/ Ben Nevis Conditions

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alan1886 - on 05 May 2013
I'm heading to Ben Nevis next weekend with 4 others (mostly inexperienced/first time). I've only been up the Ben once via the tourist route so I would like to do the CMD Arete. Without winter equipment is it too risky to attempt the CMD in current conditions? I'm thinking we're going to have to stick to pony track with the weather forecast not looking too pleasant for the next week but any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.
Jamie B - on 05 May 2013
In reply to alan1886:

> Without winter equipment is it too risky to attempt the CMD in current conditions?

Unless it thaws out significantly I'd say yes it's too risky, especially with an inexperienced group. But you could always hire kit and a guide?
alan1886 - on 05 May 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
Thought as much, just couldn't see much from webcam or recent pictures. Hiring kit might be an idea though I'm sure some will be happy just to trudge up the tourist route. Thanks.
Belay Snob - on 05 May 2013
I would strongly advise you to rethink any decision to head onto the Ben without proper winter kit and knowledge of the hill in winter .

The Ben in summer can be hairy to inexperienced people in winter conditions it kills and will show no mercy if your caught out in a a whiteout or changeable conditions.

I advise you do a basic winter skills course and get crampons ice axe and navigational experience in winter or hire a guide .

There are still good winter conditions on the Ben Hope this helps.

Jamie B - on 05 May 2013
In reply to alan1886:

> Hiring kit might be an idea though I'm sure some will be happy just to trudge up the tourist route.

Do you want people's first experience of wearing crampons to be on consequential grade 1 ground? The pony track may feel adventurous enough as it is still snow-covered and may require careful navigation.
Pummelzacken - on 05 May 2013
In reply to alan1886: Even the tourist route still seems to be a full on winter ascent by the sounds of it. Lots of snow still up there! These two blogs might give you an idea of current conditions:

http://lochaberguides-fortwilliam.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/summer-starts.html

http://davidbuckett.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/its-still-winter-up-the-ben/
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alan1886 - on 05 May 2013
In reply to Pummelzacken:
Those blogs have certainly helped! Having only done hills in the lowlands in the last few weeks and being out of touch I wasn't sure if it was still really winter in certain places.

Might just be avoiding the Ben then - any recommendations for an 'easier' and more enjoyable walk instead? Any idea if conditions on The Buachaille are reasonable?


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