Ben Nevis & Carn Mor Dearg

Start Point: Two paths lead from Glen Nevis and join further up the hill. However, we accessed the hill from the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel (Grid ref 127717)
Grid Reference: OS sheet 41, Grid ref 127717
Time: 7 to 9 hours
View Location: Click for Scalable Map
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On Saturday 4th August 2001, there were at least 400 walkers on Ben Nevis alone. But the majority of these walkers just plodded up the well worn tourist route past "Half Way Lochan"..........this route can only be, at best, described as exceedingly dull....

So if you are looking for that little bit more excitement and variety, the route described below takes you on a circuit by Carn Mor Dearg and Carn Mor Dearg Arete to climb Ben Nevis from the South-East.

The CIC Hut dwarfed by the buttresses and couloirs of Ben Nevis
This way you'll get a real view of the mountain and a full appreciation of the sheer size of the buttresses and couloirs that dominate the North-Eastern side. It is however, a fairly demanding route and should only be attempted by experienced and properly equipped walkers.
Ben Nevis from the Carn Mor Dearg Arete


  • Leaving the roadside, cross the River Nevis using the footbridge opposite the Hostel. Follow the path until it joins the path from Achintee House (GR 132721) and widens considerably to form the "motorway" up the mountain.
  • The path zig-zags up to Half Way Lochan (Loch Meall an t-Suidhe) at GR 146724. From here the faint hearted can follow the tourist route that meanders towards the summit.
  • More hardy members can turn left at the Lochan and follow the path around te Ben towards the CIC Hut (GR 167 723)
  • At any stage before you reach the hut, leave the path and descend to the river and cross carefully. Pick any route from there to the western side of Carn Mor Dearg. It's a slog, but worth it when you reach the ridge (see photo to left)
  • Once on the ridge, head south taking in Carn Dearg Meadhonach before reaching Carn Mor Dearg itself (GR 177722). It's possible to take Carn Beag Dearg at the north end of the ridge by leaving the path at Half Way Lochan earlier
  • From the Summit of Carn Mor Dearg, head south and west along Carn Mor Dear Arete. This is a magnificent ridge and although not up with to the "trouser filling" experience of Aonach Eagach, it is a moment to savour as it curves west towards the Ben.
  • The ridge joins the shoulder of Ben Nevis and a faint path winds its way across the rocky surface, heading north-west towards the summit. As the terrain begins to level out, accurate navigation is essential to find the summit cairn and the ruins of the old weather observatory (GR 167713)
The Tourist Path with just some of the hundreds of daily walkers
On your descent, follow the tourist path to Half Way Lochan and back to Glen Nevis Youth Hostel.

Carn Mor Dearg from the south

The Carn Mor Dearg Arete Martin and Trish on Carn Mor Dearg Arete. Carn Mor Dearg at back Carn Mor Dearg from the north

Click photos for larger images

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