I am planning a trip with a few friends in a few months to climb Ben Nevis so I was just looking for some advice about it if you have climbed it, or if you know someone who has. Basically i’m looking for reassurance as i’ve never climbed a mountain before and wonder if it is quite hard or easy. I know this will all depend on my level of fitness. So, i’m not super fit but have been going on practice walks and will go up a few hills before I go, but was just wondering if anyone can do it or will I struggle? I do have asthma and don’t know if this will effect me or not.
As this is a gap year website and i’m sure there are a lot of you people who will have no doubt climbed the much bigger mountains like Kili and Everest Base Camp and have your own experiences, so please feel free to share them! By no means am I saying that Ben Nevis is comparable to those much taller mountains, but for me as a novice I am just preparing myself for it! I would love to hear from you if you have climbed a mountain!
Climbed mountains but haven’t done Ben Nevis…yet!
I cannot stress strongly enough…SHOES!! the first time I went up I wore proper comfy walking boots and my feet were a little sore but not too bad. The last time I wore cheapy walking shoes cuz I forgot my boots and my feet were shredded even with loads of socks!!
I also wore far too many layers thinking I was going to get really cold but with the amount of walking I was doing I found myself peeling them off half way up.
My bf’s mum has done Ben Nevis and she is 49 ( I didn’t tell you that). She absolutely loved it. It’s gonna take a while, it took her 10 hours to get up and down.
Walking up mountains is an awesome workout…I had thighs and abs of steel just from a days walking but a nice hot bath or shower and a trip to the pub after will sort you out .
There will be plenty of places for you to just plonk yourself down if you get out of breath. The ahievement when you get to the top is awesome though . Also if you don’t fancy doing the whole thing, you could always get the lift half way up and then go the rest.
I’m sure you will be fine and love it.
OOh and don’t forget your camera…I’ve seen the pics from the top AWESOME!!!
So comfy shoes, water and camera are a must and then you’re good to go lol.
Yea i’m at the stage where i’m finding some suitable walking boots but still haven’t got any yet- but do plan on getting some good comfy ones! I need time to break them in before I go too! Ah poor you forgetting yours and having to climb a mountain with uncomfy ones and getting your feet shredded - ouch!
I also think that I will take too many layers and then just have to end up taking them off which means more stuff to carry up there with me, think my bf will carry most of the heavier stuff tho lol!
Oh well i’m sure if your bfs mum can do it at 49 and i’m 27 I should be able to do it… she says! Only time will tell…
My friend climbed a mountain in Maderia and she said her butt and legs ached for days after and she couldn’t sit down properly… so i’m preparing myself for the worst. Good thing about it will be toning up my thighs tho. A nice drink or 2 to ease the pain afterwards will sort me out
I’m def planning on taking lots of pics- I think that will be my excuse to stop while going up the mountain! I’ve watched a few people’s You Tube videos so I kind of know what i’m letting myself in for!
As you say it will all be worth getting to the top to see the amazing views!
Thank you for your advice, you have given me more confidence xx
Whether a mountain is hard or easy to climb depends on your fitness, mental strength (i.e. propensity to give up/whine like a child), and the weather conditions.
If you’re unfit, you’ll probably struggle. It’s a long climb and while it’s not technical it can be tiring if you’re not used to walking for long periods of time. Go to the gym/get out and about walking if you’re worried about your fitness levels but I’d say anyone is capable of doing it but there are ways to make it easier for yourself.
You said your bf will probably carry the heavy stuff. This indicates to me that you’re probably not used to walking long distances. Don’t take any heavy stuff with you! All you need to carry is this:
Water, basic first aid kit between you (plasters, antiseptic cream, blister plasters), waterproofs, warm hat, energy snacks/lunch, mobile phone, camera/camcorder, wallet, keys etc.
Trek trousers (ideally not jeans), t-shirt, long sleeved base layer, fleece. If it gets too hot, remove a layer. If it gets too cold, add a layer. To ensure maximum comfort make sure all your layers are non-cotton.
-Cotton absorbs sweat, wind blows, you get cold and uncomfortable.
-Synthetic layers allow sweat to evaporate, wind blows, clothes are dry, you stay warm and comfortable.
Well, this is down to you. If you want to succeed but you’re a person who give up easily, do a bit of training so it’s so physically easier and you’re less likely to have an excuse to give up!
Bring waterproofs - jacket and trousers ideally - and then you’ll be able to overcome the more ‘extreme’ weather conditions and continue to the top. Sometimes conditions can be so bad that it’s impossible to continue though.
Have fun! It’s supposed to be an awesome one to climb.
(ideally not jeans)
-Cotton absorbs sweat, wind blows, you get cold and uncomfortable.
I would say definitely not jeans. They’re made of cotton; heavy abrasive cotton at that. If it rains they become very heavy and very uncomfortable.
Hi ! I’ve done a fair bit of hiking and have asthma.
My tip is the second your feeling short of breath (you know when you feel like your about to have an asthma attack), stop what your doing, take a drink, get your breathing right and then carry on. Stress to your friends that you could have an asthma attack and they should give you time to adjust as it is a fair trek!
Second thing is take shit loads of water. It’s easy to get dehydrated and thats dangerous. Stop often to drink.
Third thing, sun burn. Up high- easy burning. Especially snow. Sounds obvious but you can get so carried away hiking, its only when you rest that you realise youve been sunburnt (know from experiance- ouch!)
Shoe wise, Scarpa’s are brilliant, quite expensive but i’ve had mine… three years? And they are still great.
Good luck, enjoy, bet it’ll be great!
I’ve done Ben Nevis and I LOVED it!
It took us 5 hours return. It’s a good starting point for a first mountain climb! It’s long enough to make you feel like you’ve conquered something, but not too long that you’ll feel like you’re gonna pass out!
It’s also beautiful. It is a beautiful walk, there are views down to lakes too. We climbed it at about 4pm in July, so when we were walking down the sun was setting and it was stunning! I wouldn’t recommend doing it at that time for a first time though, as you don’t know how long it would take you! But it is beautiful.
Depending on the time of year you do it, be prepared to layer up as you go. We went in July and there was still snow at the top. Not much, but enough to make you go “brrrrr” when you stopped at the summit!
I agree with the no jeans thing. So I would start with trousers and a t-shirt, with another lightweight top to add over the top, then a jumper/hoody for when you get to the top. I also had a hat and gloves which I put on as we got higher. Toward the top of Ben Nevis I was walking with 2 cotton tops on - like a vest top and a t-shirt I think, but with gloves and a hat! Then when you get to the top to stop and admire your achievement I put the hoody on! You get warm when walking, but it does get colder.
I also agree with the shoes comment - make sure you wear them in for a bit prior to the walk! I have Merrel hiking boots and I love them, they are so comfy!
Hey guys thanks for all the replies.
I do have most of the kit I need- a waterproof/ windproof North Face jacket, Craphoppers zip off trousers if if gets too hot or cold I can unzip the bottom off, a fleece, hiking socks. (So M.Garratt no jeans for me!) I still need to get a synthetic base layer yet and also walking books- which I should probably get very soon so I can start breaking them in!
But Lexi you’re right, it’s down to my fitness level and I wouldn’t say that’s great so I will definitely start going to the gym along with my other walks etc. In terms of having done long walks, haven’t done many yet but at weekends have been going for a few mile walks so will keep increasing the distance. I hadn’t planned to take lots of heavy stuff, just the clothes, walking poles?, food and drinks and first aid kit, so my boyfriend will carry most of it and i’ll carry the smaller lighter stuff! Heard it’s a lovely climb with lush scenery around the area so should be a nice challenging day out.
Georgiem- thanks for the heads up about asthma, i’ve never suffered an attack touch wood but have noticed since i’ve had asthma within the last year that I find it much harder to breathe when doing walking or excercise! So I think that it will definitely affect my breathing more while climbing the mountain. Good advice tho I will keep stopping to drink lots of water and take deep breaths and use my pump. Yes I too unfortunately know how sunburn feels, I had it earlier this year and it was not very pleasant, so will put plenty of sun lotion on! I have seen a few Scarpa boots yea and I don’t mind investing in a good pair as i’m sure they will last me, so need to try some on for fit.
Denton- wow you must be super fit to have done Ben Nevis in only 5 hours, I heard it can take up to 10 hours there and back! So good going. Haha I think it will feel long enough for me to feel like i’ll pass out- so that’s why I need to do more training now! I think we would plan to go up early morning so that we can be back before it starts getting dark. We are going up mid-August so will perhaps be still snow at the top i’m guessing. If you took a hat and gloves in July, then I think I will also take them for August. Would you say i’ll need my walking poles? Did you take any? I know it’s a path but i’ve heard some parts of the mountain are quite steep? Yes will def get some walking boots soon and break them in! Thanks for advice everyone x
If you took a hat and gloves in July, then I think I will also take them for August. Would you say i’ll need my walking poles? Did you take any? I know it’s a path but i’ve heard some parts of the mountain are quite steep? Yes will def get some walking boots soon and break them in! Thanks for advice everyone x
You’ll definitely need a hat and gloves - even if you don’t use them. It can be freezing at any time of the year and for the weight of them you’re better off taking them and not using them than wishing you had. If you use walking poles already and are comfortable you can take them along. I can’t stand using them so I wouldn’t even consider it, but it’s a totally personal thing. If you feel it makes it easier for you to trek with poles, take them.
Let me know if you head down towards the Hants/W. Sussex way for any walks - I love a walk in the countryside!
Denton- wow you must be super fit to have done Ben Nevis in only 5 hours
i have walked up ben nevis a few times usally takes me around 8hrs (ish) up and down. 8O
my only advice is the same. start very early.
pack for sudden weather changes
if you have comfy boots great. i always walk up mountains in trainers what works for me.
if you need a place to camp. use the glen nevis campsite only a 7 min walk from the start of the main path up the ben.
on the way down go into the nevis inn which is just off the main path at the foot of the mountain for a drink
good luck i hope u make it and the weather is good. :D
We were walking quick, and although I wasn’t super fit I had done a fair bit of training. My Ben Nevis hike was part of the “3 Peak Challenge” which is where you do three mountains in 24 hours.
So we arrived at Ben Nevis and did that in 5 hours (started at about 4pm ish), then drove south to Scaffel Pike to begin that at sunrise, walked that in a few hours (I can’t remember how long), then drove to Snowdon and walked that one. We were a bit over though - we took about 27 hours all up because the van we hired had a thing installed in the engine which meant we couldn’t drive over 60mph! So we were slow on the driving times.
So I rushed it, but will be going back to do it at a more leisurely pace some day!
I didn’t take walking poles, but I never use them. I agree with Lexi, I don’t like them but it is a personal thing. The path on Ben Nevis is fairly good, it’s just the top bit that gets steep… that’s the only bit where you might use them!
My memory is a bit hazy though!
Good Luck - let us know how you get on when you’ve done it!
Ben Nevis hike was part of the “3 Peak Challenge”
very impressive well done :D
Lexi- I am definitely going to take a hat, scarf, gloves walking poles- as for me I think if it looks too steep for me then i’ll need some support coming downihll rather than going up! Lexi i’ll let you know if we’re ever in your area as I go down to Brighton every few weeks. It’s nice to be able to get out in the country for walks- you can explore so much more walking than driving.
Broke- well you still did good doing it in around 8 hours! We’re booked in a local chalet a few miles away but will definitely stop at the pub on the way back for a well earned drink!
Denton- congratultions for completing the 3 Peaks Challenge! I know I certainly would not be fit enough to do this so you must be very fit to do this. 5 hours is good going tho if you can go at that pace!
I will certainly let you all know how I get on.
I’ve done Ben Nevis too and it was awesome! We went the long way round over the ridge though. Was fricking hard going though. As like any other mountain I’ve climbed I couldnt actually see anything further then a metre in front of me due to fog, must be unlucky!
Also did a seperate trek to a waterfall that had a rope bridge in front of it (cant remember what it was called) but was a nice, shorter walk to warm up to a couple of days before climbing the moutain!
I just did a two-day hike up a mountain here in Japan this weekend, and I am possibly one of the least fit people around! The summit was about 1900m, so I think a bit higher than Ben Nevis. The distance itself wasn’t very far, in a straight line only about 8km but there was A LOT of winding and doubling back on ourselves so I’m sure it was a bit further in total. I did no training whatsoever and it was tough, probably the most intense climb I’ve done ... but I managed it so I’m sure you will be able to do Ben Nevis!
What I’d recommend is ... definitely don’t take too much stuff. You can get overexcited with packing ... we took a giant bag (which was necessary as we had slseping bags as well) but I think I overpacked slightly. Remember whatever you take you are gonna have to carry the whole time, so chuck anything you don’t need. I’d emphasise taking waterproofs as you never know when the weather’s going to change - it was pouring with rain for the whole of our descent today, and despite my waterproof trousers and jacket I ended up pretty wet, which wasn’t pleasant!
Make sure you take enough water - a minimum of 2L for a day hike. And the main thing - your boots! You MUST break them in beforehand because if not, you will be miserable! I’ve had mine for 6 years but I don’t wear them that often so i was a bit worried about my feet, but they were fine ... but my friend did the climb in brand new walking boots and he got blisters!
Overall though, I think the main thing is not the physical challenge, but more the mental challenge. There were points today and yesterday where I mentally felt like I couldn’t go on any further, but I just had to force myself to keep walking and I got there in the end. Positive thinking is just as important, if not more so, than being really fit!
I’m gonna do Mount Fuji in two weeks so I hope that having the same attitude as I did this weekend will get me up to the top in one piece!