Cioch Nose


A Wild and Beautiful Mountain Ridge

The Cioch Nose, one of the finest climbs in the UK, is located in the equally exquisite Applecross Peninsula. The quality of this route is so spectacular that it is awarded 4 stars, making it one of only a handful of climbs to receive this in the whole of Scotland. It is also a climb steeped in history. The first ascent of the route was by Tom Patey and Chris Bonnington in 1960. Patey famously called it “the Diff to end all Diffs”, although it has now been upgraded to a severe grade route. Naturally, it is also featured in Ken Wilson Classic Rock book. This truly is an absolutely phenomenal climb and one which shouldn’t be missed by climbers or scramblers alike.

View a complete guide to the Cioch Nose

Privately Guided from £285

We offer this climb on a private guided basis with a maximum ratio of 1:2. This ratio allows us to guide in a way that is not only as safe as possible but also allows the climbers to experience the route in its full splendour.

See our ratios and pricing information

Stunning Location

The Cioch Nose is located in the remote Applecross Peninsula in the beautiful North West Highlands of Scotland. The route begins at the Bealach na Ba viewpoint, which is located approximately 5 miles (15 minutes drive) from Applecross village. The village itself contains a campsite and the excellent Applecross Inn (which does both food and rooms). For those who would prefer to stay in an area with a few more facilities, the village of Lochcarron is a great alternative. Lochcarron is approximately a 30 minute drive from the start of the route and contains a wide variety of pubs, hotels, shops, B&Bs and a garage.

Climbing on the Cioch Nose Applecross


The Cioch Nose provides us with an excellent and varied day out. Unusually, for a mountain route, we reach the start of the climb by walking downhill. This is followed by 5 pitches of fantastic climbing. After a short section of scrambling we have 2 further pitches of equally excellent climbing then a further scramble to finish. A simple walk out completes the day. Please read below for our detailed route description.

Our day starts from the viewpoint car park on the Bealach na Ba road. Do allow plenty of time to get to this car park. The Bealach na Ba is often considered one of Scotland’s most impressive roads, its spectacular scenery and hairpin bends attract an array of drivers.

Once we leave the car park we will head towards a radio mast following an excellent landrover track. We will soon pass the mast and leave the landrover track. Great care needs to be taken as we head steeply down a grassy gully on a faint muddy track to Coire a’Chaorachain. We will head along the Coire, to almost the end of the ridge and then scramble up a series of exposed ledges. At the foot of the climb we will be greeted by “CN” scratched into the rock, helpfully informing us we are in the right place!

We we will now enjoy 5 pitches of glorious climbing, which we will most likely break down the following way:

  • Pitch 1. 30m 4a – First we climb the steep, wide crack then head up and left over some blocks to a good ledge.
  • Pitch 2. 10m 4a – After taking a few steps to the right we head up the chimney. We will climb the chimney and exit to the right.
  • Pitch 3. 10m – A short pitch; up and right over easy ledges to a larger ledge. This ledge is an obvious great belay at the foot of the steep climb above.
  • Pitch 4. 30m 4a – The greatest pitch. Here we climb onto the wall on the right and make our way up it to the next good ledge. The pitch gives a fantastic position on excellent and obvious holds.
  • Pitch 5. 50m – Heading 10 metres to the right to the obvious “CN”, once again scratched on to the rock. We follow the direction of the scratched arrow and climb up broken ground and over various ledges. This will take us to the top of the climb.

Once at the top of the climb we head along the grassy ridge to a rocky narrowing. At this narrow neck we will head up a series of scrambly steps onto a large ledge with a step wall above. This steep wall gives us our next 2 pitches of climbing.

  • Pitch 1&2. 60m – We often climb this as two pitches. However, our belay spot will be dependent on the conditions (there are plenty of options available). We start by heading left along the large ledge about 10 metres, and proceed to climb up the steep wall up a grove of roughly “Vdiff”, this will take us to the top of the ridge.

Once at the top of the ridge the terrain levels out. We will then proceed over and around several sharp notches, summits and gaps, with easy sections of walking in between each one. From here, we will be able to see the radio mast we passed at the start of the day. Five minutes of simple walking will take us back to the mast and we will proceed back along the landrover track to the car park.

Ratios and Pricing

In order to provide the highest level of experience and safety we maintain low ratios for guided ascents. We will take a maximum of two people per guide on this route.

Cioch Nose Rock Climb

Ratio Price
1:1 £285
1:2 £155 per person

What’s Included

  • Personalised guiding experience with instruction as needed in the skills to enjoy this fantastic climb
  • Fully qualified guide
  • Use of technical equipment where needed including helmets, harness and ropes
  • Kit List
  • Comprehensive joining instructions including local information

Who is this route for?

This multi-pitch rock climbing route consists of 7 pitches of climbing and is graded up to severe 4a. This route is excellent for anyone who has experience of indoor or outdoor climbing, as well as some experience of belaying. Equally, this route is also great for the seasoned scrambler looking to advance into a rock climbing route. It has large, positive holds throughout and so can be enjoyed by most climbers or scramblers who have a good head for heights. If, as a scrambler, you have no prior experience of belaying please just let us know and we can build this into your day.


You will need normal hill walking kit including sturdy footwear, waterproofs (jacket and trousers), food, warm clothing and “ideally” rock shoes though large holds make this route possible in good boots or approach shoes. Technical kit such as harnesses and helmets are available to borrow for your booking where required. Alternatively, you are welcome to bring your own subject to inspection by your guide to ensure its safety. A complete kit list is provided with each booking.

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