I did a winter ascent of Ben Nevis 1344 m and it was just the most amazing day! I was really looking forward to this climb. I came to Scotland to spend three days with my guide Sandy Allan who I have climbed with twice before. First thing we did was Ben Nevis via Ledge route!
Sun was shining and there was no wind at all. I was really a fantastic day. Sandy said there is just a handful of these days in Scotland every year. I guess I was so lucky. We started by the north trail parking lot 8:00 am in the morning and hiked up to where the snow started and put on our crampons.
This is the route we did. The red line up (Ledge route) and the green line down (Gully no 4). I was excited to try out something more technical then just the normal hike up to the top. Even if this route felt very simple compared to what me and Sandy have climbed before in Chamonix.
It started off with some steep glacier. The first part we just hiked up on our crampons but when it got steeper Sandy short roped me. But I felt really good on my feet and after my climb on Faroe Islands this was a walk in the park. I know some of you thought I was crazy for that but it was just the challenge I needed then. That experience made me learn a lot and sometimes that is was you need. Something that´s just the right amount of challenge. Something that push your limit a little bit more.
Then we climbed the ridge. It was not too hard either. In this project I´ve been on more exposed and more narrow ridges. I carried one technical ice ax too because if conditions were bad I might would need it but I never did (on the way up). We had amazing conditions. The only thing that I could have done better was to bring band aids for my heels. My boots were a little bit too big. I just got them for ice climbing. I felt I was on my way to get some blisters after a few hours. But we found a guy when our route connected to the normal route who had some tape I could get. It helped a little and then it was just to stand the pain. I think I need to change my boots to one or just a half size smaller.
When we got up the ridge it was just a walk to the top. You can see the path from the normal route over there. We met a lot of other people this beautiful day.
And then I was on the summit!
We walked back a bit and climbed down Gully no 4 and it was so steep the first part so we had to front point down and climb backwards. Here we used both ice axes. The snow was sometimes ice and sometimes soft. And when we got off the snow we took off the crampons and walked back to the car. In total this climb took 8 hours. It was a really nice experience and I´m happy I saved Ben Nevis for this experience instead of just hiking up the normal route in the beginning av november when I was in UK for other mountains.
The next day we ice climbed another mountain about 1100 m in storm. But the funny thing was that even if it blew about 100 km/h on the top and the wind blew us off our feet sometimes and we really had to fight to get back down I was happy all the time. It was not too miserable. Not too cold. Just an exciting experience.
The last day in Scotland we spend working on rope skills. Sandy showed me how to jumar (when you use an ascender on the rope) and we did some rapelling and he scremed at me “faster, there is a storm coming you have to get down right now” haha. Good practice for future mountains!
Mountain no 33