Our blog - Lochaber 4000s, 22-23 Sep'18

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Ben Nevis and Lochaber 4000ers

22-23 September 2018
Two days hiking up Ben Nevis and its neighbours, taking in the Carn Mor Dearg Arete on the way.. Richard Kermode was leading....

Day 1 - Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg

It was a cold morning with a mixed weather forecasting some wintry showers and strong winds on the summits as I met up with David and Frank on Saturday. We set of from the north face car park heading for Carn Mor Dearg. As we climbed and chatted the cloud wasn’t as low down as expected though the summits were in the cloud and some fresh snow was visible at times. We were soon caught in some squalls of rain as the climbing steepened and the rain gear was on. There were a fair few folk out on the hill though some were retreating after one summit and others were in the distance. Once established on the Carn Mor Dearg ridge we stopped for some quick food and extra layers along with some warmer gloves as we were now in some thin fresh snow and it was feeling wintry!

The worst weather we experienced was on the summit of Carn Mor Dearg and the ridge down onto the arête proper. It was strong gusts with hail and snow at times though as we enjoyed the easy scrambling the conditions eased and we could see the arête all the way around to Ben Nevis and some lovely fresh snow. There was some shelter as we finished the arête with views of the Mamores and Steall waterfall below so we had a pleasant lunch and savoured some atmospheric views of the arête and the Aonachs beyond. A steep snowy clamber though the boulders and we worked our way onto the summit of Ben Nevis where there were plenty of folk about enjoying the snow and lack of views. We chose not to linger too long and headed for the pony path down and out of the cloud before stopping in some gorgeous sunshine for afternoon tea and amazing views down the Firth of Lorn and Fort William. As the sun forced us to remove some layers we enjoyed the return to the quieter side of the mountain on our walk past halfway lochan and back down to the north face car park. A great travers of the Carn Mor Dearg Arête and Ben Nevis!

Day 2 - Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag

It was only me and David on Sunday as we met up in the car park by the Nevis Range ski centre. Another cold day was on the cards and the winds were due to be lighter so we headed off through the maze of the forest and mountain bike trials to reach the gondola top station in time for a coffee and cake! After a wonderful leisurely coffee stop we made our way up on to Aonach Mor and onto the cloud. There was less snow about today though a few beginnings of cornices brightened the cloudy summit. We made our way to the summit and headed straight for Aonach Beag just in time for some bright sun and it partially cleared for us on the top.

David was booked for some big days on the Mamores the next few days so we didn’t ha g around too long and returned to Aonach Mor enjoying a wonderful bright spell with views of the arête and almost Ben Nevis at times. It didn’t last too long and we had lunch on the summit of Aonach Mor in the cloud before setting off back to the ski area. On the way down we spotted several mountain hares all still brown, but looking very good as they sprinted up the mountain away from us. We stopped into the much busier gondola top station for another coffee before taking the gondola down to round off another good days walking. We even finished dry for the second day running!

More photos by Richard Kermode are here on Flickr.

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