Adventures / Adventure School

Conquer Ben Nevis (1345m) and Learn Winter Mountain Skills

Develop your winter skills and climb the UK's highest mountain via its lesser climbed north face with an experienced mountain guide. 0.5 days off-work.

I'M UP FOR
Adventure School
DURATION
2 Nights
DIFFICULTY
Challenging
COMFORT
Comfortable
LOCATION
United Kingdom
SEASON
May, December
NEAREST AIRPORT

During this adventure you’ll learn the skills you need to move safely in the mountains in winter before taking on the UK’s highest peak. Your experienced guide will lead you up one of the mountains more challenging routes taking in spectacular views and exhilarating positions. A full winter experience in the magical Scottish mountains.

Your hassle-free adventure includes

  • Guided Ben Nevis Ascent
  • Winter Mountain Skills Course
  • 2 nights Hostel Accommodation
  • 2 Breakfasts
  • 2 Lunches
  • Experienced, Certified Mountain Guide
  • Technical Equipment (incl. crampons, ice axe, harness, ropes)
  • Lift Pass
  • Transfers from/to Fort William Train Station

Perfect for

This trip requires a good level of fitness but no previous mountain experience is required. Both days are physically demanding but incredibly rewarding with between 6-8 hours moving over challenging terrain in cold winter conditions.

Need To Know

Nope! Your experienced local hosts will teach you all the skills you need during the winter mountain skills course.

You will leave with much better basic skills to take on a winter walk independently and safely.

The specific winter skills you learn include:

  • Learning to effectively plan a safe winter day out; group planning, avalanche avoidance, navigation.
  • Safe and efficient movement using an ice axe and crampon
  • Using your boots most effectively and learning to self-arrest if you slip
  • Avalanche awareness
  • Important emergency procedures; what to do should something go wrong, ie. emergency shelter building as well as what to do with a casualty, be it their evacuation or care.

Sure thing. Hire of technical equipment (incl. winter boots, crampons, ice axe, harness, ropes) is included but you are welcome to bring your own too. If you are unsure about suitability of any of your kit, just ask your host after booking.

A reasonable level of fitness is recommended. You will be out for up to 9 hours in a cold mountain environment moving over challenging terrain.

If the weather is bad your local hosts will suggest a suitable alternative, so you can be sure you’ll have an epic experience during those days.

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Non-technical equipment (i.e. gloves, warm jacket etc. See kit list.)
  • Tips for your guides (optional)
  • Dinner (around £10 per meal from the restaurants nearby)

This trip will run with a minimum of 3 participants and a group no bigger than 4 people. The guest to guide ratio will be maximum 4:1. Please note, if there are not 3 people booked the trip may be rearranged or cancelled.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Your host recommends to pack:

To Wear:

  • Thermal wicking base layers and fleece top – not cotton
  • Polyester, fleece or woollen trousers and tops – no jeans
  • Heavy-duty waterproof jacket and trousers with side zips
  • Hat, thick waterproof ski gloves, scarf or neck gaiter/buff plus spares
  • Stiff walking boots if you have them (B1,2 or 3 graded).*

Personal Items:

  • Head torch
  • Walking poles
  • Spare fleece or woollen top
  • Flask or water bottle
  • Energy snacks
  • Emergency survival bag (6’ by 3’ orange poly bag), available in any outdoor store
  • Rucksack (40ltrs) and liner
  • Whistle
  • Sunglasses and sun-cream
  • Ski goggles
  • Camera
  • Your own mountaineering axe and crampons (optional)
  • Towel. Towels are available in your accommodation at an extra charge payable locally (£3).

Hire of technical equipment (incl. winter boots, crampons, ice axe, harness, ropes) is included. Your host will also carry essential group equipment such as a first aid kit and group shelter.

*B1 boots are all round four season walking boots. The midsole is stiffened while uppers may be leather or fabric. They are suitable for the C1 non-technical crampons provided. These have a webbing tape tether that pulls flexible cradles around the heel and toe to create a secure binding, ideal for winter walking or glacier traverses. By contrast, B0 boots are also known as one to three season boots. They have highly flexible soles suitable for summer walking, but are not compatible even with C1 crampons as they flex too much.

Evening meals are available from nearby pubs and restaurants.

Yes, children can join when booking the trip as a private group. It is crucial that they are able to deal with the cold and the long walks. For this reason, your local host suggests a minimum age of 13.

From the south of England, the simplest and probably most enjoyable travel option is the sleeper train from London to Fort William. You leave London Euston approx 9pm and arrive in Fort William approx 10am the next day. On return, departures are approx 7pm from Fort William, arriving at approx 8am in London. You can book a choice of cabin option with beds, or seats are available if you want to save money. Great bargains to be had if you book up to 12 weeks in advance.

https://www.sleeper.scot

The other option is a flight to Glasgow, Inverness or Edinburgh and bus, train or taxi from there.

Citylink run regular services from Glasgow airport (approx 2hrs 50), Glasgow centre (approx 3hrs 15), Edinburgh (approx 5hrs 20) and Inverness (approx 2 hrs). Check www.citylink.co.uk or phone 08712663333 for more information.

By train, the West Highland Line runs from Glasgow Central Station to Fort William, with departures approx 4/5 times a day taking approx 3hrs50. It is considered of the most beautiful train journeys in the world! Check www.scotrail.co.uk.

Your host can arrange a private transfer from Glasgow airport for £265 each way (up to 4 people). There are also local taxi firms that can arrange transfers from Glasgow (2hr30 drive), Inverness (2hr drive) or Edinburgh (3hr drive).

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

Got a question not covered here? Contact the host.

Location

View map

This adventure takes place in and around the town of Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. Fort William is the mountain sports capital of Scotland and draws walkers, climbers and bikers from around the world. The town provides great access to the spectacular Glen Nevis valley, the gateway to the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.

The Scottish mountains in winter are a truly magical place. The snow clad summits often shrouded in mist have captured the heart of many a mountain lover. During the trip, you’ll be tackling the commanding 1,345 metre summit of Ben Nevis – but not by the ordinary tourist route. Your experienced guides expert local knowledge and well-honed mountain skills will ensure a safe and enjoyable passage up one of the mountains more challenging routes.

Start point

Ellis Brigham Store in Fort William - 17:00
Your adventure begins at the Ellis Brigham store in Fort William where your guide will meet you at 17:00. If you’re arriving by train it is short walk to the store. See FAQ’s for travel advice to Fort William.

Finish point

Fort William Station - 17:30
At the end of the adventure, your local host will transfer you back to the train station for 17:30 or to your accommodation / parking lot in Fort William.

See FAQ’s for travel advice to Fort William.

What to Expect

Day 1: Arrival and Gear-Check

Your Scottish winter adventure begins at 17:00 at the Ellis Brigham store in Fort William. This is a great chance to grab any kit you need for the next few days on the hill and your experienced guide will be on hand to offer you advice on any kit you may need.

Once done there, it’s off to your accommodation in the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. All that’s left to do is settle in, meet your fellow adventurers and relax ready for the days to come.

Day 2: Winter Mountain Skills Training

It’s an early mountain start to make sure you are well fed and ready to go when your guide arrives at 08:30. Scotland’s only mountain gondola quickly gets you into the mountains proper, the perfect place to hone your winter skills.

Over the course of the day, your expert mountain guide will teach you how to move over challenging mountain terrain in winter conditions using an ice axe and crampons. It’s a great chance to learn new skills in a truly spectacular setting.

You’ll spend about six hours out on the mountain refining your skills with the backdrop of the spectacular Grampian mountain range. Then it’s time to head down the mountain for a hearty dinner and to prepare your kit for Ben Nevis.

6 hours

Day 3: Ascending Ben Nevis

It’s another early start ready to depart your accommodation by 08:00. As you approach Ben Nevis the magical dawn light offers a tantalizing glimpse of the challenge ahead. Soon it’s time to boot up and hit the trail.

The 1,345-metre ascent is a challenging but immensely rewarding experience. Your guide will lead you up the steep climb with regular breaks to catch a breath and enjoy the views. The Scottish mountains in winter are a truly special experience.

Your route takes you along the famous CMD arete, an exhilarating knife-edge ridge that often has steep drops to either side. Towards the summit, the terrain eases allowing you to enjoy the fine mountain air. After a celebratory summit photo, it’s time to head back down for a well-earned dram.

8 hours, 1345m elevation gain/loss

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts. In case the weather does not allow summiting Ben Nevis, an exciting programme will be offered.

Accommodation

You will be staying in the newly refurbished Glen Nevis Youth Hostel or similar. The hostel is well known in the area and offers clean and comfortable accommodation in shared dormitory accommodation. There is a nice range of communal spaces including a well-equipped kitchen and free internet provided. Breakfast is included in your stay. Please note, towels are provided at an extra charge payable locally (£3). As there are limited accommodation options in the area that can cater for groups, you may be staying in an alternative hostel or hotel of the same standard. Your host will confirm details a week before you arrive.

Should you wish to upgrade your stay to a private ensuite room, please let your host know when booking and this will be arranged for a small supplement. Your host can also book you extra nights in the hostel before or after your stay, all at the same price as booking directly.

As a guide, winter rates for an extra night in the dorm rooms are approx £16 per person, and twin rooms are £42-45 each night (i.e. £21-£22.50 per person/night if sharing). Your host will confirm exact prices when booking.

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Prices include

Accommodation · Equipment · Guide · Local Transport · Meals As Described · Happiness Guaranteed · 100% Financial Protection · No Single Supplements

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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Your host will confirm your booking subject to availability. There may be a minimum number of guests required to guarantee that a trip will go ahead.

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