The eight abseil posts leading down from the Carn Mor Dearg (CMD) Arête into Coire Leis on the north side of Ben Nevis have been removed, along with the No.4 Gully marker which was vandalised last year (see news here).
The work has been carried out following consultation between landowners the John Muir Trust (JMT), the MCofS, Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and other interested parties.
'The Coire Leis abseil posts were originally installed in the 1960s by members of RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team. The majority of them had long since fallen into disrepair and were unsafe to use. Some were right over on their sides' says Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Advisor of the MCofS. 'I was up with a small team of RAF folk yesterday to finish the job. We carried the posts and other debris down to the CIC hut, from where they'll be airlifted out.'
Of the opinions canvassed there was broad agreement that the highest abseil post provided a useful navigation aid, so this is now to be replaced by a two metre high cairn that will be constructed by the JMT in the same style as the other navigation cairns which currently exist across the summit plateau. This cairn will mark the top of the obvious descent line into Coire Leis in poor visibility. It is expected to be in place by the end of July 2012 and will be located at Grid Reference NN 17078 71000
The marker 'flag' and pole at the top of No.4 Gully, a popular grade I descent route in winter, has been removed and is also going to be replaced with a two metre high navigation cairn. This work is also expected to be completed by the end of July.
The JMT's Ben Nevis Summit Management policy is summarised here