The Drystane and Ptarmigan Ridges


The best of many routes on the imposing pinnacled ridges of Lurchers crag, nestled within the most famous mountain pass in the country.


Route Length 

Drystane Ridge 140m

Ptarmigan Ridge 150m


Max Ratio



Experience Grade

Drystane Ridge 140m - Hard - Grade 4 Scramble

Ptarmigan Ridge 150m- Moderate - Grade 3 Scramble


Approach Length (Approximate) 

2 hrs


Total Trip Length 



Meeting location 



Experience Duration 

1 day



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


Is it for me? 

The famous Lairig Ghru is a mighty glacial pass carved arrow straight through the Cairngorm mountain plateau, Lurchers crag stands as the Eastern guardian to this high level corridor. The massive geological feature serving as backdrop throughout the two mountaineering routes on the long, rocky ridges of the crag.


There are two approach options to this crag, one of which takes us through the geological oddity of the Chalamain gap, an interesting bit of mountain exploration in itself. Good trail to and through this short sharp pass leads to rough trail, then steep traversing below the ominous cliffs of Lurchers crag.


Ptarmigan Ridge unfortunately starts in a typically damp gully, leading you to question the quality of the line above. Before long however, the route shows its true face and excellent aretes and crests lead to an intimidating final tower, this tremendous finale is tackled direct on perfect holds. 


Drystane Ridge is an obvious, sustained, direct line with clean, solid holds. The route starts with some technical moves, but difficulties ease with height and a confident approach finally leads to the plateau.


Both of these long rocky ribs lie between equally rough and rocky ground, lending a serious and intimidating air to the experience, the far side of the Lairig Ghru is just as ferocious looking, harbouring fine mountaineering lines to the summit... something for the day after perhaps!?


The qualified and experienced instructor guiding you will give you the opportunity to attack all the fine, exposed parts of these routes head on. From the top of the buttress, views from the plateau include excellent views of Northern Cairngorm Munros, such as Braeriach, Ben Macdui and Carn Toul. 


An easy return, following our approach route, see takes us back to our start point at the end of the day.


Mountains included in route 

Creag an Leth-Choin 1053m


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.

The Drystane and Ptarmigan Ridges