Munros: Ben Nevis, Càrn Mòr Dearg
Date walked: 21/10/2016
Time taken: 9.25 hours
I'd been hoping to do something spectacular for my 100th hill and, luckily, it seemed there would be reasonable enough weather over the CMD arete to attempt it. Dropped off at the North Face car park we set off at 0719 and headed up the track. The signposting here is a bit confusing - follow the signs for the CIC hut, not the "North Face Trail", no idea where that goes but it isn't up the hill.
After crossing a large stile it's a short distance up the well made path till a boggy line can be see baring off to the left and up the slopes of Carn Mor Dearg.
Looking back: boggy line just about visible
There's no real path here and the route is sufficiently well used that the vegetation has been tramped flat to a width of about 15 feet in places. It doesn't last long though; as the slope steepens, the grass gives way to rock and a path of sorts is reestablished. From here it a prolonged but simple slog up to the crest of the ridge with views of the north face improving as you climb.
The Arete itself is not particularly exposed, nor is there any real scrambling involved. If you stick to the very crest for the length of it, you will come to narrow sections that you wouldn't want to fall off but these can all be bypassed.
Although there's no scrambling, it is slow going: the crest is jagged and comprised of large boulders which have to be picked over and around to make progress - you won't be strolling along with your hands in your pockets:
I could never figure out the scale of the rocks when looking at photos of the arete. If you look closely,you can make out a man in red in front of us in this picture
By the time you reach the pillar where the arete joins the broad southern slopes of the Ben (oddly not marked on any map I've seen) you've already done half the ascent from the lowest point of the arete - there's about 500' left up a steep slope over large boulders. Then, suddenly, you're on the summit plateau.
Look at her feet...
Then it's just a question of following the touri... the Mountain path back down to the Achintee Inn.
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- Pub: the Laurieston
- Munros: 132
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