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Beginners scrambling route

Beginners scrambling route


Postby SpamFritter » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:01 pm

Hi all,
I am a reasonably competent summer hillwalker (with a bit of winter experience) but have generally stuck to straightforward hill routes. I am looking to branch out into scrambling and would like to test myself out in terms of learning how much exposure I am comfortable with and just get to grips with the basics.

Can anyone recommend some very easy summer scrambling routes (Grade 1) that I could test myself on? I was possibly thinking Arran, Goatfell/North Goatfell Stacach ridge or maybe Cioch na h-Oighe (although this does look a bit exposed! :shock: ). Someone I know suggested Ben Nevis via CMD arete - which could be good although it looks like a very long tiring day.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Beginners scrambling route

Postby jmarkb » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:14 pm

The Arran ones would be a good choice Cioch na-Oighe is not as bad as it looks in photos! May sure you pick a properly dry day, though: Arran granite can be distressingly greasy and lacking in positive holds.

On the mainland, you could try:

Stuc a'Chroin, north-east buttress
Stob Gabhar, Aonach Eagach (not the Aonach Eagach!)
Beinn a'Bheithir, School House Ridge
Sgurr a'Mhaim, Devil's Ridge
Bidean nam Bian, Gearr Aonach zig-zags
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Re: Beginners scrambling route

Postby BobMcBob » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:29 pm

I'd add Pink Rib on Beinn a'Chrulaiste and the Black Carls on Beinn Eighe to the list above.
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Re: Beginners scrambling route

Postby simon-b » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:43 pm

Fiacaill Coire an t-Sneachda in the Cairngorms could be also be a good one. Or, if you don't mind trying an English scramble, Halls Fell and Sharp Edge, both on Blencathra (Lake District), could be good choices, both rated Grade 1, although Halls Fell is the easier of the two.Another English classic is, of course, Striding Edge on Helvellyn, barely Grade 1, but a great rock ridge for learning to handle exposure. CMD arete is a really great route, and if you don't mind the big day, it isn't too technically demanding, again not really Grade 1.

Everybody's different of course. A friend and I, both experienced solo Grade 1 scramblers and guided In Pinn veterans, did An Stacach between North Goatfell and Goatfell last year. We actually found it quite difficult, as on the way up, the large granite blocks didn't have the positive holds you find on some types of rock, and one descent section was quite tricky, requiring careful micro-navigation. But don't let that put you off, I'm not disagreeing with jmarkb in that you might find it OK. But a third friend on Arran, who'd done Sharp Edge and Jack's Rake (another Lake District Grade1) with us, began the attempt on An Stacach, but then chose not to continue, and took the bypass, finding the initial climb up the granite blocks intimidating.

But definitely give one of the ridges suggested on this thread a go, I'm sure you'll enjoy it and be ready for more. I loved Aonach Eagach and the Forcan Ridge when I did them, so there's no reason why you can't build up to doing things like that with a bit of experience behind you.
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Re: Beginners scrambling route

Postby Driftwood » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:13 pm

A few more,:
The Stuic, a ridge onto the north side of Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach when accessing Lochnagar from the north. A longish but gradual approach, the scramble itself is fairly short but there is also the tor of Lochnagar for practice.
The northeast ridge of Binnein Mor (facing Binnein Beag) in the Mamores.
Jmarkb has already mentioned the Devil's ridge of Sgurr a'Mhaim, but there's some other easy scrambling terrain around the Ring of Steall route - may be a long day, depending how you are with exposed ground.
Na Geurdain ridge onto Mullach Fraoch-choire (north of the Cluanie Inn) has a series of grade 1 outcrops and pinnacles that you can pick and chose. A slightly shorter day than the above.
And there's a fair bit of easy scrambling along much of the Five Sisters of Kintail. Again, a fair bit of ascent and rocky ground to cover.

Further northwest, the Horns of Alligin (Ben Alligin). Another shorter day. Even more than most scrambles, best kept for good weather (I'll be redoing this in the sunshine, some time).
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Re: Beginners scrambling route

Postby SpamFritter » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:26 pm

Thanks for all your advice. I am going to give Arran a go in a few weeks (weather permitting) and at least try the Stacach ridge. I'll bear in mind what was said about the slippiness.

Pink Rib looks good, mainly because when I googled it someone was letting their 4 year old climb it :lol:

Beinn Alligin looks absolutely stunning and will definitely give that a go on a sunny day 8)
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Re: Beginners scrambling route

Postby jmarkb » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:25 pm

This list has a few more that haven't been mentioned so far: http://www.stevenfallon.co.uk/scrambles-definition.html
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Re: Beginners scrambling route

Postby Magoo82 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:37 pm

Horns of Alligin were my introduction to scrambling a few years ago. There were a couple of bits where the exposure was a bit dicey but I managed.

I personally think that Striding Edge in the Lake District is a very good intro to scrambling for beginners and also a thoroughly enjoyable day out.
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Re: Beginners scrambling route

Postby SpamFritter » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:45 pm

Thanks for all the replies. Myself and a friend have booked in with a guide in May to tackle Fiacail Ridge in the Cairngorms. If it turns out I'm a total pussy then at least I won't be on my own 8)

We're also going to Arran next weekend to do Goatfell with the possible inclusion of Stacach Ridge to North Goatfell (with or without bypass path) as a tester.
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