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Ledge Route & CMD Arete
by 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: 1645m5 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).
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:
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:
Coire na Ciste
Number 2 Gully, thought about descending Number 4 and going round for this but cornicing put me off.
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.
Getting to start of No.5.
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.
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:
Top of the ramp with prints where an earlier group had come up.
Large cornice at top of No.5
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.
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.
Alternate route up the gully
Soft snow scramble onwards
Gangway looks dramatic from the steep side as the easy approach is hidden.
Rest of the route is easy
2 groups I passed were now on the ridge.
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.
Looked like someone had been up with a rope but I didn't fancy descending it so just continued & did the arete.
Number 4 dodgy cornice
Walked round & joined pony track. Met icecream salesman thinking about doing 3 peaks. No free samples.
Climber on Tower Ridge
Descent to arete
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.
by dav2930 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:37 pm
by Alteknacker » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:48 pm
Am I the only one with high avalanche anxiety???
by Petr Dakota » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:40 am
That's the real Ben Nevis...and much better in winter
Well done again
by celt54321 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:21 am
by 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.
by LeithySuburbs » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:59 pm