Mountain Course & Activity Locations

Lakes Outdoor Experience cover locations across the UK, including North Wales, Scotland and The Lake District to mention but a few. We also offer guided scrambling and traverses on The Cuillin Ridge on The Isle of Skye.

Dorsal Arete, Stob Coire An Lochan

Dorsal Arete, Stob Coire An Lochan, Glen Coe, Western Highlands

winter-climbing-dorsal-arete-start.jpgDorsal Arete is a grade II winter climb located in Coire An Lochan high above the south side of Glen Coe. The route is located in the climbing area above Coire An Lochan and is bounded to the east by Broad Gully (grade I), a popular descent route; and Forked Gully (grade II or III) to the west.

Climbing starts at the left hand side of foot of the broad buttress at the base of Broad Gully, there are numerous opportunities to practice anchor placements and stance management as one ascends this route which becomes narrower and steeper towards the top.



scottish-winter-climbing-courses-dorsal-arete-glen-coe.jpgAbove this, there is a short rock wall to climb which leads to the "crux" or hardest part of the climb - a narrow, exposed "arete" which is literally only a few feet wide. One follows this to its far end - only a matter of 15 feet or so, before making the final easy moves up the right hand side of the buttress above to emerge on the level ground that is part of the corrie rim sweeping around the top of all of the buttresses/climbing areas to the north before descending and merging into the upper shoulder of Aonach Dubh.


winter-climbing-dorsal-arete-end.jpgThe route in to Dorsal Arete and Coire An Lochan is from Glen Coe. We descend from one of the two "3 Sisters" car parks and cross the footbridge over the river before starting the ascent up the valley that descends from Coire An Lochan. Getting to the corrie can take up to two hours from the road and is approximately 1 & 3/4 miles/2.8 km with an ascent of 650 m/2100 feet and once heading up, it is up all the way until we arrive in the bowl of Coire An Lochan.

winter-climbing-dorsal-arete-descent.jpgFrom here it is but a further 400 metres up the slope above to the start of the climb. Should we complete your Climbing Skills Training day on Dorsal Arete in reasonable time then there is the option to bag a Munro by climbing to the nearby summit of Stob Coire An Lochan 1115m. From there, we can descend back to Coire An Lochan via Broad Gully or via the north east ridge towards the long ridge of Gearr Aonach before turning north west back in to Coire An Lochan to return via the route we used for our walk in to the venue.

winter-climbing-dorsal-arete-sunset.jpgOther winter climbs that can be undertaken from Coire An Lochan include Boomerang Gully (II), Forked Gully (II or III), Twisting Gully (III'4), SC Gully (III'3), Central Buttress, Ordinary Route (IV'4) or NC Gully (II). Any routes given grade 3 or above will be treated as guided climbs and not winter climbs where we coach you winter climbing techniques.

Frequently asked questions about our Winter Climbing Days on Dorsal Arete.

Where do we meet for our Winter Climbing Day? Answer In the lower large car park on the A82 about 1 & 3/4 miles/2.8 km up Glen Coe on the right if driving east past the obvious loch (Loch Atriochtan) in the valley bottom.

What time do we start our day? Answer - no later than 8 am and often earlier. To get to Dorsal Arete, the walk in to the corrie can take up to two hours from the road and is approximately 1 & 3/4 miles/2.8 km with an ascent of 650 m/2100 feet and once heading up, it is up all the way until we arrive in the bowl of Coire An Lochan with a further 400m to the base of Dorsal Arete and all other climbs.

Do I need any previous experience to be able to learn to Winter Climb on Dorsal Arete? Answer - most certainly - yes! You must have already attended a two day Winter Skills Course either with Lakes Outdoor Experience or another winter course provider. Ideally, you will have previously undertaken a number of easy summer rock climbs graded up to Difficult (Diff) standard; and will be familiar with basic ropework skills and belaying techniques as a result. You may have also previously undertaken a winter mountaineering course with Lake Outdoor Experience or another winter course provider - all this progression will give you a good grounding for what is about to come next.

What equipment do I need to be able to undertake a Winter Climbing Skills Training Day on Dorsal Arete? Answer - you each need a full complement of personal winter clothing - Goretex or similar hardshell jacket and salopettes, hat, gloves, winter gauntlets, ski googles, spare warm layers, lunch and a flask of hot drink and a headtorch and spare batteries. Your winter boots will be B2 or B3 rated and you must have 12 point crampons (The Grivel G12 is a well known example), that have previously been fitted to your boots before we meet on the day. You will also need a walking axe as a minimum or two winter climbing axes and ski poles are useful for the ascent to Coire An Lochan and for the descent back to the valley floor.

All of this equipment must be packed into rucksacks of at least 45 litres capacity. We will provide harnesses, helmets and all other technical equipment required to facilitate your Winter Climbing Skills Training Day and we will meet you the evening before your course day to ensure that you are properly prepared and ready to go.

How fit should I be in order to successfully complete a Dorsal Arete Winter Climbing Skills Training Day? Answer You need a good level of mountain fitness from regular walking in the mountains and should already have plenty of previous experience walking in mountainous areas of the uk.

How much does it cost per person to undertake an Dorsal Arete Winter Climbing Skills Training Day with Lakes Outdoor Experience? Answer The fee to do this with us is a minimum fee of £300.00 for 1 or 2 persons making the fee £150.00 each or £405.00 for 3 persons making it £135.00 per person. The ratio of clients to an instructor is a maximum of 3:1 on all of our technical mountaineering and climbing courses up to grade III. Above grade III, the ratio of clients to an instructor is reduced to 2:1.

To book your Winter Climbing Skills Training Day or Guided Winter Climbing Day in Coire An Lochan - contact us here.

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Iain GallagherLakes Outdoor Experience is run by Iain Gallagher. Iain was born and brought up in The Lake District by parents who were very keen on the outdoors.

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