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HAVE YOU BEEN DREAMING OF SOME BIG LONG ROUTES THIS SUMMER IN THE ALPS? WELL PERHAPS YOU CAN FIND THE ADVENTURE YOU'RE AFTER WITHOUT GETTING ON THE PLANE. FOUR OF THE UK'S MOST EXPERIENCED ALPINISTS GIVE YOU SOME HOME GROWN ALTERNATIVES FOR A BRITISH ALPINE EXPERIENCE.
Alan is a British Mountain Guide with over 20 seasons in the Alps, climbs in the Himalaya, Alaska, New Zealand and South America as well as his beloved Scotland. His website www.westcoast-mountainguides.co.uk is the home of his guiding company as well as regularly updated conditions reports.
Fancy getting a request to pen a few words about training for the Alps, but not to include any snowy stuff! Now, as far as I can make out the Alps is not yet completely devoid of snow so any chance of snow climbing in Britain must be included in any training strategy.
Having got that off of my chest, let's try to put things into context. In the Alps, unlike in Britain it is normal to stay away from bad weather. That's not to say you need to reduce the importance of navigation, just that it comes into play far less often. Route choice, fitness and success on a short Alpine trip are key to an enjoyable time.
Most first time alpinists will head for snowy routes with some rock scrambling at around 3000-4000m in altitude. Don't go out to the Alps with a monster tick list and fire yourself up the first 4000m route in the book. Take time to acclimatise and ease into some simple climbs that you will enjoy and succeed on. Nothing worse than failure to spoil a good holiday.
Mountain INFO is now exclusively available on-line via the Climb Magazine website FREE!! This internationally acclaimed resource has been added to our extensive online 'Archives' as a fully downloadable pdf. You will be able to view and print off Mountain INFO at the touch of a button, 24/7 via the Climb website at www.climbmagazine.com
For over 35 years Mountain INFO has been the essential place to research Alpinism, big walls and mountaineering expeditions throughout the world. An intrinsic part of Climb Magazine, Mountain INFO is edited by the well known and respected mountaineer, Lindsay Griffin, who uses his worldwide contacts, built up over many years - to bring first-class information and quality images to you. Now, to enable you to access this massive resource more easily we are making it freely available online. Search for places of interest to plan your next expedition and keep yourself up-to-date with what is happening in the world of mountaineering.
Log on and access every Mountain INFO published in Climb Magazine since March 2005. As with all of our 'Archives', we will continue to add to this section, eventually including the early days of High Mountain Sports.
Karin Magog first pulled onto the stunning limestone of Yorkshire in 1991. Since then she has
returned again and again with her partner Steve Crowe to climb many of the area's toughest
climbs from sport routes like Huecool (F8b) at the gothic Gordale to her flash of the E7
Deathwish at the beautiful Blue Scar. Her love affair with the Dales culminated with her first
ascent of Stolen (F8a+/8b) at Kilnsey, one of the hardest routes established by a British
woman. Here she chooses her favourite routes from the Dales.
Even if you can't remember it from the first time around, you have probably seen the replays of Dad's Army, about the Second World War Home Guard on the classic TV comedy channels. If you have, you may recall Private Godfrey, the one who talked about his sister Dolly and was always asking permission to go to the toilet. He was the most useless of the squad and was therefore also the one who carried the first aid kit satchel. Such is the image we sometimes have about first aid.
At the other extreme of first aid stereotypes are the strapping, wholesome and slightly scary types who often emerge from the crowd at times of crisis and start bossing people about saying, Stand back, I'm a first aider. In the mountains things are different. Most of us (including me) are not doctors, nurses or paramedics, but just climbers trying to deal with a problem as best we can. When things go wrong, we are usually a part of it, we are often tired, scared and maybe in real danger. We are often therefore nearly a casualty too.
The contents of your first aid kit and the skill and imagination you have in applying first aid can make the difference between a story to tell and a disaster.
The trouble is that by definition a first aid kit is a solution to a problem, the exact nature of which you can only guess. This inevitably makes people anxious. Does someone else have some vital component that will make the difference in a crisis? There is always an I'll show you mine if you show me yours feeling about first aid kits.
So here are some thoughts on them. You will inevitably both agree with some of it and disagree with other bits. You can pick over the contents of one particular version of my own kit at the end. Even the definitive text book Medicine for Mountaineering (see later) has a remark about its own
suggestions for the contents of first aid kits, it says,
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