The climb kicked off at the north face car park at 7am. Loaded with coffee and porridge we met the Osprey competition winners. These avid Irish mountain climbers were the winners of our Rock2Recovery social competition and were keen to join us for the day’s ascent in aid of a fantastic cause. Rock2Recovery is a charity co-founded by Jason Fox and Jamie Sanderson. Its objective is to provide mental health support to armed forces veterans and emergency services personnel.
We caught up with Jason Fox who was busy greeting the fundraisers before listening to the safety briefing and the guidance from the Mountain Leaders. We had decided to climb the tougher Carn Mor Dearg route that promised to yield some amazing panoramic views. After breaking into groups our Mountain Leader, Barry Gray, gave us some quick guidance before leading us onto an easy going woodland trail climb that would take us to the first major ascent.
Our legs now warm, we left the woods to be greeted by the north face of Nevis off to our right. Our path however, was off to the left with a trudging ascent along a boggy trail. The rapid climb began to dry out as we approached the UK’s 9th highest peak, Carn Mor Dearg. A final leg burning push took us to the summit of CMD where we rested, refuelled and took in the views. With its big brother off to the right and surrounded by lochs, mountains and a horizon that stretched as far as the eye could see, it was a fitting first reward atop Carn Mor Dearg.
After refuelling and regrouping we began our crossing of the famous CMD Arete. This spiny ridgeline bridges the CMD and Ben Nevis like a precarious bridge. Some minor scrambling and clambering, with a few cautious steps around exposed sections led us across to our final phase of the climb. A loose, steep scramble up to the summit.
The last 200m of ascent were achieved in an extremely short distance an ensured that if weren’t already, we were nice and warm as we hit the summit. Greeted by bagpipes upon summit the team took time to celebrate with a sip of whisky as we waited on the other groups to arrive.
All in all it took the group four hours to reach the top of Ben Nevis and now the two hour downward hike began. We cut across the zig zags of the ‘mountain trail’ opting for steeper descent and headed down towards the iconic lake. A final slippy marsh march and a short river crossing took us back to the woods and on to the car park where we devoured an entire pack of biscuits.
The entire trip raised over £21,000 for the Rock2Recovery charity. It was awesome to climb with so many passionate fundraisers, with Osprey Ambassador Jason Fox, with our competition winners and with the hardworking Rock2Recovery team.
James, signing off, back at his desk with spreadsheets open and dreaming of Mountains.