A contender for the title of grandest ridge walk in the country, the Carn Mor Dearg (CMD) Arete straddles that fine line between rambling and scrambling. This graceful curving line connects two four-thousand-footers, its blocky crest offering airy positions and stunning views of the cliffs of Ben Nevis, but minimal hands-on stuff. It is unquestionably the most enjoyable non-climber’s route on Ben Nevis, leagues ahead of the crowded and frankly dull trudge up the Tourist Track.
From here the view of the north face of Ben Nevis is as good as it gets. Beyond this sharp summit the CMD (Carn Mor Dearg) Arete begins, and so does the real fun. The ridge forms a narrow aręte of rounded blocks, sweeping around the head of the corrie in a grand arc to link CMD with Ben Nevis. There is always a well worn path weaving just below the rock steps, but it's generally more entertaining to stick to the true crest. The situations are spectacular and it's a little exposed at times, but the proper scrambling is minimal. Care is obviously needed in wet, icy or windy conditions though. After making a rightwards bend the ridge drops to a low point of 1058m before climbing to meet the main mass of Ben Nevis at a point marked by an abseil post (this is not a very pleasant way to descend in any season, though it is the way to go if you do need to drop into Coire Leis for whatever reason). The final ascent onto Ben Nevis is a long, thankless trudge up a boulder-strewn slope. In poor visibility and particularly in winter it's worth being particularly aware of the lip of the Brenva Face, just off to your right. An intermittent line of metal posts marks a safe route. On reaching the stony summit plateau bear left to the summit trig point and nearby ruins of a Victorian meteorological station. If needs must there's a shelter here, often used by the anti social as the highest toilet in Britain.
- The Awful Hand and Rhinns of Kells Aug/2014
- Knoydart, a Long Circuit Jul/2014
- Cranstackie and Beinn Spionnaidh Jul/2014
- Hallin Fell Jun/2014
- Blencathra via Sharp Edge and Bannerdale Crags East Ridge May/2014
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