Ben Nevis in Spring

Winter climbing in Scotland is a unique experience, often a uniquely masochistic one. Harsh weather and precarious protection make for bold routes with a ferocity that belies their relatively short length. Far from dissuading climbers, this reputation for extreme conditions has, along with its rich mountaineering history, has made Scotland and Ben Nevis in particular a world class destination for traditional mixed climbing.

But there is a less hostile, more tempting side to The Ben that awaits those prepared for the long game. In late February, March, and in a good year extending far into April, the winter storms begin to fade and the north-facing cliffs of Ben Nevis, still half hidden in the shadows, begin their final swan-song.

This year unfortunately we will have to admire Ben Nevis in all its splendour from a distance, and remember that it will still be there waiting for us in years to come.

Along with our Pro Team we've been sharing our favourite stories and experiences from Springtime adventures on Scotland's highest mountain.

Watch...

Filmed in the few weeks before the lockdown on a rare perfect day on Ben Nevis, Dave MacLeod reflects on what the lockdown means for climbers in 'Life is on Ice'

Read...

Our Pro Team share their stories and advice from spring days on Scotland's highest mountain.

Spring Ice

'Spring Nevis climbing is obviously all about ice. Lots of ice!
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I have my eye on several potential new icy mixed routes on Ben Nevis, many of which very rarely come into condition. This spring has been a bit of heartbreaker because I’m quite certain that at least one of them was in condition in late March. But there is always next March!
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One in particular was a line I first tried in 2007 and got extremely close, climbing across a roof after taking a couple of short falls first. On my best try, I got the pick of my ice tool to the very edge of the ice dribbling over the lip of the roof. I needed another three inches of height and I’d have surely have done it. But at that moment, my other tool ripped, I fell and that was it for that day, and the next 13 years!'

Dave MacLeod

Spring Rock

'On the walk out from the Ben after a late-season ice climb, as the sun comes round that little bit further and warms up the Allt a Mhuillin, we quite often look up to Carn Dearg buttress and think of the coming rock climbing season. It may be wishful thinking (no harm in that!), but if the restrictions on movement are lifted soonish and the dry spring continues, I would like to return to a project I tried briefly with Iain Small the other year. It’s an extremely serious piece of climbing, and not something I’d consider leading without a lot of preparation.
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Every hard new route I’ve done on Ben Nevis that took more than a couple of days of effort has been a very rewarding process. So long as I don’t fall off the eventual lead on this one, I’m sure it will be the same.'

Dave MacLeod

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