Everything You Need To Know About Winter Mountaineering


All the photos in this post were taken by Chris on the winter scrambling day with our mentoring trial group.

As it’s winter season (well, in theory), we were thinking of doing a topical blog post for this week on some aspect of winter mountaineering. And then we had a better idea - why not revisit all the great posts we’ve already published?

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Top Tips For A Safe Fun Winter Season

It comes down to three things: people, equipment, and environment. You can control the first two, but not the third, but with good planning you can make sure you stay safe and have fun. Read more

How To Kit Yourself Out For Winter In The Mountains

It’s the beginning of October and the days are getting shorter, so not long now until the first wintry weather in the mountains. It’s the perfect time to dust off your winter kit, make sure it is fit for purpose and maybe treat yourself to something new and shiny. But – and we’ve talked about this before – the vast array of kit to choose from can be bewildering, so here’s a few tips. Read more

What’s The Next Best Thing To A Perfect Pair Of Winter Mountaineering Gloves?

Gloves come in all shapes, sizes, and designs. You can get them free when you fill up your car, and you can spend hundreds of pounds on them, but years of experience have shown me that there is no such thing as a perfect pair of winter mountaineering gloves. Whatever kind of gloves you wear, and however waterproof they claim to be, your hands will get wet if you are scrambling or climbing in snow. Read more

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Top Tips For Successful Snow-Holing

“Any fool can be uncomfortable.” This is undoubtedly true in a snow-hole. Winter in the Cairngorms can see temperatures of around -10ºC at 1100m, but in reality temperatures at this height are more like -5ºC and above. That’s still pretty chilly, but snow is a great insulator. It is so easy to have an uncomfortable damp night, but with a bit of organisation and care you can be safe and snug and really enjoy the adventure. Here are my top tips for successful snow-holing. Read more

Do You Recognise The 10 Early Warning Signs Of Hypothermia?

I’m happy to say that in all the years I have been playing and working outdoors, I have never had hypothermia. I have been to some extremely cold places, including Antarctica and the highest mountains in the European Alps. I have also spent a lot of time in extremely wet places, Scotland and the Lake District included. I love being warm and comfortable in the mountains in wild weather. So how have I avoided becoming dangerously cold? Read more

Top Tips For Choosing An Ice Axe

When I first started winter climbing, I bought technical ice axes because I aspired to climbing hard routes, and my budget was limited. Decide where your aspirations lie, and buy your tools accordingly. There are three main areas of use for ice axes: winter walking/ski touring/occasional use, mountaineering, and technical climbing. Read more

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Crampon Review and Comparison

If you are looking for a general mountaineering crampon, then these three models are the best on the market. They are all well-designed, and tried and tested, so all my comments need to be seen as a comparison between good products. As a mountain guide of 20+ years experience I have used many different models of crampon, and seen the big effect that small differences can make. On the surface all three are very similar: same kind of binding system, all have anti-balling (or anti-bott) systems to prevent snow build-up underneath, all have clip-on heel and cup-type front. Read more

Crampon Review & Comparison: Petzl Vasak Lever Lock, old vs new

As winter draws nearer, it's time to give your winter gear a check, and maybe invest in some new kit. In December 2014 I did a review and comparison of three general mountaineering crampons: Black Diamond Serac Clip, Petzl Vasak Lever Lock, and Grivel G12 New Matic. At the time of writing, my favourite of the three was the Petzl Vasak Lever Lock. Since then, Petzl have released a new model, so what are the changes, and are they for the better? Read more

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