• David Buckett

CMD arete, Ben Nevis

Having spent last week scrambling over Skye's classic ridges i was happy to add another today along the CMD arete onto the summit of Ben Nevis.


I often get asked how hard the CMD arete is. On paper it is a grade 1 scramble which means that it is on rocky exposed ground where hands are needed for balance and progress for a few short sections. There are normally different route options to make progress easier or slightly harder with options to get onto easier ground.


In terms of the overall day it does cover a lot of rough ground on small trails and boulder fields which do require navigation knowledge if the visibility is poor. It is a step up from the other walking route up the mountain path to the summit of Ben Nevis and a classic in the UK.


Guided walk on CMD arete, Ben Nevis

Today we started at the North Face carpark at Torlundy and a short way after the top of the forestry we gained the grassy path that goes all the way to the summit of Carn Mor Dearg.

We blasted up in 2 hours and got great views into the north face of Ben Nevis, a very different view than the southern or west side that most people see.


From the summit of the munro the ridge drops down in a sweeping arc round to Ben Nevis, 1km away of fractured boulders and narrow ridge.


Guided walk on CMD arete, Ben Nevis

We made our way along the crest balancing from boulder to boulder using our hands when needed on the narrower and trickier sections. 1 hour later and we were at the end of the ridge with just the 300m of ascent left to the summit of Ben Nevis over boulders.

Once at the summit we were on snow and with a lot of other people who had walked up the mountain path. We made a quick descent down to half way and the lochan before leaving the mountain path and crossing the moor back to the forestry.

A good day all round and one of the quickest I have down completing the route in 5.5hours.

If you would want to gain the summit of Ben Nevis via the CMD arete then please have a look here https://www.thehighlandmountaincompany.co.uk/cmd-arete


Guided walk on CMD arete, Ben Nevis

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