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Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis

Postby tomyboy73 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:25 am

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Mountain Path

Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis

Date walked: 24/04/2009

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 13.6 km

Ascent: 1385m

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An early morning jaunt up my first Munro, the biggest of them all, Ben Nevis. We had just spent 6 days doing the West Highland Way, and spent the night in the youth hostel, along with 50 odd American teenagers ! Tam had went home the night before, so it was just me & Jim. We set our alarms for 6.00 a.m, wanting to hit the hill at daybreak. We had a cup of tea and some stolen biscuits for breakfast and we were on our way. We had been used to full fried breakfasts with cereal, fruit and toast all week and now it was soggy rich teas. Anyway we crossed the road and over the bridge across the River Nevis towards the beast. The path as anyone who has been up there knows has been well made but is a bit of a long slog. And although not raining, there was a mist still in the air and the grey clouds above loomed low. Once we had reached Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe and decided to carry on to the right on the "tourist" route, we saw our first large patches of snow.
Jim on snow

I only had a mars bar and some lucozade sport for munchies and kept the mars for later. Not unsurprisingly at that time of day we didn`t meet anyone else on the way up, bet that`s pretty rare. At just about 9.00, i remember because my sister called me and i was as surprised at getting a reception never mind a phone call, we hit "the" snow.
cairns in snow

From here it was a case of heading straight up following footprints in the snow from cairn to cairn which took about 40 mins to the summit. The highest point in Britain. But, those last forty minutes were a whole new adventure for me. The snow was knee deep in places although the previous walkers impressions helped with this, occasionally i`d fall through some fresh snow. Jim had powered on ahead although we always kept sight of each other.
The wind was biting and the snow blinding. I had to stop a few times and just sit with my face entirely covered to block out the psychadelic fireworks going off in my pupils. I wondered how much longer it was going to be, when the prints in the snow got seriously close to a huge cornice hanging over to my left, then i saw Jim waving his hands frantically as he spotted the summit. I was soon with him and be both touched the summit cairn together.
nearly there

It was like another world up there compared to anywhere else i`d been. The wind was blowing even harder, thankfully it didin`t rain and the clouds obscured most of the surrounding area. It was only a step up from the snow onto the cairn and only after looking at other`s pictures of it on my return home did i realise how deep the snow was.
summit pic

We posed for pics and then were soon back off down the "hill". On the path back down we met Jane & John, who we met a few times on the WHW and who were responsible for talking me into climbing the Ben, thank you very much.
Jane & John

The path was much busier now with human traffic and i particularly remember a Frenchman and his teenage son, who was wearing a nice pair of slacks with slip on shoes and a sweater fashionably tied around his shoulders, asking " how far to ze top?" ! We got back down about 12.30, now satisfied that the WHW was completed with a real climax rather than the anti climatic signpost at Fort William. :)
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Re: Ben Nevis

Postby pollyh33 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:33 am

Jings Tommy I thought for a minute there you had sneaked a wee trip up Ben Nevis yesterday :lol:

Really good report.

I went up this route last September and wondered why there were so many cairns. Now looking at your photos, they make perfect sense!!! Must be very reassuring in adverse conditions with poor visibilty.

Can't believe how you survived on such poor rations, you must be a thouroughbred. I horse my way through about 5 times that amount on a normal hill!!!

Well done on finishing off the WHW the proper way :clap: :clap: :clap:
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