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CMD and the Ben (with views)

CMD and the Ben (with views)


Postby mountainsofscotland » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:04 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete

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

Date walked: 02/10/2015

Time taken: 8.6 hours

Distance: 18.4 km

Ascent: 1575m

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I set off from home early yesterday morning with a view to ascending Bidean nam Bian in Glen Coe. However, on driving past Ben Nevis it looked so amazingly good that I abandoned all plans for Bidean in favour of an ascent of 'The Ben'. Having ascended the Ben four times previously, and not as yet had a view from the summit, perhaps this would be fifth time lucky.

I first ascended Ben Nevis in 1991, up and down the tourist path. Again in 1997, I went up and down the tourist path. However, in 2002 and 2010 I ascended the Ben via Carn Mor Dearg and the arete. There is simply no comparison between the CMD arete approach and the tourist path. The approach via the arete is infinitely better. I therefore parked in the North Face car park at Torlundy for a third ascent via Carn Mor Dearg and the arete.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

While getting suited and booted in the car park, I got chatting with a man who was just back from soloing Tower Ridge and bivying out. I would love to ascend Tower Ridge some day but no way would I ascend it unroped on my own. Respect!

I didn't bother taking any photos during the initial ascent through the forest. The track here is significantly better than it used to be. I recall stumbling my way up a much poorer track many years ago whilst carrying a crate of beer up to the CIC hut.

Once out of the forest, I took the first of numerous photos looking back towards Loch Eil and Corpach. It is always a pleasure to see cloud inversion below.

View towards Corpach and Meall an t-Slamain from Allt a' Mhuillin track:
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I found it quite difficult taking photos during this walk without getting lots of lens flare. For much of the walk I was walking directly into the sun.

First views of the Ben from the Allt a' Mhuillin track:
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Looking back to Loch Eil and the Ardgour/Glenfinnan hills beyond:
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The Allt a' Mhuillin track heading up towards the CIC hut is excellent. The track ascending Carn Mor Dearg is not. I had thought about wearing trail shoes for this walk but was glad I opted for boots given the mudfest ascent of the lower slopes of Carn Mor Dearg.

The North Face of Ben Nevis during ascent of Carn Mor Dearg:
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Ascending Carn Mor Dearg:
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I spent a fair bit of time during the ascent looking across to the North Face ridges trying to spot any scramblers/climbers. I couldn't see any. During the entire walk, I could only see three other parties ascending via Carn Mor Dearg and on reaching the summit of the Ben, there were less than a dozen people up there. I expected these hills to be much busier given the outstanding weather. I was not however complaining having these hills mostly to myself for the day 8) .

The North Face of Ben Nevis during ascent of Carn Mor Dearg:
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Nice inversion above Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil:
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Looking across to Observatory Ridge and Tower Ridge:
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On passing a burn on Carn Beag Dearg, I made the mistake of not drinking all my water and refilling as there are no further water sources until about half-way down the Ben.

Looking back to Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe and Meall an t-Suidhe:
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Fantastic views during ascent of Carn Mor Dearg:
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Ben Nevis North Face during ascent of Carn Mor Dearg:
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As I approached Carn Dearg Mheadhonach, a Munro top of Carn Mor Dearg, I also began to get outstanding views to the East.

Lovely views from just below summit of Carn Dearg Meadhonach:
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Lovely views from just below summit of Carn Dearg Meadhonach (zoom):
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I stopped briefly at the summit of Carn Dearg Mheadhonach for a drink and to admire the views across to the Aonachs.

At the summit of Carn Dearg Meadhonach:
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Heading for the summit of Carn Mor Dearg:
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The North Face was now looking awesome. I was having a great day but an ascent via Tower Ridge would have been even better!

North Face of Ben Nevis from Carn Mor Dearg:
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I again stopped for a break at the summit of Carn Mor Dearg; I was in no hurry and wanted to savour the views.

This was my fourth ascent of Carn Mor Dearg; my third ascent with the Ben and one previous ascent with the Aonachs.

While sitting at the summit, I thought of a couple of friends who recently did the Tranter Round taking in all the Mamores, the Grey Corries, the Aonachs, Carn Mor Dearg and the Ben in a day. >6000m of ascent; complete madness!

View from Carn Mor Dearg summit:
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View from Carn Mor Dearg summit:
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From Carn Mor Dearg, I made my way down to the start of the arete. I put away my poles and put my bulky DSLR into the rucksack instead using my iPhone to take photos whilst on the arete.

Onto the Carn Mor Dearg arete:
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North Face of Ben Nevis from the Carn Mor Dearg arete:
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The scrambling on the arete is very straight-forward. Sections of scrambling can be avoided by following by-pass paths a few feet below the ridge. There is however a sizeable drop in places so care is required as there is definite death-fall potential.

Traversing the arete:
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The final section of arete and following ascent to the top of the Ben:
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Looking back along the Carn Mor Dearg arete:
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On the Carn Mor Dearg arete:
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On the Carn Mor Dearg arete:
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On reaching the end of the arete, I got my poles and DSLR back out after having a wee rest at the cairn.

Beyond the arete, lots of boulders ahead:
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Looking back at the Carn Mor Dearg arete with the Aonachs beyond:
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The final ascent up the Ben is via lots of boulders. I have yet to find a path, probably because there isn't one.

Final ascent up the Ben:
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On reaching the summit plateau, it was great to see the old observatory, previously seen only in mist.

Old observatory on Ben Nevis:
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The view out to the Cuillin on Skye was superb. While I was loving my ascent of the Ben, I was a touch envious of anyone on the Cuillin ridge.

The Skye Cuillin from the summit of Ben Nevis:
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View from the summit of Ben Nevis:
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Old observatory from the summit of Ben Nevis:
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View from the summit of Ben Nevis:
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View from the summit of Ben Nevis:
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After taking a number of photos from the summit trig point, I began my descent via the tourist path.

Looking back to the summit and old observatory:
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During the descent, I stopped numerous times to take photos of the wonderful cloud inversion below. It was now mid-afternoon and the inversion below hadn't lifted.

Wonderful view during the descent from Ben Nevis:
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Blanket inversion to the South-West:
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The tourist path was the worst part of the day. It is a necessary evil given the hordes that normally ascend the Ben. It had been my intention to also ascend the two Carn Dearg's (Munro Tops) however I was feeling the heat and was out of water, so decided to leave them for a future ascent.

Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe and Meall an t-Suidhe during descent:
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On reaching Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, I followed a faint path running alongside the Allt Coire an Lochain which took my back to the Allt a' Mhuillin track.

Carn Dearg on skirting back round to the Allt a' Mhuillin track:
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On reaching the Allt a' Mhuillin track, I followed it back down to the North Face car park.

A stunning day out, seeing the Ben at its best :).
Last edited by mountainsofscotland on Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby Chris Mac » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:19 pm

Absolutely stunning photos!!! :clap: :clap: A great walk report too as I felt like I joined you on it there, all of the major "bits" of the walk covered and what a view of the Cuillin ridge, breathtaking!! (in fact the views all around, wow!!)

Hopefully some other peeps were up there at the same time and will post similar photos from Skye looking back towards Nevis! :D
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby roscoT » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:54 pm

YES :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby mountainsofscotland » Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:54 pm

Thanks Chris Mac and roscoT
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby teaandpies » Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:04 pm

roscoT wrote:YES :clap: :clap: :clap:



What he said :lol:
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby hopper68 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:24 pm

Nice one, some cracking views there today. :D :D
I was on Ben Ime and Ben Vane took much cloud through out the day. :(
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby dav2930 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:41 pm

What a stunner of a day. Great to see such clear views of the Ben's awesome north face. And that's an amazing shot of the Skye Cuillin! :shock: :clap:

Tower Ridge next time then?
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby mamoset » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:45 pm

Simply wonderful :clap: You lucky man, that must have been a treat.
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby Collaciotach » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:39 pm

Some grand photos there a bhalaich :clap:

I suppose this is a local for me should really pay her more attention :wink:
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby mountainsofscotland » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:09 pm

Thanks Collaciotach, mamoset, dav2930, hopper68 and teaandpies.
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby dogplodder » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:22 pm

Mouth-wateringly good! :D
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby maxie23 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:44 pm

:shock:
What a wonderful set of pictures
Really brought the climb to life.
:)
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby ciderpeter » Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:54 pm

I am in the process of writing up a report for the same walk from Sunday, not quite as good as yours... but still beautiful :) Here is a sneak peak of Todd leading us out over the ridge :)

Image

Incidentally, I avoided the tourist route on the way down by heading off to the Munro Top (Carn Dearg??) - there are then the makings of a path over the rocks down to the lochan, skirting around the top of the Castle. Not to be recommended in bad weather!!
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Re: CMD and the Ben (with views)

Postby dooterbang » Sun Oct 04, 2015 7:58 pm

A great ridge, and a nice way to the Ben for us that don't climb :) . Fantastic photos! What a day to be out!! Cheers.
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