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Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete
by baggervance » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:52 pm
Route description: Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete
Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis, Carn Mor Dearg
Date walked: 12/06/2011
Time taken: 8.5 hours
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 1558m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
We knew where we were going and with a left turn we headed up what looked like an impossibly steep climb to the bealach that sits between CMD and CDM. God is it hard going but the views over the The Ben's cliff faces were amazing and more than made up for it. We could still see Red climbing slowly toward one of the lower snow fields that remained ~ we hoped he knew what he was doing. After a choccy and banana stop half way up it was onwards and upwards to the bealach and another stop for some Luco Sport. Dave has been doing a fair bit of running recently and his fitness was showing ~ he was always out in front.
A quick jaunt up to the summit of CMD and there before us was the arete - magic. It looked amazing and not overly difficult. . Dave was slightly aprehensive as he is not really into airy traverses but off we went with me leading. After the initial drop I had to stop to tighten my boot laces and asked Dave if he wanted to lead. He bravely took up the batten and walked on ~ until we met the first true scrambly bit where he went to veer off onto the bypass path
Hoi ~ Where are you going? I asked. Is this not the standard route came the reply. Nope we are going right along the edge. Fair play to him he immediately jumped up onto the ridge proper and we were on our way again.
The arete is fairly simple with only one short dodgy bit which would make you have second thoughts in a stiff gusty wind. Just the conditions that arose as Dave arrived at it It is a ledge that slopes into Coire Leis and by it's 'design' it wants to throw you off the edge because of the angle. It requires you to climb up onto it and then walk across for about 10 feet on about a 3-4 foot wide base. Just as Dave got on top a gust blew through from the Grey Corries and that was enough for him. Turned around and jumped down to the safer lower route. I was determined to do it. So I jumped up, shimmied on all fours until the breeze died and then stood up and walked quickly across. From there it was more simple scrambling until we got to the boulder field which rises all the way up to the summit of The Ben.
We met a young guy who had just come down and was waiting on his mate who looked really unsteady. We told him about the arete and the best bits (the ledge) and that we doubted his mate would make it if he was struggling with the boulder field. Don't worry he said I won't tell him about it until we get there
On reaching the summit I thought I had stumbled into Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday afternoon. Every type of person was there, most not suitably dressed if the weather closed in and you could see them realise it was freezing at the top. We decided only to stay long enough for photies and a quick lunch and then head down the tourist track. What a long arduous trudge it is. Once you get off the scree type path it is then onto the boulders which seem determined to shatter your knees and thighs.
All the way to the summit of the The Ben I was fine but the descent really takes it's toll on the legs and knees.
We arrived back at the car park knackered but please we had climbed The Ben on a more interesting route
I've stood on top of the UK
Oh - and we never did see where Red ended up ~ hope he was safe
- Path heading up by the burn
- Higher on the path with Stob Ban (I think) just peaking out over the edge of the slope
- The path up to the CIC hut from the half way lochan
- I think this might be CMD buttress on the North Face of the Ben
- I think this is 5 finger gully. The lowest small snow field is where we last saw Red
- You can just make out the CIC hut standing beside the cut of the burn
- View back out with our high path visible
- On CMD summit
- The start of the arete
- North face of The Ben - cool
- Dave on the edge!! You can see other walkers further back on the ridge line
- Dave getting ready for the next little 'pinnacle'
- Dave going along the edge of the Ledge - check the angle of the top path
- Look I'm top of the world Ma ~ well the UK at least
by MG1976 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:42 pm
Waiting for my eldest to get a little bit older before we take on these two.
He's only 4 right now, runs on duracell and is fearless to boot.
I think, however, this is quite a step up from the few hills he's already bagged.
Maybe for his 5th Birthday, later in the year .
Again; nice report.
by David.Ferguson » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:03 pm
it was cold on the top of the Ben.
- Jason at "the wee tricky bit" I had already hopped off to the safe path.The flat rock slopes away to the considerable drop.
- Jason setting off on the arete.
- looking back to the CIC hut on the ascent to CMD.Very steep.
- from Ben summit looking down to the cic hut.
by pollyh33 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:13 pm
Thanks for putting in so much effort .
by PeteR » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:09 pm
by baggervance » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:03 pm
Dave, I agree the worst downhill we have encountered yet. I'll get copies of all my photies over to you. Does Red show up on any of yours??
Thanks pollyh33. I think on hindsight Dave and I thought the better route would be up from the North Car Park and over CDM, then CMD summit, the arete, The Ben back to the half way lochan via the tourist route and back out to the North Car Park. Brilliant experience on a not to difficult ridge.
Thank PeteR. Loved the arete, best bit of the day. Hopefully Dave is now so gallas that he will do the Aonach Eagach with me
by Graeme D » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:19 pm
baggervance wrote:One (possibly German) couple were making several references to Dave and I and saying the word 'technical'
Did they mention "Vorsprung durch Technik" by any chance????
by HighlandSC » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:28 pm
Unless there's also a 5 finger gully on the N face, then it can't be it you have mentioned. 5 finger gully is on the W side of the mountain (S of the tourist path) (where lost walkers often end up in by mistake).
by baggervance » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:44 pm
It was a gully and I could see it through the 5 fingers I had in front of my face watchin Dave go across the arete
Probably Gardyloo because it comes really close to the path at the top
by ronofcam » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:52 pm
The gully you saw 'Red' disappear into is Observatory Gully.
Also, I know that some of the guidebooks (and this very site) state that doing the CMD arete is best approached by Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe via the tourist path, but I think this is a daft route. Firstly, you lose valuable height on the descent to the CIC hut from the lochan. Secondly, and most importantly, the route up onto CMD is an absolute dog, with a tedious 1500 foot of unremitting ascent: all the while your back to one of the best views in Scotland. By far the best route is to approach the hill from the north face car park at Torlundy. Walk up the Allt a' Mhuilinn until around this point (shown on the Google Earth screen-grab below).
No only does this route afford a much gentler and more pleasant ascent, it keeps the cliffs of the north face of the Ben visible throughout.
Before anyone cries, "Ah, but how do you get back to your start point?". Easy. On the descent of the horrible pony track, turn off right at the lochan (i.e. the route advised as part of the ascent). A new section of path has been constructed farther down the loch which takes you to the northernmost tip of it. From there, it's simply a matter of keeping the Allt Coire an Lochain on your right until you hit a track farther down. Retrace your steps back to the path and Bob's your uncle.
by ronofcam » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:56 pm
by baggervance » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:13 pm
I think the low snowfield could be the start of Gardyloo and/or Observation Gully.
I agree with your more interesting way of doing it and mentioned this to pollyh33 in one of my replies. There is in fact a track that breaks off from the one we took on the way up (looks fairly new) and keeps the lochan on your left and appears to disappear toward the North Car Park.
by ronofcam » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:37 pm
Gardyloo Gully runs off the top of Observatory Gully, by-the-way.
by maryhillmoose » Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:32 pm