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It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!


Postby Jaxter » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:49 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete

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

Date walked: 01/04/2018

Time taken: 9.45 hours

Distance: 20.86 km

Ascent: 1714m

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When you set off up a mountain at 3.30am the last thing you expect is to bump into someone else as nuts as you. But I had this romantic notion of seeing Easter Day dawn from somewhere high and when that somewhere of choice happens to be Carn Mor Dearg on Easter Sunday with a good forecast I guess the chances of meeting folk are a little higher. And a good forecast it was – almost perfect!
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It’s amazing how difficult simple things are in the dark – even with a head torch it was impossible to see the barrier the route description said to head for, and in searching for this barrier I met Mike.

Barrier located we set off up the track, navigating easily along the forest tracks and breathing heavily as we already were heading uphill.

Soon enough the path joined the burn and we followed the Allt a’Mhuillin up the glen. We nearly took a wrong turning at the stile but fortunately we were now out of the trees and the moonlight was doing far more for visibility than head torches. We were starting to see the bulk of Nevis ahead.

Soon enough it was time to leave the path and head up pathless ground up towards Carn Beag Dearg. It was a brutal ascent and although the ground was mercifully frozen it was hard going over the heather and rocks. As it was still dark, stopping for a photo was not a valid excuse and although I had a few attempts, without a tripod they were all failures.

My best attempt - still pretty blurry :/
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Soon enough we were into the snow which made walking much easier as it was largely nicely consolidated. The moonlight and the beginnings of daylight were also helping! We could see the lights of climbers heading towards gullies on the North face - hardcore :lol:

Back towards Fort William, Loch Linnhe & Loch Eil
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Now we had fresh snow underfoot which was making walking harder. When I went flying on some unseen ice we decided it was time to get the crampons on – the forecast had suggested a temperature of -17 and didn’t my fingers know it as I fiddled with straps! The rings had actually frozen together :lol:

The North Face of Nevis
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The photos really don’t tell the story of how incredible the experience had been up until now – walking up a mountain in the dark and seeing Ben Nevis slowly become visible was a really humbling experience and I felt extremely privileged to be able to witness it :D

We met the ridge before Carn Dearg Mheadhonach and looking ahead we could see some helpful cairns warning us away from the edge where there were surely massive cornices :shock:
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Struggling to fit it all in :lol:
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Our aching legs dragged us up the final ascent to the summit of Carn Mor Dearg and at last we could see the arete stretching out ahead of us :shock:
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It was 6.40 and absolutely baltic and we were just in time for sunrise as we looked along the arete for any potential difficulties.
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Looking back down the ridge of Carn Mor Dearg towards Fort William, Loch Eil & the Glenfinnan Hills
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The sky starts to turn orange with the promise of dawn
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The North Face starts to reflect some of that delicious orange glow
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This would be my route if I was to continue on to the Aonachs – one for another time!
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Nevis and the Arete
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“Here comes the sun!”
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Some Mamorey goodness – I love how striking these hills always look 8)
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Now able to see each other, my companion and I introduced ourselves :lol: Nutters eh :lol:
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Mike enjoying the views
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Wee panorama video


Sunrise bouncing off a mighty impressive sight!
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I introduced my new friend to my bizarre summit ritual :lol:
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The sun had now risen on Easter Day in the most spectacular of settings 8)
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However, -17 is mighty cold to stand around in despite the complete lack of wind and my camera was starting to freeze (as well as other, probably more important things, like my fingers and face :lol: )

We started heading towards the arete, although it was definitely worth pausing the look back at the light reflecting off the snow
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Off we go then….
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Although it was narrow there were no real problems – I found the worst section to be a rock stack early on that required stepping around. Blessed with longer limbs, Mike didn’t have any problems at all :lol:

The moon just dropping below the top of the North Face
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Looking back
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It got a wee bit rockier ahead
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A wee descent looked like it might be tricky but it caused no problems and we were on the home straight 8)
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I couldn’t stop looking at the North Face – it was so BIG!
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Mamores
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Eastern Mamores
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The final section
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Looking back – reminiscent of the Beinn a’ Bheithir ridge
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Carn Mor Dearg
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CMD arete with the Aonachs behind
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More Mamores and beyond
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Mamores with Glencoe behind
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As we traversed the arete we had spotted the huge cornices on the side of the final ascent so we kept well away. It was very steep and there was quite a lot of loose snow as we dragged our tired bodies up the monster that is Ben Nevis.

As we climbed we joked about how early we’d have to be to be first on Nevis – as it turned out we were early enough! It was 8.35 as we reached the top and we were the only people there other than some very cold campers who I think we woke up :lol:
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Looking back the way we’d come up
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It was very cold but still mercifully calm and more layers were added so we could enjoy the amazing views 8)

Skye 8)
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Rum
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This one has me at a loss as it’s no Schiehallion!
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There were several of these at the top – very tame and obviously used to lots of folk. Apparently it’s a snowbunting :wink:
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Loch Eil & the Glenfinnan hills
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Loch Lochy & the Loch Lochy hills
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I think this is towards Glen Dessary & Knoydart
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I like a challenge – axe required for this!
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Everything was perfect – the visibility, the quietness, the conditions. I could’ve stayed there for hours if it hadn’t been so cold!
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I could see pretty much everything South of Nevis 8)
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Beinn a’ Bheithir
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I think that could be Cruachan in the background :crazy:
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Glencoe hills I think… :crazy:
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I’m pretty sure this be Mull
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As we stood in awe of the scenery we were joined by the first person up the tourist path – he was good banter but had no crampons on :shock:

We stood around for as long as we could but soon we were starting to get cold. We decided to have a wander around the edge of Coire na Ciste for some more amazing views. It was so early it seemed a shame to go down yet :lol:

Mental cornice
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Looking back to the summit where more people had started arriving :roll:
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Loch Eil
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The “motorway” with Loch Linnhe behind
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The quick way doon :shock:
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The sheer scale of everything was mind-boggling. Yes, it was the highest mountain in Britain but everything was just so impressive with the snow!
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Looking at CMD and around Coire na Ciste
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It was so nice to be able to explore the summit in such wonderful conditions. Knowing that we had stacks of daylight hours left, we had a wee look at the map. It looked like we should be able to get down by continuing down the ridge – it looked steep but nothing worse than we’d come down before. Why not?

So off we went, tracking well away from the corrie edge as a slip would send us over almost instantly. However….as we got further down it turned out that this was steeper and trickier than it had looked – the snow conditions weren’t quite hard enough or quite soft enough and after a while we looked at each other… :crazy: :crazy:

“What we need is more axes” said Mike :lol: He produced three, giving me his spare.

Stability ensured, we set about traversing around the hill until we met the tourist path. Looked like we would have to meet the masses afterall :lol:

“I know this is a bit nuts, but this is awesome!” I said. Clearly as nuts as me, Mike agreed 8) :thumbup:
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On less dicey ground we stopped for a breather. It was some view and as we were completely sheltered we were happy to sit and chill for a while 8)

Halfway Lochan
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Loch Eil
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Loch Linnhe & Garbh Bheinn
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This photo shows the gradient a bit better :crazy:
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Eventually it was time to get going so we wandered over towards the path where we met hunners of folk. As we were both still carrying 2 axes we looked like we knew what we were doing and were instantly inundated with questions about where to go :lol:

We enjoyed the views a little longer, warned folk to be careful (and not follow our footprints :lol: ) and set off down the zig zags. It was like walking past a conga line and so many people looked so unprepared we really hoped they weren’t going all the way :roll:

Eventually the crampons came off, as did most of our layers because it was absolutely roasting 8) And yes, the axes went away too as we figured they were kind of overkill by now :lol: But I’m definitely buying a second one :thumbup:

We cut off at the lochan to head back towards the north face and there were mercifully fewer people this way.

This is what we’d been attempting to come down! A good lesson in the map and conditions not always agreeing :lol:
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We cut down towards the burn across some bouncy grass and heather before finding an easy crossing point and reaching the path. From here it was an easy walk out.

Looking back
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Back at the car it was definitely time to lose more clothes and I was happy to find a pair of shorts and a sunhat in my car 8) We parted company with a promise to do it again sometime (but only if we need 2 axes :lol: ) before Mike headed for home and I headed for Fort William to pick up a map I’d stupidly forgotten before finding one of my favourite camp spots to chill out.

Rum & Eigg
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View from my bed
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It could almost have been spring….
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I was completely knackered so I had a nap for a couple of hours before waking up for some dinner and to enjoy the sun setting on a fabulous day that will live long in the memory 8)
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Room with a view
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Night night :D
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Jaxter
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:10 pm

So that's the trip report of the month sorted then!

The summit photos from CMD are wondrous.

That's one way to do with the "4000 foot grassy slope" as we referred to CMD; turn it into a 4000' snowy slope!
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Mal Grey
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby Graeme D » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:25 pm

Words fail me.......... :clap:
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby arjh » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:28 pm

Well, it doesn't get better than that. :clap:
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby malky_c » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:11 pm

Brilliant...been waiting a couple of weeks for this one :lol: . You seem to have hit all of the right conditions this winter - that might be the highlight if it wasn't for Baosbheinn (not sure I can tell which is better 8) ).
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby dooterbang » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:17 am

Well worth getting up to beat the crowds and catch the sun rising :)

As for "nuts"...merely good planning :wink:

Well done :clap:
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:19 am

If Carlsberg did walk reports..............
Probably some of the best pictures I've seen of the Ben & CMD.
I've stood on top of that shelter myself before but certainly not as gracefully as that. :D
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby onsen » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:36 am

Stars when you shine
You know how I feel
Scent of the pine
You know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel

Mighty effort, Jaxter...and a beautiful day to-boot.
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby past my sell by date » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:31 pm

:clap: :clap: Amazing - could be the Arctic. Dawn and dusk are the best times in the mountains - but dawn is better because the air - particularly in winter - is so clear.
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby weescotsman » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:34 pm

Wow stunning report and photo's Jaxter...... trip report of the year, never mind month !!!
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby Andymac75 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:02 pm

Well done
Braver than me :) CMD intimidates me in the summer :lol:
My 'other' hill is looking very majestic.
Scary cornices.
I seen a guy standing on the Gardyloo cornice in early summer one year.
Will always remember his ignorance to his fate :shock: .
What a stunning day.
No rain clouds in FortW :wtf:
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby Butch » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:08 pm

That was an excellent report I read it at work an thou rally enjoyed it 👍 10/10
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby dogplodder » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:09 pm

The views from CMD of the North Face were spectacular when I was there on a beautiful summer's day..... but these are out of this world! Love your camping ones too. :D
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby mrssanta » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:12 pm

Oh wow!
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Re: It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feelin good!

Postby hopper68 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:43 pm

Oooft Jackpot
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