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rock climbing and mountaineering courses with alec roberts mic

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tower ridge in winter

tower ridge

 
 

Tower Ridge in winter

Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis, has been called " The finest one-day mountaineering expedition in Britain " and this is especially true in good winter conditions. It's length and complexity require the full skills and equipment of mountaineering to fully appreciate and enjoy this classic route - with an early start, good crampon technique, efficient rope work and the right equipment all helping to give a truly memorable mountaineering experience.

I have been lucky enough to complete Tower Ridge in all it's moods, often accompanied by clients who have shared with me the challenge and rewards this unique mountain adventure has to offer.

Itineraries follow a one or two day schedule:

Two day ascent:

Day one is used as an introduction, with a kit check, an introduction to the terrain, a look at ice axe / cramponing skills and the fluid rope work required for this style of mountaineering.

Day two has an early start to gain the ridge at first light, approaching along the Allt a' Mhuilinn to the CIC hut, and after some initial snow slopes, the ridge is gained via the eastern flank of the Douglas Boulder, and usually ascended via the Eastern Traverse of the Great Tower, with the final snowy headwall and cornice finishing a few hundred metres from the summit of Ben Nevis.

One day ascent:

Suitable for those with previous winter mountain experience. The day starts early to gain the ridge at first light - using the Allt a' Mhuilinn approach to the CIC hut, and the eastern flank of the Douglas Boulder. A variety of techniques, which may include moving together and pitching, are used to ascend the ridge  via the Eastern Traverse of the Great Tower, with the final snowy headwall and cornice finishing a few hundred metres from the summit of Ben Nevis.

Most winter ascents take advantage of the best conditions in March, although good conditions can occur in other months ( from November to May ! ) - please see the calendar for scheduled trips or drop me a line if you have suggestions of your own.

I can supply all technical equipment including boots, crampons, ice axe, harness, helmet - although you are welcome to bring your own.

Tower Ridge information

The trip itinerary is usually based on two days, with one day as a preparation day, and a long second day used for the ascent. Local transport and all technical equipment is included in the course fee.

Transport links:

Our meeting point is in Fort William, and transport from here is included in the fee. Trains to Fort William can be found at:
http://www.directrail.com/trains_to_fort_william.html
and coach travel to Fort William via:
http://www.nationalexpress.com
http://www.citylink.co.uk/index.php

After an introduction and kit check, we will use the first day to look at ice axe / crampon technique and mountaineering style rope work at a suitable venue ( often making use of the cable car on Aonach Mhor or the mountains of Glencoe )  An early night is recommended as day two involves a very early start. We hope to reach the ridge by first light which usually requires a 05.00 hrs start, giving us every opportunity to complete the route and be off the mountain before darkness.

Accommodation:

As a popular tourist destination, the Fort William area has many options for accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets including good campsites ( although camping in winter can be tough! ) chalets, bunkhouses, Youth Hostels, B&B’s, self catering cottages and hotels, all can be found on :
http://www.visitscotland.com/guide/where-to-stay

You will need:

Waterproof Jacket - full weight breathable model preferred
Base Layer
Light fleece jackets + heavy fleece jacket or softshell or insulated jacket
Trousers and waterproof overtrousers or salopettes
Hat or Balaclava - must fit under a helmet
Warm Ski Type Gloves – Spare pair just in case one gets wet and / or:
Spare Mittens - especially if you suffer from cold hands
Socks – calf length, loop stitched with high wool content
Gaiters
Winter Mountaineering “B2 /B3” Boots – crampon compatible ( some sizes can be supplied )
Ski Goggles ( can be supplied )
Sunglasses
Suncream
Rucsac 30-35 litres
Waterbottle and / or thermos flask
Headtorch
Personal medications + blister kit
Camera
Packed lunch for the mountain days

Technical Equipment ( can be supplied at no extra cost ):
Harness
Climbing Helmet
C2 / C3 Crampons (preferably with anti-balling plates)
Ice Axe / axes
Long sling + locking karabiner

If you already have any personal equipment, bring it along - this will help with familiarity with your gear and give us the opportunity to discuss the pro's and con's of different equipment.

Although I have Public Liability insurance to the value of £ 5M, you may wish to purchase personal accident, and travel insurance as you think necessary ! Packages which include insurance for climbing and other mountain activities are available from:
www.thebmc.co.uk

What is included:

Technical equipment – boots, harness, helmet, ice axes, crampons.
I have a selection of other equipment available – Please let me know if you need anything else e.g rucksack etc. – especially if you are intending to buy any equipment for the course.
Boot hire is also available from:
http://www.ellis-brigham.com/fort-william.htm

The ‘Scottish Winter Mountains’ have an international reputation as an area of unique mountain environments , with their own challenges and rewards to the mountaineer, this expedition will hopefully give you an experience of these these beautiful and challenging mountains.

Recommended reading:

There a great many sources of information for the topics covered on the trip, I would recommend the following:

Scotlands Winter Mountains – Martin Moran – ISBN 0715307940
Winterskills – Andy Cunnignham / Allen Fyffe – ISBN 0954151135
Chance in a million – Bob Barton / Blyth Wright – ISBN 0907521592
Winter climbing + by Neil Gresham / Ian Parnell – ISBN 9781873341964

or drop me a line if you have any queries alec@guidedmountain.co.uk

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