Three Peaks Challenge: How to climb the UK's 3 highest peaks in under 24 hours

Last weekend Matt took on the Three Peaks Challenge - to climb the three highest mountains in the UK in under 24 hours. Here he provides some tips on how to complete the challenge yourself, particularly focusing on the nutrition and kit required. Hope you enjoy it - if you have any specific questions on the challenge, direct message us on Instagram @fatrunlondon.

OBJECTIVE

 

To climb the three highest mountains in the UK in less than 24 hours

 

RESULTS

 

Ben Nevis Elevation: 1350m Distance: 17km

Est. Time: 7-8Hrs

Our Time: 4Hrs 38Mins

Scafell Pike Elevation: 978m Distance: 8.7km

Est. Time: 5Hrs

Our Time: 2Hrs 52Mins

 

 

Snowdonia Elevation: 1085m Distance: 10km

Est. Time: 5Hrs

Our Time: 2Hrs 27Mins

GEAR

 

Shoes - North Face Ultra Fastpack Mid GT x boots and North Face Ultra Cardiac shoe

Trousers and shorts - North Face Venture ½ zip, North Face speed light trousers, North Face Kilowatt shorts

Jacket - North Face Pursuit Jacket

Water Bottle - Camelbak water bottle 750ml x 2 for taking up the mountain + one team member carried an additional 2 litres.

HYDRATION

I weigh 90kg and aimed for 2 litres on each mountain to stay hydrated.

If you want to be really accurate with your rehydration after each mountain climb, try this out (it involves bringing scales with you in the car as you go):

One simple way to ensure you get adequate rehydration is to weigh in 120% of water you've lost. So, if I weigh 90kg before mountain 1 and finished mountain 1 @ 89kg, I would rehydrate with 1.2 litres.

Rehydration is especially important for this challenge compared to say a half marathon or 10K because we're climbing over 24 hours, effectively doing multiple events, so we need solid rehydration to be as prepared as possible for climbs 2 and 3. Obviously in a half marathon, you can go home and relax after that single effort without having to get up and do it again a few hours later.


NUTRITION

Tip: You must take into account transporting the food as it is hard to keep things cold and space is key variable with bags and bodies in the transport vehicle.

Morning & Lunchtime Before - chose more low GI options such as oats (flapjacks and porridge) as well as sweet potato in with my lunch.

Evening Before - I chose white rice in with a chilli and granola with berries before bed higher GI

On the Mountain - This is person dependent. Practice what works best with your body to avoid gut stress as well as fullness and make sure you can function on what you choose both mentally and physically.

I used kendal mint cake, jelly babies and milk chocolate - a combo I have used before and I know works for me. Some like gels, others rice pudding. Hone your process, more on this in my next blog.

Between Mountains - more real food. Here are some good options:

Nuts - brazil & cashew

Fruit - bananas, blueberries, oranges

Sweet potato cooked

Almond butter

Butternut squash and coconut soup

Dark Chocolate

Coconut oil and coffee

Chicken breasts, hummus and cooked beetroot

SUMMARY

"The entire 23 hours and 45 minutes required team-work and hats off to three fantastic friends, epic effort chaps.
The Dyke brothers Tom ‘the General’ leading from the front and Lewis ‘captain transport’ as well as Julius de mattos formed a solid support system throughout the journey.
Ben Nevis seemed smooth enough to start with we had been in the car all day driving up and biting at the bit to climb. We started at 6:10pm and fresh legs however began to waver as we set to yomp up the mountain in around 2 and a half hours. Reaching the summit the cold and tiredness started to settle in however we sought to refuel and begin the descent.
At this point it is important to mention if you are taking on the challenge I would recommend you work on descending hills, something I did not put onus on and certainly had to struggle through some knee pain which ultimately slowed us down overall.
Scafell was a bleary eyed scramble at five in the morning, with only 2 miles up we relished the upward challenge however the gradient of the mountain certainly brought a new challenge. Often using hands and feet to scarper up it was a taxing climb.
We met slight adversity in the form of heavy traffic between Scafell and Snowdon leaving us an ascent and descent time of under 2 hours and 40 minutes just to make sure we can within the 24 hour time limit.
We ventured up the pigs trail and at this point the legs were intensely tired. This is where team moral has to stay high in order to push each other on. We chose the minors trail for the descent. It is a sharp drop initially however feet meet level ground and we ran the final 3 miles in order to make it within the time cap.
Certainly the best physical challenge I have done in a group to date. Spanning the country hustling through breathtaking scenery and attacking a physical challenge with some awesome mates."

Matt - Performance Nutritionist & Co Founder @fatrunlondon