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Ascent of Ben Nevis on 2019-08-13

Climber: Ryan Connors

Date:Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Ben Nevis
    Location:UK-Scotland
    Elevation:4413 ft / 1345 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drove to the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre. Lots of parking. Parking cost 4 pounds, and you were able to pay with coins or credit card. We arrived at the parking at 6:50am and there were only 5 or 6 cars in the lot. (Spoiler: It turned out to be a great idea to leave that early!) Another popular starting spot seemed to be the 'Glen Nevis Youth Hostel'.

We headed out from the parking lot at 7am, crossed the bridge, and followed the trail. There were a few steps over the fence in a couple spots, and then we were on the main trail. The trail was beautiful and very well marked. Nothing really to note other than an unmarked right turn after the lake. The fog started at about this point, and didn't let up for the rest of the ascent.

The last 20 minutes of the trail is where most of the hazards lay. The North face is a sizeable cliff, and the to the south is another less dramatic drop-off. Cairns marked the way for this last portion, and I could imagine being nervous with really bad conditions / rain.

On the way up we probably saw about 10 people. And for 95% of our ascent we were alone. The ascent took 3h and 15 minutes at a medium pace. We took some pictures and headed down and same route.

About 30 minutes into our decent we saw a few larger guided groups, and then more, and then an endless line of groups, family's, duos etc. The rain/fog made the path / rocks slick, and for the next 1.5h we wrestled through the crowds as we traced our steps down the mountain. Estimate maybe 200+ people on the way down? The decent took us 2h and 25m.

Definitely recommend leaving as early as possible to avoid these crowds. Our hike was on a weekday, cant imagine how busy it would be on a weekend!

Note: If you forgot any gear, there are lots of outdoor shops in Fort William. Some carried some good name brand stuff: arctyrx, rab, patagonia, etc etc
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