Monday, 22 April 2013

22.4.13 - Team Welch 3 Peaks - Ben Nevis

Today I was working for Mountain and Glen and arriving at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre this morning I was quite pessimistic about our chances of summiting today, given the weather and the considerable snow cover up on the Ben.  We started off with an 'lets just see' approach and made good time to the Red Burn half way point, enjoying some stingy rain and strong gusts of wind along the way.  After a quick water refill, he headed off up the zig zags.  We got to the corner of zig zag 4 and 5 (exactly 1,000m high) before encountering any snow what so ever.  On our way up ZZ5 the snow cover on the path was very patchy and very soft underfoot.  By the time we had reached ZZ6 we were walking completely in very soft, well stepped out snow which continued through out and mixed with a capable group, made a summit attempt viable with some careful management and some coaching.  Once at the top of the zig zags, visibility had reduced to 3m-ish, Pea Soup to be technical, so we continued to the top by walking on a bearing and couldnt see the summit cairn until we were about 3m away from it.  Standing at the cairn, we couldnt see the shelter!  The group were extremely happy to have made it to the top, which none of them had done before!  We didnt hang around much and made a speedy descent, our overall time being a very respectable 5hrs 45minutes given these conditions.  Big thank you and well done to my group of Sarah, Jamie, Lucy, John, Tim, Gary, Helen and Chris.  Good effort guys!

Heading up Zig Zag 5 today

High spirits despite the weather!

The team on the summit of Ben Nevis 1,344m

Still smiling on the decent! 

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