Ben Nevis this time of year?

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razzaefc

Member
Mar 9, 2014
26
0
plymouth
Hope this is the right section. I'm thinking of walking up Ben Nevis next weekend depending in weather, I've done snowdon and scafell so hoping to complete the three peaks while I'm based up here. Would it be advisable? Thanks
 

razzaefc

Member
Mar 9, 2014
26
0
plymouth
Thanks pete, think I'll just go with the boring route to get it ticked off then may be try the more harder route come summer time!
 

Ed the Ted

Full Member
Dec 13, 2013
99
3
Scotland
You'll need an axe and crampons and the ability to navigate on the plateau in a white room. If you have those and appropriate clothing there's no reason for it to be unadvisable that I can see.
 

Bigfoot

Settler
Jul 10, 2010
669
4
Scotland
Buy a detailed map of the plateau and plot the exit bearings from the summit position. In winter conditions with low vis any mistakes can easily find you walking into one of the gullies and a vertical drop.
 

razzaefc

Member
Mar 9, 2014
26
0
plymouth
sorry to ask again but should i be leaving this alone? im actually quite gutted but safety first. me and my two friends have no crampons or ice picks, just normal winter clothing.
 

StJon

Nomad
May 25, 2006
490
3
57
Largs
Full alpine kit and top notch navigation skills, the Ben can bite, though we still see folk going up in gutties...
 

JAG009

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 20, 2010
2,407
1
Under your floor
This turn of phrase should never be used ,,there are no tourist routes, just easier ways up ....does not matter what way you go up if you get caught with bad weather and your not prepared you will get into trouble fast ............ how many times do you think the mountain rescue teams have heard this .... it said it was the tourist route so I thought it would be ok just to walk up it
 

Pete11

Nomad
Jul 12, 2013
292
0
Scotland
This turn of phrase should never be used ,,there are no tourist routes, just easier ways up ....does not matter what way you go up if you get caught with bad weather and your not prepared you will get into trouble fast ............ how many times do you think the mountain rescue teams have heard this .... it said it was the tourist route so I thought it would be ok just to walk up it
I do hear what you are saying re safety, weather etc. Thats a given. The "route" I referred to to is the most commonly used route, by hundreds, daily in the Summer months ( granted Scottish Summers can be cold at that altitude, wind blown and all ! )

The route is that much scarred now it is be being repaired all the time, too many boots. I have seen it as busy as a High St in good weather. The other route , the CMD Arete, totally a different matter all together.

Pete
 

Doc

Need to contact Admin...
Nov 29, 2003
2,109
10
Perthshire
I do hear what you are saying re safety, weather etc. Thats a given. The "route" I referred to to is the most commonly used route, by hundreds, daily in the Summer months ( granted Scottish Summers can be cold at that altitude, wind blown and all ! )

The route is that much scarred now it is be being repaired all the time, too many boots. I have seen it as busy as a High St in good weather. The other route , the CMD Arete, totally a different matter all together.

Pete
Did the Ben last summer: up via CMD arete, and down by the 'tourist route' - though as mentioned, this terminology is slightly frowned upon by many.

There is no doubt that the CMD route is stunning in terms of the views. The more exposed bits of the arete itself can be bypassed by a path to the left, but I would still not fancy it in high winds or winter conditions myself. The main problem was not the exposure: it is a very long, steep day and I felt pretty cream-crackered on the final push through talus to the top. Once there it is great because the 'tourists' at the top are astonished to see you appear out of the mist from that direction. They all seem to assume there is only one route to the summit.

The summit experience is very strange. Usually in the hills the other walkers you meet are dressed and equipped the same as yourself. On Ben Nevis summit it is high heels, carrier bags, T shirts, babies, fed-up teenagers, litter, etc etc.

On the way down, just 300m from the summit I met a couple who asked me how far it was to go. I told them. The young lady said that she wasn't taking another step, let alone 300m worth and turned back.

There are very large pillars marking the safe route off the summit. You should still have map and compass, though perhaps not a copy of Trail Walker which famously printed the wrong bearing for getting off the summit in clag.
 

bigbear

Full Member
May 1, 2008
760
23
Yorkshire
Never underestimate any mountain, especially Ben Nevis, its so often a different world on the summit plateau.
Its only by the grace of God and the good work of rescue teams and fellow hillusers that many more do not come to grief on the Ben.
 

Ed the Ted

Full Member
Dec 13, 2013
99
3
Scotland
Found a good pic to explain it. If you're happy navigating in this and worse (no rocks poking out of the snow = white room) with wind chill anywhere down to -20 and summit temp anywhere down to -10 (usually) and strong winds (60mph ish being about the limit of what you can get away with with a ski pole or two, for me at least) then you'll be ok. If not, don't go up Ben Nevis in winter. You can get lucky with weather and conditions and have inadequate skills and be fine, you can get unlucky with weather and conditions and have adequate skills and be fine, what you don't want is to get unlucky with weather and conditions and have inadequate skills, because you most certainly will not be fine.

This was on the Cairngorm plateau a week ago. Poor visibility, but not quite white room/out conditions at that point (due to the wind scoured rocks poking out of the snow). People certainly throw around the term 'white out' when they've probably never actually been in one, and those who have know just how difficult they are to deal with safely and confidently!

 

nic a char

Settler
Dec 23, 2014
591
1
scotland
2 of my pals just returned - treacherous conditions drove them down after reaching top with crampons & axes - bivi only safe at lower levels.
 

baggins

Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
1,350
133
45
Coventry (and up trees)
i remember doing the 'tourist' route about 20 years ago, taking a group of young lads up with one of the BMCs top alpine instructors. We were all kitted up to the nines and several of us were well trained and experienced in winter alpine and Scottish climbing.
As we left the carpark, a young group of lads passed us by, dressed in good quality jeans and trainers (bear in mind it was march, although a gorgeously warm, sunny day), plastic carrier bags and wooly hats. various derogatory comments were made toward us.
By the time we were 2/3rs of the way up, it was true white out conditions and at least 2.5' of snow and ice under foot. we soon came across the group of lads, already lost and showing the first signs of exposure.
We canceled the climb in order to help the lads return safely to the car park.
It really was an eye opener as to the true lack of understanding of the dangers of being in the great outdoors.
Razz, i understand it is difficult to not do what you hoped, but, in fairness, well done for asking here and knowing your limitations. The Ben isn't going anywhere, so get some more training and experience in and try it again next year.
Just enjoy those hills.
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
9
Scotland
sorry to ask again but should i be leaving this alone? im actually quite gutted but safety first. me and my two friends have no crampons or ice picks, just normal winter clothing.
You can hire the kit in Fort William. But being brutally honest, unless you know how to use it and have other well practised winter mountaineering skills I'd give it a miss.
 

thorpey0

Full Member
Aug 28, 2012
173
3
Durham
sorry to ask again but should i be leaving this alone? im actually quite gutted but safety first. me and my two friends have no crampons or ice picks, just normal winter clothing.
My mum calls my Ice Axes 'Ice Picks', you made the right call. If you are inexperienced and want to attempt something like the Ben at this time of year then hire a guide - http://www.ami.org.uk. If you have good winter kit and some fitness then you can hire the boots etc and a suitably qualified and experienced guide will give you a fantastic day out. Just my two pence.