Myself and a friend are planning on visiting the Ben for a long weekend in a couple of weeks and would appreciate any advice/information.
We're coming from Norway and are both proficient in the mountains, onsighting E2 and WI4 (not sure how this compares to Scottish Winter grades). The plan is to get a taste of what the area has to offer, and do some of the highest quality routes. We don't have any set ideas, so any suggestions are welcome (particularly any hidden gems).
Is the hut on the Ben available for anyone to stay in? How would one go about booking it?
Obviously we'll be looking for information through other avenues, but any advice from anyone on here is appreciated.
In reply to xyrandus:
Scotland's weather is very variable. And so is the quality of climbing.
You can find horrible weather and poor climbing conditions in one area, yet 100km away the weather and climbing is great. Or even 50km away.
I think the best advice I can give is be flexible with your plans. Have some ideas for Ben Nevis, but also some ideas for the Cairngorms, and maybe some ideas for Torridon.
And even have some ideas for what you would do if you came to Scotland and there is no safe climbing to be done anywhere - it is not unheard of to have a massive thaw mid winter which leaves little snow anywhere, and that snow is dodgy.
In reply to xyrandus: The SMC guide Scottish Winter Climbs http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0907521983/?tag=hydra0b-21&hvadid=9550945989&ref=asc_df_090752198... is probably the best one to invest in for a visitor. It has all the Ben Nevis classics in but will also give you a good feel for the huge variety of other areas that are all within a couple of hours drive from Ben Nevis/Fort William. For a long weekend you'll have more than enough to do on Ben Nevis if the conditions are OK, but like the others say, if the weather/conditions are crappy there you might want to go East (Cairngorms) to get something done and not have a wasted trip.
Scotland I feel is a lot like Norway, just smaller - so if you know what you're doing at home (avalanches/navigation/etc), on all that sort of stuff you'll be fine in Scotland. Except for in quite rare cold snaps though, Scottish climbing is a lot less water ice based than Norwegian climbing seems to be.