/ NEW ARTICLE: A Short Walk Up Wildspitze with Robert Jasper

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UKC Articles - on 03 Sep 2009
[wildspitze_7, 3 kb]It's not all sitting in front of a computer at UKC, or being on the phone, or visiting outdoor companies, sometimes I actually get out. It's not been a bad year: Mallorca, Spain, Skye, Arran, the Peak, Pembroke, the Lakes, Yorkshire, North Wales, Norfolk...yes Norfolk. A highlight was the Oetztal Alps in Austria and ascent of Wildspitze. Here are some photographs from that trip.

Have you got a summer adventure to share with us in photographs? A week in the Peak, a California roadtrip, an alpine ascent, a weekend at Reiff. Putting words together can be hard work but photos are easy, and we all enjoy looking at images, even better if you caption them.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=1981

In reply to UKC Articles: Did you get chance to ask Robert more about his side of "the Great Norwegian Bolt Controversy of 2009". Nice pics. Had you promised to make coffee for everyone or do you just enjoy taking huge gas cylinders around with you? :-)
Trangia - on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good photos. They brought back good memories of my trip up it nearly half a century ago. The only differences are that the Beslauer Huette looks really upmarket with table clothes and flowers! Then it was basic, just plain timber tables and benches, and no finesse!

I was also staggered by the number of people on the route. We climbed it in August back then and there was only one other party of 3 on it. The summit cross looks unchanged

One of the reasons why I now avoid the Alps and prefer to explore and climb in lessor known mountain areas.
Michael Ryan - on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to TobyA:

I did share coffee with several and I avoided asking Robert about "the Great Norwegian Bolt Controversy of 2009" but of course it did cross my mind ; o )

M
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Was his wife Daniella there as well? She's an amazing climber in her own right and very nice. We shared a campsite with them in Lofoten ages ago and she was very friendly.
mike bike on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:
This brings back memories, 1968 I was 16 and we had a school trip by train to the Oetztal we climbed the Wildspitze, Similaun, Ramolkogel, Weisskugel and others. The cost was £40 all in and we lived of Bolton bread,tuna and jam for the first week and schwartbrot, tuna and jam the second week. Those were the days when teachers who thought they could do it just selected suitable kids and did it.
Part of the selection was traversing the whole of the A'Chir ridge on Arran, no ropes in the party. Strangely one of the accompanying teachers tried to talk me out of rockclimbing as it was too dangerous (a fellow schoolboy had broken his back at Wilton Quarries earlier
mike bike on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:
PS if that sounds a tad dangerous, just check out the death roping on the descent photo
jon on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to mike bike:

I imagine you're referring to the short distance between people. Whilst it does appear a tad short, it is standard practice to shorten the distance with each additional person on the rope. It appears there are quite a few on the ropes I assume you are referring to. The distance on Micks rope doesn't ring any alarm bells, however.
robinsi197 - on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to jon:
We met a family of Slovenians wandering about unroped up there last year. Tried to convince them it wasn't a marvellous idea what with the crevasses but they went off anyhow. Is that sort of thing more common in the Eastern Alps?
fordie77 - on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

I haven't done much alpine stuff, but I did do the Wildspitze in 1996 (in July). I'm completely astounded at how little snow there is there now, although I suppose it's later in the summer. That has really brough home global warming for me.
bullwinkle - on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to jon:

It's surprising to me that there doesn't appear to be a single ice axe amongst the party; certainly not that I can see on any section where a slip could be dangerous. Is this really a responsible article from one of the chief bods of ukc, a website where a lot of relatively novice climbers and mountaineers seek advice and look for common practices?
In reply to bullwinkle:
> ...seek advice and look for common practices?

I think anyone who would seeks advice on common alpine practice from a video about making coffee whilst wearing stylish eye wear rather than, say, a book on alpinism is probably so stupid that removing themselves from the gene pool would be no bad thing.

jon on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to bullwinkle:

It looks to me the only place a slip could happen there is on the dry bit of ice. Even if you actually believe self arrest works, it won't on ice. The best tools for the job are trekking poles. As a belay for crevasse rescue, obviously an ice axe is the tool you'd need, but frankly with that many people there's no need for one. If all those folks got hold of the rope and walked backwards the victim would fly out like a cork.
flaneur - on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to TobyA:

> I think anyone who would seeks advice on common alpine practice from a video about selling overpriced sunglasses and a stove...

Corrected that for you.

Mildly interesting until the advertorials kicked in. A bit like eating your meusli and munching a piece of grit. Don't you guys learn? http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=340871
Michael Ryan - on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to flaneur:
> (In reply to TobyA)
>
>Don't you guys learn?

Yes we have. We have learnt how to run a successful media that enables us to bring a wealth of content delivered each day direct to you: News, articles, forums, gear, a place to share photos, a huge crag database, logbooks used by 7,978 climbers, regular competitions

I could list all the content. But have a look around. Make sure you list everything where the line between editorial and adverts is not crossed.

Readership is growing because we do such a great job, helped by all who visit UKC.

bullwinkle - on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to jon:

Why are they roped up to start with? Presumably in case someone falls into a crevasse or in the hope that a slip (which could easily happen anywhere, not just on the dry bit of ice) could be prevented from turning into a fall. In either case an ice axe would come in handy/be fairly essential. I'm not saying that with an ice axe you would be able to prevent a fall, but I'd much rather be carrying an axe for this purpose than a pole in most of the situations photographed. I'd also imagine the section down the 'semi exposed snow ridge' would be much safer/secure with an axe in hand ...

Self arrest does work (difficult/impossible on neve or glacier ice) as I and I'm sure many others can confirm. Why do walking axes exist ... ?

As for the dryish bit of glacier, is there any point in being roped up at all on this?
jon on 04 Sep 2009
In reply to bullwinkle:

The only place I can see that an axe would be useful is as you say on the ridge. I don't know where you mean when you say dryish bit of glacier. That's a wet glacier with a bare bit of ice showing and roping up is essential. From the look of the footsteps in the fresh snow, you could probably throw yourself down the slope and not actually manage to slide at all. I stopped teaching ice axe arrest in 1987 after... well let's not go into that! Suffice to say that if the national centres used the one day a week they devote to the glorious art of self arrest and taught people how to walk on crampons, and gave them poles, they wouldn't fall over in the first place.
In reply to flaneur:

> Mildly interesting until the advertorials kicked in.

Kicks in? The first paragraph says: "A highlight was the Oetztal Alps in Austria on a trip organised by Adidas Eyewear to promote their new alpine sunglasses/goggles, the Terrex Pro. A big thanks to Ben Ashlin and Martine Melki-Neumüller at Adidas Eyewear for the invite."

What did you think you were going get? Adidas gets to show it sunglasses a bit, Mick gets to take some pretty pics of an area that I for one know nothing about. You don't need to read it but the 'deal' between advert and content is pretty bleedin' obvious. Anyone who doesn't want to accept that deal can read something else.
In reply to jon:
> I stopped teaching ice axe arrest in 1987 after... well let's not go into that! Suffice to say that if the national centres used the one day a week they devote to the glorious art of self arrest and taught people how to walk on crampons, and gave them poles, they wouldn't fall over in the first place.

This seems quite a radical position Jon - can you give us more on your reasoning? I can think of one incident very clearly in my mountaineering career where knowing how to ice axe brake I think saved me from injury or worse, so I'm glad I had been taught how to do it then. But clearly you have thought about this a lot.

jon on 05 Sep 2009
In reply to TobyA:

I'd rather not give more details. I'm adamant about my position on self arrest though. Sure it's saved a few people. But it can't be relied on - no matter how much you practice. I've seen people teetering around on steep ground - holding their axes in the self arrest position - how stupid is that. Also, and everyone will have seen this, people staggering around the hills with an axe swinging uselessly in one hand 'cos it doesn't reach the ground/snow. A pair - or one - of poles give you stability so you won't stagger... If you really want, you can self arrest using a pole.
jon on 05 Sep 2009
In reply to jon:

I should add, that if I were to slip I wouldn't just sit back and let myself slide to my death... I'd try anything! However the emphasis accorded to self arrest in GB I find frankly misplaced.
robinsi197 - on 05 Sep 2009
In reply to jon:
FWIW, the route consisted of (when we did it last year) some dry glacier, followed by a gully (icy with slushy snow on top), thankfully avoided by easy and equipped rocks on the left (the OP gives the impression they went up the gully, presumably different snow conditions) to the Mitterkarjoch. Then easy walking over a wet glacier, with smallish crevasses concealed with softish snow, followed by an easy ridge walk. Probably PD-. We carried axes for crevasse fall arrest. Given the snow conditions, I'm not sure how much use the axes would have been, or whether just hitting the deck ASAP would have stopped a crevasse fall (2 on a knotted rope). We didn't do the crossing to the N summit so can't really comment on that.
In reply to jon:
> However the emphasis accorded to self arrest in GB I find frankly misplaced.

Could it be that UK winter provides snow conditions where it is more likely to work than alpine summer? I haven't really done that much in the European Alps so it's a guess - but in Scotland I was always rather pleased to know how to arrest - and that's even though since 1992 I've been a user of poles, even at a time when people still used to make "going skiing mate?" jokes as you walked past!
jon on 05 Sep 2009
In reply to TobyA:

No, I'm referring precisely to an incident in winter in Scotland, not the Alps.
Wrongfoot on 05 Sep 2009 - client-86-24-125-240.nrth.adsl.virgin.net
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Seriously Mick I think you have a flawed perspective. For starter a growing readership isn't the issue, it's how much it could have grown if you were doing things better.

A load of your mountain trips are work related and involve gear testing and product releases etc. That's great for you and nothing for any of us to criticise. Perhaps as a result you fail to distinguish between a recreational day out and a business one, for you the line is blurred? For the rest of us there is no such confusion and so we are sensitive to what appears to be a conflict in loyalties, we don't work in that grey area for us it's black and white.

I expect advertisements to be somewhat manipulative of my time and accept that you have two customers the advertiser and the reader. You provide a service to both and this service can be skewed in favour of either party. I expect articles to be less manipulative of my time and more informative I feel that I am the primary customer in this situation and often choose to read articles in preference to advertisement features, I then resent an article which follows the form of an advert. In the media this is avoided by the inclusion of "advertisement features" where the nature of the article is transparent.

This isn't black and white, for example your recent excellent articles with DMM investigating carabiner failure and design etc. are brilliant an while DMM do gain exposure they bring so much expertise to the articles and provide such detail that for me it outweighs any commercial gain. When I read those articles my thoughts are not "didn't DMM get a lot of exposure and take a lot of my time" they are "what a lot of information, entertainment and detail I was given there". Ths fits the percieved contract in my mind when I choose to read an article other than an advert. Credit where it's due that stuff has been a high point in your site content. Your recent Enviro-Article by Es was also quite good - although I disagree with his methodology and rationale I felt the value of the questions he raised far outweighed any benefit through exposure - clearly article stuff rather than advertisement.

So why does this "Photo Essay" fail for me?

1. Initial perception - I expected a "Photo Essay" to be more of an article than an advert feature and was disappointed to find that it didn't deliver as an article at all.

2. Why didn't it deliver?
a) Content - Put simply there is practically none. In 3 paragraphs I learn the height location and range of Wildspitze, that it is accessible by cable car has a hut on it and that a lot of journalists visited recently on a product release. That you like coffee from an unusual tin and that a stove you bought boiled water at altitude. I think it's fair to say that this isn't entertainment or information that simply doesn't suit my tastes and I doubt there's a significant audience for this.
b) Objectivity - You start the article, after a brief meaningless introduction involving a list of places that you have been with no context or detail, with a thanks to "Ben Ashlin and Martine Melki-Neumüller at Adidas Eyewear for the invite" which is on one level merely polite, however having this as an opener is a mistake. Immediately your reader feels hijacked (unwillingly) into being part of your public gratitude and in this case have no reason to share it - unlike the situation above where they are also grateful to DMM for sharing the detail and expertise in the subsequent article. Put it as a footnote and or thank them directly (I expect you did).
c) Style - the remainder of your Photo Essay is really little more than a blog post with some average photo's (when compared with the best of the user submitted content on here). I am very selective with which blogs I read as are most people, millions post blogs nowadays most are uninteresting to all but their close friends. Please don't be offended by this it's a fine blog post as blog posts go, I just expect more from your front end pages.

3. Advertisement - You (quite obviously) mention the product associated wiith this launch trip, but don't review it in anyway or even provide details of it. Even if I accepted this as a advert it doesn't deliver in this respect - I am no more informed as to whether I want to buy the Terrax glasses or not by the end of the piece. Otherwise this is simply product name placement to little effect.

So this piece is neither one thing or another and pretty valueless. That not a capital crime, it's just that there's so much valueless copy that bombards our lives so we resent additional stuff and of course you've queered the pitch with the (mostly) preceeding quality on this site.

I hope future photo essayists will consider the value of their submission to their readers and that the UKC editors will screen content to keep up the quality. Or perhaps your vision for what a Photo Essay should be will differ from mine and I can simply select other parts of your site to my preference.

You do often seem over defensive and also seem to take criticism of your editorial content very poorly. As a commercial media provider your readers opinion is more important than yours, you need them. Remember that it's said that for every person who bothers to complain there are numerous persons who feel similarly but don't bother. I'm not complaining yet I'm merely criticising - subtle difference.

Maybe you'll take something useful from this maybe not? Thanks for at least reading.



Michael Ryan - on 05 Sep 2009
In reply to Wrongfoot:

Just enjoy the pictures and if you don't move on - maybe the Pregnant essay. I was quite open about this trip - read my words.

There's plenty of great content at UKC.

Yes read your words - thanks.

Squid to cook.

We have another similar photo essay up soon - could you submit one?

Cheers,

Mick
Wrongfoot on 05 Sep 2009 - client-86-24-125-240.nrth.adsl.virgin.net
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
> Just enjoy the pictures and if you don't move on - maybe the Pregnant essay.

Hadn't read that yet - that's much more like it! :oD

> We have another similar photo essay up soon - could you submit one?

Perhaps, however I am even more self critical and might find this difficult.

andy kirkpatrick - on 09 Sep 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Needed more shagging in it, and stories about gaffer tape (both between consenting adults).
ads.ukclimbing.com
Michael Ryan - on 09 Sep 2009
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Bad boy.

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