Friday, September 03, 2010

121. Carn Mor Dearg (9). 29/08/2010

Despite bright sunshine in Fort William, an eerie and atmospheric experience awaited us up on The Ben. In climbing round via Carn Mor Dearg, we not only took in another Munro, but also experienced a completely different side of Britain's tallest mountain (in more ways than one). Setting off just before 9am, we were probably just outside the first thousand people to set out up the highway-like path. With so many people around, Hilde and I were in excessively competetive spirit and didn't allow ourselves a breather until we were out of sight of the crowds at 650m. Amongst the people we overtook were the usual ill-equipped motley crew, some of whom were armed with no more than the two layers of clothing they were dressed in (not even water or decent shoes). A few were even turning back by this point.

Anyway, we were glad when we were able to head round the north face and away from the crowds on what could easily be its busiest day of the year. There was a bit of reascent to get onto Carn Mor Dearg itself, but we were soon climbing the path and trying to chase away the mist ahead of us. The Scottish mist is a stubborn beast, however and everything above 1100m remained covered. The summit was also pretty chilly - well below freezing, which combined with windchill will have meant about -10C. My thoughts went out to the walkers on the tourist route and hoped there weren't any problems there from these unseasonal conditions.

It was now that the real excitement began - the Carn Mor Dearg Arete, or CMD for short. There was some good scrambling to be had, although there was quite often a path too. The ridge was wide enough (usually 2-3m) so as not to be too scary, but then the drops were sufficient to still make it quite exposed. The mist (which at times was present on one side of the arete, but not on the other) only added to the atmosphere. Apart from one other scrambler that we witnessed behind us, we also had the place to ourselves.

Soon, however, we were joining the throngs on the summit plateau (some of whom we had seen on the way up several hours earlier) and then beginning the long trudge down to the Ben Nevis Inn - 1300m+ of descent is quite wearying on the joints.

Hilde on the CMD Arete

Attempting to catch the mist-on-one-side-only phenomenon.

The summit mob.


Post a Comment

<< Home