/ GUEST EDITORIAL: Scottish Winter Climbing - Where Next?

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UKC Articles - on 01 Mar 2012
Andy Turner on the Second ascent of The Hurting, 3 kbIn this guest editorial article, top British climber Dave MacLeod talks about his motivations for Scottish winter climbing, ethics, conditions and what he sees as the future of the sport, both for him, and for others.

"I've always been pretty bad at mixed climbing as I am at most disciplines. But in winter I struggle particularly and I must admit I wonder every time I walk in on some dark spooky morning if I'll still remember how to do it at all..."

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4489

Andy Moles - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
"I've always been pretty bad at mixed climbing as I am at most disciplines."

Hmm...
AmbliKai - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to Andy Moles: He's a modest old chap that Dave...
Pete Main - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: I started this thread on the winter climbing forum as i believe that it will open up a disscussion. Not for a second have i tried to highjack your piece. Great topic
franksnb - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: im a massive fan dave, but i think the title here is misleading and it feels like half an article.

what is the future of scottish winter?
-are there any hard lines left?
-dry tooling?
-bolts on mountain mixed routes?
-ethics?

maybe Scottish climbing doesn't have to keep up with the jones', is it a distinct experience and that is that.

you're one of the best all rounder climbers in Britain, so saying your rubbish at climbing detracts from the authority of the article.

no offence intended.
AJM - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to franksnb:

Combination of modesty and an acceptance of the fact that as an all-rounder you rarely do excel at any of the individual disciplines...?
Michael Gordon - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to franksnb:

I get the impression it's meant to be a short piece from Dave about his own experience with winter climbing and where he sees that leading; nothing more. I agree the title is misleading though.
Michael Gordon - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to franksnb)
>
> Combination of modesty and an acceptance of the fact that as an all-rounder you rarely do excel at any of the individual disciplines...?

unless you're Dave MacLeod?
Dave MacLeod - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to franksnb:

I wonder if you missed my point, which was that in thinking about the future of a discipline like winter climbing is a bit of fruitless exercise because it exists in the minds of a few people. Thus it's only worth focusing on what you might do yourself.

There is no authority assumed, other than my own experience. What I was trying to point out was that despite not being good at the actual climbing itself I (and others) could get up routes up to a certain standard by just being determined. It's quite an important point! If you read just the bit about me saying I wasn't very good at certain climbing disciplines you might have missed the punchline in the following section.
AJM - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to Michael Gordon:

By my punterish standards obviously he excels at everything, but I guess when you get to that level you have a very different peer group against which to compare yourself, so when "excelling" is about onsighting M12 or 8c+ or working 9b or whatever the real cutting edge is then its maybe more explicable that all rounders could be rubbish at the individual disciplines. I don't honestly know what level people are headpointing on the continent in M grades and how it compares that big roof hes done recently or to the translated Scottish equivalent here.
Roy on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to Dave MacLeod:

Castles in the Sky, it seems like dry tooling just for the sake of it.

Ethics ! Where ? I can't see any.
Simon Caldwell - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to Roy:
"just for the sake of it"

what other reason is there for climbing anything?
Roy on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to Toreador:

Yes dry tooling, just for the sake of it.

If that roof was the crux of a long "in condition" winter climb and had to be negotiated by dry tooling / aiding etc, then fine.
But to set out with the intent of dry tooling a crag, no thatís poor
Eric9Points - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to Roy:

Can you be a bit more specific in your criticism. I can't see anything wrong with that route at all.

Just because it doesn't neatly fit into a pigeon hole doesn't mean to say there's anything wrong wit it.

franksnb - on 01 Mar 2012
In reply to Dave MacLeod: if that was your point I agree.

any opinion that a professional climber chooses to put in the public domain is going to have authority imo.

I did read it all!

Taurig - on 02 Mar 2012
In reply to Roy:
> (In reply to Toreador)

> If that roof was the crux of a long "in condition" winter climb and had to be negotiated by dry tooling / aiding etc, then fine.
> But to set out with the intent of dry tooling a crag, no thatís poor

Bit more info here, as has been posted before: http://mtnequipment.blogspot.com/2012/02/daves-latest-testpiecea-belayers-view.html


Robert Durran - on 02 Mar 2012
In reply to franksnb:
> (In reply to Dave MacLeod) > any opinion that a professional climber chooses to put in the public domain is going to have authority imo.

What has beiong aprofessional climber got to do with authority? Just because someone makes a living out of climbing does not make their opinion any more valid than anybody else's. If anything, I would always treat opinions of "professional" (including guides and instructors) with extra scepticism in case they are tainted by commercial interests. (No personal criticism of Dave or his views implied - in fact I like what he has to say.)
Michael Gordon - on 03 Mar 2012
In reply to Roy:
> (In reply to Toreador)
> But to set out with the intent of dry tooling a crag, no thatís poor

Pretty sure the crag wasn't drytooled; just the roof (which one would expect).
Pagan - on 03 Mar 2012
In reply to Roy:

Give it a rest, it's getting very, very, very dull.

By your own admission in another thread you're not even a climber - the subtleties of Scottish ethics are clearly way beyond your feeble grasp. You'd do much better to do a bit of reading (including some of those links posted higher up), learn a bit more, maybe actually do some climbing and come back with an informed viewpoint.
Tom F Harding on 03 Mar 2012
In reply to Dave MacLeod:

Hi Dave

I think alot of the critasims about castles stems from the photos of the route published. In your blog you describe a full winter route yet only two snow/ice free photos were put on the blog. I'm sure if we could see the rest of the route people would understand that snow cant fall up on the short roof section!



Brendan - on 04 Mar 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:


I think Dave has made a strong case for climbing this route in the condition it was in and for the climbing of super steep winter routes that rarely/never come into 'classic' condition.

My concern is that, if this ethic is adopted, it will be used to justify 'fools with tools' climbing at low-lying crags. If a steep route no longer has to be white to be climbed with axes and crampons, some people might see any steep route as fair game.

I understand this is not Dave's intention but I'm afraid he could have opened a can of worms with this ascent.

Michael Gordon - on 04 Mar 2012
In reply to Brendan:

Hopefully folk will realise that:

a) it's on a mountain.

b) it's a 6m horizontal roof. You'd have to be a pretty highly skilled 'fool' to try and replicate this sort of thing at a low level crag.
Dave MacLeod - on 05 Mar 2012
In reply to Roy:

> If that roof was the crux of a long "in condition" winter climb and had to be negotiated by dry tooling / aiding etc, then fine.
> But to set out with the intent of dry tooling a crag, no thatís poor

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=193408

Here is the topo of the route you mean, on the day it was climbed. Does that tell you what you already ought to know (that big horizontal roofs tend to stay dry and clear of snow even when the rest of the cliff gets snowy)?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Brendan - on 06 Mar 2012
In reply to Dave MacLeod:

Would it be possible for UKC to add that photo to the main article? I think it puts Dave's comments in context.

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