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Ben Nevis mid March to mid April?


Original Post
ChrisMurphy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

my buddy and I want to make a trip to Ben Nevis in 2017 to attempt some of the classic routes; Point Five Gully, Orion Face Direct, Astral Highway, etc but are trying to determine the best time of year for this.

Would anytime between mid March to mid April be ideal or is there a better time for routes like these?

I just ordered the guidebook but haven't received it yet so if this is covered in there, sorry about that

JAtkinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 899

Try posting on ukclimbing.com. There's also route descriptions and beta for pretty lots of stuff on Ben Nevis

Jonathan Lagoe · · Boulder · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 5

The Ben is awesome - so good plan and I hope you enjoy it.
Conditions are unpredictable, but for the routes you describe you need a good build up of ice, which is most likely mid to late season. However April could be too late except in very good years.

Your best bet, if you have any flexibility is to wait and see how the season is developing - keep an eye on ukclimbing.com conditions reports and act quickly.

If I had to commit I would go between mid February and mid March, have a car and be prepared to travel around to find the best Scottish conditions. The Cairngorms further East can stay in while the Ben is thawing.

FWIW, I did Point Five on Feb 12, Orion Face on March 13 and Smith's on April 22 - in different years.

PTR · · NEPA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 10

Here's a good article written by Dave McLeod:

ukclimbing.com/articles/pag…

Lots of great advice and links to further information. I like Scotland in the winter because -- although the days can be short -- the air is usually very clear on sunny days. Summer can be surprisingly hazy.

Jonathan Lagoe · · Boulder · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 5

Yes that's great article and Dave obviously thinks April is potentially a great month. He should know, as he lives at the foot of the mountain. So maybe extend my suggested window until the end of March.

ChrisMurphy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

that's a pretty damn good overview in that article, thanks. looks like I've got a bit more research to do but at this moment I'm leaning toward mid to late March. We'll see if that holds.

the main issue we have is that we will be coming from North America (NYC and Toronto) so we'll have to purchase our plane tickets in advance and cannot wait until the last minute to review conditions. I don't even want to think of what a last minute ticket to Glasgow would cost.

thanks for all of the help and I'll review all of the sources you guys have supplied, and will most likely get an account on UKClimbing.com

PTR · · NEPA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 10

For a more remote experience, you could try Creag Meagaidh ("creg meggy"):

ukclimbing.com/articles/pag…

Conditions are probably less predictable there, but the place has a cool feel to it -- as does Lochnagar:

ukclimbing.com/articles/pag…

Sorry, I'll stop now; you're going to the Ben which is totally awesome. I'm envious. In any event, best to have some options to follow the best conditions. Have fun

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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