Under winter conditions 'The Ben' is transformed into a magnificent arena for winter climbing. In the winter months Ben Nevis is a far bigger undertaking and requires prior instruction with axe and crampons. It is truly a fantastic time of year to ascend the highest mountain in the UK and below are the two finest routes I guide groups on.
Ben Nevis via the Mountain Path
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK and for that reason alone is a very popular objective for many people. It can provide challenging conditions even in the Summer months. In the Winter season these challenges are very much greater. Snow/ice, poor weather and shorter daylight hours are just some of the key differences if contemplating ‘The Ben’ in Winter.
Join Tarmachan Mountaineering for a safe and enjoyable ascent. During the day we will be giving and teaching a lot more information and imparting skills to get you up (and down!) safely. Gary has summited Ben Nevis in winter over 200 times and countless times in Summer. We therefore know Ben Nevis quite well! The ‘Pony track’ (‘Mountain Path’) is the easiest, shortest most straight forward way to the top. Don’t be fooled. It is still a big day out despite what some people refer to as the ‘tourist path’. Deep snow, ice, high winds and poor visibility are some of the challenges that can be thrown up against you on the 1300m ascent and descent.
If you have never walked in Winter, we will run through how to use the crampons and ice axe as we make our way up the mountain. You will need Winter boots, ice axe and crampons which can all be hired locally in Fort William. You will also need good Winter clothing Please check our Winter Kit List for details.
Start point: Achintee, near Fort William
Ben Nevis via the Carn More Dearg Arete
This is a far more demanding day and requires previous Winter hillwalking experience. A big day out with a long and exposed narrow ridge before the final slopes to the summit. This route gives the best views over to the north face of Ben Nevis as we first ascend up the gentle slopes of Carn Mor Dearg.
The views all the way along this broad, easy angled ridge to the summit are fantastic. On a clear day the view resembles somewhere in The Alps. From the summit of Carn Mor Dearg there lies the highlight of the ascent, the CMD arete. For over 1km the arete snakes its way toward Ben Nevis. It's a little exposed but the climbing is very easy, mostly just walking. The final 200m slopes from the end of the arete up to Ben Nevis's summit are actually easier than in summer!
The boulder terrain of summer is replaced with an even snow slope. After taking in the extensive views it's all downhill via the pony track, taking a short cut down through The Red Burn and back to the NF car park to end a memorable ascent.
N.B This day is offered only for groups with prior Winter hillwalking experience who have some skills with axe and crampons. If you have very little or no Winter hillwalking and you wish to walk this route then you will need to book on a 1-day Winter skills course prior to the CMD arete route.
Start point: The North Face Carpark, Torlundy
Dates: On Demand
- 1 person: £170
- 2 people: £200
- 3 people: £250
- 4 people: £300
- 5 people: £350