3 peaks challenge
Thinking about attempting the three peaks challenge ?
The 3 peaks challenge has become the UK's most popular mountain challenge event. Thousands undertake the challenge every year to raise funds for charities and other good causes.
The challenge involves visiting the summit of Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales - climbing 2,926 metres (nearly 10,000 feet) and walking 36 km (over 22 miles) in the process! It has become the norm to try to complete the 3 peaks challenge within 24 hours but there is no 'official' timescale or route for this challenge.
When attempted over 24 hours, your physical and mental toughness will be tested as you experience walking over many miles of rough terrain, prolonged physical discomfort and sleep deprivation!
You need to be reasonably fit to climb all 3 mountains in 24 hours but you don't need to be superhuman. With adequate preparation, combined with the skills and experience of our mountain guides, most people in a reasonably fit condition can successfully complete the 3 peaks challenge.
We can provide full organisation and logistical support or provide a tailored package to suit your group. We even provide a guiding only service for the 3 peaks challenge - ideal if you're on a tight budget or just want help on the most navigationally challenging of the 3 peaks - Scafell Pike.
By using our services you have a far greater chance of successfully completing your 3 peaks challenge. Leave the group management and navigation to us and save your energy for the climb. Our guides will be with you at all times on the hill providing much needed encouragement and motivation as well as guiding you. Some 3 peaks challenge providers use a 'marshalling' system whereby they place 'guides' at strategic points on the mountains and point the participants in the right direction. For safety reasons and quality of service we don't use marshalls. Our guides accompany you throughout the whole of your time on the mountains.
Three peaks challenge environmental concerns
Read our 3 peaks challenge environmental policy page
Three peaks challenge training and preparation
As with all sporting or physical challenges preparation is the key to success. The three peaks challenge is no exception! You don't need to be superhuman to successfully complete this challenge but it helps if you are reasonably fit and active. If you have any doubt about your ability to take part in this challenge, contact us and we'll discuss options with you.
We can offer three peaks challenge training in the Lake District where you will be able to experience the mountain environment and cover part of the actual route on Scafell Pike - ideal for self supported participants to get to know the most navigationally challenging part of the challenge. You may even want to try one of our Lake District challenge events - visit our sister site bigwalks.com for details.
For unsupported participants physical fitness is not the only preparation needed for the challenge. A thorough knowledge of the route and essential equipment are vital. Reccomended equipment list for your 3 peaks challenge. It's no use carrying a map and compass if you don't know how to use them! We provide navigation courses in the Lake District where you will learn essential map and compass skills - you can even gain a nationally recognised navigation award. Visit our main site bigwalks.com for details.
Many people rely solely on GPS devices for navigation in the mountains. GPS devices are fantastic pieces of kit but DON'T rely on them alone - they can fail, batteries can go flat (particularly in cold weather), you can drop them, you can lose them, dogs can chew them etc. etc. Make sure you ALSO carry a map and compass and know how to use them. Visit our 3 peaks challenge Equipment and preparation page.
The 3 peaks challenge is a personal challenge and there is no penalty for not completing it! There are no rules governing the challenge, there is no governing body overseeing it and nobody to check if you've actually done what you say you have!
There is however, a voluntary Code of Practice for individuals or groups engaged in fund raising activities such as the national 3 peaks challenge. Although it is aimed at fundraiser's the code provides good guidelines for all participants of the 3 peaks challenge whether individuals or large groups. The full code can be viewed at Outdoor UK Challenge Events Code of Fundraising Practice.
The national 3 peaks challenge, can be done North to South or South to North. There are advantages and disadvantages with both options. If you're based in the South or Midlands you can fly to Glasgow airport to be picked up by us to commence your challenge on Ben Nevis either the same night or the following morning. Alternatively you can travel by train to be picked up from Warrington or Manchester railway stations to be taken to Snowdonia for the start of your challenge.The choice of starting point, method of transport and pick up points is entirely up to you.
There are various routes up each of the mountains but for Ben Nevis the only practical route for 3 peaks challenge participants is via the 'Tourist path'. DO NOT attempt any other route up Ben Nevis unless you are an experienced mountaineer familiar with the mountain.
For Scafell Pike there are two potential 3 peaks challenge routes - one from Wasdale which is the shorter route but getting there involves an extra hours driving. The alternative Scafell Pike route is from Seathwaite at the head of the Borrowdale valley. Approaching the mountain from this direction means you spend less time driving but longer on the mountain. From this direction there are also various routes once you're on the mountain and for unsupported challenge participants it's the most navigationally challenging route of all the 3 peaks. Bearing in mind that this stage of the challenge is likely to be done in darkness, unsupported participants need to consider carefully their route choice. Wasdale Mountain Rescue team regularly responds to emergency call-outs to national 3 peaks challenge participants getting lost on Scafell Pike due to poor preparation, poor planning and being ill-equipped.
Snowdon, again has various routes to it's summit but for challenge participants there are really only two practical options - the Pyg Track and the Miners path. The Pyg track is slightly shorter but for variation one can be used for ascent and the other for descent without too much extra time being added.
Driving for the 3 peaks challenge
Thel 3 peaks challenge involves driving long distances between the 3 peaks. For maximum safety we provide dedicated drivers for this event. For smaller groups we use our own drivers, some of whom are police trained drivers with advanced driving skills. For larger groups we use reputable transport providers well known to us who provide their own drivers and adhere to all road and driver's hours legislation.
Unsupported participants - PLEASE do NOT attempt to climb 3 mountains AND drive between them - have a dedicated driver(s) - this is the ONLY safe way.
We abide by the fundraisers Code of Practice which is a completely voluntary code. Part of this code stipulates that participants attempting the 3 peaks challenge over 24 hours must spend a minimum of 5 hours driving time between the 3 peaks, making a MINIMUM total driving period of 10 hours. This is to promote responsible driving within the law and to prevent dangerous, high speed dashes to try to make up time on the road that's been lost on the hill. Allowing for the driving time, that leaves 14 hours to climb the 3 peaks. As we have no control over road or traffic conditions we credit our clients with a successfull challenge if they climb all 3 peaks in the 14 hours, even if the driving element takes the total time to slightly over the 24 hours.
We think this is a responsible approach and it does not in any way diminish your achievement. The 3 peaks challenge is a mountain challenge and the real achievement for participants is climbing the 3 mountains consecutively! We believe we were the first to adopt this approach but others are now following and we would encourage all challenge participants, guided or self supported, to do the same.
When to do the 3 peaks challenge?
The most popular time for attempting the challenge is in May, June and July. There's also many more people on the mountains at this time of year so we try to time our events to avoid the busier times of day and night.
Done the three peaks challenge and want to try something else?
Take a look at our sister site bigwalks.com We provide mountain adventures and skills courses based in the Lake District with something for everyone. If you have your own idea for a challenge, contact us and we'll do our best to make it happen.
To book tel: 01228 672978
mob: 07584 177506