walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete


Postby Silverhill » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:23 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete

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

Date walked: 31/05/2014

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 17.1 km

Ascent: 1544m

5 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).


CMD arete, Ben Nevis.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Day two of my holiday.
Last year I failed to reach Ben Nevis twice in one day, first via the Carn Mor Dearg arête, then via the tourist path. Admittedly, the second attempt was a tad unrealistic (though valiant) given a self-imposed curfew and self-inflicted lack of sustenance. I had taken away two things from that trip. One: do not forget to eat. Two: do not go up from the CIC hut again.

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=41537

So, today was the day to redeem myself and the weather was much better for it. Hurrah! I parked at the North Face car park at Torlundy. There were two other cars, but I had no illusions that it was going to be a quiet day. The route to the Allt a’ Mhuilinn is very well signposted, the path is in excellent condition and the woodland is very pretty. There are some strategically placed benches, so one can leisurely enjoy the views towards Loch Eil and beyond. I’m sure I could have spend a few pleasant hours just wandering in the wood, where it not for today’s mission. I must return another time.

038 smaller.jpg
Lovely woodland walk

043 smaller.jpg
View over Loch Linnhe

Nearly out of the wood, this was the view!

045 smaller.jpg
First glimpse of the Ben

I wasn’t worried about the cloud, the sun would most likely burn it off. It was going to be a good day! :D
Past the stile the path continued to be in good condition. Just as I was wondering when would be an opportune moment to leave the path, I spotted a small cairn and a faint trail striking off to the left. It was a bit boggy, but the path does improve higher up. When I looked back for the views, whilst munching a snack, 4 groups of other walkers had appeared. Two had followed me, two continued along the Allt a’ Mhuilinn. And someone was already coming down the hill, at 10.30am! I had a chat with the guy when our paths crossed. He had slept on the CMD arête to watch the sun rise! On a stretch of the bypass path which was of sleeping mat width! He confessed that he hadn’t slept that well….

048 smaller.jpg
Ascent off the beaten track

Onwards. Once away from the bog the path kept to the west of the ridge, clinging to the slope, then zigzagging across scree more directly to Carn Dearg Meadhonach. This route isn’t a freewheeling alternative to the one from the CIC hut. It’s still a slog but a much more pleasant one, helped by the great views towards Ben Nevis!

049 smaller.jpg
Ben Nevis!

057 smaller.jpg
Stony ascent up the flanks

From Carn Dearg Meadhonach the hard work was over. This was familiar territory. I recognised its east ridge, but without last year’s mist it looked much less convincingly like the back of a giant Stegosaurus. Only a short walk to Carn Mor Dearg. Anticipation building. Drum rolls. Trumpets. Ta da! 8)

074 smaller.jpg
The arete!

Of course the arête and Ben Nevis stole the show, but the views towards the Aonachs and the Mamores were equally great.

072 smaller.jpg
The east Mamores

A few sandwiches, a chat with the other walkers on the summit and let the fun begin.

077 smaller.jpg
Fun, fun, fun!

First slowly and carefully, but soon faster and more confidently I made my way down to the arête. And before I knew it I was hopping from rock to rock, surprised at my sure-footedness. Every year I’m intrigued by this phenomenon of ‘ongoing conditioning whilst absent from the hills’: for 50 weeks per year I’m not out walking in the hills on rough terrain, yet the moment I set foot on one, it feels like yesterday and I seem to have become better at it.

089 smaller.jpg
Others having fun too!

The CMD arête was fantastic. I made a point of sticking to the crest of the ridge, which was wider than expected, rather than going along the bypass path. It was never scary or exposed. There were frequent stops to enjoy the views and take pictures of the people behind me on the arete. Also, I didn’t want it to end! I waited for a few people to catch up. Had a chat with them. Walked. Took more pictures. Walked. Had a snack. Any opportunity to dawdle….

095 smaller.jpg
More fun!

096 smaller.jpg
Looking back towards Carn Mor Dearg

097 smaller.jpg
The arete towards Ben Nevis

Just before the arête merges with the slopes of Ben Nevis, the rocks got too big for hopping, but were perfect for some easy scrambling. I was definitely going to make the most of the arête! At the marker post for the route down Coire Leis I spent some time chatting to the guys who had caught up on me earlier. Again dawdling, looking back along the arête and the walkers on it.

107 smaller.jpg
Aonach Beag

106 smaller.jpg
The arete and Aonach Mor

Sadly all good things come to an end and it was time for the final pull up Ben Nevis to a completely different world.

109 smaller.jpg
Summit Ben Nevis

On the summit I chatted with a few people, took their pictures and ate a few more sandwiches. Then I walked towards the North East Buttress to have one last look at the CMD arête. A few climbers had just come up. I had a chat with them and took their pictures.

123 smaller.jpg
Climbers on their way up

Alas, it was time for the descent via the tourist path.

130 smaller.jpg
A rest on the way up

At Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe I left the masses behind and followed the path north, past the lochan straight down the slope towards the Allt a’ Mhuilinn. Further down, roughly were the posts are, there is a faint vehicle track, which I followed on and off. It appeared that the track was going to become more substantial closer to the river. This fed my hope that it would cross the Allt a’ Mhuilinn at a ford. Which it did. Even better, the water was low and there were stepping stones. No need to take the boots off!

One last look at Ben Nevis and then through the lovely wood back to the car.
I’m so glad my attempts last year failed. What a great day, well worth the wait! :D

134 smaller.jpg
One last look
Last edited by Silverhill on Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Silverhill
 
Posts: 1243
Munros:279   Corbetts:3
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby gammy leg walker » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:40 pm

Cracking TR silverhill still got CMD to do but not sure I will ever set foot on the Ben again
User avatar
gammy leg walker
Walker
 
Posts: 3151
Munros:241   Corbetts:7
Grahams:3   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Jan 30, 2010
Location: Central Region

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby simon-b » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:53 pm

I'm glad it all worked out so well in the end, silverhill. That definitely did look a much better day than you'd have had if your first attempt had succeeded. Your route looks a nice alternative to doing that round from the visitor centre.
User avatar
simon-b
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1893
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
Grahams:7   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:156
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby SecretSquirrel » Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:29 pm

Well done on returning and conquering the arete, it looked a great day. I've still got these to do, so its good to see an alternative route up to CMD.
User avatar
SecretSquirrel
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 418
Munros:124   Corbetts:26
Grahams:24   Donalds:76
Sub 2000:10   
Joined: Jul 2, 2012
Location: Hamilton

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby tommyatr » Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:48 pm

Cracking report and pics.always enjoy reading reports and looking at the pics in anticipation of doing this.

Probably the one I want to do most but will be on a perfect day.
tommyatr
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 159
Munros:198   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:21
Sub 2000:5   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:10   
Joined: Sep 24, 2013
Location: Dalry. North Ayrshire

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby chompish » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:26 am

We took the same route up CMD but bivvy'd just before you hit the scree area.

A cracking walk :D
User avatar
chompish
Walker
 
Posts: 80
Munros:9   Corbetts:1
Sub 2000:7   
Joined: Jun 25, 2013
Location: Perth

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby Silverhill » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:22 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Cracking TR silverhill still got CMD to do but not sure I will ever set foot on the Ben again

Thanks gammy leg walker! I hope you get an equally good day for Carn Mor Dearg, so that at least you can enjoy the views towards Ben Nevis. :D

simon-b wrote:I'm glad it all worked out so well in the end, silverhill. That definitely did look a much better day than you'd have had if your first attempt had succeeded. Your route looks a nice alternative to doing that round from the visitor centre.

Thanks simon-b, it was definitely worth the wait! I did enjoy the tourist path last year (on the way up that is), but the ascent from the CIC hut was just horrendous. So yes, this was the perfect alternative! :D

SecretSquirrel wrote:Well done on returning and conquering the arete, it looked a great day. I've still got these to do, so its good to see an alternative route up to CMD.

Thanks SecretSquirrel! After last year’s failed attempts it was getting personal. :lol: I hope you’ll get a good day for them too!

tommyatr wrote:Cracking report and pics.always enjoy reading reports and looking at the pics in anticipation of doing this. Probably the one I want to do most but will be on a perfect day.

Thanks tommyatr! Definitely save it for a good day! I also enjoy reading reports as appetizers. It’s a great way to survive 50 weeks of non hill bagging. :D

chompish wrote:We took the same route up CMD but bivvy'd just before you hit the scree area. A cracking walk :D

It is chompish! :D I wondered how you’d got on with your bivvy on CMD arête, after reading your topic on the general discussion forum.
User avatar
Silverhill
 
Posts: 1243
Munros:279   Corbetts:3
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:34 pm

Thanks for this - I hoping to do this route next year, unless I can think of a good reason to chicken out :lol: :lol: , your report is really encouraging. Love the photos of the arete.
User avatar
Huff_n_Puff
Walker
 
Posts: 884
Munros:231   Corbetts:15
Grahams:8   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:18   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Apr 13, 2012

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby Sarah86 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:57 am

Wonderful report and you must be delighted to have completed the route after last year. Looks like you were rewarded with great views from the summit.
User avatar
Sarah86
Walker
 
Posts: 572
Munros:13   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:20   
Joined: Aug 29, 2011

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:57 pm

Great read and photos. Well done, you, for going back and finishing it. If I ever do this I'll use your route!
User avatar
AnnieMacD
Walker
 
Posts: 789
Munros:25   Corbetts:15
Grahams:13   
Sub 2000:8   
Joined: Jun 25, 2013
Location: Applecross

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby Silverhill » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:04 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Thanks for this - I hoping to do this route next year, unless I can think of a good reason to chicken out :lol: :lol: , your report is really encouraging. Love the photos of the arete.

Thanks Huff_n_Puff! If you were willing to do the Forcan Ridge, then you won’t have any problems with the arête. There is no need for scrambling and there is always the option of the bypass path where the arête narrows. Enjoy! :D

Sarah86 wrote:Wonderful report and you must be delighted to have completed the route after last year. Looks like you were rewarded with great views from the summit.

Thanks Sarah86! I had been looking forward to doing the arête for a long time and I loved every bit of it. :D

AnnieMacD wrote:Great read and photos. Well done, you, for going back and finishing it. If I ever do this I'll use your route!

Thanks AnnieMacD! It had become a bit of a mission after last year’s attempt. Strangely enough once on the arête I didn’t really want to finish it. Apparently what they say about having your cake and eat it, goes for an arête traverse as well. :lol: But there is always the next time! I hope you get a good day too!
User avatar
Silverhill
 
Posts: 1243
Munros:279   Corbetts:3
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:11 pm

Third time luck - that looked most enjoyable and well worth the wait.
Great photos and the views are so clear - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6183
Munros:282   Corbetts:186
Grahams:58   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby Silverhill » Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:27 pm

rockhopper wrote:Third time luck - that looked most enjoyable and well worth the wait.
Great photos and the views are so clear - cheers :)

Thanks rockhopper! Yes well worth the wait. I felt very lucky to also get the views! :D
User avatar
Silverhill
 
Posts: 1243
Munros:279   Corbetts:3
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:28 pm

Great stuff. I never did the ridge as i did these two as single Munros but will get round to doing it at some point. :D
User avatar
Johnny Corbett
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 2928
Munros:18   Corbetts:204
Grahams:159   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:264   Hewitts:1
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Livingston

Re: Ha! Ben Nevis via the CMD arete

Postby Silverhill » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:06 pm

Thanks Johnny Corbett! The arête is well worth a trip on its own! 8)
User avatar
Silverhill
 
Posts: 1243
Munros:279   Corbetts:3
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

5 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).
Next



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mikebeattie1 and 38 guests