10 Helpful hints for tackling Three Peaks Challenge

Three Peaks Challenge

Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike & Mount Snowdon

Everyone loves a challenge whether it is running a marathon or swimming the English Channel. It is what makes us human always wanting to push ourselves to the limit or that little bit more. Completing the Three Peaks Challenge took a different type of strength and mindset for me than when I was at Everest base camp and on the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro.

The Three Peaks Challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks Ben Nevis in Scotland (1345m), Scafell Pike, in England (978m) and Snowdon in Wales (1085m) within 24 hours. Covering a distance of 462 miles from start to finish driving and climbing a total height of 3408m (10,000 ft).

This is a tough challenge and I saw a lot of people giving up when I was completing mine. So I thought I would share some of my tips and hints that I learnt along the way to help you save time and hopefully make it more achievable. Remember every little bit counts.

 

View of mountains and lakes from the top of Snowdon

Snowdon, Wales

1: Decide how you want to take part

You can take part in the Three Peaks Challenge  in two ways — as a “self-organised group(which is what I completed), or a professionally organised group”.

A Self-organised group is often the cheapest way to take part but that is because you will have to organise everything from car hire to registering the group (refer link below). A professionally organised group is a great option if you do not do much climbing and are not overly familiar with the three mountains. Also, professional mountain guides are usually provided as well to assist.

To register your ‘Self-organised’ group; click here.

mountain views from the route up Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis, Scotland

2: Make sure that you have the right fitting hiking shoes or Trail Shoes and that you have worn them in

Just like my Everest Tips you may think this is a silly point but you will be surprised how many people I have seen over time getting really bad blisters and limping as they did not have enough support in their shoes. Remember, you’re climbing up three mountains, so you want your feet to be as comfortable as possible especially when you’re tired and pushing up that last mountain.

 

Feet selfie on Snowdon showing the lake below

Snowdon, Wales

3: Organise a driver (This applies to self-organised groups)

Organise someone to do all the driving and to wait at the car in case anything happens during the three peaks challenge. Do not try to share the driving amongst the group climbing, as you can become fatigued and run the risk of not completing the challenge and worse still crashing. As I said before it is 462 miles from start to finish and in good traffic takes about 10 hours.  Having someone else drive means you get to rest & recharge for the next summit.

Professionally organised groups will have a driver

Rocky outcrop on Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike, England

4: Have a bright head-touch

When you are climbing in the middle of the night, your senses can be thrown right out and you could waste valuable time going the incorrect way. I have been up Scafell Pike on a number of occasions before the three peaks challenge, I thought I knew the route pretty well but in the middle of the night with a bad head touch my bearings were out of whack. We did not cross the stream when we were supposed to and we ended up losing over an hour trying to find our way back to the correct route.

If you are not sure, ask at your local outdoor shop for the best head torch.

 

Mel on the route up Snowdon

5: Keep your group to a minimum size that can be manageable (This applies to self-organise groups)

Remember you are only as fast as the last person and you can only go from one mountain to the next, when everyone has arrived back to the car after reaching the summit. It can be frustrating getting down and then having to wait around especially when you are on limited time and know it is out of your hands.

 

Our groups shadow on the grassy slope of Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis, Scotland

6: Take a change of clothes or top

You will work up a sweat (some more than others) by the time you reach a summit and get back to the vehicle again. Being dry between mountain transfers can make the world of difference of getting a decent rest before the next summit or just generally being comfortable. Unfortunately, a pack of Redbull’s smashed in my bag on the plane while on the way up to Scotland to start the challenge. I got a chill and could not rest as I didn’t have anything to change into, so the others lent me their clothes to warm up. This made the world of difference and I was able to have enough energy to do the last summit of Snowdon, Wales

 

The empty path on the way up Ben Nevis

 

 7: Carry a small first-aid kit

The size of your group and fitness levels will determine a lot where you are going to be placed during the summits. For a professionally organised group, usually, there is a guide in front of the fastest person and a guide behind the slowest person. However, if you are a self-organised group you will only have each other. If something happens you need to be prepared on the mountain.

 

Mel on the way up Scafell Pike with Wastwater in the background

Scafell Pike, England

 8: Take a small music device like an iPod

When you need a little push and motivation especially in the middle of the night up to the summit (which is usually Scafell Pike), a bit of music can make the world of difference. You do not have to have it in both ears blasting out but a little light music in one ear, while still using your other ear to listen to everything else around you. It is even good to help you relax and rest between mountains in the transfer.

 

Looking up at the ridge while walking up Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike, England

9; Be prepared Physically

This is a tough event; people participating should have the necessary fitness. You have to remember you are in a group and others are relying on you to make it. You need to make sure you train and prepare and if you can familiarise yourself with the three peaks beforehand, I suggest doing so. Look up various leg strengthening exercises, climb stairs instead of taking the lift, anything really to build your strength. Have a set goals of where you want your fitness level to be before you begin your challenge.

Mel with Snowdon in the background

Snowdon, Wales

10: Remember to have fun with it

With all the training and work that you have done to prepare, remember to still have fun along the way and don’t be hard on yourself especially if you do not make it in time. You can always do it again or you can do one of the many organised groups who offer the three peaks challenge over the course of a couple of days or week like Maximum Adventures.

 

View down Scafell Pike path to Wastwater

Scafell Pike, England

If there is anything more you would like to know or want further tips on, please do not hesitate to message me. Good luck with the three peaks challenge and enjoy your adventure 🙂

A special Thank you to Dataquest UK  for donating towards our three peaks challenge, which paid for our van hire.

 

Our group at the start of the challenge displaying our sponsor's flag

The start of Challenge , Ben Nevis Scotland

 

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12 Comments

  1. Very cool! For my next trip to the UK I want to do some serious hiking so it’s great to learn about this challenge 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

    1. You are welcomed. Let me know when you come to UK and I will be happy to give you tip son hiking routes. 🙂 Enjoy your day

  2. Thanks for the tips Mel, we will have to organise a trip there soon. Would love to know where you would recommend staying to?

  3. Thanks for the great tips. I have been wanting to do the challenge for a while but I could not found anything that has been to useful.

  4. I had read about the three peaks challenge earlier. In this post you have provided some invaluable tips on how to take up this challenge. All the tips are sensible and practical, The one about having fun is the best, because in all this one should never forget to enjoy the whole experience.

    1. Thanks Vyjay, I appreciate your feedback. I love the mountains and I am always happy to share tips, to help others enjoy their trips too.

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