Tower Ridge – Grade III (S) / Difficult Ledge Route – Grade II


Ever fancied tackling one of, if not thee most iconic ridge climb in the UK? Tower Ridge and Ledge Route here we come!

But before you get all excited, skip the details and pick up the phone, Tower Ridge combined with Ledge Route, is a serious undertaking even with a paid Mountain Guide. Therefore you will need to be in very good physical shape, and come equipped with some Scrambling and or preferably Climbing experience.

For some Tower Ridge is a goal that they work towards, and can take many years to achieve.

If you are unsure then please feel free to get in touch. We will be happy to chat to you regarding your experience and aspirations. Alternatively you can check out our fitness chart out here.

Bronze would be an absolute minimum.


Tower Ridge is one of several ridges that juts out from the north face of Ben Nevis. First climbed in 1892 by J. E. and B. Hopkins in descent. The first proper ascent was in 1894 by Norman Collie. An amazing achievement for the day. Especially with the basic knowledge and equipment that would have been around then.

Big Day:

Tower Ridge is a ‘full’ day and can take anywhere between 7-11 hours to complete. Our preferred route would be to ascend Tower Ridge and descend Ledge Route. Therefore this gives a great full on experience of the Nevis massif.


Tower Ridge gets the grade of 3 (S) or Difficult depending on where you look. To make things easier it’s usually classed as Difficult. This then clarifies that it’s more of an easy Rock climb than a Scramble.

You will be roped up once we get on the ridge proper. So there is nothing to worry about, especially if you thought you might have to free Solo parts!

Ledge Route gets the grade of II. But still commands respect especially after a big ascent of Tower Ridge. Remember we are only 50% there once at the summit.

Useful Links:

Tower Ridge facts – Here

Ben Nevis history – Here

Accommodation around Fort William – Here

winter climbing on ben nevis
ledge route and tower ridge and ledge route

The Route

We aim to climb Tower Ridge and descend via Ledge Route. This makes for an excellent day and ticks two of probably the most talked about and celebrated climbs on the Ben. Therefore an earlier start is required, and we usually leave from the north face car park at around 07:30. Bring plenty of snacks and nibbles if that’s your preference.

If for some reason we cannot or decide not to descend Ledge Route, (weather, or fatigue) then an alternative descent will be taken.

Graded Explanation Scrambles Chart:


Grade Description
1 Fairly straightforward for most experienced hill walkers. It may be necessary to use the hands occasionally but holds will normally be large and the exposure not too off-putting
2 In addition to feet, It will be necessary to use hands for more sustained stretches. Exposure may be significant and retreat may be difficult.
3 Advanced scrambles. This may involve making moves on steep rock in very exposed situations and some people may prefer the protection of a rope in places. Occasional moves of ‘moderate’ rock climbing standard may be required. The ability to abseil may be useful if a retreat is made.
4/Mod This route will contain exposed passages of rock or poor vegetation. Routes of this type will require skill of Rock climbing up to V Diff standard. Mountaineering rope techniques will need to be employed, and above all an understanding on how to use equipment is essential. Escape is problematic, and will usually involve an abseil to retreat. Exposure will be high on the route.

However after 4/Moderate we go to Difficult. To be honest there isn’t much difference between the two grades and can feel very similar. Tower Ridge gets Difficult as it’s exposed and sustained in nature. Likewise don’t be put off it is definitely achievable for most people. And if not now can be certainly worked towards.



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

For larger groups of 3 persons please get in touch for pricing.

Fee includes guide rate, and kit hire:

* We operate a 1:3 instructor policy on Tower Ridge and Ledge Route. However, larger groups please get in touch to discuss.