Expert Local Guide
Our local guide will not only safely support you on your Ben Nevis guided walk, but you’ll learn about the wildlife, myths, legends and just plain strange things about Ben Nevis. Did a vintage model T Ford really get to the top of Ben Nevis and which route did Queen Victoria use and why did the Cameron Lairds worry about the snow on top of Ben Nevis?
What route to the summit of Ben Nevis will you choose?
Our guided Ben Nevis walks range from the classic Pony Track to the CMD arete.
There is a main walking path to the summit, this is how most people reach the top. You can do longer routes with simple scrambles such as Ledge Route or CMD Arete, all the way through to technical rock climbs to the summit like North East Buttress.
In summer conditions the whole trip walking to the summit takes about 8 hours, but weather and personal fitness can affect the time. In winter it can take longer. For winter ascents we recommend a training day before to learn how to use crampons and ice axe. We provide crampons and ice axe as part of the winter package.
Certainly lots of people summit Ben Nevis each year with out a guide.
So why hire Wild Mountain Guides?
If you need a guide for Ben Nevis depends a lot on the weather on the day and your experience.
The lower path is very clear and easy to follow, but the summit plateau is featureless and even with a light dusting of snow it can be hard to follow despite the cairns marking the way.
A guide gives you the confidence, tells you about the local history and nature as well as taking photos of your ascent.
In winter the need for skilful use of crampons and ice axes and often poor weather means the guides knowledge and coaching skills adds a huge amount of safety and value to the day.
For walking up the main path to the summit look at this check list of skills to help you make the decision:
- Can you read a map and navigate with no visibility?
- Can you apply the mountain weather forecast to what is actually happening on the mountain and make an affective decision to carry on or turn back.
- In the event of an accident do you have the skill to give your exact location, with in 100m, to the rescue services?
- Do you have mountain first aid skills and the equipment to solve problems such as emergency shelters and head torches.
- Do you want to know more about the history, culture and nature of Ben Nevis?
The scrambles and climbing routes to the summit are complex and long. Even experienced climbers hire guides to make sure they have great day out, getting on the right route for the weather and their experience level and knowing they can tap into the guides decades of experience to develop their skills.
Ultimately, the decision to get a guide is a balance of a number of factors:
- Your experience
- The time of year and weather
- The route you want to do
- Your confidence
You need to be able to walk on rough, rocky paths for about 8 hours. Walking 10 miles will give you a rough idea, but the weather can affect even the fittest.
A good general level of fitness is more important than being able to do lots of one-arm pull-ups. None of the scrambles and climbing routes to the summit of Ben Nevis is hard, you just need to be able to move quickly on rocky ground that needs your arms for balance. Why not book an Introduction to Scrambling day to give you the skills and confidence for a big day on Ben Nevis?
Comfortable boots with a sole that grips on the wet rock. Some people like boots that support their ankle, others who are more confident find running shoes that grip on wet rock work well in summer conditions. Others find a full boot keeps their feet dry and warm on wet days. Many of our guides wear walking shoes designed for rocky walks on warm dry days, then use a boot on wet or cold days. Smooth soled trainers or fashion shoes are likely to lead to slips, the most common accident on the mountain. New shoes or boots can lead to very sore feet so do lots of training walks in your footwear. In poor weather or early spring and late autumn, a full walking boot can help deal with snow on the summit. In winter you need a boot suitable for crampons. These can be hired in Fort William. Whatever footwear you chose for Ben Nevis it needs to have a sole that will grip on wet rock and be comfortable all day long.
It can be significantly colder on the summit than at sea level! You start at sea level so don’t be fooled by the weather in Fort William.
Having a number of layers you can adjust as the temperature changes is more flexible and comfortable than one big warm layer. that means you spend half the time sweating, then being cold from sweat drenched clothing.
No matter what the weather forecast our guides carry:
- Hooded waterproof jacket that fits over all the warm clothing, hood needs a peak and drawcord to deal with wind and rain.
- Waterproof overtrousers
- Baselayer/nylon gym clothing to move sweat away to keep you dry and warm. NOT COTTON!
- Warm layer to walk in, often a light fleece
- Extra Warm layer for the summit or lunch stops
- Nylon/fleece gloves, hat and neck gaiter/buff
Day rucksack, often about 30 litres, to carry spare clothing etc
2 litres of water or more
sunscreen/hat to keep sun off
Lots of snack and food
Walking poles can save your knees!
Large plastic bag or rucksack liner to keep everything dry
We hear this a lot and it is not true! Just look at the videos on this site.
The weather on the Ben is nearly always colder and windier than down in Fort William. The summit of Ben Nevis can be in the clouds for most of the day, but even then it often clears to reveal stunning views. Due to its sheer height, it can be surrounded by cloud on overcast days, but not for 361 days of the year and we have had many, many clear days on Ben Nevis. Check out our Instagram feed for regular photos of Ben Nevis and the Highland mountains
The Highland Midge has a fearsome reputation and on humid overcast days with no wind next to still water and bogs they can be very distracting. Bright sunlight and a breeze above 7mph sends the scurrying away, high up in the mountains you have much less problems with midges.
To help you keep ‘the midge’ at bay we give all clients who book during midge season a free bottle of Smidge.
Some people use DEET based formulas like Jungle Formula, we would ask people not to use DEET based products while wearing harness’s, helmets, ropes or near our tents as the DEET turns them yellow and means hundreds if not thousands of pounds worth of equipment would be unsafe to use. That is why we give you free Smidge!
Want to know when ‘the midge’ is rampaging? Check out the Midge Forecast here: https://www.smidgeup.com/midge-forecast/
Working, living and playing in the Highlands we find some smidge, a flexible plan as to when and where you stop means that on high midge days we can still get out and have fun.
Click on the video's below to see what Ben Nevis is like at different times of the year
Ben Nevis guided walks with just you and your friends, your adventure at your pace
Having a big day on 'the Ben' but still want more?
Why not book a ‘rest day’ abseiling, climbing, scrambling and the amazing Tyrolean Traverse across the gorge in Glen Nevis.
All these activities are only a short distance from the road, so a great for a low level day that is high in Adventure.
You can pay a 25% deposit for your Ben Nevis guided walk at the checkout and pay the balance 14 days before your adventure.
Qualified, with in-depth experience of the Scottish mountains. Our main guide has spent decades working in the mountains.
Just You and Your Friends
We work with small groups. All our bookings are just for you so the adventure is focused on your needs, not diluted by a big group.
Add 4k video with royalty paid music of your choice, so you can have more than memories.
Just turn up with your boots, clothing and food. We provide any equipment needed. We’ll even send you the photos!
Phone: +44 (0) 7542 221937
Wild Mountain Guides, Pobs Drive, Corpach, Fort William, Highlands, Scotland, PH33 7JP
Wild Mountain Guides is a trading name of HIGHLAND FIRST AID LTD SC592363