Of the various climbs up Ben Nevis, the Ledge route seemed to be good and varied, and not too too technical. For good measure, we’d return via the CMD Arete.
As you near Ben Nevis, the sheer scale scale of it starts to hit.
It’s hard to capture the scale of a mountain and the precariousness of a ridge in a photo. Suffice to say it’s steep, and you try not to look down too much.
At the summit, we could breath easily - though the visibility got much worse. We lost sight of the other climbers who were on our route, thus we were alone for the remainder of the day. Now we can say we’ve climbed Ben Nevis.
We’d read enough horror stories about getting lost on the summit to know you need to take good bearings or risk walking off the edge. From the trig point near the hut we set off with 5m visibility towards where we hoped the CMD would be.
Buoyed by our ascent of Ben Nevis, we decided on an even longer route for the next day - the Ring of Steall in the Mamores. We set off early, but in retrospect should have set off far earlier.
The initiall ascent was damp and never ending. Always forward, always up. No one in sight. Did we really want to do this?
As we cleared the bulk of the initial ascent, a new, hidden world was revealed to us. Still and calm and very white. We could see across the valley to our return path - so very far away.
After our first summit we crossed the Devil’s ridge - a long corniced bulk of snow. Time was pressing, and we were still only 1/3 around the route.
After doing 2/3 of the route, we were short on time and the going got much icier. A steep and tricky descent of Am Bodach tired us out, and we decided to bail off of the route and in to the bowl for an easier return.
In the end, the bowl return was likely slower than our original plan. It wasn’t technically hard, but went on forever. We quickly lost the light and settled in for a long walk back to the car.