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Beginner for Nevis

Beginner for Nevis


Postby bobster1983 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:02 am

Good day all,

I half expect you have all had this question before but I cannot find a definitive answer for it. I am Interested in attempting Ben Nevis just the tourist route say in the middle of May. I have researched it somewhat and I fully understand there is plenty of clothing and kit i need to bring with me.

My question is: Is it possible to attempt and reach the top as a beginner at that time of year safely?

Any additional advise would be greatly appreciated.

Regards
Bob
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby Glengavel » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:39 am

My mate and I attempted it in early May three years ago. Within a few hundred metres of the top the group ahead of us stopped to put on their crampons, at which point we called it a day, so I'd say you're entirely at the mercy of the weather.
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby KatTai » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:11 am

Really depends on conditions at the time. When I did Nevis I was aiming for May after a glorious, snow-free April but the snow returned. It is just a case of waiting to see what conditions are like closer to the time.
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby jmarkb » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:14 am

Good advice above - it will depend on the prevailing weather and snow conditions at the time. You might get a warm sunny day with a bit of soft snow near the summit, or you might get a full-on blizzard, or anything in between. The summit plateau is potentially a very dangerous place in poor visibility. I would encourage you to research some alternative walks in the area (there are plenty of good ones, many arguably better than the Ben, in fact) and don't go with the attitude that you are going up the Ben no matter what. It will still be there for another day.
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby al78 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:06 pm

It is definitely possible. I once climbed the Ben via the tourist route in mid May on a beautiful sunny day, and the summit plateau was still covered in snow, although it was easy to walk on with standard walking boots. It will all depend on the weather. If there is a lot of snow and poor visibility the plateau is dangerous, there are gullies you need to use careful navigation to avoid a premature and very fast descent. If you want to go for it then do so, but use initiative and leave your ego behind, if it looks dodgy at altitude and you think it might be beyond you, turn back, the hill will be there for another day.
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby Robinho08 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:26 pm

Ben Nevis via the tourist path was my very first mountain back in 2008 and I was fine. It's a bit of a slog up and it was really busy, but I enjoyed it at the time.

Depending how this winter pans out, there could still be a lot of snow on the Ben in May. It's impossible to know conditions at the moment. So bare that in mind.
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby rgf101 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:27 pm

" Is it possible to attempt and reach the top as a beginner at that time of year safely? "
Beginner at going up Munros - yes, but with the above warnings about the weather .
Beginner at going for very long walks - probably not. You'll be miserable and aching before you're halfway up. The tourist route is often lined with very puffed looking folk debating giving up.
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby Caberfeidh » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:52 pm

You understand that you are a beginner but you are aiming at the highest, and one of the toughest and most dangerous hills in Scotland? Build up experience elsewhere and after a few years and lots of learning come back and try the Ben.

Nevis North Face in winter.jpg
Nevis
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby Kevin29035 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:45 pm

Caberfeidh wrote:You understand that you are a beginner but you are aiming at the highest, and one of the toughest and most dangerous hills in Scotland? Build up experience elsewhere and after a few years and lots of learning come back and try the Ben.


True to an extent, but every year tens of thousands of people also do the Ben as their first hill, get to the top and down safely. June to August is a safer bet than May. May can be a bit snowy. But June the 24th this year passed had snow on the plateau; for one day only.
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby Giant Stoneater » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:07 pm

Me and my good lady done Ben Nevis one April before we had some experience and no crampons/ice axe and the snow was about a foot below the shelter door,it was clear blue sky and sunshine and the snow was soft,otherwise I very much doubt we would have reached the summit.
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby Kevin29035 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:33 pm

bobster1983 wrote:I half expect you have all had this question before but I cannot find a definitive answer for it. I am Interested in attempting Ben Nevis just the tourist route say in the middle of May. I have researched it somewhat and I fully understand there is plenty of clothing and kit i need to bring with me.

My question is: Is it possible to attempt and reach the top as a beginner at that time of year safely?

Any additional advise would be greatly appreciated.

Hey

If conditions are good just go for it. The plateau does hold onto remaining snow into May, there are certain banks that lie in hollows into June. The paths disappears into these and reappears on the other side above. Asides all the usual knowing-where-you-are, keeping warm etc, the big winter risk is new snowfall or old snow going hard because the temperatures drop.

Watch http://www.mwis.org.uk/scottish-forecast/WH/ ahead of your chosen day - they give a freezing level, the altitude that the temps go below zero. If this is below 1350m, it means that Nevis summit is sub-zero. That freezing level can drop below the summits with, or without, fresh snowfall. But even without fresh snowfall, any remaining snow patches on the plateau can freeze hard, which can be risky to walk on without winter gear.

Typical May summit temps would be 0-5 degrees I'd estimate? But if temperatures stay on the warmer side, or you catch a heatwave, any remaining snow will be like more like slush and not too hard to get across.

Alternatively, wait another month or two for the mountain to be more free of snow. Throughout summer, the main path to the top is a human centipede of thousands. Still, doesn't negate the need for some navigation sense and always, not a mountain to be underestimated.

Cheers
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:09 pm

If you do your research and have reasonable fitness it shouldn't be a problem. Pick a nice day (easier said than done). A nice day with clear skies and little wind makes it so much easier and more enjoyable. In poor weather it's far easier to make mistakes. It might seem a big achievement to climb the Ben in poor conditions but its not much fun and potentially very dangerous. If the weather is poor do something else.

There are loads of reviews on here you can look at and see the type of conditions and experiences of other people.
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/bennevis.shtml

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/munros/ben-nevis

All the best :D
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Re: Beginner for Nevis

Postby bobster1983 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:39 pm

Thank you to all the ladies and gentleman for your replies.

Its a great help it has given me a lot to consider.
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