Ben Nevis Trip Report (#22157)
- Signed By: Knighty
- Date submitted: April 11, 2011
- Date(s) climbed: 19th March 2011
- Number of People Encountered:25-50 people
- Recommend to a Friend: Highly
09:00hrs Saturday 19th March 2011,
Crampons at the ready, rope in the rucksack and with our hydration packs full we set off for the summit. We planned to follow the path starting at Achintee House. (NN124 730) The sky was with some cloud but gave long spells of sun and little wind!!
Large clumps of snow were becoming common as we crossed the couple of foot bridges. (132 721) The snow quickly became thicker until we finally crossed the snow line and noted the mountain was about to change! We stopped on a pile of rocks (143 720) to fuel the body and decided now was the time to strap on the crampons! A brief 5 minute rest and we continued up the now deep drifts of icy snow past a frozen Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe. The views of the north soon appeared revealing snow covered peaks stretching miles into the distance.
147 724: We followed the path south wards to a dodgy quick drop down and across a ford. (147 719) We continued onwards towards Glen Nevis and soon began the long zigzag up to the top. Although it was cold, the weather was great and clear. However above us the cloud (as we thought it to be!) was moving in to cover our horizon in the sky
The next 100m climb was as expected and the views were stunning. We are at 900meters (150 714) and the winds of Nevis finally said their hello’s!! We were then reminded of exactly where we were and Game on! We stood our ground, gathered ourselves and slowly moved on. The next 200meters up proved to be slow and exhausting in the now more frequent belches of wind coming from around the mountain. Our climb was at times helped by these strong winds as they pushed us both up the northern parts of the freshly snow covered path: 156 714
The sudden torrents of iced snow caught in the whipping wind were painful, powerful and physically breath taking. We had experienced similar whiteouts the day before 1000m up Bidean Nam Bian but not the force Ben Nevis was host too. These outbursts of snow whipped blindness were nerving at first and were becoming more challenging the further we climbed up.
At 12:10hrs and during a calm window in the wind we stopped to re-charge. (157 714) Two chaps ahead of us had just moved on for there not too far push to the summit, the wind was beginning to kick in again and they quickly disappeared into the blizzard above. We moved on up and soon noted that the two chaps had stopped and appeared to be talking to a very visible person who had previously overtaken us a short time before. He approached us shortly after we had started our way up. He was well equipped and had a manor of one that knows! ‘The weather is bad, the winds are intense and you will be going blind to the summit. I have turned round’. My navigational skills and use of a compass and map are good but, we lets face it, were on a Scottish mountain, and its winter!! The fact this man and the two others had turned round told us we were about to loose the second peak in as many days. 12:25hrs, altitude around 1180meters, Grid NN157 714
The groups following us had already taken advice from our anonymous climber and like us had started there dissent but a couple still continued on upward.
We finally reached the car at 15:45hrs, Knackered but not gutted…. knowing the weather beat us this time and we can come again.