Tower Ridge Scramble – Ben Nevis

This is what we would describe as an alpine mountain route due its length and exposure. Its a big day in the mountains, along a classic scramble on the UKs highest peak.

This is a route description of it if you want to go and attempt it yourself. However, if you want to me to take you up this classic route then just get in touch with me on 07534 387152.

Set off car park (NN144764) 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 infamous Douglas Boulder can be seen to the south. This marks the true beginning of Tower Ridge.

Routes onto the ridge can be found on either side of the Douglas Boulder and all lead onto the ridge via various levels of difficulty. Once on the actual Tower ridge the exposure can be overwhelming, 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 cave 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 ridge again walk a few metres further on and you will see the last remaining challenge: Tower Gap. Make your way cautiously 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 rope 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.

If you want to join me on this route get in touch on 07534 387152 or check out the link here;

Tower Ridge from the summit of Ben Nevis
Tower Ridge from the summit of Ben Nevis

Published by Diving & Mountaineering Instructor

I am a passionate adventurer, loving being in the mountains walking, climbing, scrambling as much as I love being under the water exploring shipwrecks, mines and caverns, or in search of treasure in the depths. I am a Mountain Instructor (MIA), a Winter Mountain Leader, a Scuba Diving Instructor (BSAC, TDI, SDI, IANTD), a skipper for CAT3 waters up to 25mtr and as I’ve built this experience over time, I have written about it and published those works. In addition I am a Chartered Manager with CILT, a member of the institute of Engineering & Technology, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. I help people fulfill their goals in the Mountains (Worldwide), Scuba Diving (Worldwide), provide location support worldwide for the media and assist with technical and safety support whenever requested. For a full picture of me please check out my linkedin profile -

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