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Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!

Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!


Postby Mickey Dee » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:08 am

Munros included on this walk: Carn Mor Dearg

Date walked: 13/06/2013

Time taken: 12.5 hours

Distance: 12.6 km

Ascent: 1361m

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Hi all! First post and report so here goes!!!

I decided a while back that I wanted to tackle Ben Nevis and after a quick chat with my usual 'walking buddy' decided that the only way up was via CMD and its Arete.
Not long after that my walking buddy decided to ditch me for the bright lights of the United States, leaving me with a decision...do it alone or find someone else!
My sister had been on at me for a while to take her walking so I swiftly recruited her and set the date for the following Thursday (hoping to avoid the inevitable rush to the top).
Thursday arrived very quickly and at 6am off we set for Fort William. 3 long hours later and we were parked at the Glen Nevis youth hostel ready to rock!
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9am- And we are off!


We had already decided our route to CMD would be via the tourist path to the half way Lochan then left at the crossroads.
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5 minutes in on the 'tourist path'

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Our view back down the glen

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The 'tourist path', which I must say is in sh*t state after being massively over used!

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Katie (After her second wind :lol:)

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Looking back down the glen - Also my new Facebook picture :D

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The half way point, and time for lunch!

The cloud was coming in thick and fast near the summit of the Ben that we half changed our mind to continue up with the tourists. But after sitting down for lunch and a chat with some fellow walkers we decided to go for it (silly us)!

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Customary daft poses!

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Coming round Castle Ridge and our first glimpse of the Ben's mighty North Face!

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First view of CMD

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CIC hut and the beginning of our ascent of Carn Mor Dearg

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The Arete

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Fort William from about 3 quarters of the way up CMD

The plan for the day was going swimmingly until this point. The cloud had lifted, we were making good time and definitely enjoying the scenery!
Then it all went pear shaped...Beautiful Scotland became dangerous Scotland...
Huge cloud and fog banks swept in across us, the wind became insanely powerful and we lost the ability to communicate properly due to the noise. We sat for 5 and decided to press on to the summit of CMD.

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The lone man on Carn Mor Dearg summit

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The ridge under fog

At this point I realised I was genuinely scared! So was Katie!
We had 3 choices...
1. Carry on along the Arete to Ben Nevis and hope we dont get blown off!
2. Sit tight and either wait for it to pass or end up getting airlifted off!
3. Try and make our way back down the surface of Mars (Carn Mor Dearg)!

We decided to carry on. Hand in hand we started off along the ridge.
After literally 50 steps we realised it was a stupid decision and decided to get to lower ground.
Coming down from CMD was not an experience I would like to repeat. Climbing it is hard enough, coming down was mental!
As you can imagine I have no photos of the actual descent as I was more worried about making it down in one piece.

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The way back out after the descent

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Back on the tourist path! Cold and VERY tired!

The way back to the hostel was slow and tiring. Katie had twisted her ankle on the way down CMD but didn't tell me till we hit the track.
We had left Fordoun at 6am and got back to the car at 9:30pm, with a further 3 hour drive ahead!

Our day out in one sense had been a nightmare, but in another a thouroghly enjoyable day out that I learned many lessons on!

So there was my first report, but certainly not my last...The Scottish weather may have beaten us this time but I can assure you 'Mr Ben'...You have not seen the last of me!!!!

Mic
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Mickey Dee
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Re: Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!

Postby Gable Gable End » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:38 am

Welcome aboard my good man.

Good to see and hear the story without numerous pints down the hatch.

A good decision and she will be there for that crisp blue sky day.

I'll take ye to the hills in Austin in October!
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Re: Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!

Postby jwramsay » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:57 am

100% correct decision.

The mountains will always be there and next time you'll get the views too!
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Re: Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!

Postby jmarkb » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:41 am

Oof! :o That was always going to be a big ask for a relative beginner: hope you haven't put your sister off too badly! When you go back, I'd recommend starting from the North Face car park instead: this means you can head up to the end of the ridge (Carn Beag Dearg) and avoid the steep boulders above the hut.
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Re: Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!

Postby Mickey Dee » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:20 am

jmarkb wrote:I'd recommend starting from the North Face car park instead


My exact thoughts as we were coming down :wink:
And my sister was a bit nervy but ready to try again after a few more Munros closer to home!

Mic
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Mickey Dee
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Re: Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!

Postby jmarkb » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:46 am

Mickey Dee wrote:And my sister was a bit nervy but ready to try again after a few more Munros closer to home!


Great: hope you have some good days out together!
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Re: Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!

Postby Mickey Dee » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:08 pm

Gable Gable End wrote:I'll take ye to the hills in Austin in October!


I'll hold you to that one mate :wink:

Mic
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Mickey Dee
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Re: Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!

Postby Meatball » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:02 pm

I may do those hills again in September, if y'all are keen?
I think that's when Del said we were going....
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Re: Ben Nevis - An Arete Too Far!

Postby Mickey Dee » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:46 pm

Forgot to post this pic after the trip...
Found this on the way back to the tourist path near Castle Ridge, spotted the face in the mud from about 50 metres away!
Image

Mic
:D
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Mickey Dee
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