Ben Nevis is, at 1,344 m, Scotland and the UK’s highest mountain. Climbing Ben Nevis is highly popular among both experienced and inexperienced hikers. Unfortunately, lack of adequate gear and inexperience often combine with poor weather conditions to cause slips, trips and falls with potentially serious, even fatal consequences. The following tips should help to prevent personal injuries when climbing Ben Nevis.
Necessary equipment for climbing Ben Nevis
- Essential clothing and gear for climbing Ben Nevis includes:
- Rucksack with 30 to 50 litres capacity
- Waterproof trousers; jacket, gloves and hat
- Wicking base layer, fleece jacket and mid-weight long-sleeved fleece top
- Hiking trousers, trekking socks (two pairs: one thick and one thin) and stout walking boots
- Hydration system (two litre), Silva compass and packed lunch
- Ordnance Survey Map 392 (Explorer) for Ben Nevis and Fort William
Emergency survival equipment should include:
- First aid kit, mobile phone and emergency whistle
- Emergency rations, head torch and survival bag
- Spare boot laces
Climbers may also wish to pack:
- Scarf, spare fleece top and walking poles
- Gaiters, GPS and flask
- Sun block and sun glasses
- Anti-bacterial hand wash, Swiss army pen knife and camera
- Bothy bag (emergency shelter)
- Lighter and/or waterproof matches
In winter conditions, crampons and ice axes are also essential in the prevention of accidents on Ben Nevis, as is knowing how to use an ice axe to make a potentially necessary self-arrest. Under such conditions, it is vital to prevent falls from height by being aware of cornices and staying away from edges wherever snow is present.
Notoriously difficult at the best of times, navigating Ben Nevis can become extremely dangerous if weather conditions deteriorate and visibility becomes poor. Before climbing Ben Nevis, it is therefore vital to familiarise yourself with the standard escape route.
Five Finger Gully and Gardyloo Gully should be avoided under all circumstances, as injuries by falling here are likely to be fatal. They can be avoided by following a 233 degree bearing (from summit trig point) for 150 metres (approximately 100 double steps) before following a 284 degree bearing (these magnetic bearings should be directly followed from a compass alone).
Accident on Ben Nevis
Should someone else cause you to slip, trip or fall on or near Ben Nevis or anywhere else, call our freephone number, 0800 689 0500 or, if you call from a mobile, 0333 500 0993 to discover how Accident Advice Helpline’s legal team can assist you in successfully claiming personal injury compensation.
Date Published: December 9, 2015
Author: David Brown