/ winter climbing , kit questions..

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AndyE9 on 30 Oct 2012
hi all

have a few questions , hope some of you could advise

how much should i spend on gloves for climbing in scotland ? i have to budget as i have a long list of kit , but want a reasonable pair which don't cost a fortune ?? any recommendations ??

for a first winter out how on nevis , how many ice screws should i consider taking ? ? would like to have ago on a few gullies ??

is it worth getting gators? and is there much diff from cheap ones to the not so cheap , have seen a few on ebay thought they might do , but was unsure ?

lastly there will be two of us , is a group shelter best or is it better to get single shelter bags.. ?

these last items i was hoping to save a little on , as i have spent a ample amount on the rest of our kit

thanks guys , you advice will really help ..
Dave Kerr - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:
> hi all
>
> have a few questions , hope some of you could advise
>
> how much should i spend on gloves for climbing in scotland ?

You can get something that will work for 20

> for a first winter out how on nevis , how many ice screws should i consider taking ? ? would like to have ago on a few gullies ??

What grade of gully? No point for routes below III. On a pure ice grade V I'd take a max of 8 more usually 6.

> is it worth getting gators?

Yes. Make sure they have a robust underfoot strap.

> lastly there will be two of us , is a group shelter best or is it better to get single shelter bags.. ?

Orange bivvi bag for a couple of quid.
conorcussell - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

Gloves are one thing which is easy to spend lots of money on, but often don't last long. I use a pair of Black Diamond Guides, which i got second hand for very little and a pair of Irwin cold weather work gloves for leads in which i will place lots of pro - http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B0001IX6N4

Amount of screws depends on routes really. On the easier snow gullies i doubt you'll place any, but on something like Tower Scoop/ Good Friday which are both grade III you will want quite a few.

I don't bother with gaiters, bought a pair but never used them.

Group shelter is better, http://www.outside.co.uk/shop/Bothy+Bag
stuart58 - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9: there is a thread on here about dickies work gloves and gloves for wintr, they ar leather and fleece lined 12 pound apair, u can get a 2 man shelter for about 20. I gave up with gaiters use over trousrs

I have some bd trubos scrws if you want
rich pyne - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:
Hi Andy,
I've sold/abused this stuff for years, so I might be a little help...

Gloves-they must stay warm when wet. If you use leashes, a big loose fitting glove over a thin, dexterous ling seemed to work alright.Leashless is something else coz you cant put the big glove back on again. I've tried Mountain Equipment Randonees (50 new) for the last 2 years,soaked them in TX Direct, and never had cold hands since.They can be a little clumsy,I had to cut the little finger straps off coz I got one caught in a krab, it was infuriating,and dangerous at the same moment.Buy them tight to start.As you wear them for a few days, the fibre pile packs down and moulds nicely to your hand.

All the other guys are right about the screws, just take some rock gear too,dont bother with anything smaller than the width of your pick though, you cant hammer them into icy cracks:-),get some pegs for the narrower stuff.Having tried a wide variety of Screws, I think the only ones worth having are BD Turbos, very quick to place and easy to rack. 2 x 22cm for belays and 4 or 5 17cm for runners should be enough.

For gaiters, stiff ones that fit close are good, and avoid having that underfoot strap held on the instep with a buckle,it might get caught on a crampon at the worse possible moment.They all get shredded the same so something like Trekmates or Rab will suffice.

Group shelters- Definately have one or the other.The plastic bag does save a life, but the Group Shelter will save more lives on the same occasion.remember that it might not be you that needs it,and it is much easier and less frightening to be "in it" together.The group shelter makes a picnic on top of the Ben much more civilised.
I would suggest buy one less screw, and invest in a Shelter with the saving:-)
D.Andrew - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to Dave Kerr: I've got a few pairs of Dickies left - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=521037&v=1#x7045365 PM me if interested.
In reply to rich pyne:
> I think the only ones worth having are BD Turbos,

Oh, come on. Even the most brand loyal BD type who ice climbs would admit that Grivel screws are just as good. Even those Petzl ones with the little spinny hangers go in OK as well, although the hanger is faffy.

AndyE9, I climbed for a couple of years most weekends in Scotland before I needed to place an ice screw. There are a few routes where they are vital, but most of those will be IVs and harder. I don't think you're likely to need more than a couple to start of with.
In reply to AndyE9: Actually, when, where and with who are you going? Are you going with a guide? Or with an experienced mate for example? If so surely they can lend you some of the stuff? If you're going with another beginner you might well be biting off more than you can chew aiming for more than, say, a grade II - in which case you probably don't need any screws but know about avalanche risk would be hugely more valuable.

Why also go to Ben Nevis if you've never winter climbed before? There are lots of other option that may well be better for all sorts of reasons. Doing any route on Ben Nevis is a big day out, there is so much more to it than just the climbing. Have you walked in crampons before for instance?
rich pyne - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Hi Toby,
I had some of the Grivel 360's. They do place well, but I felt like I was spending more time unhooking the wire handles from other gear than actually placing them.They were great for getting in that solid ice running down the corners though.
The Petzl Laser's hangar is a great idea (Keeping the runner attached on removal), your less likely to drop it.
I still love the Turbo's.
Its true about the quantity of Screws and route choice, I think starting at Grade 1 and 2 is very wise.

Any way, we digress from the chaps original question.
AndyE9 on 30 Oct 2012
Hi thanks guys ,

Might be interested in those bits of kit , any pics :)

Not done very much in the winter , reason why I don't have my full kit , but am looking to get out and do a bit .. We are going to go out and get a taste of Scottish climbing , we are going to be up there for two weeks , not going to jump in at the deep end , but intend to build our skills and get the most out of the two weeks , I am aware of the differing conditions , and have a sound understanding about avalanche safety , but again there is no substitute for experience and understand this ... Our climbing and mountaineering skills are sound and feel confident that the transition to winter will be exciting and hopefully a little challenging , , but safety first...

I have a good summer rack , so am fully stocked on nuts and hexes , I will have to shop for ice screws tho .. I have been putting our kit my daughter and I , together for a while , have our axes just ordered them , that's a story in tis self , save that for another post . Boots b3's all round , crampons g14 , hard shells , soft shells, downs , base layers, I'm a strong believer of having the right tools for the job ...

Reason we picked Nevis , well it's the biggest in the uk :) and has always been on our list and winter climbing seems like a exciting challenge..

I don't have a list of routes that I intend to do, not yet anyway , but am open to suggestions , a few good routes starting from easy .? :)

Ok..

So gators take them or leave them , not essential ?

Ice screws about 5 ?

Gloves links please guys :))

Group shelter , is best ...

Have I missed any thing. ? Thanks all
Big Lee - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

I wouldn't spend a fortune on gloves. Mountain Equipment guide gloves cost 35 and do the job for Scotland. Scottish conditions seem to destroy gloves. My last couple of pairs have lasted little more than a season and it's not like I'm buying cheap rubbish (current pair are BD Punishers). I'd go and try some on. They need to be warm but dexterous enough to place gear.
Dave Kerr - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:
> So gators take them or leave them , not essential ?
>
>

I've heard a few folks on here say they have never used gaiters. I can only assume they don't go out in deep snow when I find them to be pretty much essential.
AndyE9 on 30 Oct 2012
Ok .think I will prob go with a cheap pair of gators , as may end up snagged on crampons I did see some in a shop today for around 15 pounds ...

Another question , assuming I go with 5 screws , which sizes will be the best choice ... Lol I remember asking this about cams , a long time ago ....

Talking about cams , does anyone bother , or best to leave them at home ?

Will have to go a try on some goves , I have cheap fleece gloves and large over mitt for walk ins and out , so really just the working gloves ...
Cliff Lowther - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to Dave Kerr: Most good winter soft shell pants come with an internal gaiter...Cant remember the last time I had a real pair of gaiters on :-)
In reply to AndyE9: If you're taking your daughter (presuming she's a kid rather than a roughty toughty full sized adult who can make her own decisions) I would definitely have a two man bothy bag, it's a far superior solution to plastic bags. One is lighter than two survival bags too. I've only used mine to get out of crappy weather for lunch and checking the maps etc. but I've lent it to mates, and it has been used in much more serious situations successfully near the summit of Mt Kenya and on a first ascent in Antarctica, once for an injured climber and once for a hypothermia case!

I'd probably also carry spare mitts and a spare warm layer if I was taking one of my kids out in winter.
In reply to AndyE9: I don't think you "need" cams unless on mixed routes at IV and above. Ben Nevis is famously unhelpful rock for getting gear in, particularly on gully walls.

Again, I really doubt you need 5 screws, but if you did I'd get one shorty and the rest mediums. Having a 22 cm is nice if you think you might be making v-thread, but no one does that in Scotland.

I wear gaiters, I don't believe that Scotland is somehow much less muddy than when I used to live there. But this debate has rumbled on in recent years. I was inspired by all the "nu-skool" gaiter-haters enough to make this http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.fi/2010/12/gaiter-haters.html
AndyE9 on 30 Oct 2012
I have mountain equip combin pants , but nothing built in , tho have hard shell pants for when times get wet..


Yes jade is a youth , but unlike the ave, youth , is hard to paint a picture but she is more than capable :) we once had a few strange looks racking up at the bottom of a e2 in Wales. ( can't Remember the route) , but she cirtianly humbled a few older faces when she topped out .. And she has proven to be a valuable belay/climbing partner and saved my arse more than once :) lol . .

Clothing we are fully kitted, will most certainly have a good layering system ...:)).

alasdair19 on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9: Scottish climbing is I feel about twice as serious as uk trad with the first few trips probably the most dangerous the days are also likely to be long

I'd recommend some long steep hill walks so your first few walk ins don't fell any worse than necessary .

Not too fashionable but cheap and warm I use dachatein mitts quite a bit particularly on easy ish gullies.

I take it you've both got big warm belay jackets?!

I almost always carry cams and on the Ben 3 or4 pegs too.

Have fun
Al
Doug on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9: 5 ice screws is far more than you need. Like Toby, I rarely placed a screw on a grade II or III over a period of many years - with the exception of warthogs placed in turf (I climbed quite a bit in the Southern Highlands where they are very useful). Rather than ice screws, get a small number of well chosen pegs - I find blades & leepers most useful.

And don't fret too much over gloves, many of us managed for years with the likes of Dachsteins, but do consider having several pairs, from thin to mittens - even the best can drop a glove
CurlyStevo - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:
You don't need to spend lots on gloves for scotland. The best system is cheapish work gloves for climbing and cheapish mits for belays. I find purpose made climbing gloves are jsut not hard wearing enough for the money they cost.

This thread should help

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=521930&v=1#x7037249

For mits the summit inferno represent good value
CurlyStevo - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:
Bivi bag wise I have 3 options :
- Nothing, yes quite often I don't bother. Depends on the route, how remote it is, the likely weather etc
- A very light foil bag, this will be fine as a back up most the time
- Blizzard bag, too big and heavy to warrent carrying all the time, but worthwhile for more remote days out.
GridNorth - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9: I always carry several pairs of gloves, typically 3. Can you navigate? Getting off the Ben can be tricky and there have been several fatal accidents caused by people getting the descent wrong.

John
jonnie3430 - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

My tuppence worth! Take it all with a pinch of salt, each person has their own methods, best knowing them then making your own choice.
>
> have a few questions , hope some of you could advise
>
> how much should i spend on gloves for climbing in scotland ? i have to budget as i have a long list of kit , but want a reasonable pair which don't cost a fortune ?? any recommendations ??

I carry 4 pairs, one light fleecy thing (1 decathlon,) for the walk in as I find i need something and my hands are sweaty, so don't want to wear another. Two climbing pairs, at the moment I recommend: http://www.dortechdirect.co.uk/window-accessories/Thermal_Gloves.html if they have run out, try ebay. I used them last week and they were great. (more expensive pairs wear out quickly to be worth the price, these ones have a higher cuff than the dickies, so win.) Two pairs as when sweaty on lead, gloves get wet, then cold, so just swap gloves (about 4 pitches.) And a pair of belay mitts cos climbing gloves aren't warm enough for standing around in (take em off, stick them in your baselayer to keep warm, put the mitts on.) Dachsteins, are good for this, but you have mitts already...
>
> for a first winter out how on nevis , how many ice screws should i consider taking ? ? would like to have ago on a few gullies ??
>
I wouldn't start on Nevis, somewhere like the Northern Corries is a far friendlier place to move slow on, learn to mixed climb etc... then go to the ben for the big routes when you are up to speed.

> is it worth getting gators? and is there much diff from cheap ones to the not so cheap , have seen a few on ebay thought they might do , but was unsure ?

Up to you though if you don't have an internal gaiter I'd say use some, I use cheap ones, but I wallow in snow quite a lot.
>
> lastly there will be two of us , is a group shelter best or is it better to get single shelter bags.. ?

Group shelter without a doubt. 25 from go outdoors.
>
> thanks guys , you advice will really help ..

When are you up? It sounds like you'd both benefit from climbing for a day with someone that has been out before. Post on here if you know the dates and see if you can bribe someone with beer, etc...
rossn - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9: Andy if I was you I would get a pair of gloves and a pair of Dachstien mitts. The gloves for climbing and the mitts for getting off the hill when your gloves are soaked or for emergencies. The mitts will bring back to life frozen hands in severe conditions. As for gloves they are the holy grail getting something that is warm, reasonably water proof and dexterous is very difficult. Be careful with gloves that have a loose lining, if you pull them off damp hands the inside can end up outside in, then you can get them on again. But I would agree with all the other comments. Mountain Equipment guide gloves are pretty good at the lower grades where placing of gear etc isnt quite so intricate or precarious.

RN
jonnie3430 - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

> Another question , assuming I go with 5 screws , which sizes will be the best choice ... Lol I remember asking this about cams , a long time ago ....
I would say 2x 22cm and 3 16cm (If you do get on an ice route, 1 for each belay with a 16cm and one for the route, hopefully you get some rock gear... If you go for mixed climbs instead, then 1x 22cm and 2x 16cm would be my recommendation.) Also, when everyone has been recommending Black Diamond Turbo screws, they actually meant Black Diamond Express screws and I agree that they are the best.

> Talking about cams , does anyone bother , or best to leave them at home ?
>
I leave them and use hexes.

GridNorth - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9: Should gave mentioned I also carry a pair of mitts which I sometimes pop on over my gloves on belays or on their own if my hands are really cold. Mitts ar warmer than gloves.
edinburgh_man on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to rich pyne:

Really?!

BD Turbos are vry good but that's a ridiculous statement.

Recent Grivel screws are very good (if not better). Also due to the shape and angle of the thread on Grivel screws they are less likely to shatter / pull a screw through the ice than BDs.
GridNorth - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to rosmat: I prefer the BD Turbos for the simple reason that they rack on the harness much better.
Only a hill - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:
In terms of bivi bags, it's worth bearing in mind the mantra "if you take emergency kit, you will use it."

Not everyone agrees, but I've usually found that taking the minimum amount of kit possible means a more pleasurable day out. On solo missions I try to use a 10l backpack. Of course this does reduce your safety margin.
iksander on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to rich pyne:

>I had some of the Grivel 360's. They do place well, but I felt like I was spending more time unhooking the wire handles from other gear than actually placing them.

360s racked in a panpipe are unbeatable IMHO
Gazlynn - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

Sorry if stating the obvious and you probably have them but Helmets are essential in the winter.

cheers

Gaz
In reply to Only a hill:

> In terms of bivi bags, it's worth bearing in mind the mantra "if you take emergency kit, you will use it."

The mantra is from alpine climbing and is about bivvy gear, i.e. sack, sleeping bag, stove, pad. If your version was a mantra, it would be a pretty crap one because I, as I'm sure hundreds of people just like me, started off taking a survival bag on every day out and now carry a bothy bag and have never used either of them!

jonnie3430 - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to rosmat) BD Turbos

BD Expresses!! (the one with the handle,) not Turbos (the one without the handle!)
edinburgh_man on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to jonnie3430:

Yeah that's what I meant "BD Turbo Express".

BD TEs are really good, but to say they are the only ones worth considering is absurd.

The latest Grivels have definate advantages over them, it just depends what your preference is.
GridNorth - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to jonnie3430: Yes I meant the Turbo Express.
AndyE9 on 31 Oct 2012
Hi ,

ok an update , bought cheap gators at a big well know out door store for 12 a pair , they seem ok and not expensive , i also bought some glove i went for some mountain equipment ones , seem ok and were 40 ..

bought a group shelter , was cheap enough , and i think that it might come in handy for lunch times too ..

not ordered any ice screws but have seen a few good deals

.. yes we have all our winter kit , both of us have hard shells coat and pants , soft shells coat and pants , base layers .. fleeces I have a rab generator jacket and my daughter has the womans equivalent in purple :/

oh , and helmets i would class these as an essential were ever we climb ..

I bought some cheap snow googles for 10 a pair at decathlon

so far all is going will , lol and so has my bank balance . :)
Euge - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9: If you are doing easy stuff... you won't need screws.
Maybe for the belay but that is about it...
If you want screws and on easy stuff then you don't need to buy expensive screws... Unless you can afford them.

Buy normal screws now and you can still use them on belays later...

My favourite piece of gear is a bulldog (ice hook)... highly recommended and would also recommend a Dead-man for protecting those cornices (as these do exist on easy routes)

Just my 2p
Euge
matejn - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to iksander:
1+ for Grivel 360. Pan pipes? Great as they are, but 80 eur. That is crazy.
CurlyStevo - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to matejn:
I own grivel 360 and BD turbo express, the turbo express are by far the better screws. They bite more easily and rack better.
iksander on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to matejn:

> 80 eur. That is crazy.

Agree, I was lucky to get one for less than half that
ads.ukclimbing.com
matejn - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
I have climbed for three seasons with BD TE only. Last year I have tried Grivel screws and must say I like them much more than BD. They are difficult to rack, but I found a way around this. I use mixture of 360, Helix and Speedy.
CurlyStevo - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to matejn:
I find the longer pointier teeth on the BD screws help them bite. Perhaps your BD screws got blunt have your tried sharpening them (Not in the grivel machine tho!).
matejn - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
I agree. Bd do bite much better. I just prefer Grivel screws because of the way I can put a pressure on the center of the tube when starting. With Bd I always put pressure on the handle. And that works like a lever.
AndyE9 on 31 Oct 2012
Hi all

i have just bought some ice screws , got them from ems , 5 screws and a bag :) at a reasonable price

am set to go ,

went with BD express .. :) will be delivered tomorrow ..

I am sure all what is left to get are some leashes for our axes :) then i'm good to go .. thanks everyone for the advice much appreciated
GridNorth - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

> I am sure all what is left to get are some leashes for our axes :) then i'm good to go .. thanks everyone for the advice much appreciated

Que the leashed/leashless debate.

John
waiting for snow - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

Andy,

There seems to be a lot of discussion on here about how many screws you might need. I feel the main problem is that is wholey depends on the route. Many climbers will have a rack, then pick the bits they want for that day/route. You may end up being a mixed master and end up mainly on rock, in which case you merely need your rock rack and some wartdogs and maybe bulldogs. If you end up on pure ice routes then screws start coming into their own.

Another thread on this forum is about what grades people solo. You may find (as I did) that in your first season on easy routes you don't actually need protection as you're mainly on snow plods up easy gullies. Most people like I did still put in pro as a learning tool for the future.

Regarding venue, by all means aim for The Ben as the climax of the trip, but it may be worth building up to it. A couple of years back my week long winter holiday was written off when my climbing partner was destroyed after a hard 11 hour day on The Ben on the first day; it meant he wasn't up to the following trips. He'd done a triathalon earlier that year, so it wasn't that he was unfit. Maybe consider spending the first week at somewhere like the Norries which are a honey pot with everything from the easiest grade I up. They're a short walk-in meaning you can concentrate on the climbing, with an easy and safer route back. Also being so popular there's bound to be another party near by just in case? Then after building your skills amd confidence in the Norries and maybe Meggie, go for that big day on The Ben? If you think back to when you learnt to climb Trad, no doubt you started cragging before proceeding to big mountain days on multi pitch routes, do the same for winter?

Just my thoughts from a few lessons I've learnt from?
AndyE9 on 31 Oct 2012
Hi

yes that does sound like good advice , our thinking was much along those lines.. and if the conditions are not in , then a trip to the indoor ice wall :)

can you recommend some good guide books ??
Alex Croall - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

Taking gators will save you putting crampon point through your trousers so I would wear them.. they don't differ to much!
kevinroet - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006Z84Y7Q/ref=asc_df_B006Z84Y7Q10382126/?tag=googlecouk06-21&creativ...

have a look at these gloves, leather work gloves, with fur padding on the inside. All you need to do is have a few pairs, and wax the leather. Brilliant gloves
waiting for snow - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

Andy, If you haven't already seen it, have a look at this thread:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=525727

It might give you a helpful bit of advice on an equipment and clothing system for your daughter? The last thing you'd want to do is put her off on her first trip due to getting cold or too heavy boots?
AndyE9 on 02 Nov 2012
Hi

thanks , will take a little look , tho I think that we are sorted in the clothing department :)
Simon Wells - on 03 Nov 2012
In reply to AndyE9:

I have two pair of these in size 10:

http://shop.snowshepherd.co.uk/epages/es122028.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/es122028/Products/ssvenit...

Soaked in Nickwax and worn for a short ski break this year.

20 for both, 2.50 P & P. No damage, no wear but I am a size 9 :-(

Also got these super warm beasts, again proofed with nickwax, worn for about an hour. To hot for the weather and I should have got mediums :-(

http://shop.snowshepherd.co.uk/epages/es122028.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/es122028/Products/SSkinco...

20 plus 2.50 P & P.

I think I'll buy size 8 in the ventix and medium in the other :-)
Ian Black - on 03 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo: I only use BD and Grivel helix. The helix bite that bit quicker and feel really natural to get started with gloves on. Both are very good though but the helix just edge the BDs...

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