Winter Mountaineering Course - Scotland


ROCK CLIMBING - CUMBRIA (Lakes) (1 to 4 days),
SNOWDONIA (3 to 5 days)

NAVIGATION Courses - CUMBRIA (Lakes) (1 or 2 days)

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Tower Ridge (summer) - Ben Nevis

Tower Ridge - probably the best long scramble in the UK (Cuilin Ridge on Skye excluded) and a route that catches parties out every year resulting in an unplanned night out. It finishes near the summit of Ben Nevis and, if you want to add some "spice", can be started via the massive Douglas Boulder which takes the grade up from scramble 3 to climb D~VD. Always start very early.

I planned to climb this route whilst my son hurtled down the Mountain Biking downhill course nearby and just days before we left I got a call asking if I'd guide clients on this. Years ago when training for my Mountain Instructor Award I was told that you'd know if you were ready if you could instruct anywhere in the UK, even if you'd not been there before so, after researching the route and weather, I was happy to take clients there.

Sadly a last minute change saw me revert to plan A of soloing the route alone but during the walk in I met 2 experienced mountaineers planning to do the same route. I soloed up the Douglas Boulder (D~VD) as the other 2 climber roped-up below me. They weren't happy with the damp nature of the rock and so I dropped an end of the rope to help out and soon we were roped together.
This turned out to be very fortunate as their rope was a few metres too short for the abseil down the back of this tall 'Boulder'. After that we were on the long main ridge and everyone was happy to move unroped so I went ahead up the ridge. A superb day and I met some nice guy's.

The descent down to the Lochan and then on to the North face car park was wonderful and leg stretching - the new path is a great improvement.