Climbing The Big Ben
Jake // September 20, 2020
Myself and Shanie finally made the long trip up to Scotland to complete the Big Ben aka Ben Nevis, which means we have now summited all of the big three. I’m glad we came up here with other goals because Ben nevis was a complete disappointment, if it wasn’t the tallest in the UK I doubt it would get a second look.
Our original plan was to summit via the CMD arete which is a grade one scramble regarded as one of the finest in the UK, it looked amazing but unfortunately we didn’t have a single good day of weather while we were in Scotland which should have been expected to be honest. So we had to summit via the tourist path and what a grind it was.
The route is essentially a staircase to hell, we quite quickly hit the fog line and spent hours zig zagging up the mountain. You couldn’t see anything interesting up down or sideways all you could see was the path in front of you. We plodded on for over three hours before the route started to flatten out which indicated that we were near the summit. The flat part goes on for longer than you would think, even with the cairns I can see how people would lose their way in poor conditions and get lost. It wouldn’t be too hard to walk or get blown off the northern edge where the ground suddenly drops away.
It felt good to reach the end, we had finally completed the big three and the ascent was finally over! I imagine if you’re lucky enough to summit on a good day the view would be spectacular as the surrounding area is so beautiful even if the mountain itself is not. We found a quiet spot and got into our group shelter for some lunch, even in the poor weather the summit was packed with walkers.
I enjoyed the descent much more although for me it’s usually the opposite as walking down hill hurts my knees, sometimes I feel like I’m pushing 50! In classic Jake luck the moment we started our descent the fog started to break. We started getting views lasting maybe 2-3 seconds at a time. The lower we got the more it cleared, then suddenly we had the most spectacular view of the surrounding mountain ranges, maybe we would have enjoyed the ascent a bit more if we could have seen something.
After getting back to the car we rewarded ourselves with a classic Wetherspoons meal, it was even curry night! I can’t say the mountain hits my recommended list, if you’re from the UK and enjoy mountaineering it’s one you have to do at some stage but I would recommend picking a day where you can summit via the CMD so you can enjoy the journey along with the achievement. It just goes to show bigger isn’t always better!
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