Ben Nevis – or Beinn Nibheis is the highest mountain in Scotland (tallest of the Munros, and the UK’s highest peak) and at 1345 metres high it towers over it’s English and Welsh equivalents. It’s part of the National 3 Peaks along with Scafell Pike and Snowdon. Visit the FAQ on Walk up Ben Nevis for more Ben Nevis Facts.
As befits such an illustrious mountain, there are a number of approaches to this summit from straightforward (not easy!) hill walks to pathless ascents, scrambles and climbing. Many sources stick to the tried and tested – there’s two routes to the top of Ben Nevis, but that’s really underselling this marvellous mountain!
The Mountain Track up Ben Nevis.
The Mountain Track used to be called the Tourist Path, but renamed as it made the route sound too easy. It starts not far from sea level, so you’re looking at climbing 1300m or so over around 9km one way – making it a tough mountain outing. Not only is it a slog, but you’ll need to be fully aware of how to get off the summit in mist as the wrong bearing takes you over the North Face!
The Carn Mor Dearg Arete and Ben Nevis
Also known as the CMD, this is one of the best days out in the UK mountains. It’s a grade 1 scramble, and a straightforward one at that. The ridge is on a huge scale, and doesn’t feel exposed as you would on a scramble such as Crib Goch. Having said that, it’s on a much larger scale and needs to be tackled after a relentless slog up to the ridge that’s not far off 1200m of pure calf-destroying hell.
The CMD East Ridge offers an alternative route – starting from the Steall Falls car park at the end of Glen Nevis. The walk takes you further up Glen Nevis, towards the Steall Falls and before ascending the pathless Coire Giubhsachan and onwards to the quiet CMD East Ridge.
Ben Nevis via the Ledge Route
This is yet another scramble, this time climbing Ben Nevis via the Ledge Route on the North Face and up to Carn Dearg (1221) and along to the summit. The route starts from the CIC Hut and so can be started proper from either Glen Nevis or the North Face Car Park. The route needs to be treated with respect and can have patches of snow into the summer months, but these tend to be easily spotted from below before you set off.
Ben Nevis from Steall Falls
For those who want something different, you can always ascend Ben Nevis from the south. The direct route from this side is up Carn Dearg (not to be confused with the one to the north!) and make no mistake, is steep! At only 4.4km in length, you’ll ascend a mammoth 1200m over difficult terrain. You’ll be avoiding the crowds, that’s for certain! You can then descend via the southern blunt ridge down towards Bealach Cumhann – with a lot of navigation and care! One for the experienced route finders only!
We’ve also created our own website dedicated to Walking up Ben Nevis.Tags: Hillwalking