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CMD Arete

CMD Arete

Postby yellowbelly » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:45 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete

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

Date walked: 09/07/2013

Time taken: 8.25 hours

Distance: 16.2 km

Ascent: 1604m

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Mrs Y bought me a surprise birthday present in May, a voucher for a guided walk on the CMD arête on July 9th. I therefore hoped that the weather would not be cold, wet, windy or too cloudy. I needn't have worried - it was one of the hottest days of the year :lol:

So at 8:30am I met up with Mike Pescod of Abacus Mountaineering and we set off from the North Face car park.

This is the approximate route we took.

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Up through the forest and out again and through the fence where the first view of the route ahead appears.

The route ascends over the lower slopes of Carn Beag Dearg on a thin path and as height is gained the half-way lochan comes in to view on the right.
Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe

More views of the Ben as the cloud descends for a while.


Finally as we gain more height, the clouds lift and a superb view of the Ben's North face appears.


A stream crossing our path was used to refill an already empty water bottle.

We skirt around the top of Carn Dearg Meadhonach and finally the summit of Carn Mor Dearg appears ahead.

As we reach the top, the wind rises and cools us off so it's time to put on a windproof and have a bite to eat. The cloud is blown into a vortex as it swirls over the arête.
Lunch time on summit of CMD

The clouds then lift as two others ahead of us start their crossing of the arête and a good view of what lies ahead is revealed.

Time to crack on with it and Mike says we'll stick to the crest unless I say otherwise. So that's what we did and I found it most enjoyable following him a few steps behind. Only a couple of inelegant moves by me on the big blocks which were dry and provided plenty of grip. Just one or two places where it was best not to look down but concentrate on the next two or three moves and foot placements whilst keeping balanced.
Looking back after the first section of ridge

Further on at the lowest part of the ridge

At the half-way point we stopped and got a super view right down the Allt a' Mhuilinn.

To the left looking South, lots of hills too numerous to name (you'll know what they all are, cos I can't be sure :lol: )


Schiehallion on the horizon
Looking back along the arete

Mike as we reach the foot of the final slope to the Ben's summit
Steall Falls down below

The new Coire Leis cairn

So it was now time for the final push up the steep bouldery slopes and occasional path to the summit. With the sun beating down the "15 minutes to the top" promise seemed to take for ever. Several stops were required by me in order to take in more water and it came as a relief to emerge into low cloud and a cooling breeze on the top.
After only seeing 4 or 5 people on our route, there were now more like 100 on the summit plateau. We sat on some flat rocks near the edge, put on windproofs again and had another food stop.
"All by myself" pose

Then it was time to follow everyone else down the zigzags and pass another 100 or so coming up. The water flowing in the Red Burn was very welcome and I refilled another water bottle and soaked my buff to cool my neck.
Leaving the tourist path, we skirted the half-way lochan then branched off right across country on a steady downhill plod with nobody else in sight.
Looking back at our route

There only remained the crossing of the Allt a' Mhuilinn, either by wading or using the slender 3" wide girder above a small waterfall at the forest fence as we did.
A final look back from the forest road

The last downhill forest path seemed to go on forever with tired legs and sore feet in the heat and I was glad to get back to the car at 5pm.
All in all a superb day's walk which I thoroughly enjoyed - even the hot weather wasn't a real problem :lol:
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Re: CMD Arete

Postby ScottishLeaf » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:57 pm

Superb, really enjoyed reading that. :clap:
Really looking forward to doing this route at some point.
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Re: CMD Arete

Postby GillC » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:01 pm

Fantastic,,,, great to see it without the snow covering it had for us last May, ( the trig point was at ground level with about 6ft of snow) Would love to do this again in your conditions and without the oh so painful descent lol Well done and what a fab present, :clap:
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Re: CMD Arete

Postby PeteR » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:55 am

Excellent report and photos of a great walk :D You had a great day for it, that's for sure 8)

Loved doing the ridge. Quite fancy a return in winter conditions :D
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Re: CMD Arete

Postby tina bonar » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:54 pm

Well done Hugh,looks like you had a great day.Colleen and i had the route to ourselves last year only to clamber over the boulderfield in the mist to be greeted by a couple of busloads of people.Very satisfying knowing you have seen The Ben at its best
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Re: CMD Arete

Postby laconic surf » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:14 pm

What a great present Hugh :D
Looks like you had a great day. I was trying to see if i could see myself on your photo of the Steall Falls but can't quite pick myself out - was probably hunched over huffing and puffing :lol:
Like I said in my report, I've got this route on my radar but will wait until the Ben quietens down a bit, will probably head up september/october time
Great report, well done 8)
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Re: CMD Arete

Postby yellowbelly » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:44 pm

Thanks for your kind words ScottishLeaf, GillC and PeteR. Glad you enjoyed the photos and walk report.

Cheers Barrie. Yeah it's a bit weird when you see nobody for about 5 hours, then you see loads on the top. Some stylish tourists mind - French youths with just their manbags - really cool - and still smell good too :shock: , unlike myself :lol:

Thanks Luc. It was a good day to keep stopping for lots of photos with the added bonus of grabbing a swig of water wasn't it? I'm sure you now know the names of all those hills I couldn't identify. You'll enjoy this walk - keep to the crest as much as possible and avoid the bypass paths for maximum buzz.
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Re: CMD Arete

Postby dtr42 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:53 pm

French youths with just their manbags - really cool - and still smell good too :shock: , never sniffed anyone on the top of a hill , will see if i can get a snifter next munro i'm on :D i shall report back . nice report and looked like a great day out with or without smelly pits :wink:
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