Rich and I decided to head up to the CMD arete but made it slightly more interesting by adding an extra little ridge on the way.
The traditional approach is to start up the mountain track and cut across to Carn Mor Dearg, we thought we’d miss out the steep ascent of CMD by ascending up the east ridge of Carn Dearg Meadhonach from Allt Daim. From the lovely secluded glen (nice wild camp spot?) we headed up some lovely pink granite slabs for about a 100m and then continued up a slightly loose boulder field to the pinnacles (not difficult but slightly windy) with a couple of stops to admire the west face of Aonach Mor
Over the pinnacles we where presented with fine views of the north face, although the skies had clouded over, the way the the north face is suddenly presented to you as you come over the top from the pinnacles was great. We saw a few other walkers looking tried after their steep ascent and decided we’d made a good decision.
After a quick stop for photos, lunch and the “Hill food: frozen butties versus refrigerated butties” experiment results (long story, but since you asked….tasted the same but the frozen ones had kept their shape better!), we carried along the splendid looking ridge.
The going is easy but very enjoyable, the hardest part is the slog up the steep boulder field the reach the actual summit. You can stick to the crest of the ridge for maximum enjoyment but there seems to be a path slightly lower down so you can avoid anything you don’t like the look of.
We spent a while at the summit looking for climbers on the north face (none) before heading off down the zig zags with half of Fort William (it was Rich’s first visit to the Ben and he was amazed at how busy it was – he likes his mountains a bit quieter!) before splitting off at the half way lochan. The sun had come out again for the walk back to the car.