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

Lochaber 4000ers

11-12 June 2016
Weather for the western highlands was looking pretty good for this weekend as Martin led a group up the Lochaber 4000ers. Here's his tale of the weekend...

photo 2 I'm often asked how many times I've climbed Ben Nevis and the answer is hundreds and by many different routes. I try and explain that the 'Ben' is different to all the other mountains in Scotland and how special it it, for me at least anyway. Hopefully, after this weekend a few more folk will also share my view !

This weekend saw us not only aiming for Ben Nevis, but we were adding in the other 'Lochaber 4000s' - that's 4 of the highest mountains in the UK.

photo 1 On Saturday Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg were our goals, including the stunning Carn Mor Dearg arete. We met at the North Face car-park and had a very quick briefing and gear check due to the "beasties" having their breakfast of fresh meat ! I took the group to the top car-park often used by climbers to access the North Face. Once here, we walked in thick hill fog and ascended the slopes of Carn Mor Dearg. The air was still and we all were convinced that we wouldn't be getting views. However, we were all very pleasantly surprised to get a glimpse of the North Face, and as we got higher, the glimpse turned into a cloud inversion. Simply stunning !

photo 2 Then for the rest of the day we enjoyed clear views of magnificent Ben Nevis. At the summit of Carn Mor Dearg we stopped for a while, then we made our way across the arete. The rock was suprisingly dry and the group all enjoyed the challenges of the scramble. Once across we made the slog up the boulderfield onto to the summit of the Ben, where I showed some of the historical artefacts left over from the Observatory.

We joined the crowds for the descent down the 'tourist path' to the half way lochan. We then left the main path behind for a quiet hike back to the top car-park.

photo 1 On the second day our goal was the Nevis Range Aonachs - the big mountains to the east of Carn Mor Dearg. The summits dominate the views from below, but luckily there's a cafe half way up. Sunday was much cooler than yesterday, with a brisk wind pushing over the tops. After reaching the summit of Aonach Mor most of the day's hard work was complete and we had a pleasant high level walk across to Aonach Beag.

Instead of descending down into Glen Nevis, we decided to return to the Nevis Range and this allowed us to use the coffee shop for refreshments ! To head back to the car-park, we opted for a gondola ride - bliss to end the day and enjoy more views.

A great weekend, thanks everyone.

More photos by Martin are here on Flickr.

Our next events on the Lochaber peaks are Ben Nevis via Ledge Route and CMD arete on 4th and 23rd July.

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