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Afterthought Arete


One of the best mountaineering routes in the Cairngorms, airy and spectacular and on excellent rock. A relatively easy approach and return makes this a great half-day activity. Combine it with any other route in the Northern Corries or Loch Avon or a trip to the summit of Cairn Gorm to create a fantastic full day mountain experience. 


Route Length 



Max Ratio



Experience Grade

Hard - Grade 4 Scramble


Approach Length (Approximate) 

2 hrs


Total Trip Length 



Meeting location 



Experience Duration 

Half day



Good summer hillwalking experience. Some previous experience of scrambling, ideally at Grade 2 or above. 


Is it for me? 

Hidden from the tourists, just behind the bustling ski development at Coire Cas, is an astounding glacier carved corrie, The Loch Avon basin. At its centre, Loch Avon gently draws the water from the surrounding Munros and sends it Northwards, to be used by the many famous whisky distilleries that stand in the shadow of the Cairngorms.


The crags that ring this corrie are littered with world renowed rock and ice climbs and our route, though easier than many here, is of no less quality. If it required slightly more technical movement skills, it would be a fully fledged rock climb, however, luckily for us, we get to experience the sustained and perfect nature of the rock and the graceful movement required to climb it, at a grade that makes it accessable to all. 



Following a succession of slabs and buttresses on good holds leads to a long sharp spine and afterwards, a series of short interesting steps allow variety and exploration. Some sections of the route are quite technical and almost edge into true rock climbing territory, but with a qualified and experienced instructor guiding you, you will have the opportunity to attack all the fine, exposed parts of this route head on. 


During the route, you will have fantastic views of the Shelterstone, a sheer rock tower that hosts world class climbing and was home to the first BASE jump in the Cairngorms. From the top of the buttress, views from the plateau include all the Northern Cairngorm Munros, such as Braeriach, Ben Macdui, Bynack Mor and Cairngorm. An easy return route to the starting point remains or choose from several options to extend this day and create a truly memorable mountain experience. 


Mountains included in route 

Cairn Gorm 1245m (optional)


Additional information 

You will be guided on the route by a suitably qualified, fully insured and competent Mountaineering Instructor. All mountaineering equipment required for the route and instruction on its use is included. However, clients must ensure they bring appropriate clothing as listed on our kit list page. In case of dangerous weather conditions an alternative activity or a full refund will be offered. Please read our Terms and Conditions for further information.

Afterthought Arete

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