Ben Nevis - 1344m
Carn Mor Dearg - 1220m

Friday 21st September 2012

Weather/Conditions: Generally nice benign conditions on ascent - snow covering on the last 100m or so. Views almost until on the very summit. Then cloud breaking off the top to give a sunny, snowy world without any surrounding views - just blue sky above and quite odd! We descended to Carn Mor Dearg - windy and snowing (rough!) across the arête - then more sanity on the long descent to the CIC. Stunning sunset on the walk back to Glen Nevis.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 16.4km / 1550m / 10h 40m
Accompanying: Stephen S.

This trip came as a direct result of Stephen, a friend of my dads, who wanted to go up Ben Nevis. We made a trip of it, and stayed the night before in Glen Coe. I distinctly recall feeling the wildness of the Highlands on the drive up - I hoped to make it it through Glen Coe before dark but we were too late for that. Instead, night fell around Tyndrum, and the sun fizzled out into a pale blue glow on the northern skies. Perhaps I was seeing it through the eyes of someone who essentially hadn't been to the Highlands before. Sometimes taking folk up mountains gives you a perspective on the place you'd normally have tuned out of.

We arrived at Glen Coe slightly too late to get into the Independent Hostel, so we called next door and got ourselves two beds in the Youth Hostel. The evening conversation around the table was brilliant, but it was a bit odd to go to bed in a room absolutely rammed with random people! I prefer a quiet hostel. :-)

The following morning was fresh and bright, and Stephen and I headed north to Fort William. We got breakfast in Morrison's then parked in Glen Nevis. It was a nice weather day, and we set off up the track from the Youth Hostel. The pace was consistent, a strong pace. We met up with a girl called Katarina who we ended up going to the summit with. The mist stayed off Ben Nevis until were were essentially at the top, where the last 100m was peppered with snow - a nice and unexpected novelty!

From the top, we had breaks down to Tower Ridge and cloud clearing to blue skies. It was quite a place. I wasn't quite through with the day yet, so we headed off the summit of Nevis and down to Carn Mor Dearg on a bearing. The boulderfields were covered in snow (slippery as hell) and then we got low enough to escape the white stuff.

The arête was enjoyable, and some wind came in making it a pretty wild crossing. At one point some snow showers moved through - I was freezing, but sanity was restored on the long descent to the CIC.

This is probably the most impressive angle I've ever had on the business side of the Ben. As you descend to the hut, the spiky bits get more and more pronounced, and it seems as though the closer you get to the face, the more it bares it's teeth. I can't believe I still haven't climbed on this face, something I must change. We arrived back to the CIC late-afternoon with just a long walk back to Glen Nevis. We traversed under Carn Dearg and the ensuing sunset was unexpected and really stunning.

This was the peaceful moment of the day - the day's work done and just a long winding descent to the car. Some folk were heading up to the summit as we descended - we got the unfortunate news the next morning that someone had been killed overnight at the summit.

Back to the car, just the long drive home remained. For sure, a very long and full day. Stunning.

Ben Nevis

Carn Mor Dearg

Descent to the CIC Hut

Descent to Glen Nevis

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 9.20am Glen Nevis YH
(3.40) 1.00pm Ben Nevis
(6.27) 3.47pm Carn Mor Dearg
(7.50) 5.10pm CIC Hut
(10.40) 8.00pm Glen Nevis YH

Written: 2015-08-06