As for all north face climbs, reach the CIC hut via the Glen Nevis Tourist Track and Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, or alternatively along the Allt a'Mhuillinn from the 'North Face' car Park near Torlundy. Both variations are steep in places, and can be muddy, though recent path upgrades on the latter route may improve things. From the hut head WSW over slabs, scree and steep grass to the base of the magnificent Carn Dearg Buttress, an obvious steep mass of overlapping slabs and walls, bounding the far right of Coire na Ciste. Centurion is the unmistakeable vertical right-angled corner splitting the face. About 2 hrs lung-busting to the base of the route. Possible camp sites around the CIC Hut and in the mouth of Coire na Ciste.
Centurion, 190m HVS (Alpine VI-, Fr 5+). Winter: VIII,8.
One of the most famous of Ben Nevis climbs, with a great pedigree, Centurion exerts a magnetic pull. This is among the best rock routes of its grade, period.
Pitch 1, 25m 4c: Climb L wall of corner via awkward flake holds to reach a generous stance on a big ledge.
Pitch 2, 35m 5a, 1st crux: Traverse back R into corner, and climb it with lots of sustained effort and a couple of meaty mini cruxes. Good holds and gear throughout, but the rock can seep a little in places. Brilliant. Belay in an overhung niche.
Pitch 3, 25m 4b: Traverse L across a short juggy wall to reach an exposed arete. Climb friendly grooves until level with a big overhang, step R and continue up to a stance.
Pitch 4, 20m 4b: Regain the main corner line, then move L across a wall, before climbing the arete to a belay ledge.
Pitch 5, 40m 4a: Follow the same general line straight up easy slabby grooves to belay on a sloping terrace some way below the final headwall.
Pitch 6, 30m 5a, 2nd crux: Move a good distance diagonally L across the slab (grubby in places) to reach the headwall. Climb onto an undercut slab, moving up and L to an overhang. Gain a detached flake, from where a second hanging slab is reached by stepping delicately L. Easy ground then bears R to a belay below the final tier of overhangs.
Pitch 7, 25m 4c: move R to gain a juggy arete. Follow this strenuously over a small overlap, above which an easy groove lands you with relief on the broad rubbly terrace at the top of the Carn Derag Buttress proper.
Descent: traverse L along the terrace, descending across slimy slabs to gain the lower section of Ledge Route. It's possible to ascend this to the summit plateau (an easy scramble in summer, though very atmospheric). Otherwise keep heading L down into Number 5 Gully, which can be snow-filled into mid summer.
Two 9mm or 8.5mm ropes, a full set of nuts, plus a few extra odd sizes, a good range of cams, perhaps a couple of chocks or Rockcentrics, several slings and screwgates, around 10 quickdraws. Helmets, rock shoes, plus footwear for a rough mountain descent. Unless the weather is exceptionally mild and stable it's worth treating this as a mountaineering route - eg carry spare clothing and emergency stuff on the climb.
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