Winter 3 Peaks
A real mountaineering achievement, right here in the UK! The 3 Peaks Challenge has over recent years become the classic mountain adventure; summiting the highest mountains of England, Scotland and Wales in a weekend. However, the crowds do it around midsummer. To attempt this feat in the winter, when the peaks are thick with snow, is a whole different prospect!
Fitways Adventures’ qualified mountain guides will provide ice axes and crampons, and instruction on how to deal with avalanche risk, navigation and emergencies. You will have the most dramatic mountains in Britain to yourself, experience genuinely Alpine conditions, and have completed a version of the Three Peaks few others can boast of.
Completing the Winter 3 Peaks Challenge can also be considered an introduction to mountaineering to anyone who wishes to progress further in the Alps or Greater Ranges.
“Thank you for an amazing 3 peaks challenge weekend!Could not have done it without the brilliant optimism and support from your great guides!”
Daily walking time:
Max team size:
Max. 7 People
You will need a high level of fitness, previous hill walking experience and be competent using crampons and ice axe. If you don’t currently have the required skills and experience, a Fitways Adventures Winter Skills Course will give you all you need to attempt this incredible challenge.
10.5 Miles & 1352 metres of ascent
At 1344 metres, Ben Nevis is the highest of the 3 Peaks. The quickest route to the summit is the Pony Track which starts at the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. We’ll be starting this mountain in darkness giving the climb a real alpine feel. If we’re lucky with the weather, you will enjoy some fabulous views of the Scottish Highlands in spectacular winter conditions as dawn breaks.
6 Miles & 989 metres of ascent
The shortest (& quickest) route up Scafell Pike starts at Wasdale Head. It’s likely we’ll be starting this climb just as it starts to get dark – adding a new dimension to the climb. The summit of Scafell Pike is incredibly barren and when covered in snow, staying on the path becomes a real challenge. Don’t worry though; your Winter Mountain Leaders will keep you on the right track.
7 Miles & 723 metres of ascent
It will almost certainly still be dark when we start the Summit attempt on Snowdon. By this time you’ll be feeling pretty exhausted – trekking through snow in crampons is extremely tiring. All going to plan, it will start getting light as we approach the summit café, but at this time of year it will be closed.
- Logistics (Dedicated vehicle & driver/s)
- Pick up en route from Maidenhead to Fort William (See logistics & travel)
- Drop off at agreed location after the 3 Peaks Challenge
- 1 night accommodation before the event (shared)
- Qualified Winter Mountain Leaders (Fully Insured and First Aid qualified)
- Maximum client to leader ratio of 7
- Luxury vehicle (VW transporter)
- Safety Equipment (carried by our Mountain Leaders)
- Head torches, trekking poles, Crampons, Ice Axes
- Advice from our Mountain Leader team – both before and during the challenge
- Training advice from a qualified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist
- Completion certificate
- Cotswold Outdoors 15% Discount Voucher
What’s not included:
- Food & Drink
- Pick up from alternative locations other than those specified – call for prices.
- Luxury accommodation & dinner before the event (£30)
Travel & Logistics
It’s possible to tackle the 3 Peaks Challenge from North to South or the other way round depending on your location. When booking we will agree with you the optimum route given your location.
Starting on Ben Nevis
We can pick you up from Glasgow International Airport, or alternatively en route between Chester (including Chester Train Station) and Fort William (M6, M72, A62). At the end of the Challenge, we can either drop you off en route back to Chester from Llanberis (A55) or at Chester Train Station.
Starting on Snowdon
We can pick you up from Chester Train Station and at the end of the challenge we can drop you at Glasgow Airpport or take you back to Chester Train Station. If this is not convenient for yourself or your group, please get in touch and we’ll discuss alternative options.
Note: You can save money on rail travel by booking your tickets in advance using www.thetrainline.com. If booking fixed tickets, we recommend that you leave plenty of time in case of delays – either during the Challenge, or on the journey back.
Timings on the mountains
This is not a 24 hour challenge as it usually takes considerably longer to climb the mountains in full winter conditions. Exact timings will vary depending on team fitness and conditions, but approximate climb times have been detailed below:
- Ben Nevis – under 6.5 hours
- Scafell Pike – under 5 hours
- Snowdon – under 5 hours
- Map & Compass
- 3 x warm gloves & liner gloves
- Spare warm socks (good to change after each mountain)
- Spare base layer (to change after each mountain)
- 2 x Warm Hat (covering ears)
- Warm top (2nd fleece would be ideal)
- Quality Waterproofs (Jacket & Trousers)
- Backpack (35 – 40 Litres) Do ensure your equipment is in a waterproof bag
- Mobile phone (in waterproof case)
- Blister plasters (suggest Compeed)
- Personal First Aid kit (Your Leader will carry a Master First Aid kit)
- Goggles (Ski Goggles are ideal)
- Water Bottle (1.5-2Litres)
- Camera (optional)
- Optional: GPS
- Walking poles (Fitways can provide)
- Ice Axe (Fitways can provide)
- Crampons (Fitways can provide)
- Head Torch & Spare Batteries (Fitways can provide)
- Sun cream & lip salve
Clothing to be worn on the hill
- Walking boots (Minimum B1 Rated)
- Warm socks
- Medium or heavy weight Walking Trousers – no jeans
- Thermal trousers (depending on temperature/conditions)
- Base Layer (long-sleeved top – not cotton)
- Sports top or fleece (not cotton)
- Windproof top (soft shell is ideal)
Stuff to leave in the vehicle
- Change of clothes
- Overnight bag including toiletries etc.
- Pillow (to assist you in getting some sleep between mountains)
Ideally, you will have a map and compass and whistle with you in case of emergency. While the 3 Peaks Challenge is not the ideal situation in which to practice your winter navigation, our team of Mountain Leaders will be happy to give you a few pointers en route. The maps for each mountain have been detailed below:
- Ben Nevis: OS 1:50K Landranger Series 41 Ben Nevis
- Snowdon: OS 1:50K Landranger Series 115 (Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa)
- Scafell Pike: OS 1:50K Landranger Series 89 (West Cumbria)
As Ben Nevis is the most serious of the mountains, we will tackle the challenge from North to South ensuring we complete this mountain within daylight hrs.
Fitways and the Environment
Consideration of the environment is at the heart of what we do at Fitways and we do everything within our power to minimise our impact upon it. This includes:
- Small group sizes
- Sticking to main paths
- Picking up litter – it is our policy to enhance any area we visit
- Safe driving – keeping to all driving regulations and encouraging transport sharing
- Donation to Mountain Rescue on every 3 Peaks Challenge
- We aim to complete Scafell before midnight (in consideration of nearby residents)
- Obeying the Countryside Code. This is part of our team briefing.
- Offering group transit to the event (Between Maidenhead and start point)
Nutrition & Hydration
Nutrition & Hydration both prior to and during the event will have a significant impact on your performance in the 3 Peaks Challenge. Our head mountain leader is a qualified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist who will be happy to advise you on training and nutrition before and during the Challenge.
If you don’t have extensive Hill Walking experience including the use of Crampon and Ice Axe, Fitways offer Winter Hill Walking Days and week-ends. We also offer 1 and 2 day Winter Skills Courses. These offer the perfect opportunity for you to meet your Mountain Leaders and for you to get yourself in shape in preparation for a 3 Peaks Challenge. All bookings for a 3 Peaks Challenge with us entitles you to a 10% discount on our 1 and 2 day trips.