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Carn Mor Dearg (CMD) Arete


A trip across the highest spine in the UK. This graceful, swooping, rooftop ridge over Ben Nevis is rightly popular as one of the top easy scrambles in the UK.


Route Length 



Max Ratio



Experience Grade 

Easy - Grade 1 Scramble


Approach Length (Approximate) 



Total Trip Length 



Meeting location 

Fort William


Experience Duration 

1 Day



Strong summer hillwalking fitness. Some experience of scrambling at Grade 1 or above is helpful. 


Is it for me? 

The UK's highest mountain is a giant whaleback from the South, greedily concealing its prized North face. Once approached from the North, this rugged face comes into view. This route takes the soaring left boundary ridge of Coire Les. It follows an obvious line throughout and with excellent views of the five major mountaineering ridges leading down to the bowl of Coire Les.


This is a moderate scrambling day, but with a big approach. Starting with the traditional climbers romp through the woods and alongside the Allt a Mhuillinn. Whilst the rock climbers continue along the path with designs on the mighty North Face, we skirt North and start a long ascent on a rough path that eventually sees us atop Carn Beag Dearg, then Carn Dearg Meadhonach and afterwards Carn Mor Dearg which marks the start of the ridge. 


The route is never committing or too exposed, but with a qualified and experienced instructor guiding you, you will have the opportunity to attack this fine route head on, sticking to the crest throughout and making easy climbing moves in complete security, hundreds of meters above the corrie floor. The North Face is our constant companion throughout the route, its 5 historic mountaineering ridges clearly visible reaching from the summit to the corrie floor. At the far end of the ridge we briefly ascend, bypassing a ruined observatory to reach the roof of Scotland, summit of Ben Nevis.


Completing our tour of the mighty mountain, we first mingle with the tourists and start down the pony path, before leaving it at a lochan and taking an oblique line down a broad buttress to eventually rejoin our approach path. A good standard of fitness and a dollop of determination is required for the approach and return, but for those who have it, this route makes an exciting, memorable experience for those wishing to climb Ben Nevis. 


Mountains included in route 

Car Beag Dearg 1010m

Carn Mor Meadhonach 1179m

Carn Mor Dearg 1220m

Ben Nevis 1344m (optional)


Additional information 

You will be guided on the route by a suitably qualified, fully insured and competent Mountaineering Instructor. All mountaineering equipment required for the route and instruction on its use is included. However, clients must ensure they bring appropriate clothing as listed on our kit list page. In case of dangerous weather conditions an alternative activity or a full refund will be offered. Please read our Terms and Conditions for further information.

Carn Mor Dearg (CMD) Arete

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