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Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?


Postby Paul w » Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:58 pm

Hi guys new to hill walking and this forum, I'm new to the hills and a friend wants to do Nevis 'mountain trek' path this Sunday, we done the cobbler couple of weeks ago and loved it! Was quite snowy up the last third part but was no probs, any way is Nevis too much? i just don't want to bite off more than we can chew and end up another statistic! What do you guys think? Thanks
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby Harko » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:35 pm

Paul w wrote:Hi guys new to hill walking and this forum, I'm new to the hills and a friend wants to do Nevis 'mountain trek' path this Sunday, we done the cobbler couple of weeks ago and loved it! Was quite snowy up the last third part but was no probs, any way is Nevis too much? i just don't want to bite off more than we can chew and end up another statistic! What do you guys think? Thanks



If you're going up the standard tourist path - you should be ok if you're reasonably fit (assuming that you're ok given you did the Cobbler recently). Ben Nevis was the first munro I climbed - it's not technically hard, there is a path all the way to the top, it's really just that it goes on for ages! Take plenty of water with you and make sure the weather is ok - and I'm sure that you'll be fine.
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby basscadet » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:39 pm

I think on a summers day then it is do-able by most folk if the weather is clear.. Just watch out if you are going this Sunday - It will be snowy/icy/slippery and you are likely to encounter problems. :?
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:43 pm

I don't know what's happened with the snow this week, but just last weekend Ben Nevis was in full winter condition. No place for a novice if it still is, and you will need winter equipment (ice axe/crampons) and the skills to use them.

In summer conditions, the only difficulty is navigation if the weather clags in. The summit plateau can be a confusing place and you need to be able to follow a bearing confidently.

So, sort of depends on conditions really, but the summit plateau is a notorious place for navigational errors leading to people falling on steep ground.

Sorry to sound negative, but this winter is hanging on so it might be worth putting it off a few weeks, or doing something a little lower where there is less snow likely?
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby Cairngormwanderer » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:46 pm

Bear in mind the weather can make all the difference. There is still a vast amount of snow on the top, which means the path may not be visible. Already this winter (and it is still winter up there) there have been a number of people come to grief by taking the wrong route down, and one person still missing up there. The snow might be soft and slushy, or it might be brick hard and icy and impossible to keep your feet on - nice, if you're next to the edge. If visibility is poor you will not be able to see where the plateau ends and the cornice - increasingly unstable at this time of year - begins.
Far be it from me to tell you not to go up. But if you were my mate I'd advise against it. Work your way up to things; build up your experience gradually. The track up Ben Nevis is a dawdle, but that doesn't mean its not a very serious mountain which has been the death of people a lot more experienced than you.
God knows though, I've seen some complete idiots up there doing the most insanely stupid things and getting off with it, most often not even realising how near to death they were, so it would surprise me not one bit to hear either that you went up, had a laugh and wondered what the fuss was about, or that you fell off and died.
Make your own choice.
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby teaandpies » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:02 pm

Mal Grey wrote:I don't know what's happened with the snow this week, but just last weekend Ben Nevis was in full winter condition. No place for a novice if it still is, and you will need winter equipment (ice axe/crampons) and the skills to use them.

In summer conditions, the only difficulty is navigation if the weather clags in. The summit plateau can be a confusing place and you need to be able to follow a bearing confidently.

So, sort of depends on conditions really, but the summit plateau is a notorious place for navigational errors leading to people falling on steep ground.

Sorry to sound negative, but this winter is hanging on so it might be worth putting it off a few weeks, or doing something a little lower where there is less snow likely?


Totally agree with the above. My brother is part of the RAF Rescue team and he's been to 3 jobs in the past 2 weeks recovering dead bodies from Nevis and Oss.


Yes, I'd say Nevis is very reasonable target for a novice even if fairly unfit. I personally walked Ben Nevis at a bad time for me, I was 20 stone in weight and the weather was totally blazing. It's a hard slog, remember you are walking from sea level to the top of the highest peak in the UK...people will always try to belittle you for doing the pony path but if you get into hill walking you can always do an alternative route in the future.

People always tell you to prepare for bad weather conditions but you need to prepare properly for really good conditions as well, plenty of water a sun hat, shades and screen etc.

Good luck with your walk whenever you get around to it.
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby Paul w » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:36 pm

Thanks for the replies guys, think I'm going to hold off till the better weather comes (if it ever does)! Ill go back to drawing board and look at other ones around lomond erea, thanks for the help,
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby liamando » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:29 pm

I have seen a four year old do it during summer haha guessing he got carried down though
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby Fudgie » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:54 pm

Paul w wrote:Thanks for the replies guys, think I'm going to hold off till the better weather comes (if it ever does)! Ill go back to drawing board and look at other ones around lomond erea, thanks for the help,


There's much less snow on Ben Lomond and it looked today as if there were only a few patches around the top. Those patches might still be frozen though.
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby Paul w » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:43 pm

My mate done Ben lomond last Sunday ( I had to work) :-( so he's all for Nevis, hopefully there's a massive tropical front over next two days and it melts all the ice up there for me lol,
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby Caberfeidh » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:35 am

Paul w wrote:My mate done Ben lomond last Sunday ( I had to work) :-( so he's all for Nevis, hopefully there's a massive tropical front over next two days and it melts all the ice up there for me lol,


Check out the temperatures ; it is going to freeze overnight, so lots of ice around. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/gfh7nhp5g#?fcTime=1429228800

Take on something lesser, save the biggy for later.
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby Milesy » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:52 am

It's cold up there still and plenty of snow and ice. You really need crampons and and ice axe to be safe.
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby PermaHeretic » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:13 am

I had been wondering much the same thing, but ruled out Ben Nevis on account of my sketchy navigation skills and lack of winter paraphernalia or expertise.

But can anyone recommend an alternative?

I am meeting my friend who has never been to Scotland before, and we're staying in Fort William tonight. Tomorrow night we plan to go and see Shooglenifty in Glenuig.

So we are looking for somewhere safe but dramatic and representative of Scotland, between FW and Glenuig, that we can comfortably do in a day.

Any ideas?
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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby Old Stag » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:52 am

PermaHeretic wrote:I had been wondering much the same thing, but ruled out Ben Nevis on account of my sketchy navigation skills and lack of winter paraphernalia or expertise.

But can anyone recommend an alternative?

I am meeting my friend who has never been to Scotland before, and we're staying in Fort William tonight. Tomorrow night we plan to go and see Shooglenifty in Glenuig.

So we are looking for somewhere safe but dramatic and representative of Scotland, between FW and Glenuig, that we can comfortably do in a day.

Any ideas?


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Re: Is Ben Nevis too much for a newbie?

Postby electricfly » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:04 pm

Ben Nevis still has a good deal of snow across most of it's upper reaches. Winter kit plus competent navigation skills required (especially if the clouds come in).

The Pap of Glencoe, snow-free as my photograph from last week shows here. :)

Image
Pap of Glencoe, with Ben Nevis and Lochaber range beyond. click image to enlarge
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