/ NEW ARTICLE: Winter Climbing For The Middle Aged Married Parent

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UKC Articles - on 14 Feb 2012
In my Element, 4 kbIn this lighthearted article, Huw Davies gives us a few hard earned tips about juggling normal life with a winter climbing obsession...

"If you are 21 and think you are shortly going to set the winter climbing scene ablaze with your flaming ice axes then keep this article in a safe place for the next fifteen years..."

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4451

MarkM - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Nice article, which can be usefully extrapolated to a variety of other pusuits.

Cheers
Mark
ClimberEd - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Fab stuff. Thanks
mikedelderfield - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: This is me, though I am clinging on to the idea that I am 21, rather than 40 and middle aged.

Great article!
ice.solo - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

cool article. nice to read something about winter climbing not totally focussed on the bloody gear!

a lot there any climber could use.
Scarab9 - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

liked that. still somewhat a yoof (28) though with commitments but also no car, so a lot of the same approaches are needed to get anything done. Also a lot of generally wise things we try to do to make sure things go smoothly.
franksnb - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: you should have opened with :greg boswell look away now!

excellent article
DreadyCraig - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Fantastic! At 32, married, mortgage and still a pretty novice climber this makes winter climbing seem attainable still :-)
In reply to UKC Articles: All good sound advice nicely put over. The 'day hit' thing is very true after many trips of miserable camping and little climbing! If you live far away, find a hostel or similar.

Unless it's a crag I've never heard of, I think it should be Aonoch Beag?
jas wood - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: i follow this system throughout the winter :o) remember a monster 28 hour driving/climbing frenzy finishing with a near coma type sleep.
d508934 - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to TobyA:

problem is, as soon as you need a hostel or somewhere to stay (i.e. too far away to day trip) then you have to book a few weeks in advance and are less flexible to conditions etc. I spent the weekend at Glen Nevis YHA after coming up from London, conditions on the days imemdiately before and after we were there were great, but the 2 days we were around it was warm and foggy. cest le vie...
Robert Durran - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Prophylactic painkillers - glad I'm not the only one.

Day hit, dossing in car is often a good plan; pick the better day in a weekend.
Moving to Scotland was perhaps the most obvious piece of advice omitted.
In reply to TobyA: Aonach Toby; I expected Mor from you.
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:
> Aonach Toby; I expected Mor from you.

:-) (we really need a facebook-like 'like' button!)
mark turnbull - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
yea good article ,the bit about the stove is so true as i burnt my finger the last time i was sleeping in the van ,
Caralynh - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article, and very relevant to us at the moment! Used to be a case of go off any weekend we wanted to, and never mind conditions, we'll find something to do. Now life has got in the way, there's no time for wasted trips.
I find a campervan has been a godsend. Can make last minute decisions, plus go away for one night without having to organise camping stuff or pre booking a hostel. The van is permanently kitted with ropes, rack, clothing, food, water and heating gas.
Also true to look at nearer destinations. If the weather isn't looking great by Thurs night, no point in thinking about Scotland for the weekend, but in recent years, Lakes/Wales/Peak has been good.

Still can't actually think when life got in the way though, just seems to have happened :(
colina - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
had similar probs with my seat ,on the advice of a bike shop i bought myself a one piece lycra thingy with a built in padding ,couple that with some chamois cream which you smear round your crack n sac and you may find that will help .mind you i look a bugger wearing it (picture big daddy riding a bike) but does seem to work for me .
Etak - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: Nice one huw it's all true,,,,,,
Exile - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thanks for feedback folks. Toby, sorry for spellings!
ianstennett - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to TobyA: Really? That's a new spelling for me and every guide book out there I'm guessing. Exactly what it was supposed to be, a light hearted and enjoyable article, even for highland locals!
Stuart Wood - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to Exile:

Brilliant Huw.... really liked that. Wish I could call you pussywhipped having to earn brownie points for trips away, but I'm in the same boat. Makes you cherish the time you have for climbing and keeps you focused, so not all bad, and then you get to go home to the loved ones.

Woody
mikehike on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Spot on article
Sums me up nicely.
I've got 3 weeks to get fit.

mh
Stuart the postie - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

I am 39, married, 2 boys.

I would have what I call a 'seasonal marriage', Sundays are ok, mid week always a fall out in the making!

You can NEVER know enough partners.
I'm still having to learn about taking a mixed rack eg failed on P2 of a new line, cos didn't have hooks, pegs (quite a sore point).
Deffinately 2 routes is the way to go, depending on time, location, weather, when you can next expect to be out (ref weather!!!!!!!!).

Stuart
mart rich - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Fabulous article and inspiring

I have three young boys (youngest still 1) and needless to say this has slightly affected my time for climbing (if not my ambitions). Glad to hear there is still life after little uns.

Funnily enough I was just asking myself earlier how old they would need to be before taking them trekking and climbing in the Atlas mountains.....

Thanks
Martin
Heike - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Interesting article, and a few points made me really laugh, but some things I don't agree with. This seems to assume that your partner is not into climbing. What about those who share the same passion...much more things come into play there and the brownie system you suggest does not entirely work!! It's like a 'me today and you tomorrow kind of a system, particularly considering the fickle weather and conditions in winter'.

The other thing is the point about going to popular places. I love the wild places of Scotland and I'd rather go somewhere more wild then scratching round in the Northern Corries again.

Also, two days in a row can be so much more satisfying a weekend then just the one day and can be very good for your sanity once in a while.

I have climbed with a few pals who also have kids and family and non-climbing spouses and can be a bit irritating if they already talk about getting back home on the drive up. It's all about getting the route done as quickly as possible and head down the road which sometimes can slightly ruin the whole experience a bit.

It's a tricky balancing act, but so worth, particularly if you can find willing babysitter once in a while (hmmm, we had one once this season...)

Agree with Carolyn on the campervan thing, excellent for a climbing family and also agree with stuart: You can't have enough climbing partners!!!
Mark Reeves - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: Liked it a lot. I have no wife, no kids but found it very funny as most of the people I climb with do fit into you target market.

I have in the past phoned up a friends wife to ask if he can come climbing, or fallen on my sword and babysat the kids so he could come away on holiday with me!

Happy climbing Huw.
Exile - on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to Heike:

It's not a blue print just a tounge in cheek take on things I've learnt. My lovely wife is a keen mountain biker so we do both have our time out while also spending time together with our lads as a family.

Made us both laugh that having had the article sinse last November Jack chose Valentines day to put it up!
Rick Graham on 14 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Nice one Huw
Better than headache pills, just make sure you rehydrate and use some electrolyte.
Use a light sleeping bag and sleep in your climbing clothes ( with a good pillow).
tony wood - on 15 Feb 2012
yep seriously in brownie point dept. A week away and all the snow melts. Spending the rest of the week on rock in the lakes and Lancashire. Always take your stickies, atleast you can get some climbing in
wilkesley - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great stuff, really enjoyed reading it. When I was young (many years ago), we used to stop off and bivvy at the station waiting room at the Bridge of Orchy. It had an electric heater that that was operated by one of the
those timer plunger switches that gave you 15 mins or so of heat. A quick bit of tape and it lasted all night.

Now I see someone has bought it and converted it into a bunk house!
CurlyStevo - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
"In my experience if time is short running, and particularly cycling, are better than climbing wall visits. (I haven't climbed a grade V yet that demanded I was able to do a pull up, but the ability to keep going hour on hour has been very useful.) Try to build this into your routine as this avoids spending brownie points on training; commutes to work, after the kids have gone to bed and early in the morning work for me. If you find yourself out cycling at 8.30pm on a Saturday night you are: Sad and, probably on the right lines..."

Pretty much in line with the advise I've given on here before for people aiming to climb up to grade IV. Main focus should be on cardio and legs not upper body.
CurlyStevo - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
stairs training is my personal preference, find the tallest building you can with accessibile stairs and build up to being able to do a munro. It's worth doing sets of 3: 1 stair at a time, 2 stairs at a time, 3 stairs at a time. Holding the rails or pushing on your thighs is cheating ;) This coupled with a cadio workout a couple of other times per week works for me. Last season I managed 2 Ben Nevis days on the trot and then a northern Corries day after a rest day, something I've never managed when I was living in Scotland, Ben Nevis days always used to trash me!
Alex Slipchuk on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: nice article. The big thing with winter climbing for me is once I've planned for the weekend, should the condition change, being able to change plans with the missus so that i don't rule out the following weekend. And always arrive home earlier then expected.
ChrisJD on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

I've found that you need to use up Brownie points pretty quickly as they have a finite shelf life.

Black marks, however, last a lifetime......
Ally Gillies - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Great article and thoroughly inspired with this can do attitude.
Simmy - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Top stuff, made me smile. Articles like this is what I like about this site.

MadProfessor - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to ChrisJD:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> I've found that you need to use up Brownie points pretty quickly as they have a finite shelf life.
>
> Black marks, however, last a lifetime......

Brownie points are a flexible currency, I find, but you're right that they don;t last for ever, unlike black marks.....
MadProfessor - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
Good to hear someone else is into indoor Munro bagging - although just lately for me it's been more like half a Corbett or less ;-(
However I find I can sometimes even get a bit of work done during the work-out, although there are potential hazards such as missing a step & falling down the staircase on account of being engrossed in some Minutes (sad, I know....)
MadProfessor - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to Exile:
Excellent piece. Amusing but captures the essence. Been there, done that etc etc. Thanks very much.
Exile - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

If anybody is interested I was in Millets today buying one of our lads waterfroofs and noticed that their four section poles are now 25 for the pair. Think they're called eurohike compacts.

Again, thanks for the feedback.
Heike - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to Exile:
> (In reply to Heike)
>
> It's not a blue print just a tounge in cheek take on things I've learnt. My lovely wife is a keen mountain biker so we do both have our time out while also spending time together with our lads as a family.
>
> Made us both laugh that having had the article sinse last November Jack chose Valentines day to put it up!



Yes, how appropriate!!! I always used to love going to the climbing wall on Valentines day...it's empty...all these people getting brownie points with the wifes/girlfriends/boyfriends etc

Cheers again, was a nice article!
Exile - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to Heike:

Yep, it was quite quiet last night...
Stuart the postie - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to Heike:

My wife thinks I'm 'different' cos I want to go away climbing, instead of spending my day off with family.

I think you're 'different' cos most burds don't climb.

Stuart
x
keith leonard - on 15 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: Great article, picked up some new tips which is always nice.
b_colwill - on 16 Feb 2012
"In my experience if time is short running, and particularly cycling, are better than climbing wall visits."

I was about to ask what this means, but as I was typing I figured it out. D'oh.
pec on 17 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: I've found that the best solution to earning brownie points from the wife is to find a wife who also ice climbs. That way you actually gain brownie points by going ice climbing!
Admittedly kids could get in the way of this plan (I've steered clear of them myself) but then that's what grandparents are for isn't it?
davidoldfart - on 17 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: As a man of 52 with four kids aged 8 - 20, I would say the most important lesson of all is to climb with people (unlike, to judge from her comments here, Heike) who are either in a similar position, or who really understand the limitations it places on someone who still wants to get out and get things done and preserve domestic harmony, especially if one's life partner is not a climber. It's easy to be focused solely on the route when you are are single, or at least childless. It isn't possible if you do have this other stuff going on as well. This applies to rock, of course, just as much as it does to winter climbing.

I will never forget getting to the top of Smith's Route and realising I had about three hours to get to Glasgow Airport in order to catch my cheapo, non-flexible flight back to London. Thank you Tom Prentice for being so agreeable about running all the way down the mountain, de-kitting instantly and then getting me there in one piece.
Babika - on 17 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Great article - really loved it. So, so true.

As a sometime ice climbing single Mum I will resort to anything to get a bit of winter activity. (well almost anything)

And my brownie points have to be earned with the kids!!
nniff - on 17 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article, although I dream of living 4 hours drive from Fort William - it took 11 hours to get back home yesterday.

Living as I do on the wrong side of London, Easyjet is your friend and has convenient early evening up and late evening flights back. If the weather is rubbish, you have to decide whether you value your brownie points more than your ticket and, if you do stay at home, are brownie points transferable to another long weekend, especially if your shorter notice ticket will be more expensive?

Other truths about brownie points are that on the day of departure, something will go wrong - part of the house will fall down, wife will get flu,pipes will freeze etc and the brownie point calculation will fail.


This past week was done by car though and a bonus day out was gained by taking mountain bikes in the vent of lack of weather or strength to flog up the Ben one more time.

Vitamin I (ibuprofen) is your friend - (400mg morning and evening)
JamesM - on 20 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Super Article.

This is me all over. Im off the Crianlarich week after next for 7 days, the missus is giving me a little grief but as you say, brownie points are the way to go!
JamieAyres on 03 Mar 2012
In reply to colina:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
> had similar probs with my seat ,on the advice of a bike shop i bought myself a one piece lycra thingy with a built in padding ,couple that with some chamois cream which you smear round your crack n sac and you may find that will help .mind you i look a bugger wearing it (picture big daddy riding a bike) but does seem to work for me .


Shall I make the brownie point joke or will someone else?

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