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Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)


Postby Cairngorm creeper » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:37 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope

Date walked: 07/06/2016

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 12.8 km

Ascent: 1120m

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The route up the North Face of Ben Hope gave us a wonderful day out with great scenery on route, excitement on the bad step and pure pleasure on the narrow ridge to the summit.
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The route

We started out from the main Ben Hope carpark at 9:15, in glorious sunshine and followed the main path running alongside the waterfall.
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The start of the path. Ben Hope ahead
When the Allt a Mhuiseil bore north we left the path and continued to follow it along the glen below the steep craggy western face of the mountain.
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Walking under the western face of Ben Hope
I suspect this part of the route would be very boggy in normal conditions but today it is very dry, a faint path comes and goes, there are a few red deer around and we can hear the eerie sound of stags calling (somewhat out of season) from the crags. We passed Duibh Loch na Beinne, and continued around to the northern end of Ben Hope, even the weight of our much reduced, scrambling rack and gear, was heavy enough to notice in the heat.
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The North Ridge comes into view
Luckily there was a burn flowing from the lochan at the base of the ridge so we wouldn't have to go out of our way to fill up the water bottles.
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12:15 base of the Ridge
The first section of the ridge was broad with easy scrambling, sometimes on good rock but also a lot of steep grass and loose rock to negotiate.
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Steep grass then nice rock
There were a surprising number of wild flowers growing amongst the rock and the views, were stunning.
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Loch na Seilg to the north east
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Loch Hope and out across a misty sea.

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1:30 the plateau before the bad step.
Time to stop, have lunch and appraise our options.
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Posing on the edge of the west face.

The bad step up the nose was steep, very exposed and looked unprotectable so we traversed about 5m round onto the west face where we identified a route up ledges (about grade three) still very exposed :roll: but protectable with the rope :D
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A cry of awesome views resounded from the belay
With route finding and ropework it took us about an hour and half to tackle the bad step. The bypass gully would have been much quicker but we rarely let the consideration of speed interfere with our enjoyment :lol:
We had topped out at the start of the short narrow ridge leading up to the summit
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Ridge to the summit
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With some more easy but delightful scrambling
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16:30 on Ben Hope summit
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Summit views to the east.
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Along the ridge to the north west
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Very ready for a brew
17:06 we started our descent following the edge of the east face.
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Stony edge of the east face. Ben Loyal in the distance
Then turned south east just before the small rise to Sail Romascaig and down grassy slopes down to a burn.
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We stopped for a drink and some noodles.
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Shortly after this we picked up an old eroded path which wove its way down steep grass.
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Eventually rejoining the main path alongside the waterfall.
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And back to the road
19:40 and we were back at the car.
Ben Hope had exceeded all our expectations and given us one of our best mountain days.
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Cairngorm creeper
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby Guinessman » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:17 pm

Good route, the face looks steep from above. Thanks for posting
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby past my sell by date » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:35 pm

Yes - the bad step is much more awkward, difficult to protect and ( paricularly) exposed than guidebooks suggest. We gave up on it eventually. I was more or less up but my companions revolted :lol:
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:19 pm

Guinessman wrote:Good route, the face looks steep from above. Thanks for posting

Thank you, we found rock steps and grass ledges that probabley made it a bit easier than it looked, but then we were on a rope :lol:

past my sell by date wrote:Yes - the bad step is much more awkward, difficult to protect and ( paricularly) exposed than guidebooks suggest. We gave up on it eventually. I was more or less up but my companions revolted :lol:

It is good to have our thoughts about the bad step confirmed. I sympathise with your companions but I bet down climbing it was interesting :roll:
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:03 pm

Brilliant - enjoyed the read and the photos - but this is a route I wont be following, my plans for Ben Hope are incompatible with rope work :lol: :lol: Pity - it looks stunning.
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:01 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Brilliant - enjoyed the read and the photos - but this is a route I wont be following, my plans for Ben Hope are incompatible with rope work :lol: :lol: Pity - it looks stunning.

Thank you Huff_n_Puff, it is a route with excellent views on a clear day if you don't mind the easy scrambling and the gully, which avoids the bad step, does not involve much of a diversion although I couldn't say what it's like.
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby ancancha » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:55 pm

That looked fabulous 8)
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby Emmanuelle » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:53 am

Great account. My plan is to keep Ben Hope as my last Munro so I might avoid Bad Step!!!
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby malky_c » Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:05 pm

Looks like a fine day out and also some useful information :D .

We went up round that side but backed off the route up the nose as it looked way harder than I was expecting :shock: . Ended up using the bypass gully. However I didn't realise that there was an easier route further round onto the west face. Might still be too hard but something else to have a look at anyway. Cheers 8)
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:18 pm

ancancha wrote:That looked fabulous 8)

Thank you, it was.
Emmanuelle wrote:Great account. My plan is to keep Ben Hope as my last Munro so I might avoid Bad Step!!!

Thank you. Hope you have a good day for it, not too many more to go :D

malky_c wrote:Looks like a fine day out and also some useful information :D .

We went up round that side but backed off the route up the nose as it looked way harder than I was expecting :shock: . Ended up using the bypass gully. However I didn't realise that there was an easier route further round onto the west face. Might still be too hard but something else to have a look at anyway. Cheers 8)

The bulge at the start of the bad step looked very formidable, with the cliffs beneath it :crazy: and nowhere to place any protection :(
We choose the route we did because we could protect it with the rope, the climbing was probabley easier although it was still very exposed, more vegetated, and with some loose rock, if you do take a look I would be interested to know what you think.
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby rockhopper » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:49 pm

That looked a good route esp on such a nice day - so much more interesting than the usual out and back - cheers :)
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby Jaxter » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:17 pm

That looks like an awesome route - interesting seeing the views without the white coat that covered everything when I was there too. Smashing photies :D
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby dav2930 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:35 pm

Looks a brilliant and challenging way up Ben Hope - nice going :clap:
I knew nothing of this route until reading your report. It's good to learn of such an interesting alternative to the usual way up :D
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby Walk cycle » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:38 pm

Looks fantastic - enjoyed your report. I am heading North this week and Ben Hope ( but not your more challenging route) is on my itinerary.
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Re: Ben Hope via North Ridge (Or Hope on a Rope)

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:49 pm

rockhopper wrote:That looked a good route esp on such a nice day - so much more interesting than the usual out and back - cheers :)

Thank you Rock Hopper, we enjoyed it, let's hope we get some more of that sunshine back soon.
Jaxter wrote:That looks like an awesome route - interesting seeing the views without the white coat that covered everything when I was there too. Smashing photies :D

Thank you Jaxter, we took a little longer than you to get there :lol: I was expecting quite a barren hill and it was surprisingly lush although I think the snow makes everything far more majestic.
dav2930 wrote:Looks a brilliant and challenging way up Ben Hope - nice going :clap:
I knew nothing of this route until reading your report. It's good to learn of such an interesting alternative to the usual way up :D

Thank you, finding our way around the bad step was certainly a challenging adventure :crazy: but really worthwhile if you like that sort of thing.
Walk cycle wrote:Looks fantastic - enjoyed your report. I am heading North this week and Ben Hope ( but not your more challenging route) is on my itinerary.

Thank you, I hope you get some nice days for your trip, There are some great views which ever way you go.
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