Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Preparing for winter

Some of you may have twigged that in a couple of weeks I am returning the Nepal to lead the Adventure Peak's Ama Dablam Expedition.

For most people, this type of Expedition requires a big build up to allow normal life to continue with minimum disturbance.  In typical fashion, I have 3 weeks to get my life in order.

This is normally not an issue but considering that I am coming up to the busiest time of the year i.e. winter and have not only got to organise everything Di Gilbert Mountaineering but I always have to organise Skimo Scotland which continues to grow each year.  Knowing that I will be returning to Scotland when winter could be in full early season condition, I am having to get everything organised now.

I have been asked once again to be one of the MCofS speakers for part of their Winter Lecture Series and as part of this I had to send off a small bio for the website.  I included the following:

"Di's number of outdoor boots far outweighs the number of stilettos she has and has far more rucksacks than handbags."

So since I had to find these, to ensure that they still fitted my feet (*phew*), I thought that I would start to winterise my kit.

Really, how many rucksacks do I need for winter?  By the looks of it, 5.

I know it's silly but every rucksack has its own job.

To explain:  

Deuter Guide Lite 28 SL - the old style with no extension to the hood.  My smallest, lightest and most compact rucksack which is perfect for autumn type walking and personal winter walking (i.e. I don't have to worry about taking all the kit that I need to carry when working).

Deuter Guide Lite 28+ SL - with extension to the hood.  I can just squeeze all my winter climbing equipment in this (except crampons) so it is perfect for winter mountaineering and climbing.

Deuter Guide 30+ SL - much heavier fabric than the Lite rucksacks so perfect to stand up to the abuse that winter throws at us.  I can easily get all my winter climbing equipment in this little puppy and all my group equipment.

Deuter Freerider Pro SL - its pink, what more can I say?   Seriously, my ski touring rucksack when I need to access things at different stages in the day depending on what I'm doing - there's loads of different compartments.

Deuter Guide 40+ SL - perfect sack when away for multi day adventures and I need to carry the kitchen sink.

Don't get me started on ski boots:

or mountaineering and climbing boots:

So, I really do have more rucksacks than handbags and more boots than stilettos.

Very big note to self:  Miss Gilbert, looking at the boots second in from the left.  Absolutely horrified at the state of these boots, must have been a quality last day of the season for these in the bog.  Next time, remember to clean!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Glencoe rain

This weekend the Mountaineering Council of Scotland put on a Student Scrambling course for 12 keen beans.

If you had seen the weather forecast for Saturday you would have probably preferred to stay inside and do inside jobs, but to our amazement the Weather Gods looked favourably down on us.

The first sign that there was going to be trouble was the thunder.

Quickly followed by Callum: "Di, is that cloud?"

Di:  "No, that's rain".  It was as if somebody had stuck a huge sheet of white paper next to the Buachaille.

There was no gentle build up to the rain.  It was just Glencoe Rain.

Heather & Max can be smug, since they actually made it back to the hut before the rain started.  We never.

Sunday was worse and was an inside day - some you win, some you lose.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hot Rock

I am still adjusting to the single figure temperatures - seriously, how can you go from 28.5 degrees in the morning to 1 degree in the evening?

I suppose it can be related to winter in many ways.  In winter we spend all our time waiting for the snow to arrive and then when it does arrive, we spend hours scraping it off the buttresses.  In summer, we spend all our time waiting for the sun, only to complain that it is too hot and seek out the shade.

The great thing about going on holiday as a pair, is that you get lots of climbing - but loads of bum photo shots.  Nearly all our photos are of headless climbers or arses :(

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Lakes 3000ers

I have discovered that there is a smell worse than wet dog.

That smell comes from 2 females living in a van for 3 days in a very wet Lake District with only 1 set of hill kit each and no way to dry stuff.

I'm surprised we are still alive to be honest.