Friday 4 November 2022

Scottish Winter Climbs West


Don’t you love it? 

The bleary eyed start?

The sweaty walk in, pack tugging (should have done more Autumn hill walking)?

The first sight of the crag, is it “in” (and where are those 2 ahead of us going)?

The first faff, gloves (damn them), pointy things (ouch).

The sweet thunk of a well bedded axe vibrating like a twanged old school ruler.

The scrape of points on rock (i’m sure Tom Patey said knees were “fine”- maybe check the next SMC publication to find out!!).

Hit it harder and maybe it’ll hold. And i wonder when the next one will be coming?

Should have taken the trouble to pull my hood up, do the zip up, close my glove wrists. Spindrift. 

Please no hot aches today. Please!

But how do you choose where to go? Aye, we all trawl social media to see who has done what but what’s you’re starting point? Your tick-list? Where are your must visit venues this season?

Hold the page on that list. If you didn’t get your copy when it came out you NEED this guidebook. 

Scottish Winter Climbs West is step forwards in SMC paper guidebook production. Maps, locations, parking, descriptions, timings, aspects and overviews make this guidebook so much more user friendly than any UK winter guidebook I’ve owned before. 

And the pictures. Full disclosure, i’ve a few in there. They feel rubbish compared to some of them though. I can taste the delight and feel the grin, even though i can’t see Neil Kerr’s face, on the full page shot of him finding the Chasm in winter conditions. Hamish Frost’s double page spread of Greg Boswell on Un Poco Loco makes me want to duck like the arch is about to collapse on me. I want to scrape the crud away on Left Twin for Andy Moles and Ali Rose is having way too much fun on Isis. 

And how utterly outrageous (Hamish Frost’s shot again) is Greg’s position on Lost Arrow.

Its  not just the action shots. The layout pictures will make life a lot easier. And there are gaps on those crags for the adventurous…

Motivation? This book’s dripping with it whether you climb II or X.

But for the far-sighted and cunning its also a really canny tool. There should be smaller queues on Dorsal Arete this winter. The honey pots a bit less sticky and attractive. Read the crag heights… check the aspects… there is an awful lot to go at at your grade you’ve never heard of or considered before. 

West is best!!