Ascent to Ben Nevis-On of the last switchbacks... on 2013-04-29

Climber: Jim Robinson

Date:Monday, April 29, 2013
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Ben Nevis - On of the last switchbacks...
    Elevation:3400 ft / 1036 m
    Remaining Elevation:1013 ft / 309 m (23% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

Arrived in Edinburgh just after noontime on Sunday and drove rented car to Fort William and stayed in the Ben Nevis Inn & Bunkhouse for the night. Arose the next morning to start my climb. Beautiful climb, even if it was unsuccessful!

Took the Tourist Route up. Started out rather nice, if overcast. Then prior to reaching the plateau near the loch, there was a light rain. This diminished and disappeared by the time I got to the frozen waterfall. Snow underfoot shortly after the waterfall at ~2,000'. Started snowing as I continued to ascend and at ~3,200 determined I needed to put on more gear, including my crampons, or descend. As I was unfamiliar with the summit area, I decided to descend. I was also concerned with diminishing visibility and the fact that I appeared to be just about the only person on the mountain (I had twice seen someone about a mile ahead of me on the ascent).

During the descent I ran into close to two dozen hikers. Most in sneakers with no foul weather gear (or hardly no gear at all except maybe a bottle of water). The first were met at about the 2400' mark, which was about the start of the snow...

I considered approaching the north face just for a good view of the side of the mountain. The snow had tapered off and it was almost pleasant. Less than 100 yards down the path, it started to sleet. That's when I turned around and completed my descent.

It was a grand adventure. I feel confident that my next attempt will be successful. I'm going to put some good time in this coming winter in the White Mountains and build my winter skills. I had all the gear, but not enough confidence. Looking back, I think I could have made it without difficulty, but knew I could come back again because it will probably still be there...
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3350 ft / 1021 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3350 ft / 1021 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.9 mi / 12.7 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Snowing, Cool, Windy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3350 ft / 1021 m
    Distance:3.9 mi / 6.3 km
    Route:Tourist Route
    Start Trailhead:Ben Nevis Inn  50 ft / 15 m
    Time:2 Hours 11 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3350 ft / 1021 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Tourist Route
    End Trailhead:Ben Nevis Inn  50 ft / 15 m
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jim Robinson
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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