill. This brilliant little grade 1 route would be ideal for beginners, its only downside being that there isn't more of it. The south side of Beinn a' Chrulaiste is steep and rock-scattered, but from close quarters the possible lines are hard to spot. So much so, in fact, that I only climbed the correct route on my third ascent. By my second attempt I'd remembered to bring a guidebook, but even so... With a nagging sense of doubt I returned to the glen, and suddenly there it was, the Pink Rib. Obvious, when you know where to look.

Looking up Glen Coe from the Pink Rib of Beinn a' Chrulaiste  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
Looking up Glen Coe from the Pink Rib of Beinn a' Chrulaiste
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Detailed description

1
NN2373555353 Before leaving the road take time to pinpoint the Pink Rib. North-northeast from you is a deep gully cutting diagonally across the south face of Beinn a' Chrulaiste. From here scan right to the first clean, continuous line of rock, a prominent pink dyke immediately to the right of a small stream. This is it. Cross the road, climb a fence, and head over soggy ground to the West Highland Way. Cross this, climb the grassy west bank of the bouldery burn that emanates from the deep gully, and then follow the smaller stream up steep pathless heather to the lowest rocks of the Pink Rib.
The Pink Rib can be tricky to spot, depending on the angle and light conditions  © UKHillwalking.com
The Pink Rib can be tricky to spot, depending on the angle and light conditions
© UKHillwalking.com

2
NN2396655977 Pick your own line up the first scattered outcrops, moving rightwards on heather to avoid anything too steep. Scrappy rock and heather then lead up and left to the base of the continuous rib, right beside the little burn. Now simply follow your nose up the rib overlooking the burn on delightfully rough, slabby rock. It's grade 1 by the easiest line, and never feels too exposed. Above a prominent waterfall the rib begins to fade into the hillside and there are a few loose rocks to look out for. Sadly it's all over too soon.

3
NN2410256320 Once on the relatively featureless grassy ground of Beinn a' Chrulaiste's upper slopes bear northeast for the steady path-free ascent onto the broad summit. It's a bit of a plod, but the views back to The Buachaille are outstanding. The summit is marked with a trig point in a little circle of stones, and a nearby cairn.

4
NN2462056670 To complete a circuit of the mountain first follow a vague path southeast to pick up the mountain's eastern spur. This makes a scenic descent route, with the expanse of Rannoch Moor stretched out below. The ground soon steepens, becoming increasingly rough and rocky, and the trail fades in and out of view. As height is lost it's tempting to make a beeline for the Kings House Hotel far below, but the intervening ground is unpleasantly steep. Instead bear left, roughly east, into boggy Coire a' Bhalach. A very soggy path then follows the cascading Allt a' Bhalaich south to the roadside near the hotel.
Buachaille Etive Mor from the West Highland Way below Beinn a' Chrulaiste  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
Buachaille Etive Mor from the West Highland Way below Beinn a' Chrulaiste
© Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com, Apr 2014

5
NN2600354912 Follow the minor road west, then take a short stretch of the West Highland Way (signposted) along the base of Beinn a' Chrulaiste until you're back below the Pink Rib.

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