Glen Coe and Ben Nevis Scrambling – Level 1

Fitness level
Tech level
Number of guiding days
3
Guiding ratio
1:2

Join us on a 3 day Glen Coe and Ben Nevis scrambling holiday and enjoy some of the finest mountain scrambles in Scotland. Ascents of Buachaille Etive Mor, the Aonach Eagach Ridge and North Face of Ben Nevis are on the agenda in this action packed mini break, that’s suitable to anyone with good levels of fitness and keen for an adventure!

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£495

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Trip overview

Join us on a 3 day Glen Coe and Ben Nevis scrambling holiday and enjoy some of the finest mountain scrambles in Scotland. Ascents of Buachaille Etive Mor, the Aonach Eagach Ridge and North Face of Ben Nevis are on the agenda in this action packed mini break, that’s suitable to anyone with good levels of fitness and keen for an adventure!

Dates and Availability

Dates are by arrangement, from April to October – please contact us with your preferred dates and we will confirm availability. You can join this trip as a ready made team of 2 along with a friend or partner. Or you can also join as a single person, in which case we will team you up with someone on the same dates to form a team of 2. The price of this trip is £495 per person.

NB If you are interested in a trip with a different duration, or to climb harder routes in rock climbing terrain, then please visit our Scottish rock climbing guide page.

Please visit our Covid-19 Climb Information page for Covid FAQs, details of our new participation requirements, travel advice and what to expect on your trip.

Download factsheet (PDF)

Trip Info

Three days of classic mountain scrambling around Ben Nevis and Glen Coe. The focus is on making ascents of high quality grade 2-3 scrambling routes on Munros and other peaks in Lochaber, so if there are particular summits that you’ve got your eye on, then please let us know!  The guide will protect all of the technical scrambling sections with a rope, employing the same techniques that we use on Alpine climbs.  Possible ascents include; Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor, Aonach Eagach traverse, Ledge Route/Castle Ridge/Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis etc.  If you dream of climbing in the Alps one day, then this is also a great starting point, as it’s a chance to learn some key skills from a highly experienced Alpine Guide.

Any items of specialist climbing equipment that you need are also included (eg helmet, harness etc).  Afterwards, we’ll send you plenty of great photos and video of your trip to share with family and friends.

  • Fully qualified IFMGA British Mountain Guide
  • Everyone welcome!
  • Equipment hire included
  • Photos and videos of your trip

The itinerary described below is a typical plan for the trip, but we regularly vary itineraries and objectives to suit your ambitions and the weather.


Suitability

This is an intro level 1 trip technically, but intermediate level in terms of fitness. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 2-3 and Tech Level 1 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines). A number of the days are 6-8 hours long, involving sections of steep mountain terrain; so you need good levels of hillwalking fitness and either some basic scrambling experience, or good confidence on rough terrain and a reasonable head for heights.


Guiding ratio

One IFMGA guide climbing with 2 clients.

ifmga british mountain guides

All our UK guides are fully qualified IFMGA guides and members of British Mountain Guides, the professional association for mountain guides in the UK – meet some of our  team here.  Only a small number of guides working in the UK are holders of the IFMGA guides carnet, which is the highest professional qualification in mountaineering.

In terms of added value, climbing with an IFMGA guide is a great option if you want to learn from someone with the widest possible range of experience, or you aspire to/are already obsessed with winter or Alpine climbing!  We climb and work worldwide on rock, ice, glaciers and ski – so we can offer training, advice and recommendations for all your future plans, whatever and wherever they may be.


Included in price

  • All guides fees and expenses
  • Local travel in guides vehicle to complete the itinerary
  • Use of communal technical equipment eg ropes and climbing hardware
  • Hire of personal equipment including harness, helmet, belay equipment

Excluded from price

  • Your travel to Lochaber
  • Your accommodation and food

Accommodation

You are responsible for organising your own accommodation within meeting range of Glen Coe and Ben Nevis – we are happy to make some recommendations to suit your budget. Top recommendations depending on budget:

  • Fort William and surrounding area for a huge range of hotels, B&B’s, hostels, bunk houses and self catering options.
  • Excellent campsites in Glen Nevis, Glen Coe and Loch Leven; check Google for reviews info.

We are happy to coordinate accommodation with the team and offer a pickup each morning, or if you prefer to travel in your own vehicle we can meet at the days’ venue.

Detailed Itinerary

Meet Up Point and Briefing

Your guide will liaise with you to arrange a meet up point on the first morning of the trip – this will either be in Fort William, or the venue for the first days’ climbing.  Here we will run through safety routines and kit checks, as well as hand out any rental equipment – before going on to discuss plans and the current weather and mountain conditions.

We’ll also have maps and guidebooks to show you, so if you’ve any further questions or last minute requests, then this is the ideal time to bring them up before we head out on the hill.


Scrambling and Mountaineering Days

Three days climbing classic grade 2-3 scrambling routes around Glen Coe and Ben Nevis.  Objectives are chosen to make best use of the current weather and enjoyable routes for the team.  Possible venues include:


Buachaille Etive Mor

Standing proud at the head of Glen Coe ‘the great shepherd’ is a brilliant and famous munro, covered in excellent scrambling and rock climbing routes.  Benefitting from a relatively short approach to long and interesting climbs, days on the Buachaille always have an excellent ratio of climbing to walking!

  • Curved Ridge – classic amongst classics, curved ridge is a brilliant grade 2/3 scramble through amazing scenery.
  • North Buttress – harder than curved ridge and a lot quieter, this is another good route for practicing alpine techniques.

Aonach Eagach

The Aonach Eagach traverse is one of the most famous grade 2 scrambles anywhere in the Uk and a long day out from end to end.  The main difficulties are concentrated in a 500m section, traversing over and around a series of rocky towers with great views down into Glen Coe and Loch Leven below.  The guide will protect all of the tricky sections with a rope and we’ll enjoy the walking on broader sections of the ridge.  As it’s a point to point traverse, splitting 2 cars makes logistics a bit easier, but it’s usually no problem hitching a lift back up the road to retrieve a car at the end of the day 🙂


Ben Nevis

Scotland’s highest mountain has a magnificent 500m high North Face, boasting long and committing climbs that can rival the Alps.  A series of great buttress and ridges dropping down from the summit plateau make for excellent mountaineering routes, with a mix of scrambling and climbing up the face.

  • Castle Ridge – fun, easier grade 1 scrambling with a short section of grade 2/3
  • Ledge Route – a long and excellent grade 1 scramble passing through fantastic scenery
  • Tower Ridge – this famous ridge is a graded rock climb, but doable with a strong team with some rock climbing experience.

Day 3 PM – roundup of the trip, feedback, advice for the future and farewells.

Location and Travel

The trip is based around Glen Coe and Fort William in Lochaber, so you need to arrange accommodation in the area, so that you can make daily meet ups and reach the various venues.


Travel

  • Road – Fort William can easily be reached by car in just over 2 hours from Glasgow.
  • Rail – Regular trains are available to Fort William.
  • Air – flights are available to Inverness or Glasgow, then hire car to Fort William.
  • Bus – Bus services are available from Glagow to Fort William and other destinations in the Highlands.

Fitness and Experience

To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 2-3, and Tech Level 1 (as appropriate for the style of climbing on this trip ie Alpine, rock climbing or ice climbing).

Fitness Level 2
You do 2-3 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you should be happy doing either a 3-4 hour hillwalk, cycling 30-40 miles or mountain biking 2-3 hours without being exhausted. Eg: you should be able to walk from Ogwen Cottage in North Wales up Glyder Fach – Glyder Fawr – Y Garn – Ogwen in ~5hrs. Or in the Lake District Langdale – Bowfell – Esk Pike – Angle Tarn – Langdale in ~ 6hrs.

Fitness Level 3
You do 3-4 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you are happy doing a 5-6 hour hillwalk, 50 mile cycle or 3-4hr mountain bike ride without being totally exhausted. If you are into challenges – then the thought of doing a road sportive, or training to do a 1/2 (or maybe even a full) marathon, wouldn’t seem too ridiculous. Eg: you should be able to do the full Langdale Horseshoe: Langdale – Pike of Stickle – Angle Tarn – Bow Fell – Crinkle Crags – Pike of Blisco – Langdale in a day without finishing up exhausted.


Tech Level 1
Hillwalker/scrambler. You have UK hillwalking and perhaps summer UK scrambling, or European via ferrata experience – but no rock or ice climbing, or previous alpine mountaineering experience.

To view all climbing Technical and Fitness Levels, and for advice on trip preparation and training, please visit our training advice page.

Equipment

UK Scrambling Kit List

Above all, your kit needs to do the job but be as light as possible. Lightweight breathable fabrics are ideal for waterproofs, which are carried as often as worn (hopefully!).

Technical Clothing

  • Waterproof jacket – lightweight breathable model
  • Overtrousers – with side zips
  • Socks – warm pair, plus lighter pair and spares
  • Thermal tops/t-shirts – made of synthetic materiel (ie not cotton!)
  • Softshell jacket – or equivalent light insulating layer
  • Mountain trousers – light/mid-weight trekking or climbing trousers (leggings are Ok in good weather)
  • Thin gloves – windproof ‘hardfleece’ model is good
  • Hat or Buff – must fit under a helmet
  • Spare warm layer – fleece or lightweight synthetic jacket

Personal Items

  • Water Container – at least 1 litre
  • Headtorch
  • Map, compass, whistle (optional, but a good idea)
  • Personal medications and blister kit – zinc oxide tape, compeed, ibuprofen etc
  • Sun Glasses
  • Sun cream
  • Sun hat
  • Shorts and t-shirt

Technical Equipment

  • Rucsac 30/40l is perfect for general use
  • *Approach shoes or mountain boots – see notes below
  • Climbing Harness – with locking karabiner and belay device
  • 120cm sling and locking karabiner
  • Climbing helmet

Other Equipment

Depending on the trip, these may be ‘nice to have’ or ‘required’ items – see individual joining instructions.

  • Trekking poles
  • Camping gear if you choose to camp in the valley

Your guide will have ropes, climbing safety equipment, first aid and survival equipment.

*Footwear for scrambling is an important consideration – trekking shoes or walking boots are fine for easier scrambles and whilst you are getting into the sport, but a pair of climbing approach shoes (especially ones with ‘sticky rubber’) or reasonably stiff 3/4 season B2 mountaineering boots will perform much better on rockier sections and trickier terrain. Footwear specifically designed for scrambling, or for via ferratas are also a good option. If you are thinking of investing in a pair of boots with a view to getting into mountaineering, then read our axe, boot and crampon advice article and get some expert advice (we can highly recommend Backcountry Uk, who are one of the country’s leading boots fitters and always offer friendly advice and a high level of service).


Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website or our blog for equipment advice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!

Purchasing Equipment
Backcountry UK in Otley offer an excellent mountain boot fitting service and general equipment advice.

Hiring Equipment
It’s best to have your own rock climbing shoes so you can get a proper fit, but if you need to hire some please get in touch. Other safety equipment can also be hired from us (subject to availability) – please see our Equipment Hire page for details.


Insurance

For UK residents – we strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury.

For non UK residents – search and rescue is currently free in the UK, but you may be charged by the NHS for certain treatments, and you should also consider the need for emergency repatriation in the event of a serious illness/accident. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury.

Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.

Please find further details on our insurance info page.

Book Now

£495