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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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Ben Nevis - Ledge Route and Carn Mor Dearg Arete - 12th Januray 2012

A 4.30am start from Edinburgh got us to the North Face car park at about 7.30 ish and already it was filling up fast! A ninety trek up to the CIC Hut was made easier by the new path and soon we were at the foot of No 5 Gully, just in front of the crowds gearing up behind us. It was quite gloomy and the low cloud looked like spoiling the day and with no view of the Carn Mor Dearg arete, we were doubtful as to it's condition and whether it was worth doing?      
Willy heading up towards No 5 Gully across old avalanche debris. 
"Wise man of the mountains". Willy taking in the (gloomy) view at the base of the first ramp.
We took gear and a rope, but the snow was good and the first ramp was well covered including the small step up near the top which was hardly noticeable. 
The whole route was well covered, and after the "wall" section which only bare at its very end, the rocky spine opened out into a fine broad arete before the final steeper section.  
Gordon on the the final section.This is a little steeper but offers no great difficulties with plenty of snow and a brief glimpse of sunshine through the cloud at the top.
At the top of the Ledge Route, Carn Dearg, we made our way around to the summit, passing all the gullies and buttresses and attempting to identify them. The easiest is No 4 Gully seen here. Easy because it has it's (in)famous marker post!  
At this point the cloud lifted to reveal an amazing cloud inversion with views of all the major Ben Nevis landmarks which prompted some frantic happy snapping!  
There were some amazing and very large overhanging cornices on most gullies. This one on No 3 Gully seems to almost draw you in!  
Almost alone on the final slopes to the summit plateau.
Considering the weather and the busy car park, we expected the summit to be alot busier, although I suppose most climbers avoid it if they can.
The Ben Nevis summit shelter surrounded by a sea of snow.
Looking over the north face towards Aonach Mor and the CMD Arete (closest). I was trying to create a broken spectre, bottom left, but I couldn't get close enough to the edge to get my shadow inside it!  

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