/ best route to access Carn Mor Dearg arete?
ski lift then along the ridge from un big day out
Thanks.....and if not using the lifts?
Well you'd normally go along it either from Ben Nevis, or from Carn Mor Dearg, depending on which way round you're going.
Torlundy. Past the upper car park and make a beeline straight left onto the ridge of Carn mor Dearg. Amazing views of the North Face, better than the views walking up to the CIC hut and then having to labour up that slope... shudder.
I done it for the first time 3 years ago when I was venturing into winter graded routes by taking the gondola up as I wanted to cut across Aonach Mor and do the east ridge onto Carn Mor Dearg. I decided against this though and just cut across straight into Carn Mor Dearg and up the ridge. Was a great day out and the sky opened blue right as I hit the arete. A day I wont forget and set the ball rolling into my future winter adventures.
Lift up, then cut down to do the East Ridge of Carn Dearg Meadhonach, up to the CMD arete and down the over/off Ben Nevis would be a good day out.
East Ridge was grade I or easy grade II when we did it last year, nice route, very quiet. Didn't continue over the CMD arete as it was late, but you might want a long day out?
Best route to access the CMD aręte.
My choice would be from the North Face car park at Torlundy, up to the CIC Hut. Then up into Corrie Leis and finally the headwall of that corrie [may require grade 1 climbing]. This puts you at the bealach between Ben Nevis and CMD and at the start of the CMD aręte proper. Then up the CMD aręte onto CMD.
Great views as you pass under the cliffs of ‘The Ben’, plus as you ascend the aręte.
You will meet many others coming the other-way who will ask you in surprise, where you came from. By which they mean how did you reach the ridge, not where were you born.
Otherwise go up from Torlundy, up the Ben track then just after you've passed the tree line make a beeline for Carn Beag Dearg and bob's your uncle.
Fine if you just want to tackle the Arete as an end in itself, but I think most people (including the OP?) tend to see it as a route onto the Ben.
I've always turned off the Allt a Mhuillin path at the first opportunity and followed a muddy and indistinct path up the north shoulder of Carn Dearg Beag, them over Carn Derag Medhonach and Carn Mor Dearg. This is a fair bit of graft before you get onto the Arete, but surely preferable to what a lot of folk seem to do; going straight up from around the CIC hut onto the CMD summit. Steep, loose and trackless, sod that.
I think you'll get the most out of the day if you either desend or ascend number 4 gully. If you decide on this you'll need to make sure the avalanche conditions are not too high, but it is one of the safer easy gullies on the Ben. If you do this there are benefits either way you go around the CMD from the north face car park and they are equally good but I would either ascend or descend via Jamies B's route.
If you decide to not do number 4 gully (which is often very easy) then I suggest that going Jamies route would be the best and then you have a choice from the half way lochain. Either bog trot back to the north face car park which is often a bit unpleasent or descend to glen nevis and get a taxi from the YHA back to the north face car park.
Up Ledge Route and down the CMD Arete is a lovely day out.
It also means that the bouldery slogs to get up to Carn Mor Dearg and from the Arete onto the top of the Ben are done as descents, which is also the case if you climb up No 4 Gully as mentioned above, but Ledge Route is more in fitting with a "Ridgey" day, so I reckon.
I agree although number 4 gully and CMD arete are closer to winter walking than most grade I's in good conditions (espeicllay if you go up number 4 and down CMD) so a rope shouldn't be needed. Ledge route a novice winter climbing will probably need a rope and may find it a long day by the time they've also done CMD.
To the OP: Don't underestimate CMD if you do the full ridge to Cairn Beag Dearg it adds a lot to the day. Expect it to take around 5 hours back to the car from the summit of the Ben if you descend CMD (it would take around 2.5 hours anyway back to the north face car park if you just went down number 4 gully which is the quickist way )
Very true, and a good point, although from the OP's profile he shouldnae have a problem with Ledge Route.
I think though you'd have to be pretty much soloing ledge route to make it doable (not saying that's unreasonable in good nick). If you pitched ledge route it could be a long day by the time you've done CMD too.
Hope you're doing well.
The East ridge of Carn Dearg Meadhonach was free of cornices when I did it last season, but with big, big cornices away to the left (south) above the big bowl between there and the col. Top of the ridge is easy, broad and convex, didn't look like cornices would generally be a problem, but never say never!
Yeah well I've done it moving together but we prefered a longer rope as there was only one section when a decent runner couldn't be placed between us (and I was climbing with some one less experienced). In less consolidated but deep snow conditions it can be quite a bit more full on.
Allt a Mhuillinn, veer left (under snow, check avalanche forecast and pick most-scoured route if necessary) and straight up the ridge for one of the greatest views in Scotland as you parallel the north face of the BenN. Then down onto the arete, hoping the winds don't get you (at times when the wind is funneling up there it gets serious and you need to be careful). Turn right up the big tedious slope toward the BenN summit making sure you pay attention to the nav (easy to wander too far left) and you're on top of our little world but having seen and felt much more than all the other punters you meet there. Red Burn, half-way lochan, Allt a'Mhuillinn, remembering most accidents happen on descent. Great day out.
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