/ NEW ARTICLE: Ski Touring for Beginners

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UKC Articles - on 05 Jan 2012
Early morning on a Haute Route variation, 3 kbBritish Mountain Guide Jim Blyth looks at what climbers need to do to access the magic of ski touring.

Including suggestions of a few top spots in the European Alps...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4342

Joe Miller - on 05 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: Jim, can this type of skiing be done in just normal winter boots? That might open up a whole world to me if it can!
In reply to Joe Miller:

I don't think Jim has a UKC account, but the short answer to your question above is 'no'. People may use skis purely to access winter climbs, but I think it's fair to say that in the Alps you would generally see people climbing in touring boots, rather than skiing in mountain boots. You have to be a pretty good skier to ski off piste in control in mountain boots.

You best bet might be to hire some kit before taking the plunge.
Martin W on 05 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: Typo in the "The Mountaineer" section: "You can't ski and their lies the challenge."
SultanofMull - on 05 Jan 2012
In reply to Martin W:

I think he is right as in 'you can't ski and THERE lies the challenge' not their !!

Aye Dan
Martin W on 06 Jan 2012
In reply to Dan Goodwin - Cairngorm AG: The article has been amended since I posted. I quoted (cut and pasted, in fact) the original wording, which as you say was incorrect.
Ben Sharp - on 06 Jan 2012
In reply to Martin W:
> (In reply to UKC Articles) Typo in the "The Mountaineer" section: "You can't ski and their lies the challenge."

Why is 'there' grammatically incorrect? 'There' doesn't have to indicate a physical place or position, it also can refer to a previously raised issue. In this case, the issue being not being able to ski. Having said that, if you were looking to be a true linguistic Natzi then 'therein' would be the usual word used in that phrase.

Cheers for the article.

Ben
Doug on 06 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: I guess they are generated automatically but the list of 'Related UKC Articles and Gear Reviews:' is a little strange, odd that previous some previous & related articles are not linked (eg http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=176 )

Martin W on 06 Jan 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
> (In reply to Martin W)
> [...]
>
> Why is 'there' grammatically incorrect?

It isn't! To repeat what I told Dan: my posting quoted the original wording, highlighting the mistake. The article was amended after I posted, correcting "their" to "there".

Clearer now?
CathS - on 06 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thanks for this great article Jim. I found it really enjoyable and inspiring to read. There's some good advice in there, and it's given me a much better idea of how to progress my ski-ing to get to touring standard, plus changed my mind about where I might go for my first touring trip (hopefully next year!).

I hope you're ignoring all the petty gripes about the grammar... Don't people have anything better to do?
earlsdonwhu - on 06 Jan 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: What is a "Natzi"?
In reply to CathS:
> ... Don't people have anything better to do?

It's not the writer's fault, rather the editor's, but mistakes in articles do detract from the pleasure of reading them for me.

On the article, I totally accept the argument that the more lessons you have the better skier you'll be, but I'd just add that it's not the only way to do things. I'm a pretty lousy skier, I think I've paid for two hours of lessons ever, the rest was just skiing with mates, but I still have had some of my best mountain days ever whilst ski touring. Doing a course or getting a guide is probably the most sensible way to start touring, but its not the only way.
Erstwhile on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to CathS:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> I hope you're ignoring all the petty gripes about the grammar... Don't people have anything better to do?

Spelling not grammar, actually, and yes, considering the average on this forum folk should keep quiet and enjoy a free article.

I thought it was quite good. The perspective is rather "BMG" but that's no surprise and maybe appropriate for the audience.

It fails to note that the place where ski touring is probably more popular than anywhere else in the world is Innsbruck in Austria and that this area, extending across the Alps into northern (German speaking) Italy, is more or less perfect for touring, especially for the valley based approach that the article (rightly) proposes for learning (and pleasure) purposes.

Perhaps the author also fails to warn that ski touring at anything above baby level is a very demanding sport requiring years of technical learning and considerable physical stamina, not to mention that it involves serious levels of risk (typically much more than folk realize). Around my area (Dolomites), for example, very few people die on icefalls while ski touring deaths are more or less weekly.




In reply to Erstwhile:
> >
> Perhaps the author also fails to warn that ski touring at anything above baby level is a very demanding sport requiring years of technical learning and considerable physical stamina

Hmmmm....not 100% sure....I know someone who did the Haute Route with only a week of skiing under his belt....admittedly though with plenty of alpine experience.

Here is his article:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=176

In reply to nickinscottishmountains: I can see the point about relative dangers (skiing tends to be best in the most dangerous avalanche terrain), but agree with you Nick. I think you can be a really good skier then start touring, or you can be a hillwalker/climber/mountaineer etc. and go from there into skiing. You'll fall over more obviously, but it doesn't mean it isn't fun.

Also from an alpine perspective ski mountaineering is an extension of downhill skiing, whilst in the nordic region its an extension of cross country or ski touring. Many Finns do their first "ski mountaineering" doing Halti, the highest mountain in the country using what they used in the army - long wooden skis with tar on the base and "Nokia boots", basically wellingtons with a felt inner and little duck bill to hold the binding.
Doug on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to TobyA: Myself & friends treated it as an extension of XC skiing in Scotland - we quickly found that most of the time the snow was on the hill tops & not in the valleys. Our skiing skills were limited to put it mildly and I suspect at first we probably fell a couple of times for each successful turn :-) (none of us had ever skied on the downhill pistes, we quickly discovered that we needed to if we were ever going to learn how to turn)

And although today ski mountaineering might be viewed as an extension of downhill skiing, historically it was a way of getting about the mountains in winter/spring
OwenM - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to Erstwhile: Whilst I have to agree with you about the ski touring in the eastern Alps, I've been going there since the 1980's. I really think the bit about "years of technical learning" is very over the top. If your a summer alpinest and a good piste skier then the steep up to ski touring isn't that great.

As to the risks, it's very hard to say without numbers, is ski mountaineering any worse than other forms of mountaineering? Clearly any accidents is to many but what is the proportion of accidents to ski tourers?
Erstwhile on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to OwenM:
> (In reply to Erstwhile) I really think the bit about "years of technical learning" is very over the top. If your a summer alpinest and a good piste skier then the steep up to ski touring isn't that great.

As I said "anything above baby level" - so yes, it is easy enough to ski badly over simple terrain. But to ski steep Alpine terrain well definitely takes years of learning, regardless of previous piste or mountaineering experience. Absolutely no question about that!

> As to the risks, it's very hard to say without numbers, is ski mountaineering any worse than other forms of mountaineering? Clearly any accidents is to many but what is the proportion of accidents to ski tourers?

Indeed, there are a lot of ski tourers and less climbers. I don't think touring is more dangerous than climbing - I just think that it is more dangerous than people imagine.

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