Category Archives: Snow

Lessons from Mont Blanc: How Europe’s highest peak taught me to deal with change.

One of the biggest challenges we face in life is dealing with change. It’s the same in the mountains.

To avoid accidents you need to see the world clearly, see the changes happening and then change your behaviour. When you are a novice just starting out, there is so much new information to interpret that it is hard to fully understand each situation.

Snow conditions and weather represent the two biggest elements of change in the mountains. In order to survive as an Alpinist, you need to gain enough experience to clearly interpret these.

The Better Part of Valour

At 6am the storm was still raging and it was almost 10am by the time we got going. We decided to travel light as we had so little of the good weather window left. Straight away it was a test of teamwork and motivation: taking it in turns to break trail through deep snow, navigating around crevasses and trying to stay warm. Periodically, I took compass bearings just in case the visibility dropped; Simon placed waymarks in his GPS.

Six reasons why winter mountaineering in Scotland is so hard-core!

I recently bumped into a French alpinist in Glencoe who explained that 10 top French Alpinists had come to Scotland in winter to train for a trip to the greater ranges. My own mountaineering career began in Scotland 30 years ago and, despite having climbed all over the world, it remains a very special place for me.
So what makes a day out in Scotland in winter so challenging?

Survival tips for mountaineers #3 – Top 10 tips for reducing avalanche risk, part II.

So you have done your research at home and now you are in the mountains. What next?

1 ‘The Mountain has no idea that you are an expert!’
I try and remember this phrase. Even if you have been climbing for years, or are an experienced leader, or have been to a particular mountain many times before, remain vigilant. A good leader will use intuition and observation before setting out and will continuously re-assess en route: always try and view things with fresh eyes.

Survival tips for Mountaineers & skiers #2 – snow, avalanches & reducing risk

It is mid-December and in many mountains of the northern hemisphere snow has arrived. In the Alps, the avalanche hazard is so high that last week the Mont Blanc Tunnel was closed. Already, in the UK plenty of people have […]