CMD Arete, Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis by the CMD arete covers 2 mountains: Carn Mor Dearg (CMD, 1220m) and Ben Nevis (1345m) and a grade 1 scrambling arête linking the two mountains, a great and rewarding day out...
Terrain: rough moorland, rock ridge, mountain path.
Duration: 7-8 hours.
Start/Finish: North Face car park, Torlundy
Some experience of mountain walking needed on rough ground. A good level of general fitness is needed.
What we offer
All our guides are local to the area and have many years’ experience in the mountains, helping people navigate through the hills and over the CMD arête to Ben Nevis.
Our guides know the best routes and are very knowledgeable about the mountain environment, so the day can be easily split up with interesting chats, wildlife and great views along the way.
We only organise private groups up Ben Nevis via the CMD arête.
The prices quoted are for one guide per group or individual, so our walks will always go ahead.
Initially there is a bit of a steep walk from the North Face car park at Torlundy up through the birch and pine forests to reach the gentler path that follows the Allt a' Mhuilinn river towards the North Face of Ben Nevis. From this position we will hopefully gain the first views of our route for the day: with the route towards the summit of Carn Mor Dearg to our left, the silhouette of the CMD arête straight in front and then Ben Nevis to our right.
After following the North Face path alongside the river for a short distance we cut off left following a very faint, rough path directly towards our first peak of Carn Mor Dearg. It is a fairly unrelenting ascent towards the summit but wholly worth the effort: to gain views over Lochaber and to have an unrivalled position to view the whole of the North Face of Ben Nevis. Not to mention to summit the 9th highest Munro as well.
From the summit we descend slightly to the start of the arête itself. The ridge from the summit starts broad and smooth but quickly flattens to become the narrow rocky arête that it is famous for. We follow the top of the arête (where the trickier sections can be bypassed) the whole way with views to Aonach Beag on the left and to the right, the North Face of Ben Nevis. Towards the end, the arête starts to climb again and then quickly joins the broad rocky summit slope, for the final ascent up to the summit of Ben Nevis.
From the summit we descend via the Pony Track on the eastern side to 'half way Lochan' at 600m. From there our route takes us away from the Pony Track and down over rough moorland back to the top of the birch and pine forest, before our final descent to Torlundy and the car park.