Gear up for Scottish Winter Climbs West

Western Scotland is a winter playground like no other, with complex geology and topography that offer a wealth of climbing opportunities.

Conditions can be fickle in this maritime climate, and the early starts and arduous walk-ins from sea level are often brutal, but there are generous rewards for perseverance. As the pale sun rises reluctantly over the vast landscape, sea lochs glint like inlaid jewels then fade to a lustrous sheen as, all too soon, it flares and retreats once more. In the corrugated schists of the Arrochar Alps, axe picks thud satisfyingly into the frozen turf. Ben Nevis’s upper ramparts, where snow and ice resist all but the most persistent thaws, have an Alpine ambience and harbour many of Scotland’s finest winter lines, attracting climbers from all over the world. Those willing to venture off beaten trails can find solitude and more esoteric adventures among the gullies and buttresses of Knoydart and Glen Shiel.

Inspired by feedback from our readers and members, Scottish Winter Climbs West is the first of three season-specific guidebooks in the SMC’s new select series and a grand tour of the best winter climbing venues across the Southern Uplands, the Islands of Arran, Mull and Rum, Lochaber, Glen Coe and much else besides. (The East volume covers the Cairngorms, Central Highlands and Creag Meagaidh and the North volume covers Skye, Strath Carron, Torridon and all points north of there.)

With over 1,300 routes listed and an abundance of new lines covering both familiar and lesser-known crags, its scope and range offer options for climbing across all levels and styles and in almost all conditions. Each route is accompanied by high-resolution photographic topos, and the venues are detailed on exquisitely rendered maps that are designed to be user-friendly for everyone, including those with visual impairments.

With publication expected in the next few weeks, we hope it will inspire fresh-faced newcomers and seasoned connoisseurs alike to discover hidden classics and reconnect with old favourites.