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Torridonian Traverses

On Liathach in Winter

Of the 277 Scottish Munros (peaks over 3,00 feet - 916 metres) perhaps the most distinct and spectacular are the Torridonian giants: Ben Eighe;Liathach;and Ben Alligin. Unique peaks carved from the ancient sandstone which amazingly was deposited in a layer 7 miles thick. Much of this rock is topped by a distinctive band of Quartz.

The area provides the walker and climber with a wide range of challenges. From easy ridge walking to desperate rock and ice routes. Late winter and early summer are ideal times to visit. The pictures here were taken in February 1996.

All three peaks provide superb traverses and in winter conditions or poor visibility some sections can prove problematical. In clear weather stunning views can be had across a myriad of lochans (small lakes) to the Western Islands, and inland to the remote peaks of Achnashellach. If you fancy walking or climbing in this area then contact Cuillin Guides.

Where is Torridon?

 Scotland with red dot highlighting Torridon.


In the right conditions the area provides excellent ice climbing. In particular Ben Eighe and Liathach. The terraced mountain sides collect snow and amazing icefalls develop. However the close proximity to the sea can cause very rapid thaws. The classics of the area are Poachers Gully and the Am Fasarinen Pinnacles.


The climbing centres on three cliffs, Sgurr a'Chaorachain (The Cioch), The Triple Butress of Coire Mhic Fhearchair, and the sea side crags of Diabeg.

Sgurr a'Chaorachain (The Cioch)

The series of clean rock butresses at an altitude of 1300 feet (390 m). Good access from the Bealach na Ba road and often dry in poor weather. The classic routes here are:

Sword of Gideon - Very Severe - 350 feet (104 m) - first climbed by Tom Patey 1961

Cioch Nose - Very Difficult - 450 feet (135 metres) - first climbed by Patey and Bonnington, 1960

The Triple Butress of Coire Mhic Fhearchair

One of the most impressive corries in the area lies on the northern side of Ben Eighe. The lower tiers are sandstone whilst the upper parts are quartzite. Needs a dry weeks weather to come into condition. Approach walk is 5 miles. Some classic routes here are:

The Pale Diedre. - E2 5c - 330 feet (100m) - first climbed Sprunt and Strange 1980

Angel Face - E2 5c - 320 feet (95 m) - first climbed Nisbet and Forrest 1988

Central Butress - Severe - 920 feet (276 m) - a classic trip first climbed in 1926 (quartzite tier) and 1968 (sandstone tier)


The main cliff of Diabeg is a huge undulating slab of immaculate gneiss. The crag lies 15 minutes walk from the road at the small sea side village of Diabeg. Classic routes here are:

The Pillar E2 5b - 155 feet (48 m) - a superb hairline crack first climbed in 1983 by M Hamilton

Route II HVS - 220 feet (66 m) - brilliant slab climbing followed by a crack - first climbed by Austin and Grindley 1975


Picture gallery

Liathach in Winter
Liathach in Winter


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