/ Ben Nevis at Christmas

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L BlueTotem on 22 Nov 2016
Perhaps it's a little early to be asking, but does anyone have a feel for what conditions on the Ben might be like on Christmas Day?

I've been there twice before, in late January and in early February. Is xmas too early in the season, or are things likely to be in condition?

I'm thinking specifically about the Douglas Boulder (Direct Route) followed by Tower Ridge, if that makes a difference.

Thanks very much for your help guys.
Andrew Holden on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:

I hope so as that's where i am aiming to be at christmas. If your in need on a partner give us a shout 07939994700
Andrew
Jamie B - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:

> I'm thinking specifically about the Douglas Boulder (Direct Route) followed by Tower Ridge,

That's a MASSIVE day for mid-winter, you'll have to be on your game! Direct Route is pretty technical and sustained and unlikely to be grade IV in early season conditions. Unless you're Slovenian I'd just do Tower Ridge....
L BlueTotem on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Jamie B:

Thanks very much for the tip Jamie, very kind of you to get in touch.

To clarify, the original idea was to do the Direct Route of Douglas Boulder on Christmas Day, camp on Tower Ridge overnight, and complete Tower Ridge and the descent on Boxing Day. This is because there are only around 8 1/2 hours of daylight available that close to the winter solstice.

Nothing's set in stone at this stage, but I'll give careful thought to your suggestion. I assume you're talking about going up the east side to reach the ridge? (Is it called Tower Gap?)

Thanks again for the note of caution - very good of you.
L BlueTotem on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Andrew Holden:

Thanks very much for getting in touch. Nothing's set in stone yet, so I don't want to make any promises at this early stage, but I will be sure to get in touch if it's actually happening.
pass and peak - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Jamie B:

> I'm thinking specifically about the Douglas Boulder (Direct Route) followed by Tower Ridge,

"That's a MASSIVE day for mid-winter, you'll have to be on your game! Direct Route is pretty technical and sustained and unlikely to be grade IV in early season conditions. Unless you're Slovenian I'd just do Tower Ridge."...

Have this in my head for late Feb or March, but with a western traverse of the great tower for variety! Thought it would be good day out for when there's a high avalanche risk but the weathers OK, you know one of those 2 days a year! I'll be picking Mike's brains for info on the Dark Side of the Tower come nearer the time!
Michael Gordon - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:

You may struggle to get a partner to bivi out on Tower Ridge! (but good luck) An alternative might be to stay at the CIC hut from which you could still do both routes on separate days but with a more pleasant night in-between.

Douglas Gap is at the top of East/West Gullies, and separates the rest of the ridge from the Douglas Boulder. Tower Gap is high on the route and together with the climb onto the Great Tower from the Eastern Traverse, forms the crux of the route.
leon 1 on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem: ' the original idea was to do the Direct Route of Douglas Boulder on Christmas Day, camp on Tower Ridge overnight, and complete Tower Ridge and the descent on Boxing Day.'
-Are the Xmas TV programs really that bad this year ?
Dont forget to tell the Police/MRT teams of your plans so you don't screw up their xmas unnecessarily trying to rescue unknown lights on TR

Stuart the postie - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:

I would imagine you'd still be climbing Direct Route before nightfall, never mind a loooong night bivving on an exposed rock!

Even Slovenians celebrate Christmas.........

Stuart
Misha - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:
Camp on Tower Ridge?!?! I suppose you can if the weather is ok and you're up for an adventure but you'd need to be comfortable at the grade for the harder route (considering it can be a grade harder in early season conditions!) to carry all the extra kit. Whereas if you aren't comfortable at the grade and end up pitching all of TR, you can get benighted even without all the extra weight to slow you down... it happens!

A better option would be SW Ridge up the DB as that's a nice route which is fairly steady. Even then, you'd need to be very happy at the grade.

To do TR alone (which is what most people do!), you go up one of the gullies to the gap behind the Douglas Boulder.

A *day* can be a long time for Scottish winter conditions. Nothing is guaranteed. Having said that, there's usually snow around that time of year and TR goes in most conditions. However a turnothaw or 100mph winds are also possibilities... Check the avalanche forecast as well.
Martin McKenna - UKC - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:

This sounds grim!
Michael Gordon - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Misha:

>
> To do TR alone (which is what most people do!),
>

For the benefit of the OP I'll just emphasise you meant most people do the route without the Douglas Boulder, not without a partner.
Misha - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:
Yes that's what I meant!
peebles boy - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:

> This is because there are only around 8 1/2 hours of daylight available that close to the winter solstice.

If it's a cloudy day, you'll be lucky to get 7hrs...sunrise about 9am, sets about 3.30pm...don't forget a good book for the 16hr night!!

Misha - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:
Thinking about it, if you could get some porters to bring up a large mountain tent, turkey, Xmas pudding, some bubbly and so on and dig out a flat spot to set it all up for you, it could be pretty good!
planetmarshall on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:

> To clarify, the original idea was to do the Direct Route of Douglas Boulder on Christmas Day, camp on Tower Ridge overnight, and complete Tower Ridge and the descent on Boxing Day.

Just climb through the night, if it's a fine evening Tower Ridge is a magical place to be under the stars.
wbo - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem: one mans grim is another mans character building. Imagine if you lucked out with the weather - a Christmas to remember !

Nath93 - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to BlueTotem:

I was climbing on the Ben on Christmas Day last year and plan to do the same this year, potentially staying in the CIC Hut this year.

We climbed SW Ridge of the Douglas Boulder last year and walked off in the dark so you'll be in for a long haul on Direct Route followed by Tower Ridge.

Plenty to go at if the conditions are there and generally a very quiet day on the hill, only met one other person when we were out and it's always nice to have the Ben to yourself.
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L BlueTotem on 23 Nov 2016
Thank you all very much for your ideas and input, very much appreciated! Here's to dreaming of a white Christmas

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