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Thread: National 3 peaks challenge - Novice

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Hi, I will be tackling the national 3 peaks challenge next weekend, 14th and 15th of May to raise money for charity. I'm a complete novice when it comes to mountain climbing but there are 2 experienced heads in our group so I'm relatively relaxed about that. We did a training exercise at Snowdon last week so I've had a bit of a taster too (I completed 90% of it. I decided against the final stretch due to the amount of snow and ice and I didn't have crampons). I was just after a bit of advice on the other 2, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike. What are they like as climbs? Will I be able to scale them as a novice? I'm also interested in what the conditions are currently like and what they are likely to be like come next weekend? Has anybody climbed them over the past day or 2? When we attempted Snowdon last week there was plenty of snow starting from half way up. Will they likely be much clearer with the nicer weather we are having now? Any help or advice appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Initiate
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    Before anyone comes on and jumps down Toms's throat regarding national 3 peaks pros and cons..based on you are going next week, here are my thoughts

    Ben Nevis - you will come across significant amounts of snow and ice.

    see here posted today
    http://lochaberblog.sais.gov.uk/2016/05/spring-snow/

    Scafell Pike - I was up that way two weeks ago and didnt see any significant snow (though I was further east than ScaFell Pike. Given the "normal route" up I dont think you will come across anything unavoidable, but someone else might drift in with up to date info.

    Snowdon...Id be surprised if you come across much now

  3. #3
    Ultra King AT (http://AyrshireTiger.wordpress.com/)'s Avatar
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    I know folk who attempted the Ben last weekend for charity (accompanied by a friend who is a Summer ML) and bailed out at around 1000m because of the conditions (admittedly it was blowing a hoolie in addition to the conditions underfoot!). As the SAIS blog shows still lots of snow. There will no doubt be some thawing over the next week but even so there will still be plenty of snow left.

  4. #4
    Widdler
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    Many thanks for the responses.

    Ben Nevis still looks quite tricky at the top then. Well, it does to a complete novice at least.

    I'll just do as much as I can and turn back if it doesn't feel safe.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom B3 View Post
    I'll just do as much as I can and turn back if it doesn't feel safe.
    This.

    It is much harder to go down compacted snow than up it. Most accidents happen when people are descending. Don't go up if you're at all uncertain or unhappy about the prospect of coming down it. Look at others going down as you're going up - are they struggling in the conditions? It is also likely to take more time, so that 24 hour challenge thing might be untenable. Be safe.

    Good luck - remember it's a heck of an undertaking for an inexperienced mountain walker.


  6. #6
    Widdler
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    Don't worry, I have a family to come home too so I won't be taking any risks. The reason I didn't finish Snowdon last week was for that very reason. People were slipping and really struggling coming back down so I made a judgement call. I was gutted to go all that way and not finish that final bit but I am still happy that it was the right decision.

    I know I'm inexperienced and I know my limits. Have to say, it felt very addictive though. Exhilarating at times, and the views just sublime.

    It's surprising how much of the world you miss when you're stuck in an office every day and life seemingly passes you by.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom B3 View Post
    It's surprising how much of the world you miss when you're stuck in an office every day and life seemingly passes you by.
    Bang on!

  8. #8
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    It is much harder to go down compacted snow than up it.

    Not strictly the case... Going down it on a course and at a pace of your own choosing, fair point...

    Before anyone comes on and jumps down Toms's throat regarding national 3 peaks pros and cons..based on you are going next week, here are my thoughts

    Also a fair point. If you're wondering why anyone might seek to dissuade you from the N3P and perhaps find an alternative if you fancy a mountain challenge for subsequent adventures, doing a search on OM for "three peaks" should give you some food for thought. In the meantime, given that you're pretty much committed at this point have a gander athttp://www.threepeakspartnership.co.uk/

    Pete.

  9. #9
    Widdler
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    Thanks Pete. Very helpful.

    I hadn't considered the damage aspect and the costs of repairs. Will definitely take note of that and make donations.

  10. #10
    Goon Zippy's Avatar
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    Went up Scafell Pike yesterday and very little snow (it was warm enough to wear shorts).

  11. #11
    Widdler
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    Thanks Zippy.

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