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Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report


Postby Stretch » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:42 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete

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

Date walked: 14/08/2010

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1550m

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This has to be the most disappointing walk I've done so far. The only positives I will take from this day is that I really enjoyed the CMD arete. Even though I couldn't see the drops to my right or left due to the ridiculously thick cloud I still stuck to the arete across the entire lenght of it and at no point was I nervous. The weather forecast for the weekend had promised 'extensive sunshine and panoramic views', however, this was not to be. I came to the conclusion early on in the day that I wouldn't be seeing much of anything. What I did see, was a total circus on Ben Nevis. Some joker carried an ironing board to the summit, and I saw another guy dressed as though he'd just left an important business meeting. Instead of soaking in the views and enjoying my achievement, I practically ran off the summit, whizzing by hoardes of people coming up and down the tourist track. Solitude only returned as I branched off the busy tourist path and contoured back around Nevis to the north face car park. I was so put off by what I experienced that I cancelled my plans to wildcamp in Kinlochleven in order to do four eastern Mamores on Sunday morning and I just drove back to St Andrews. Upon inspection, the 37 pics I took on this walk have to be some of the worst shots I've taken. I'm sure that Sunday the weather was better, but Ben Nevis had left a bad taste in my mouth and I was happy sitting at home away from the crowds and midges. I hope to do this route again some day, probably when the first bits of snow hit these two hills, but until then, I can't say much for mighty Nevis. Oh well, there's always next weekend right?

Looking toward the CIC Hut.jpg


Ben Nevis - North Face.jpg


Probably the greatest photograph ever taken of Ben Nevis.jpg


CMD Arete.jpg


Where does this lead.jpg


CMD arete - looking back from end of ridge.jpg


Bonkers.jpg


Nevis Circus.jpg


Hundreds of ants marching down the tourist path.jpg


My route back to the north face car park.jpg


Loch Meall an t-Suidhe.jpg


Carn Mor Dearg to Ben Nevis - Last Look.jpg
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby magicdin » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:57 pm

The photos you have posted are very good - I like the misty ones along the arete.
Pity however that you did'nt get the weather predicted and the views,and did'nt enjoy it too much
A wee while since I was up The Ben
Sometimes on these popular hills you just have to switch off from whats going on around you.
I've felt a bit like that at times on Ben Lomond - A relief to set on down towards the Ptarmigan Ridge
I suppose it takes all types though.
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby monty » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:02 pm

Hi Stretch,
Shame the weather was pants, some nice pictures of the mist though :lol: Get yourself up to Cluannie for the weekend and enjoy a pint or two with Danrun and me. :D
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby HighlandSC » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:41 pm

Some nice misty pics...but yep, would have been better to get a panoramic view eh! I'd like to do the CMD soon - hopefully this year. I've already done Nevis by the tourist trail so know just what to expect on the summit!
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby kevsbald » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:01 pm

Don't think you should be so hard on yourself - the 2nd pic is stunning. It's a pity you didn't get a classic day on the arete but I have it planned for the Winter this year - always welcome to join me - and as I have done the Ben, we could scoot across and back again!
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby Stretch » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:20 pm

Ok Kev, I'd be up for that depending on conditions, the less wind the better, just don't let me take a ride off the hill in a heli lol. These are the only pics that turned out decently, they are ok, but the let down of the weather was too much to overcome. I knew what to expect at the summit, but nothing really prepares you for that nonsense.
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby Alastair S » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:39 pm

I agree with kevsbald - no need to be hard on youself - the 2nd pic is very atmospheric and the ones of the crowds on the summit are also interesting - in that they clearly show just what its like up there on a typical summer's :lol: day.

The clag does sometimes - hope you get better luck next walk :D
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby kinley » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:55 pm

I was waving at you from the Mamores :)

In much the same conditions :(

A wierdly over-optimistic forecast for saturday - at least I'd done the Ring of Steall a few times before :)

Scotland at its most contrary. :?
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby mountain tortoise » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:06 pm

Just think of the crowds there would have been on a nice day :lol: At least you nearly had the place to your self. :lol:
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby Stretch » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:28 pm

mountain tortoise wrote:Just think of the crowds there would have been on a nice day :lol: At least you nearly had the place to your self. :lol:


I can only imagine! Only myself and 3 friendly walkers on the arete itself, but of course I couldn't see back behind me to tell if there were others lol.
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby skuk007 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:38 pm

Like the others have said,I too like those misty pics on the arete. Not sure if it's better like that, not being able to see where you might end up.

Wonder if there is an insurance policy where we could get compensation from the Met Office when they get it sooooo wrong. :lol:
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby Barnety2000 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:02 pm

Yeh some pretty nice pics there- I must admit I saw the weather forecast was good for saturday, not sure what went wrong. Was lovely there yesterday though I believe!

And I have never ever seen so many people on top of Ben Nevis as that- you could tell it was a saturday in August!
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby MC-75 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:25 pm

I have to say, that the Arete is the far superior route to take. I thought that the tourist path was more like Sauchiehall St. It was an awful experience walking that path, to the half way point. You just stop for a minute, to get something out of your pack, like a drink, and about 100 folk pass you both ways. I was unfortunate to have picked the day to do this walk, when the Great Caledonian Challenge was on. There was hundreds of folk on the Ben that day.

I was lucky to get some great views from the Arete, and the drops on either side, certainly gave me the heebie jeebies at one point, when I had a slip on a loose rock.

Shame the crowd's at the top spoiled you day too, but I have to agree with you on the way some folk were dressed. I passed one guy in shorts and sandles. And another in a pink tutu. Considering they had to cross about 400m of slushy snow, about 6" deep before they reached the summit, (in June btw), I thought to myself, "you ain't gonna make it".

Otherwise, I had a great day out, and I was so glad I did the "climbers" route.
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby HighlandSC » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:52 pm

Climbers route? I'd have thought that'd be best suited to describe Tower or Castle ridge.

When I did the tourist route we hit it early on a Tuesday morning - still plenty of people but nothing compared to what seems to be at weekends. And we were following a bunch of hot chicks in tight jeans 8) :lol: :lol:
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Re: Ben Nevis via CMD Arete - A not so amazing trip report

Postby Graeme D » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:11 pm

Hi Stretch, sounds like a less than epic day in the hills. I agree that the second shot is amazing though, as is the one of the arete just vanishing into the mist. Contrast these with the "Nevis Circus" shot however - quite a gruesome spectacle! I must say I am in something of two minds about the Ben. I still haven't done it, and when I do, I intend to spend as little time on the Tourist Track as possible. Earlier in the year, I thought that I might be approaching the 100 mark at around the same time as my 40th birthday in October, and doing the Ben via the CMD arete would be an excellent way to celebrate both events in one go. Seeing this, I'm not so sure now (and in any case, I'm likely to fall just short of the required Munro count by the time October rolls around). I think like you (and Kev), I'd favour an early winter ascent with a light dusting. Either that or what my mate Robin once did - a 3am departure on a weekday morning in July. 8)
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