Climbing Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis, standing at 1344 meters above sea level, is the highest point in the British Isles. It is estimated that 100 000 people reach the summit each year, the vast majority by the track from Glen Nevis. The North side of the mountain has the longest Rock climbs in the UK. Contact us if you would like us to guide your group up this magnificent mountain.
The summit can be snow-covered at nearly any point of the year. Any ascent when there is still snow cover may well require winter equipment and skills.
Mountain (or Pony) Track
Start point – Glen Nevis visitor centre PH33 6ST
Distance overall – 17km
Height gain – 1350m
Difficulty – Medium mountain walk
The route starts close to sea level and thus climbs the whole elevation of the highest point in the UK at 1344m. This is a straight forward path, well-marked and often so busy it is known by a number of names including The pony track, The mountain track, The zig zags and The tourist route. The initial section follows a steadily climbing path that climbs to a plateau and the rather optimistically named ‘half-way lochan’, Loch Meall an t-Suidhe. The path then climbs again, zig zagging up, as the terrain becomes rougher with boulders and scree slopes. Eventually the angle eases and the path straightens out with just 1 more kilometer to go to the top. The views from the summit on a good day can extend over the whole Highlands and out to the Western Isles.
Carn Mor Dearg (CMD) arête
Start point – North Face Car park, Torlundy PH33 6SW
Distance overall – 18km
Height gain – 1700m
Difficulty – Hard mountain walk, with some scrambling
This route is a long undertaking, but those who are fit and up for a challenge it is one of the great ways to climb Ben Nevis. The path works its way up through the forest before ascending the sometimes boggy flanks of Carn Mor Dearg. From the summit at 1223m there are impressive views over to the rock climbs on the North Face of Ben Nevis. The route then descends slightly to the dramatic ridge linking to Ben Nevis. This is the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. Sticking to the crest of the ridge involves some easy scrambling in an exhilarating position. The knife-edge ridge brings you across to the flanks of Ben Nevis, where boulder and scree slopes lead you up to the summit. The descent follows the Mountain Track down to the half-way lochan, and then branches off for a short pathless section to reach the Allt a'Mhuillin. Crossing this will bring you onto the good forest tracks returning to the car park.
An alternative start is at the Glen Nevis visitors centre, traversing over from the half-way lochan. Although longer at the beginning, this allows a more straightforward descent down the Mountain Track.