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Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis Ledge Route

Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis Ledge Route


Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:30 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete

Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis

Date walked: 15/07/2019

Time taken: 7.5 hours

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The north east face of Ben Nevis - summer of 2019
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Ledge route on Ben Nevis picks an easy line through the crags and up on to Carn Dearg. There are some variations to the route and this one avoids the approach into No. 5 gully and the greasy sloping slabs, which having done it once I would not recommend. This route is more of a slightly exposed walk with a little bit of exposed scrambling most of which is avoidable. The biggest problem you will encounter is the route finding through the rock face which could be very complicated in poor conditions. I've done this route before and always in perfect conditions. It's best saved for a day like this.

Here is a rough draft of the route from the NF car park, up ledge route and coming down through Coire Leis.

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I left the car park about 6am. It's a brilliant path that takes you all the way up to the CIC hut which is around half way (in elevation) to the summit of Ben Nevis.
Some pictures from the path
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At the CIC hut there is a water supply pipe which is very handy. Then the hard work begins :shock:
This is roughly the line I took up to Carn Dearg
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I decided to visit the small lochan, so followed the burn and a sketchy path here and there and I was soon there. It was about 2 to 3 feet deep and had a rope and some climbing gear in it that had been there for a while. :roll:
Lochan Coire na Ciste
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A good path traverses over No. 5 gully and leads up to the start of the ridge.
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Following the path you soon reach the giant gravity defying stone tower which looks like it will tumble at any moment. Best passed quickly. :shock:
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Shortly after the precarious tower the ridge proper starts to the left. It's a fantastic setting with big big drops, the scrambling is short lived and can be mostly avoided, even the notorious gangplank is a lot easier than it looks.
Looking back at the gangplank
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Tower Ridge and the summit of the ben
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After the short scrambling section it is mostly walking up on to Carn Dearg where I stopped for a rest and took a few photos of another lone walker on the ledge route ridge which gives it some perspective.
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Loch Linnhe from Carn Dearg
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The CIC hut from the top of No. 5 gully
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The newish cairn at the top of No 4 gully
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Snow bunting perched on the old summit trough
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Steall Falls and the Mamores
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I didn't have any hard and fast plan but wasnt keen on a descent of the pony track, I had half heartedly been thinking of going over the CMD but I know how long it takes and was feeling pretty tired in the heat, so I took a shortcut from the cairn that marks the descent into Coire Leis. The corrie is rough going and probably not much less strenuous than doing the ridge. :?
Exit point into Coire Leis
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The magnificent CMD arete from Coire Leis
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The even more magnificent Tower Ridge :shock:
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The long walk home past the CIC
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Nearly there :D
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There are countless options for getting up and down the ben but ledge route along with a descent over the CMD is, for me, probably the finest "walking route"

It's what life's all about. Cant wait to do it all again. :D :D :D
Last edited by Sunset tripper on Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Chris Mac » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:26 pm

Wow, I want to do this now! Tremendous!! :clap: :clap: :clap: I'm blown away, amazing photo's on a perfect day and a great description of the route with handy photos as a guide, thanks for sharing!

It looks like a day to remember, maybe i'll make this route my first ascent of Ben Nevis... :D

I get the impression you are still buzzing after doing it 6 months ago and re-living it again while doing the report, no wonder! :lol:
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby celt54321 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:49 am

Great post,this is a fantastic way to summit the ben,you got a great day for it. :clap:
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Jaxter » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:41 pm

Wow :clap: :clap: This is one I've thought of doing for a while but every time I look at the north face it looks scary as hell :lol: :lol: Some awesome shots in there though :clap:
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby arjh » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:16 am

Ledge Route is brilliant and I agree that taking the easier start to avoid the greasy slab makes it better. Great photos, really shows the scale of the North Face :clap:
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:04 am

Chris Mac wrote:Wow, I want to do this now! Tremendous!! :clap: :clap: :clap: I'm blown away, amazing photo's on a perfect day and a great description of the route with handy photos as a guide, thanks for sharing!

It looks like a day to remember, maybe i'll make this route my first ascent of Ben Nevis... :D

I get the impression you are still buzzing after doing it 6 months ago and re-living it again while doing the report, no wonder! :lol:

Cheers Chris. Yes it's a great way to climb the ben. Just make sure you do your research on the route unlike myself on my first attempt :roll:
If you do it in good conditions and follow the right line there are no major problems. All the best. :D
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:06 am

celt54321 wrote:Great post,this is a fantastic way to summit the ben,you got a great day for it. :clap:

Cheers Celt, aye a crackin day and a crackin route. :D
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:09 am

Jaxter wrote:Wow :clap: :clap: This is one I've thought of doing for a while but every time I look at the north face it looks scary as hell :lol: :lol: Some awesome shots in there though :clap:

Thanks Jaxter. I cant see you having any problems, you've had a lot harder days than this. All the best when you do it. :D
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:12 am

arjh wrote:Ledge Route is brilliant and I agree that taking the easier start to avoid the greasy slab makes it better. Great photos, really shows the scale of the North Face :clap:

Thanks for your comments arjh. The north face is fantastic. Cheers. :D
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby malky_c » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:40 am

Nice - as you say at the end, combine it with the Carn Mor Dearg arete and it's one of the best hill days in the country :)

I have been up it 4 or 5 times I think, and have always taken your route from the CIC hut. I think there is a more direct way (up Moonlight Gully Buttress, perhaps?) but it has the has the hardest move of the route in it. Since it isn't out in the open on the 'ledge', I've never been to fussed about going for a look.

Great stuff, and a nice reminder that it won't be cold, wet and windy for ever :lol:
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Raynor » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:26 pm

Great photos. It's amazing how much nicer and more interesting it looks compared to the usual way up. Thanks for sharing :D
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:32 pm

Fantastic photos...what a day. Really enjoyed this report. Must look into this route :clap:
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:16 pm

malky_c wrote:Nice - as you say at the end, combine it with the Carn Mor Dearg arete and it's one of the best hill days in the country :)

I have been up it 4 or 5 times I think, and have always taken your route from the CIC hut. I think there is a more direct way (up Moonlight Gully Buttress, perhaps?) but it has the has the hardest move of the route in it. Since it isn't out in the open on the 'ledge', I've never been to fussed about going for a look.

Great stuff, and a nice reminder that it won't be cold, wet and windy for ever :lol:

Cheers Malky. There is the direct route which starts in No. 5 gully then off to the right where the horrible greasy sloping slab with the horrendous drop is. I did it on my first attempt and didnt like it much - it's a popular winter route. :shock:
There is apparently a slight variation of this which misses out No. 5 but I dont know it. :?
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:17 pm

Raynor wrote:Great photos. It's amazing how much nicer and more interesting it looks compared to the usual way up. Thanks for sharing :D

Thanks Raynor, it's a great route on a good day. Cheers. :D
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Re: Living life on a Ledge - Ben Nevis

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:20 pm

Mountainlove wrote:Fantastic photos...what a day. Really enjoyed this report. Must look into this route :clap:

Cheers Mountainlove and good to see you back. All the best. :D
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