Ben Nevis in April

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Laurence Koster, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.

    I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether it
    is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.

    All advice and information greatly appreciated.

    Laurence
     
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  2. Sandy

    Sandy Guest

    Laurence Koster wrote:
    > We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    >
    > I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether
    > it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    >
    > All advice and information greatly appreciated.
    >
    > Laurence

    This was it third week in May last year, so look out for anything :)

    http://www.ftscotland.co.uk/gallery/attadale/pic_03.html

    There could still be a lot of snow but you may get it dry and sunny.

    --
    Don`t Worry, Be Happy

    Sandy
    --

    E-Mail:- [email protected] Website:- http://www.ftscotland.co.uk IRC:- Sandyb in #rabble
    uk3.arcnet.vapor.com Port:6667 #Rabble Channel Website:- http://www.ftscotland.co.uk/rabbled
    ICQ : 41266150
     
  3. "Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    >
    > I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether
    > it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    >
    > All advice and information greatly appreciated.
    >
    > Laurence

    Plan for the worst at that time of year I think. The weather cannot be guaranteed at any time of
    year on the summit at the best of times.

    A.

    --------
    Alastair Ross

    email: alastair "at" hillwalking.org.uk web: http://www.hillwalking.org.uk - for hillwalking and
    books web: http://www.eat-the-chef.com - for restaurants and wine
     
  4. Five Cats

    Five Cats Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Alastair Ross
    <[email protected]> writes
    >
    >"Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]...
    >> We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    >>
    >> I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether
    >> it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    >>
    >> All advice and information greatly appreciated.
    >>
    >> Laurence
    >
    >Plan for the worst at that time of year I think. The weather cannot be guaranteed at any time of
    >year on the summit at the best of times.

    And in April you should go prepared with crampons, ice axes and the knowledge of how and when
    to use them.

    --
    Five Cats Email to: cats_spam at uk2 dot net
     
  5. Andyp

    Andyp Guest

    "Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> wrote

    > We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    >
    > I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether
    > it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.

    Ofcourse no one can make any kind of guarantees with the weather or amount of snow left but I reckon
    that must be about the best time to plan a trip for. If you're lucky the weather will be sunny and
    there will be just enough snow left to make things look pretty but not enough to make walking
    hazardous without winter gear. At least that's what it's been like the last couple of years and I'll
    be keeping my fingers crossed for this year except I'm concentrating on Feb half term with the
    weather gods first.
     
  6. Rj Webb

    Rj Webb Guest

    On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 14:26:59 -0000, "Alastair Ross"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >"Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]...
    >> We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    >>

    You will have snow underfoot. Treat as a winter trip

    Have fun, and dont follow Trail magazine's article :)

    R|ichard Webb
     
  7. > there will be just enough snow left to make things look pretty but not enough to make walking
    > hazardous without winter gear. At least that's what it's been like the last couple of years

    Really have my doubts about that Andy. Of course it depends on all kinds of variables, but with the
    Ben's notoriously fickle weather, and the dangers of slippery convex snow slopes, I'd be inclined to
    take winter gear anyway in April, however benign things look from sea level.

    Paul Leigh Lancs
     
  8. Andyp

    Andyp Guest

    "Paul Richardson" <[email protected]> wrote

    > Really have my doubts about that Andy. Of course it depends on all kinds of variables, but with
    > the Ben's notoriously fickle weather, and the dangers of slippery convex snow slopes, I'd be
    > inclined to take winter gear anyway in April, however benign things look from sea level.

    Am I underestimating the difference a couple of hundred metres in height makes? Last Easter in Glen
    Nevis it was 30 degrees and wall to wall sunshine for several days in a row. There certainly wasn't
    any snow worth mentioning in the Mamores. (Can't actually remember what Ben Nevis looked like across
    the Glen). Again the year before I think there was just the odd patch of snow in the Mamores and I
    can remember sunbathing on some pretty much whiteness free hills in Glen Shiel with just some snow
    in the North facing corries of the Five Sisters to make things look nice. I think the sheltered NE
    corrie up to Bidean Nam Bian from the lost valley was the only place we saw any significant looking
    snow that year. Perhaps I ought to start taking photos to remind myself of these things.

    Anyway, the upshot is that for the last two Easters (the only 2 I've been) I've not found any
    serious snow conditions in Scotland all of which asks the question: what should we take as typical
    conditions? Are the last few years just an anomaly or is global warming going to be making it the
    norm? Is the average weather over the past twenty years relevant these days?
     
  9. Five Cats

    Five Cats Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, AndyP <[email protected].no-spam.co.uk> writes
    >"Paul Richardson" <[email protected]> wrote
    >
    >> Really have my doubts about that Andy. Of course it depends on all kinds of variables, but with
    >> the Ben's notoriously fickle weather, and the dangers of slippery convex snow slopes, I'd be
    >> inclined to take winter gear anyway in April, however benign things look from sea level.
    >
    >Am I underestimating the difference a couple of hundred metres in height makes? Last Easter in Glen
    >Nevis it was 30 degrees and wall to wall sunshine for several days in a row. There certainly wasn't
    >any snow worth mentioning in the Mamores. (Can't actually remember what Ben Nevis looked like
    >across the Glen). Again the year before I think there was just the odd patch of snow in the Mamores
    >and I can remember sunbathing on some pretty much whiteness free hills in Glen Shiel with just some
    >snow in the North facing corries of the Five Sisters to make things look nice. I think the
    >sheltered NE corrie up to Bidean Nam Bian from the lost valley was the only place we saw any
    >significant looking snow that year. Perhaps I ought to start taking photos to remind myself of
    >these things.
    >
    >Anyway, the upshot is that for the last two Easters (the only 2 I've been) I've not found any
    >serious snow conditions in Scotland all of which asks the question: what should we take as typical
    >conditions? Are the last few years just an anomaly or is global warming going to be making it the
    >norm? Is the average weather over the past twenty years relevant these days?

    I think you should put it down to luck - extreme luck. One cannot tell much in advance what it will
    be like in April, especially early April, and full winter conditions are always possible.

    --
    Five Cats Email to: cats_spam at uk2 dot net
     
  10. Theo

    Theo Guest

    "Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> schreef in bericht
    news:[email protected]...
    > We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    >
    > I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether
    > it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    >
    > All advice and information greatly appreciated.
    >
    > Laurence

    I've done Ben Nevis in a serious snowstorm in May. Didn't come prepared but I followed the tourist
    track.(Cotton trousers, very cold and wet feet). Descending in a whiteout was the biggest problem,
    followed the 'Trailroute'(1996) until something inside me said: o, o....something is very wrong
    here. I survived. I think you can expect any kind of weather and the most important thing is to know
    the route you want to take by heart and not to be afraid of turning back and do it some other time.

    groeten van Theo
     
  11. Chris Street

    Chris Street Guest

    On 28 Jan 2004 06:01:51 -0800, [email protected] (Laurence Koster)
    wrote:

    >We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    >
    >I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether
    >it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    >
    >All advice and information greatly appreciated.
    >
    >Laurence

    If Ben Nevis was a couple of hundred meters higher then it would have permafrost at the summit.

    Plan for the worst and hope for the best. There will be snow and it could be slippery. If a storm
    comes in then it will make your life real miserable real quick if you are not prepared.

    Oh, and don't follow Trails advice on how to get down....:)
    --
    79.84% of all statistics are made up on the spot. The other 42% are made up later on. In Warwick -
    looking at flat fields and that includes the castle.
     
  12. Five Cats

    Five Cats Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Laurence Koster
    <[email protected]> writes
    >"theo" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    >> "Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> schreef in bericht
    >> news:[email protected]...
    >> > We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    >> >
    >> > I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and
    >> > whether it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    >> >
    >> > All advice and information greatly appreciated.
    >> >
    >> > Laurence
    >>
    >> I've done Ben Nevis in a serious snowstorm in May. Didn't come prepared but I followed the
    >> tourist track.(Cotton trousers, very cold and wet feet). Descending in a whiteout was the biggest
    >> problem, followed the 'Trailroute'(1996) until something inside me said: o, o....something is
    >> very wrong here. I survived. I think you can expect any kind of weather and the most important
    >> thing is to know the route you want to take by heart and not to be afraid of turning back and do
    >> it some other time.
    >>
    >> groeten van Theo
    >
    >Can anyone recommend a good place to hire ice axes and crampons, either in Fort William or Glasgow?
    >We will be be a group of 8, and an indication of the cost would also be helpful.

    Nevis Sport, West Coast Leisure both do hire I believe. Sorry I have no idea of the cost.

    However, do you all know how and when to use them? As I found the one time I needed to use my axe
    for real, it was fortunate for me that I had taken the trouble in previous years to find out how.

    --
    Five Cats Email to: cats_spam at uk2 dot net
     
  13. Howard Jones

    Howard Jones Guest

    A couple of years ago I went up Tower Ridge in May, when it was under quite a lot of snow! We met a
    party at Tower Gap with full winter-climbing equipment - we were admittedly slightly under-equipped,
    but we got by.

    April on the Ben could be winter or summer. Be prepared for anything!

    Howard Jones

    "Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    >
    > I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether
    > it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    >
    > All advice and information greatly appreciated.
    >
    > Laurence
     
  14. "theo" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> schreef in bericht
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    > >
    > > I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and
    > > whether it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    > >
    > > All advice and information greatly appreciated.
    > >
    > > Laurence
    >
    > I've done Ben Nevis in a serious snowstorm in May. Didn't come prepared but I followed the
    > tourist track.(Cotton trousers, very cold and wet feet). Descending in a whiteout was the biggest
    > problem, followed the 'Trailroute'(1996) until something inside me said: o, o....something is
    > very wrong here. I survived. I think you can expect any kind of weather and the most important
    > thing is to know the route you want to take by heart and not to be afraid of turning back and do
    > it some other time.
    >
    > groeten van Theo

    Can anyone recommend a good place to hire ice axes and crampons, either in Fort William or Glasgow?
    We will be be a group of 8, and an indication of the cost would also be helpful.

    Thanks.

    Laurence
     
  15. Kro

    Kro Guest

    "Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > Can anyone recommend a good place to hire ice axes and crampons, either in Fort William or
    > Glasgow? We will be be a group of 8, and an indication of the cost would also be helpful.
    >
    > Thanks.
    >
    > Laurence

    Tisos in Glasgow http://www.tiso.com/shop-details.asp?sc=014 (the bigger shop just off the motorway)
    hires out axes, crampons and four-season boots. I hired crampons and boots last January and I'm sure
    the cost was something along the lines of £15 for Friday to Sunday. Probably £20 for all 3 items for
    the weekend. Book them early though, with a group of 8 you don't want to find they've run out of
    sizes. Having said that if you don't require boots it won't be a problem but you will need stiffer
    four-season boots (as a general rule) for attaching crampons to. They also do a one day winter
    walking "course" which is valuable (£25??) as you will receive instruction on ice-axe arrest,
    avalanche awareness and crampon technique. Plus it's quite enjoyable.

    KRO
     
  16. Kro

    Kro Guest

  17. Thanks to everyone for all the help and advice.

    I would also be good to have some ideas for good alternative hikes from Glen Nevis/Fort William, in
    case we get there and decide that the conditions are not right for going up.

    Laurence

    "Howard Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > A couple of years ago I went up Tower Ridge in May, when it was under quite a lot of snow! We met
    > a party at Tower Gap with full winter-climbing equipment - we were admittedly slightly under-
    > equipped, but we got by.
    >
    > April on the Ben could be winter or summer. Be prepared for anything!
    >
    > Howard Jones
    >
    >
    > "Laurence Koster" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > We are thinking of ascending Ben Nevis by the mountain path, in April on Easter weekend.
    > >
    > > I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and
    > > whether it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    > >
    > > All advice and information greatly appreciated.
    > >
    > > Laurence
     
  18. On 28 Jan 2004 06:01:51 -0800, [email protected] (Laurence Koster)
    wrote:

    >I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether
    >it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    >

    By all means plan a trip. But if you don't have winter experience, seek advice locally prior to your
    ascent, as it is quite likely to require axe/crampons.

    These pictures from the start of May 2001
    http://www.yorkalpineclub.org.uk/tripreports/2001/nevis/photos/index.htm

    Crampons weren't necessary as the snow was thawing, but a week earlier it had apparently been very
    icy. I've also been up in a blizzard in April, and once in June after a hard winter when axe and
    crampons were still highly desirable (we didn't have any which made it quite interesting). And at
    the end of May sometime in the 90s we did Ledge Route in winter conditions, and people were ice
    climbing on the north face!

    On the other hand, with the winter we're having at the moment, the entire hill could be snow free by
    the end of February :-(

    S.
     
  19. Graham Benny

    Graham Benny Guest

    Simon Caldwell wrote
    > Laurence Koster wrote:
    >
    > >I have been up Ben Nevis but I don't know what kind of conditions to expect in April, and whether
    > >it is advisable to plan a trip at that time of year.
    > >
    >
    > By all means plan a trip. But if you don't have winter experience, seek advice locally prior to
    > your ascent, as it is quite likely to require axe/crampons.
    >
    > These pictures from the start of May 2001
    > http://www.yorkalpineclub.org.uk/tripreports/2001/nevis/photos/index.htm
    >
    Picture 10 gives an excellent view of where you would go if you followed the directions in Trail!

    I've encountered snow on the descent of the Pony Track in late June although it was only a few large
    patches. Simon's photos can be taken as typical, even in a poor (snowless) winter. Early in April
    will almost certainly be still full winter conditions but by late April you might get away with just
    an axe, although if the weather has been cold before your trip crampons would be advisable as well.

    HTH Graham
     
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