Ben Hope - north ridge scramble

Bad step airy scramble near summit

11 messages
13/03/2009 at 16:18
Has any Outdoor Magic reader been up Ben Hope (northern most Munro) via the North Ridge? I went up there with my wife last May. We made our way round the western side of the mountain until we arrived at the foot of the north ridge. The guidebooks made it sound as if this route was more interesting than the normal long slog from the south or south west! We had read about the so-called bad step scramble up near the summit, but the guidebooks gave no gradings or difficulty - as scramblers who have done Liathach, An Teallach, Aonach Eagach we thought it shouldn't be an issue! Wrong!!!
Fair enough there was no-one else on the route above us to follow their line, but we couldn't believe the huge exposure and a near vertical scramble/climb up the rocks. After a debate we shirked it and gave it a miss, making our way up to the summit via a steep grassy gully just down and round to the right. Once at the summit, we made our way back along the ridge to look at the 20 metres or so of scrambling that beat us, it was sensational exposure straight down the full Western face of Ben Hope. If we had seen someone else above us on the route we may have had the confidence to do it, but seeing most guidebooks didn't mention it or didn't grade it, we aired on the safe side.
Have you done the route (in good weather), and how tough was it as long as you didn't look down? I think the terrain grade wouldn't be too hard, it was the huge exposure below that worried us. Were you roped up for it or just going solo?!
I'd be interested to hear from any Outdoors Magic scramblers who have done the route. Cracking view from up top, we could see Harris/Lewis and also to Orkney!
13/03/2009 at 16:54
I can remember Muriel Grays TV series on the Munros. I'm pretty sure it was the north ridge she was attempting. She backed out of it as well, and took an easier option. I think the film crew tackled it though.

13/03/2009 at 17:20

Take a look at my trip report for this walk

Its technically not difficult (moderate or diff) but the exposure is immense.

13/03/2009 at 17:35
Nice site and piccies Reiver!
13/03/2009 at 17:36
Looks it to me. The pack of feral (?) Scottie dogs on the other hand just seems truly bizzare
13/03/2009 at 17:36
That looks brilliant Reiver. I want to do it now!

13/03/2009 at 17:48
Nice pictures Reiver. Had a look at your other trips too - lovely stuff.  Makes me want to get to Scotland again
13/03/2009 at 17:49

We'll be oop that way soon

Last time (and only time) we climbed Ben Hope it was by the tourist route in really nasty weather and we didn't see a thing. If we get a good day that route looks like a much better alternative.

My Arse

13/03/2009 at 17:58

Never been up the North Ridge, always climbed up from the west onto the south ridge.

Here is my last trip report back in 2005 together with a few photos.

13/03/2009 at 21:23

that is about as superb a route description as you could ask for! Fabulous. since I found this site just recently, I'm constantly surprised by the level of advice on offer. I may just have to do this route when my leg's healed by the summer!

13/03/2009 at 22:23

The most memorable report of this route I've seen was here:

Evening ascent with inversion

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