CMD Arete & Ben Nevis, Alpine Style...?!
by dooterbang » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:25 pm
Route description: Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete
Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis, Carn Mor Dearg
Date walked: 30/03/2013
Time taken: 8.45 hours
Distance: 17 km
Ascent: 1555m25 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
The Easter weekend promised a windless blue skied sunshine laden affair so I hatched a plan to take in the CMD Arete & Ben Nevis.
This would be Kerri's 4th & 5th Munros and had the possibility of her wearing crampons along a narrow ridge for the 1st time. We had done Striding Edge, Tarmachan Ridge & Beinn Alligin these last few months but the snow was soft then, if any, apart from some ice we encountered and my guess the highest mountain in the UK would provide some sooper dooper crampon action .
Friday night was spent taking in some banter at the Glasgow Comedy Festival with Bruce Morton & his Greater Shawlands Republic but we still rose at 5.15am Saturday morning and left Glasgows West End 6am bound for The North Face Car Park at Torlundy arriving 8am and good to go at 8.30am.
As predicted the sun was very much shining , some cloud did occasionally block the topping up of the winter/spring/summer tan though
We headed SE for 6k, which was mainly all uphill, to reach Carn Mor Dearg. The views to the North Face of Ben Nevis stunning
Kerri enjoying the feel of crampons on her feet and ice axe in hand
CMD Arete to my left (your right).
The snow was compact and hard above 600M and was perfect for crampon use.
Nearing the summit of CMD we witnessed the MR helicopter attend a call for help from what I believe is Tower Ridge. I'm hoping all was well and that the use of a flare from those requiring help indicated no casualties.
After 4 hours we eventually arrived at the summit of CMD to be presented by the most amazing views in all directions but particularly South to the Mamore Range and beyond
At the Summit of CMD an Englishman, a Pole and a Czech girl (sorry, can't think of a joke) arrived shortly afterwards and would also be doing the Arete which now lay ahead of us.
The Arete looked razor edged with boulders protruding above the snowline...we set off with excitement and fear
After a few awkward moves I stopped to think if this was safe for Kerri who only had minimal ridge, snow, crampon & ice axe experience. I asked her how she felt and the reply was assured so knowing that she handled previous ridges we moved on. By this time we had let the Euro group ahead of us which was handy as we could follow them and see how they handled any tricky moves.
A better perspective....
The Arete turned out to be fantastic fun. I wouldn't have felt that safe if the snow had been softer though. On 2 occasions we had to use our hands and clamber over the top of some icy boulders but apart from that it was fine. You do require a head for heights and good balance as the exposure on either side could unsettle you.
Nearing the end of the Arete we witnessed some crazy dude gliding/parachuting in what looked like his bivvy sack
We now had a 200M climb to the summit of the highest mountain in the UK. The snow was again compact and perfect for crampons and ice axe. Without an ice axe and crampons a punishing fall into Glen Nevis would be the probable outcome as you required these to reach the summit.
I loved this section of the walk/climb due to the physical challenge, stunning views and sense of adventure.
Just before the top I waited on Kerri as she was not far behind, due to the steepness I had to stand as sitting would be dangerous . Kerri admitted this section was difficult. She's fit but she's not hill fit yet
After 6 hours we finally reach the summit of Ben Nevis - check out the view
Time for a pose...
The snow covered observatory shelter
We found a quiet spot after reaching the summit and had a bite to eat before descending to the half way lochan. We took a fun route down coire na h-urchaire which found us sliding down on our backsides for a few hundred metres - big smiles all around
At the half way lochan head North for 4K back to the car park. I followed the Allte a Choire Dhuibh which was snow covered and made the walk more pleasant. It was only the final 1.5K through the woodlands that hurt the old legs, the joys of 4 season boots !!
On route home we stopped at the Clachaig Inn for food and a beer. Was delighted to find the veggie option was a tasty puy lentil pie with puff pastry
In Alpine like conditions this walk is simply superb and I recommend if you haven't yet experienced it then to think about giving it a go...when the weather is kind. It's equally fun in summer time to without the snow.
Thanks to Kerri for joining me on such a wonderful day, we truly are blessed
by mrssanta » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:33 pm
by mountainstar » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:54 pm
Really WOW!!! Photo's as usual, you have the knack of finding great weather
I love the Nicolas Cage Hollywood CGI snow explosion behind you that you got your movie mates to create on the Summit
by mountain thyme » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:09 pm
If you were as fit as me you could have done it the way i did and add in the aonachs and the grey corries beforehand
by Gable Gable End » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:16 pm
by Malckyb » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:11 pm
by scottishkennyg » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:06 pm
by Johnny Corbett » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:54 am
The CMD arete is way too scary for me, I know I'll never be up there so it's good of you to show me what it looks like
That first photo would win the monthly comp no problem
by BlackPanther » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:58 am
Seriously, what an Easter we had this year - made up for the dodgy March days...We had four days off, four days spent hillwalking, scrambling up snowy slopes, enjoying the sunshine.
CMD Arere looks great in white I did The Ben from the "lazy" side, before I was confident enough to even try any scrambling. Have to come back and complete the traverse.
by malky_c » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:17 am
I've slid down some remaining snow in the Red Burn before, but never had proper winter conditions on the arete.
by The Rodmiester » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:11 am
by jenniferc6 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:13 pm
by Bod » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:40 pm