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The Ben and CMD from Steall

The Ben and CMD from Steall


Postby LeithySuburbs » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:42 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete

Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis, Carn Mor Dearg

Date walked: 25/03/2012

Time taken: 7.8 hours

Distance: 12.8 km

Ascent: 1390m

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With such a great forecast, I had some decision making issues for this day out. So much so that I didn't finally make my mind up until about 3 hours into the walk :lol: .


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I "settled" on the Aonachs as I was a bit late in arriving at the carpark at the end of Glen Nevis and thought this would take about 7 hours.

Anyway, the weather was great as I set off up the Steall Gorge path to the always special Steall Falls and meadows.

Aonach Beag.jpg
Aonach Beag - the "target"

At the footbridge just before the ruins I turned north passing some lovely waterfalls to reach the vast open high valley of the Allt Coire Ghiuthsachan.

nice waterfall.jpg
nice waterfall and pool

Surrounded by the Aonachs on the right and Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg on the left, this was an awe inspiring place :) . The allt was just a trickle and - when I could - I had fun picking my way up the slabby river bed rather than following the damp path.

the Ben.jpg

I kept looking left to the ridge high above and my mind began to start thinking "what a day to do the CMD arete...". At the col between Aonach Mor and CMD, I felt I had enough time to do the bigger two so started up the steep slope to the summit of CMD.

hazy view back.jpg
hazy view back where I'd come from

There is a nice narrowing of the ridge on the final pull to the summit.

CMD summit.jpg
name of this anyone ?

approach to CMD summit.jpg
nice ridge

At the summit, the N face of BN and the arete were silhouetted against the late afternoon sun 8) .

CMD arete.jpg
think you all know what this is

After a short break, I was off along the arete. I can't add much to what has aready been written about it but it was terrific :D . I stuck pretty religiously to the apex, avoiding the bypass paths where I could. The scrambling was fun and not too exposed with so little breeze.

looking back to CMD.jpg
looking back to CMD

A final tough climb over boulders brought me to the summit of Britain at about 5:20pm with not a soul in sight (well, apart from 2 guys in the shelter who were staying the night).

Ben summit.jpg
what crowds ?

Ben summit 2.jpg

I considered descending the tourist path but that would have left a long road walk back to the car. Instead I opted to take the direct route down to the Bealach Cumhann then follow the Allt Garbh back to the Steall Gorge path.

long way down.jpg
long way down

This was a knee punishing descent of 1200m in just 2.7km and I stopped to rest my legs on a couple of occasions. This route would probably not be suitable in wet weather due to some steep parts but I took my time and zig-zagged where necessary.

last look at Ben.jpg
last look at the Ben

final rest at Bealach Cumhann.jpg
final rest at Bealach Cumhann

The final section along the Allt Garbh was attractive and had a few more humps and hollows to help ease the constant gradient. I was happy to be back at the path still in daylight and I sauntered the final 0.6km back to the car. What a day :D .

PS. I probably wouldn't recommend this laissez faire approach to hillwalking but this is a cracking way to make a circuit of these two giants if you don't mind a long steep descent.
Last edited by LeithySuburbs on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby tomyboy73 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:56 pm

well done, i like your style :lol:
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby malky_c » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:13 pm

LeithySuburbs wrote:I probably wouldn't recommend this laissez faire approach to hillwalking


I would. That's half of the fun :D

Great route. Have been looking at something similar myself, as I fancy that eastern ridge of CMD, but I would probably come down over the SW Carn Dearg and the Waterslide slab, as I haven't been there yet. Keep getting drawn back to the Ledge Route/ CMD arete combination though.

Top day and all the more impressive if you manage to get to the summit when it's practically vacant. Don't think that has ever happened for me.
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby yokehead » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:34 pm

A fine plan B, non standard routes often turn out to be the best! Belter of a report. :D
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby LeithySuburbs » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:34 pm

malky_c wrote:
LeithySuburbs wrote:I probably wouldn't recommend this laissez faire approach to hillwalking


I would. That's half of the fun :D


well, I agree but you know what I mean...
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby blueyed » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:36 pm

awesome pictures leithy :) and not a soul on the ben, dont believe you! :)
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby tamw51 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:00 pm

Looks a cracking day, i had these in ind for today but changed my mind last thing! Were all getting lucky with the weather, all be it im rather burnt!! :lol:
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby Malckyb » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:53 pm

Great report..looked a fab day. We are gonna do Ben Nevis via the cmd in may,really looking frwd to it.

How tough is it?..I have heard that the pull up to CMD is the worst part,so been working on my fitness and getting some bigger hills done in preparation.
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby Gavin99 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:02 pm

Lovely stuff :D
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby Bod » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:16 pm

Well impressed, like it loads!!! :D
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby Jock McJock » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:18 pm

Looks like a great day, intersesting route too. Got me thinking now...... :D
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby rockhopper » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:35 pm

A cracker of a day Leithy and an interesting route - didn't know you could descend that way. Amazing how quiet it was - lucky for you. Cheers :D
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby Johnny Corbett » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:37 am

Nice one Leithy. I plan to these two this year, not sure what route yet so allways good to another one. cheers :D
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby SusieThePensioner » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:02 am

Great report and interesting route! Some fabulous photos and wow, not many people around, how amazing :lol:
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Re: The Ben and CMD from Steall

Postby ronofcam » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:57 am

At last! Someone else who has the good sense to use the Bealach Cumhann ascent/descent. It is a nice steep, direct approach when using it from Glen Nevis, and saves a good deal of time if it's at a premium. I always use it when approaching the Aonachs from Glen Nevis, and am usually rewarded with a Golden Eagle or two. :)
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