Three Peaks challenge Frequently asked questions
- What is the 3 peaks challenge ?
- Can anyone attempt the national 3 peaks challenge?
- How difficult is the three peaks challenge ?
- Is the national 3 peaks more difficult than the Yorkshire 3 peaks ?
- What's the rules?
- What's the official route ?
- Which direction - North to South or South to North?
- When's the best time to do it?
- Do you have to do it in 24 hours ?
- Do I need map and compass skills?
- Are the routes easy to follow, are there paths?
- Which mountain is the most difficult ?
- Which mountain is the easiest ?
The National three peaks challenge is an attempt to climb the 3 highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in one go! Participants completing this challenge will climb nearly 10,000 feet and walk about 23 miles in the process!
It's become popular to try and complete the 3 peaks challenge within 24 hours (including driving time between the 3 peaks) but there's no official timescale for this challenge.
If you have any health issues (e.g. high blood pressure, heart problems etc.) then ANY extreme physical activity may not be the wisest option. If you're in any doubt about your ability to attempt the challenge we'd strongly recommend that you seek the advice of your doctor.
If you're thinking of attempting the three peaks challenge over 24 hours then you need to have a reasonable level of fitness. Just like every other sporting or physical activity your chance of success is greatly improved by preparing for the event and that includes training.
The answer to this question depends entirely on the individual and how well you've prepared yourself for the challenge. Please also see the previous question.
The 3 peaks challenge is a tough challenge for most participants and you shouldn't underestimate the effort involved. You certainly shouldn't enter into the challenge without knowing exactly what's involved. If you're not used to walking over rough terrain or walking in the mountains at night or in poor conditions then that in itself can be challenging.
Each of the mountains has it's own particular phsical challenges, for instance Scafell Pike is often climbed at night and is navigationally challenging. Ben Nevis summit area is surrounded by steep ground and in poor conditions good navigation skills are required to safely negotiate the summit area.
The Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge is a worthy challenge in it's own right. It isn't as physically demanding as the national 3 peaks challenge, involving about half the total height gain but the distance covered is broadly similar.
Some participants attempting the national 3 peaks challenge first attempt the Yorkshire 3 peaks as part of their training for the event.
There aren't any!
The three peaks challenge is a personal challenge and you can decide your own rules for your attempt.
Some individuals time the twenty four hours from the first summit to the last summit, others start from setting foot on the first mountain to stepping off the last and there are numerous variations in between!
The Institute of Fundraising has published a Code of Practice for groups engaged in fund raising activities such as the3 peaks challenge. The code is a voluntary code but it provides good advice and guidelines so we encourage all participants to follow it.
There isn't one!
It can be done North to South or South to North.
There are various routes up each of the 3 mountains and your choice of route will most likely depend on your timescale. For Ben Nevis the only practical route for a twenty four hours three peaks challenge is via the 'tourist path'. Other routes up the mountain are serious routes and not for the inexperienced.
For Scafell Pike there's two potential starting points - Wasdale and Seathwaite. The Wasdale option provides the shorter route up the mountain but is the steeper approach and involves extra driving time. Both offer route options when on the mountain. This mountain is likely to be done in the dark (on the 24 hour challenge) so, if you're not using professional guides, you'll need to consider carefully your choice of route and do your homework.
Wasdale Mountain Rescue team are regularly called out to search for walkers who've got into difficulties (usually getting lost) on Scafell Pike. Quite often it's been due to poor preparation, poor planning and being ill-equipped.
Snowdon also has various route options to it's summit. The Pyg Track and the Miners Path, accessed from Pen Y Pas are usually the routes chosen by those attempting the challenge over 24 hours. They provide the shorter routes to the summit.
There's advantages and disadvantages with both directions. Some prefer to do the biggest of the 3 peaks, Ben Nevis when they are still fresh while others prefer to put it off as long as possible!
Your choice of direction may well be dictated by where you are based and your travel arrangements. If you're based in the South or Midlands it's possible to fly to Glasgow International airport for onward travel to Fort William for a North to South attempt.
May, June and July are the busiest months for people attempting the 3 peaks challenge. June is particularly busy and this can create problems on the hills and with accomodation, transport, parking etc. We'd recommend avoiding June if at all possible.
No. You can take as long as you wish.
See also previous question about rules of the challenge.
If you're attempting the three peaks challenge as an individual or with a private group of friends or work colleagues then at least one of your group should carry a map and compass and know how to use them! Ideally more than one of your group should carry a map and compass in case the group becomes separated.
If you intend to use a professional guide then your guide will take care of the navigation so you won't need your own map and compass or map reading skills etc. Your guide should also have emergency equipment such as first aid kit, emergency shelter etc.
Our guides take care of route finding and group management etc. so you can concentrate on the challenge itself.
In good visibility most routes are fairly easy to follow.
In poor visibility or darkness Scafell Pike and the summit plateau of Ben Nevis provide serious navigational challenges. The routes are not so obvious and excellent navigation skills are required.
In descent the same route used for ascent can appear completely unrecognisable. The descent of all 3 mountains can cause problems - many participants take the wrong route off the summit(s). Taking the wrong route from any summit of the three peaks challenge can result in either an extremely long walk back to your vehicle or physical harm and even death.
Wasdale Mountain Rescue team incident call out log makes sober reading.
The answer to this will vary depending on the individual and your choice of route and direction.
Ben Nevis involves the greatest height gain and many prefer to climb this first, while they're still fresh. The long descent from Ben Nevis summit can be particularly challenging for some. Snowdon involves the smallest height gain but if this is the last mountain on your 3 peaks challenge, it may not feel the smallest! Scafell Pike can be a surprisingly tough experience for many with it's steep approach from Wasdale and it's unremitting rough terrain from any direction.
Psychological factors also have a bearing. Climbing Scafell Pike (or any mountain) in the dark can be a frightening experience. Climbing any of the three peaks in poor conditions will definitely put all participants out of their 'comfort zone'!
Refer to the previous question.
To book your 3 peaks challenge tel: 07584 177506 or 01228 573513