CMD Arete

Route: Ben Nevis by the Càrn Mòr Dearg Arête

Munros: Ben Nevis, Càrn Mòr Dearg

Date walked: 09/07/2013

Time taken: 8.25 hours

Distance: 16.2km

Ascent: 1604m

Mrs Y bought me a surprise birthday present in May, a voucher for a guided walk on the CMD arête on July 9th. I therefore hoped that the weather would not be cold, wet, windy or too cloudy. I needn't have worried - it was one of the hottest days of the year :lol:

So at 8:30am I met up with Mike Pescod of Abacus Mountaineering and we set off from the North Face car park.

This is the approximate route we took.

CMD_Arete.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Up through the forest and out again and through the fence where the first view of the route ahead appears.

The route ascends over the lower slopes of Carn Beag Dearg on a thin path and as height is gained the half-way lochan comes in to view on the right.
Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe

More views of the Ben as the cloud descends for a while.


Finally as we gain more height, the clouds lift and a superb view of the Ben's North face appears.


A stream crossing our path was used to refill an already empty water bottle.

We skirt around the top of Carn Dearg Meadhonach and finally the summit of Carn Mor Dearg appears ahead.

As we reach the top, the wind rises and cools us off so it's time to put on a windproof and have a bite to eat. The cloud is blown into a vortex as it swirls over the arête.
Lunch time on summit of CMD

The clouds then lift as two others ahead of us start their crossing of the arête and a good view of what lies ahead is revealed.

Time to crack on with it and Mike says we'll stick to the crest unless I say otherwise. So that's what we did and I found it most enjoyable following him a few steps behind. Only a couple of inelegant moves by me on the big blocks which were dry and provided plenty of grip. Just one or two places where it was best not to look down but concentrate on the next two or three moves and foot placements whilst keeping balanced.
Looking back after the first section of ridge

Further on at the lowest part of the ridge

At the half-way point we stopped and got a super view right down the Allt a' Mhuilinn.

To the left looking South, lots of hills too numerous to name (you'll know what they all are, cos I can't be sure :lol: )


Schiehallion on the horizon
Looking back along the arete

Mike as we reach the foot of the final slope to the Ben's summit
Steall Falls down below

The new Coire Leis cairn

So it was now time for the final push up the steep bouldery slopes and occasional path to the summit. With the sun beating down the "15 minutes to the top" promise seemed to take for ever. Several stops were required by me in order to take in more water and it came as a relief to emerge into low cloud and a cooling breeze on the top.
After only seeing 4 or 5 people on our route, there were now more like 100 on the summit plateau. We sat on some flat rocks near the edge, put on windproofs again and had another food stop.
"All by myself" pose

Then it was time to follow everyone else down the zigzags and pass another 100 or so coming up. The water flowing in the Red Burn was very welcome and I refilled another water bottle and soaked my buff to cool my neck.
Leaving the tourist path, we skirted the half-way lochan then branched off right across country on a steady downhill plod with nobody else in sight.
Looking back at our route

There only remained the crossing of the Allt a' Mhuilinn, either by wading or using the slender 3" wide girder above a small waterfall at the forest fence as we did.
A final look back from the forest road

The last downhill forest path seemed to go on forever with tired legs and sore feet in the heat and I was glad to get back to the car at 5pm.
All in all a superb day's walk which I thoroughly enjoyed - even the hot weather wasn't a real problem :lol:

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User avatar
Location: West Cumbria
Activity: Wanderer
Pub: The Drovers
Mountain: The latest one climbed
Place: Too many to choose
Gear: Inov8 boots & shoes
Ambition: Stay healthy and fit

Munros: 59
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 2
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 125
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way   

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Trips: 1
Distance: 16.2 km
Ascent: 1604m
Munros: 2


Trips: 2
Distance: 21.5 km
Ascent: 950m


Trips: 2
Distance: 35.8 km
Ascent: 2687m
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Wainwrights 10


Trips: 1
Distance: 39.7 km
Ascent: 2662m
Hewitts: 6
Wainwrights 11

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