Information and photos of my mountaineering trips in Scotland,England and Wales:
Including hillwalking,scrambling and easy rock climbing.Also via ferrata, skiing and alpine trips in Europe.

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Saturday, 30 June 2007

Wales weekend, 30th June, 2007

Our long awaited trip to Wales coincided with the start of global warming, with forecasts of heavy rain all weekend! At least the drive down was uneventful and dry!
On Saturday morning, we parked in a very damp and dull Lyn Ogwen Valley, just by the start to the grade 1 scramble on Tryfan.
Although they probably shouldn't/wouldn't be needed as the north ridge is grade 1, we took the ropes, slings etc with the idea of practising if neccessary.
"Think the sun is trying to get through!"
Sadly this didn't happen, which is why there are no photos of the route.
We did get this profile of the ridge though, as we made our way down and back to the car, just as the sun came out - briefly!
Mark, Alan, Willy, Me and Gordon, back at the roadside in Lyn Ogwen.

Please send your captions for the above photo. Mark looking a little "light in his loafers".

Sunday, 10 June 2007

CMD Arete (the best way up Ben Nevis!)

If you've tried the tourist path to the top of Ben Nevis, you probably never want to go there again, or wonder if there is a more exciting way to climb Britains highest mountain (apart from "actually" climbing it!). Well there is. You can either park at the Nevis Rage Ski Centre and head SW following forest tracks to grid 147752. Or park at grid 145765 and follow tracks to 147752. I findusing a Harveys Map much easier as their 1:25000 scale is easier to read! From here, head SE along the Alt a' Mhuilinn, crossing the deer fence on the way.

Soon you will see Carn Beag Dearg on your left leading to Carn Dearg Meadhonach, and then the Munro, Carn Mor Dearg at 1220m. At some point (slightly vague) strike off east to start the slog up Carn Beag Dearg. Persevere as once you reach the first top, a little more climbing leads you onto the Munro and the ridge itself. As you move along the airy, but fairly easy Grade 1 scramble (a head for heights is useful although there is plenty of protection amongst the rocks if you don't want to stay on the crest), you will get stunning views of the North East Face of Ben Nevis.

The Carn Mor Dearg Arete (CMD), is a stunning place to be in good weather, but be aware of strong winds that would make i an altogether different day out! These photos were taken in mid June and although the ridge was mostly free of snow, as you see, some of the gully's and the summit still had a couple of feet of snow.

As you can see above, it is wise, even in June to stay away from any steep snow or possible cornices. However this was the only snow on the ridge and caused no problem. As we moved along, the cloud would break giving us tantalising glimpses of the route ahead.

As you can see the ridge swings round to the right (SW) for the final steep clamber up the boulder field to the summit. It is important not to stray too far NW as this leads to steeper ground above Coire Leis. There are several poles marking the route up which are useful, especially in poor weather. The summit itself can be a bit disappointing, but if you get the views then this route wins hands down. From the trig point you will get a cracking view of Tower Ridge with it's infamous gap. Again, knowledge of using a map and compass is essential whilst negotiating the summit. It is too easy to get captivated by either the view or the near vertical drop on the NE face. Here too the Harveys Map comes into it's own, with it's 1:25000 enlarged summit map. From here you can either retrace your steps, or follow the bearings shown on the map, (not the guy in jeans and trainers!) across the plateau and follow the zig zags to the track junction at 145724, above Lochan Meal an t-Suidhe, and then head north to the deer fence you crossed earlier (at some point you have to cross the Alt a' Mhuilinn). BE AWARE of cornices on Gardyloo Gully, Tower Gully and No 2 Gully to the north, and Five Finger Gully to the south, even in June as below.