The Old Man of Stoer – Original Route


Always wanted to climb The Old Man of Stoer? This iconic 60m (200ft) sea stack is situated on the beautiful northwest coast of Scotland.

To climb The Old Man of Stoer. We first have to cross the sea channel by means of a Tyrolean rope traverse. The Tyrolean is specifically used for this purpose and is a fantastic experience in it’s own right.

Besides the Tyrolean, at low tide it is possible to get across to the Old Man of Hoy. This is done by a boulder hop across to the stack.



The climbing of The Old Man of Stoer is given the grade of VS 5a. This is climbing it by the Original Route, which was first climbed in 1966 by the legendary Tom Patey. Other climbers in his party were Brian Roberton, Brian Henderson, and Paul Nunn.

Tom Patey was not only a well-known climber; he was a GP, and writer also. Best known for ‘One Man’s Mountains’, which is a fantastic, read. Full of wit and great stories. Sadly Patey dies at the young age of 38 whilst abseiling from ‘The Maiden’ a Scottish sea stack.


The Climb

Rock n Ridge’s climb of The Old Man of Stoer is done as a two-day package. In fact we recommend this as a minimum as it allows us to do a several things. Firstly it allows us to get to know one another, before the climb. Secondly we can go Climbing before, to get use to the rock, and go over some last minute checks. And thirdly it gives us a day’s weather window, in case the highlands weather doesn’t play ball.

As explained; the Original Route is VS 5a. (Route 1 on the picture opposite). That said an easier start could be made around the back. This gives the grade of around Hard Severe. The climb weaves around the sea stack, and is therefore broken down into 4 separate pitches. In addition to this, we may feel it appropriate to add a pitch or 2 depending on party and conditions.

Once we have climbed the Old Man of Stoer we have to get down. Of course we will stay awhile take in the view and get some quality pictures. After this we will abseil down the face back down to the bottom of the stack.



Scottish weather can make the climbing on The Old Man of Stoer tricky to impossible. Of course the suggested months are May through to September. That said a touch of high pressure in February could make it possible! A flexible approach to dates would be helpful. Be prepared that the conditions on the day may not be right. Therefore if this is the case then alternative dates, or venue will be arranged.



To climb The Old Man of Stoer requires a confident approach, and be higher than, or around our suggested Bronze level of fitness. See our Alpine Training section.

Besides a reasonable cardiovascular fitness, it is recommended that you have some prior experience of climbing. Granted it doesn’t have to be sea stacks, but you will have at least lead climbed or seconded to a VS standard.



The scenery and wildlife in particular here is truly amazing! Apart from the Guillemots and the Artic Fulmars. There is a good chance of seeing Seals, Whales, and even Basking sharks,  (really!) which frequent these waters.


We will guide you safely up this Torridon sandstone sea stack. You’re climb of The Old Man of Stoer will leave you with wonderful memories that’ll last a lifetime.


Further Reading:


The Old Man of Stoer – Info

Tom Patey – Info

Tom Patey – Book

Climb The Old Man of Stoer looking backup
Picture of The Old Man of Stoer diagram

Prices & Dates:

Dates are flexible to suit you. But April – September is the usual time we climb this.

A £50 deposit is required to book a place. See our Contact and Pricing page for more details.

For larger groups of 2 persons please get in touch for pricing.


The Old Man of Stoer abseil down