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Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete


Postby 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: 1558m

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Well the weather report was favourable for Sunday the 12th as long as you were on the hills early. Dave and I decided to break away from the close at hand walks and go for a little excitement ~ Nevis via the CMD arete. I restricted my wine intake the night before to only 1 bottle as I would be picking Dave up at 6.00am :shock: :lol: . Checked the Audi's flux capacitor was in good working order and duly arrived in the visitor centre car park at 8.05am (on the 11th :lol: :lol: ) Suited and booted I was checking out the others about to make the ascent who had varying degrees of suitable attire (I think they forget it is the highest place in the UK). One (possibly German) couple were making several references to Dave and I and saying the word 'technical' whilst they donned their smart leather high street boots :shock: We started the walk across the bouncy bridge (lucky I have good sea legs or the wine was making a return!!) and then up the tourist path where we met and passed all sorts of 'climbers'. The weather was holding well, with only occasional clouds being low enough to skirt the tops we could see from the forrest. After a fairly steep slog up an excellent path of boulders (different story on the way down) you reach the final zig and zag before the half way lochan. At the junction it was amazing to see how many people were on the tourist track but Dave and I cut away to the left to make our way into Coire Leis. We were the only ones to do so ~ FANTASTIC :D As we made our way around The Ben ~ the views of the cliffs were amazing. We were finally far enough into the glen to see the CIC hut up in the distance. To our left there was a guy coming up from the North car park wearing either a bright red shirt and/or ruck sack ~ we called him Red :lol: We were on the high route but Red always managed to stay about 500mtrs ahead of us. He disappeared around the hut as we were making the final little climb. Dave and I found a couple of discreet spots to relieve ourselves of the litres of water and Luco Sport we had been taking on. We spotted Red making his way up toward 5 finger gully and we couldn't make out if he had climbing gear :shock: He seemed to pause every so often and look about including back to us at the hut as if he was unsure of the route.

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 :D :D 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. :D. 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 :lol:

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 :lol: 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 :lol: :lol:

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 :D

Oh - and we never did see where Red ended up ~ hope he was safe

cheers

BV
Attachments
IMG00090-20110612-0934.jpg
Path heading up by the burn
IMG00092-20110612-0938.jpg
Higher on the path with Stob Ban (I think) just peaking out over the edge of the slope
IMG00099-20110612-1032.jpg
The path up to the CIC hut from the half way lochan
IMG00100-20110612-1038.jpg
I think this might be CMD buttress on the North Face of the Ben
IMG00103-20110612-1140.jpg
I think this is 5 finger gully. The lowest small snow field is where we last saw Red
IMG00104-20110612-1140.jpg
You can just make out the CIC hut standing beside the cut of the burn
IMG00105-20110612-1140.jpg
View back out with our high path visible
IMG00109-20110612-1227.jpg
On CMD summit
IMG00110-20110612-1235.jpg
The start of the arete
IMG00111-20110612-1307.jpg
North face of The Ben - cool
IMG00112-20110612-1308.jpg
Dave on the edge!! You can see other walkers further back on the ridge line
IMG00113-20110612-1316.jpg
Dave getting ready for the next little 'pinnacle'
IMG00115-20110612-1326.jpg
Dave going along the edge of the Ledge - check the angle of the top path
IMG00118-20110612-1410.jpg
Look I'm top of the world Ma ~ well the UK at least
Last edited by baggervance on Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby MG1976 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:42 pm

Good Report BV, and some crackin' pictures as well.

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.
Martin
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby David.Ferguson » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:03 pm

Worst downhill ever,i have to agree.The route up the CMD is terrific though and we were lucky with the weather.Geez
it was cold on the top of the Ben.

David.


082.JPG
Jason at "the wee tricky bit" I had already hopped off to the safe path.The flat rock slopes away to the considerable drop.


070.JPG
Jason setting off on the arete.


057.JPG
looking back to the CIC hut on the ascent to CMD.Very steep.


088.JPG
from Ben summit looking down to the cic hut.
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby monty » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:03 pm

Great report baggervance. Very clear photos showing the route. Cheers :D
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby pollyh33 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:13 pm

This is such a fantastic report. Very detailed route and great photos too! I would so love to do this. I did the dreaded tourist route last year and it was chaotic! Only took 2.5 hrs going up but 3.5 hrs coming down because of the cast of thousands!

Thanks for putting in so much effort . :)
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby PeteR » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:09 pm

Great report of a great route. CMD and the arete is great fun isn't it :D Loved your pictures. The 'edge of the ledge' was about the time I had to drop down to safety as the wind was a tad too gusty when I was up there recently :shock: :lol:
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby baggervance » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:03 pm

Cheers MG1976. Your kid will need those Duracells just to get up the friggin slope to CMD :lol: Very tough

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?? :shock:

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 :lol:
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby Graeme D » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:19 pm

A brilliantly humorous and insightful report BV!

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???? :lol:
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby HighlandSC » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:28 pm

Great account of doing the arete 8)

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).
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby baggervance » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:44 pm

HighlandSC

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 :lol: :lol: :lol:

Probably Gardyloo because it comes really close to the path at the top

BV
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby ronofcam » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:52 pm

As HighlandSC says, Five Finger Gully is on the other side of the mountain, as per the below photograph. You can see it quite clearly to the right of the pony track:
Image

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).
Image
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.
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby ronofcam » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:56 pm

PS. I took the branch route past the lochan to pick the car up whilst my friends descended the pony track. By the time they had arrived at the Ben Nevis Inn I had picked the car up at Torlundy, driven to Glen Nevis and was half-way through my pint of cider. Admittedly I wasn't hanging about, but it was a 35 minute difference.
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby baggervance » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:13 pm

Thanks ronofcam.

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.
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby ronofcam » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:37 pm

Yes, that's the one that makes for the north end of the lochan. Unfortunately it stops there! There is a hint of a track that runs parallel with the stream, and it's decent enough.

Gardyloo Gully runs off the top of Observatory Gully, by-the-way.
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Re: Sauchiehall Street via the CMD arete

Postby maryhillmoose » Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:32 pm

Cracking pics and a really well written report, makes me want to do it again!
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