Saturday, 8 October 2016

LEDGE ROUTE & CMD ARETE, COTSWOLD OUTDOOR

On the upper section of Ledge Route
The return via the CMD arete
The team on their 2nd Munro, Carn Mor Dearg

The descent, quite good views
When will it go?
The Mamores from CMD arete
Atmospheric Ben Nevis
Late afternoon CMD
Kirsten enjoying the CMD arete
Rohan enjoying the scrambling
The remaining snow patch on Ben Nevis
Rohan taking it easy on Ledge Route
video


Staff and customers from Cotswold Outdoor, Livingston branch are regular clients with Tarmachan Mountaineering. Over the last three years I have been delivering winter & summer skills courses for them. Today I had Kirsten, Rohan, Alistair & Simon out with me for an intro to scrambling day on Ben Nevis. Ledge Route is the classic Grade 1 scramble and in my opinion is one of the finest routes of it's standard in the UK. From the CIC Hut it looks daunting but it is straight forward. Before we set off we chatted about route finding, ground conditions, weather and  geology of the mountain. Big factors to think about before planning any scrambling. Everyone soon got their hands on rock and some wonderful views as we moved our way up, taking plenty of breaks and looking at footwork, hand placements whilst going up, down and across the rock. The route lies in a wonderful position on the North Face of The Ben with stupendous views. The high pressure of the last week or so is still with us, although we had overcast skies today. Hardly a breath of wind so very pleasant conditions. We had the entire route to ourselves, apart from one person on thir own who was asking us 'which way is it?' So we hung back to make sure all was well. All too quickly the scrambling fun is over and we made good time onto the plateau. We avoided the Pony Track to the summit as much as we could, skirting close to the lip of the north face until Tower Gully. The team were still fresh, eager and up for a longer day so they needed little persuading for a descent via the Carn Mor Dearg arete. Leaving the crowds behind, we were back onto a quiet ridge with more wonderful views. Just before reaching the Munro summit of Carn Mor Dearg, we passed two guys on the lower traverse path, which avoids the crest. They shouted up to us 'How far to Ben Nevis' and 'What time does it get dark?' For big days out on any mountain this time of year it really pays to do some research, set out in good time and maybe just check the night before when it starts getting dark in early October :) . Team Cotswold made good time and we were round in 10 hours, including lots of instruction, photo stops and savouring a classic outing to appreciate the highest mountain in Britain. Our day was topped off with some refreshments at the Ben Nevis Inn, best food and drink in Fort William. Thanks should go to The Real 3 Peaks Challenge for the big annual clean up on Ben Nevis today. Well done to all those volunteers who gave up their Saturday to collect the litter dumped on the hill and make the walk on the Mountain Path a cleaner, nicer experience. Shame on those who dumped it all in the first place.

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