Tower Ridge

Munros: Ben Nevis

Date walked: 01/09/2017

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 18km

Ascent: 1662m

tower ridge route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Decided to have a go at this after seeing Damon Ritchie's TR video on YouTube, it's also in Dan Bailey's Mountain Ridges book and his description is an article on UKC so lots of route info available online (there was rockfall in Tower Gap a couple of years ago and some pics show a wide ledge to step down onto but this has now gone).

Douglas Boulder from just after the CIC, I'm taking East Gully on the left to bypass the boulder. I was here last Sat but bailed out halfway up East Gully as it was too wet/slimy. It's also easy to miss the gully as it's rockier on the left side, route starts up a greasy corner.

Branch off here for East Gully, top of D Boulder just visible.

Then steep scree leads to the gully, which is wet & loose in places and there had been recent rockfall - I had a helmet on just in case.

Met a couple last Sat who were taking a groove onto the ridge further up than the gully, apparently it's easier but would miss out the tricky chimney out of Douglas Gap. There are sections of North Buttress harder than this chimney and it's sometimes described as the crux of the route, was a bit damp but it's very juggy and all the holds are there.

Descent of Douglas Boulder to the gap looks difficult.

Well, that was easy and I'm on Tower Ridge! Next it's a scrambly section leading up to the Little Tower, variations possible and the one I took actually felt like the hardest thing on the ridge.


Approaching the Little Tower.

Nice scrambling on the tower.

Had a look at the Ledge Route bypass path which avoids the slab at the bottom.

Slabs & crampon scratches on the way up the tower.


Next, there's a 'long flattish section' leading to the Great Tower which would be bypassed by the eastern traverse. Apparently a long flattish section is fairly short because I soon saw this hard looking lump ahead, so I thought this might in fact be the Little Tower? Fortunately it wasn't and I didn't have to climb it. There aren't many walking breaks on the ridge, and I noticed I was getting exhausted with all the steep scrambling so I decided to take more rest stops to conserve energy (and composure).

Scramble to the steep headwall then the eastern traverse bypass path on the left.

Path leads to a crossroads: cave on the right leads to the Great Tower. The wall on the right was dripping water but the left wall has all the holds and was dry.

Or it's possible to continue the traverse path and escape off the ridge. This would miss out the Great Tower and Tower Gap.

Top of the cave looking back down:

Scramble up to the Great Tower, a series of ledges with some steep moves.



Then the ridge narrows leading to...TOWER GAP!

I'd seen pics & videos of the gap and it looked like a steep, awkward descent to a block with huge exposure on all sides. I knew the moves by heart but could still feel the tension building as I got closer. A guide on North Buttress last month told me to loop 3m of rope around the boulder as an additional handhold so I brought some accessory cord for this - bit of a faff though and I didn't need it. you can see where the foothold on the left is from above as it projects out a bit, left foot on this and handholds on the ledge above it...look over shoulder to check right foot is heading to the block...transfer weight to right foot & get both feet on the block...hug the boulder above to regain balance...job done! Er, half done - very exposed step to the other side then ascend the block on good holds.

Close up:

Not hard if you've done the homework but the difficulty is keeping calm with the exposure. You can also hear voices on the tourist path from here as it's close to the summit which is a bit surreal.

Final steep wall

Avoided by a ledge to the right

And Tower Ridge is done, wee cairn at the top then tourist path to the summit.

Cleared at the top so got a pic of the ridge.

Tower Gap

Descended Ledge Route


Met a climber belaying above the slab, said it was pretty dodgy so I took the bypass path to CIC hut instead.

Dodgy slab:

TR is graded Diff as a climb which I've never done before so I was a bit worried about it, it's not really much harder technically than a Grade 3 scramble but it's a very long route with a lot of exposure. I've done a little bouldering so I looked at it as a series of very easy boulder problems (which I can solo no problem) rather than a Difficult Climb. Best scramble I've done on the mainland.

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 13

Up North Buttress & down Curved Ridge

Attachment(s) Munros: Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mòr)
Date walked: 02/10/2016
Distance: 10km
Ascent: 1490m
Comments: 2
Views: 3320

Up Sron na Lairig & down Beinn Fhada

Attachment(s) Munros: Stob Coire Sgreamhach
Date walked: 29/08/2016
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 1066m
Comments: 1
Views: 3797

North Cuillin 3

Attachment(s) Munros: Am Basteir, Bruach na Frìthe, Sgùrr nan Gillean
Date walked: 05/06/2016
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 1300m
Comments: 11
Views: 7372

Ledge Route & CMD Arete

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Nevis, Càrn Mòr Dearg
Date walked: 30/03/2016
Distance: 18.5km
Ascent: 1645m
Comments: 7
Views: 6320

SCNL & Bidean

Attachment(s) Date walked: 17/03/2016
Distance: 10km
Ascent: 1500m
Comments: 5
Views: 3256

Cobbler Climbs

Attachment(s) Corbetts: The Cobbler
Date walked: 28/02/2016
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 980m
Comments: 1
Views: 3031

Gearr Aonach Zigzags

Attachment(s) Date walked: 25/02/2016
Distance: 9.6km
Ascent: 1211m
Comments: 4
Views: 7908

Stob Coire nan Lochan Boomerang Gully

Attachment(s) Date walked: 12/02/2016
Distance: 8km
Ascent: 1100m
Comments: 14
Views: 6324

South Cuillin 4

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgùrr Alasdair, Sgùrr Dubh Mòr, Sgùrr Mhic Chòinnich, Sgùrr nan Eag
Date walked: 09/07/2015
Distance: 15.5km
Ascent: 1595m
Comments: 7
Views: 7087


User avatar

Munros: 250
Corbetts: 4
Sub 2000: 1

Filter reports



Trips: 1
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 1662m
Munros: 1


Trips: 8
Distance: 95.1 km
Ascent: 10292m
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 1


Trips: 10
Distance: 117.5 km
Ascent: 10683m
Munros: 13
Corbetts: 2


Trips: 14
Distance: 382.7 km
Ascent: 22859m
Munros: 45
Corbetts: 2


Trips: 36
Distance: 959.35 km
Ascent: 46734m
Munros: 105
Corbetts: 2


Trips: 34
Distance: 492.3 km
Ascent: 1277m
Munros: 71
Corbetts: 3


Trips: 6
Distance: 73.75 km
Munros: 10

Joined: Sep 12, 2011
Last visited: May 25, 2024
Total posts: 827 | Search posts