Ben Nevis and the Lochaber 4000s

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles and the main 'tourist path' and summit can get incredibly busy. Beyond this lie much quieter and more peaceful mountains, with dramatic views and some entertaining hiking. Ben Nevis's east shoulder gains the stunning Carn Mor Dearg arete which rises to Carn Mor Dearg and in turn leads to Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor. As a group, these mountains are collectively known as the 'Lochaber 4000ers'.

Main route summary

The approach for Ben Nevis and the Lochaber 4000ers is best done from the 'North Face' car-park. The view on the hike in is quite awesome, looking directly up to Ben Nevis's north face and to the lonely CIC Hut below the crags and buttresses.

You'll join the 'tourist path' for half the climb up Ben Nevis, but beyond the summit, things get much quieter leaving the crowds behind. The stunning Carn Mor Dearg Arete leads to Carn Mor Dearg and though not particularly difficult, this narrow ridge requires some concentration and shouldn't be attempted by inexperienced hillwalkers, especially in wet or windy conditions.

Further on and eastwards, Aonach Beag and Aonach Morg (this pair often referred to as 'the Aonachs') form a long plateau above craggy slopes. Some effort is needed up a very steep, loose path to reach the crest of this.

Munros Ben Nevis (1344m, Munro 1)
Carn Mor Dearg (1220m Munro 9)
Aonach Mor (1221m, Munro 8)
Aonach Beag (1234m, Munro 7)
Ascent 2100m (6,900ft)
Distance       19km (11.5m)
Time walk : 8:30hr*, run : 4hr
*Naismith's rule : 4km/h distance + 600m/h ascent

Start/finish   North Face car-park
(grid ref : NN144765)


Which map to choose ?
easy difficult
easy testing
stroll long day
ok stunning
Ben Nevis : 'mountain of venom/with head in clouds'
Carn Mor Dearg : 'big red cairn'
Aonach Mor : 'big ridge'
Aonach Beag : 'little ridge'

Route detail & map »

Photos of route »

Alternative routes »

Other hill routes nearby »

Accommodation & food »

Forecasts & other useful info »

Guided days on these mountains »

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