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Ledge Route & CMD Arete

Ledge Route & CMD Arete


Postby gman » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:04 pm

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

Date walked: 30/03/2016

Time taken: 7.8 hours

Distance: 18.5 km

Ascent: 1645m

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ledge cmd actual 2016.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



This is just a repeat of a walk & report I did last year so I was going to keep it private, but there's a bit more info on No 5 Gully & the gangway so it might be handy for anyone thinking about Ledge Route.

Had a fall last summer so repeated this to check fitness. Road to NF car park riddled with pot holes, path to CIC hut:
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Met a couple of guys walking in who planned Indicator Wall and another couple heading for Number 3 Gully, I thought gullies might be heavily corniced though. Number 5 Gully with 2 groups headed towards Ledge Route:
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Coire na Ciste
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Number 2 Gully, thought about descending Number 4 and going round for this but cornicing put me off.
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Number 5 Gully. There's a group at the start of the gully, take a right on a ledge soon after then up a ramp. Group getting to the top of the ramp at top right of pic.
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Getting to start of No.5.
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Roped climber on the ledge after No.5. There were 2 roped groups ahead of me here and I knew I'd be waiting ages so I continued up No.5 and took the next right exit which put me ahead of both groups.
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No.5 is infamous for avalanches and snowballs were rolling down towards me but it doesn't take long to get out of the gully. Ridge is after these blocks:
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Top of the ramp with prints where an earlier group had come up.
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Tower Ridge
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Easier ridge
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Large cornice at top of No.5
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Approach to the gangway, the prints head up an easy gully or you can go up the rocks on the left then take a tricky step down and along a narrow ledge with a steep drop on the other side. I went for option B since I had missed out the start of the route.
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The step down feels tricky as the snow was soft and there's a lot of exposure but it looks disappointingly harmless after you've done it.
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Alternate route up the gully
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Soft snow scramble onwards
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Gangway looks dramatic from the steep side as the easy approach is hidden.
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Rest of the route is easy
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2 groups I passed were now on the ridge.
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Went to top of Number 4 Gully. There was a fracture line/crevasse buried in snow behind the cornice. I could see a couple of holes where people had stepped in and I discovered it was at least waist deep.
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Looked like someone had been up with a rope but I didn't fancy descending it so just continued & did the arete.
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Number 4 dodgy cornice
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Walked round & joined pony track. Met icecream salesman thinking about doing 3 peaks. No free samples.
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Climber on Tower Ridge
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CMD
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Descent to arete
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CMD Arete
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Mamores
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North face from CMD descent. The upper part of Ledge Route is the ridge just out of the cloud in the middle of the pic.
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gman
 
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Re: Ledge Route & CMD Arete

Postby scottishkennyg » Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:38 pm

Cracking images gman..
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Re: Ledge Route & CMD Arete

Postby dav2930 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:37 pm

A combination that makes a lot of sense, giving a superb mountaineering circuit of the Ben. Brings back good memories of when I did the same, only starting from Glen Nevis YH, on Jan 16th 2000. I remember there was a huge amount of avalanche debris at the bottom of no.5 Gully - most I've ever seen in Scotland.

Great photos. :clap:
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Re: Ledge Route & CMD Arete

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:48 pm

Wow! Just looking at some of those cornices gives me the heebie jeebies. I love winter walking/scrambling, and lots of the pics look massively inviting.... except for the (perceived?) avalanche risk. If I have to die on a mountain, it'll be falling off, not buried under tons of snow - this I have vowed!

Am I the only one with high avalanche anxiety???
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Re: Ledge Route & CMD Arete

Postby Petr Dakota » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:40 am

Great !!! :thumbup:
That's the real Ben Nevis...and much better in winter 8)
Well done again :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Ledge Route & CMD Arete

Postby celt54321 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:21 am

Great pics,love the last one...i did this route in september,what a difference a few mounths make........maybe oneday :clap:
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Re: Ledge Route & CMD Arete

Postby gman » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:38 am

Alteknacker wrote:Am I the only one with high avalanche anxiety???


Definitely not, Number 5 Gully has a reputation for avalanches but if you're doing Ledge Route you cross it in a couple of minutes so you have a brief exposure (SAIS forecast was moderate). Old cornices tend to hang on till a thaw but I wouldn't fancy hacking through one, more experienced climbers would have no problem though. I usually have a plan B if things look or feel dodgy on the day.
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Re: Ledge Route & CMD Arete

Postby LeithySuburbs » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:59 pm

Lots of useful information here, cheers :thumbup:
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