/ Winter only
But it's probably easier to learn technical rope work in summer, so you might want to do some rock climbing even if it is just to practice for winter. And you never know, you might enjoy doing long easier summer routes in their own right anyway.
Others will disagree, but I reckon once you get into more technical grades (say tech 4 plus) an understanding of rock-climbing movement will cross over into winter and your progression will be slower without.
Obviously you can learn all the ropework you need on winter ground, but again this could slow the progression down, as it often isn't the easiest environment for receptive learning! Not rock-climbing means you'll tie a lot fewer knots, etc over the course of the year, this is bound to hold you back at least a bit.
i dont climb much in summer any more. the thing with concentrating it all in winter is (if you mean true 'winter' climbing as in ice and alpine mixed etc) is that its a long time between drinks.
half of winter skills is the same as summer stuff, so if you squeeze all that into 4 months the learning curve is slow - particularly for the aspects of winter climbing that you can do at other times.
much of any climbing is sheer volume/time doing it. so unless you have good access to winter locations its hard to 'get your hours up'. tho one way may be to do an intensive course at the start of each winter season, or head to norway/wherever.
a couple of multi-pitch weekends thru the summer might be a nicer way of keeping on top of things.
But like Jamie say's, a lot of the skills are transferable from summer to winter. Maybe worth searching out a local dry tooling venue and working on technique there while top roping ?
I completely agree. Although I think you benefit in terms of both movement skills and technical skills.
Over the years I've climbed with various people who were essentially Winter only climbers and they have tended to struggle with varying aspects compared with stronger rock climbers.
I also know of several keen Scottish winter climbers who ended up deciding that the only way for them to improve as much as they wanted to was for them to take up rock climbing for the remainder of the year (in addition to winter specific training).
If your aspirations are limited to classic mountaineering routes (e.g. Aonach Eagach) and perhaps the occasional pure ice route or gully climb in good conditions, it might not make a great deal of difference but a modicum of rock climbing will help massively in making you a well-rounded climber and mountaineer.
I'm not fussed about climbing outside winter as a rule, though hopefully I'll see some more rockclimbing this year. I haven't had a problem with knots/hitches, however I think my placing of protection would improve with practice outwith winter (for example I don't seem very good at selecting the best size nut/hex first time by eyeball) and your initial point about tech 4 plus is just about where I am now - on a good day. Maybe that lack of rockclimbing will show up for me about now, but so far so good - I do think the leap from easy IV to V looks pretty big and I don't feel at all ready for that yet. I'm not pushing the grades and my main target is to have a good climb so I may be on IV for a while - I can live with that as there is plenty to do.
I improved my rock-climbing last summer and noticed a knock-on effect on my winter climbing. The technique of movement is central to climbing, and I've never understood why people would only want to do it one way and during one season!
> I've never understood why people would only want to do it one way and during one season!
Easy to explain, it's harder to winter climb outside winter.
You misunderstand. I like to climb on things, regardless of what those things are or what time of year it is...
No, I didn't misunderstand. To veer off topic a bit do you think winter climbing brings anything to summer climbing proficiency and would you understand people who had no desire at all to climb in winter?
I'm not heading anywhere with this, just interested given what you've said about only climbing in one season and your own improvement after raising your rock climbing last year as you mention above.
I find at the start of the rock season I tend to be massively bold but weak as a kitten. I also struggle to relearn the art of using smears and friction, and that I cant just kick my feet into things!
I also found that a couple of years ago when I did a lot of sea-cliff climbing down south the winter mentality seemed to help - it's another instance of climbing in a fundamentally insecure and dynamic environment where making the moves is only part of the game..
> I find at the start of the rock season I tend to be massively bold but weak as a kitten. I also struggle to relearn the art of using smears and friction, and that I cant just kick my feet into things!
Yes that makes sense to me - more so the footwork and boldness rather than the weakness, although I can see where that may come in.
I fully get that, thanks for the 'insecure and dynamic environment' phrase, I hadn't quite thought of it like that before!
Funnily while being a capable scrambler before taking up winter climbing I have since felt the need for a rope when scrambling where I would not have before - a loss of boldness if you like through being accustomed to being roped up in winter.
That mirrors my path exactly. I do enjoy what little rock climbing I've done but there's something about winter I can't quite put my finger on that makes it my preference. I did sit in the sun above a route once and thought I could do more of that, we'll see.
Winter would be harder for me if I didn't do any Summer (or indoor) climbing.
End of story.
You sound exactly like I did 25 years ago. Walking and scrambling led to winter walking, then a couple of winter skills courses. I had no interest in rock climbing, but did a basic summer course in order to improve ropework for hard scrambling and winter stuff.
This led to an addiction to rock climbing from which I still haven't recovered...
What do you do the rest of the year? (when its not raining that is haha)
I have done all the Munros south of Fort William and Aviemore, so munro bagging trips need to be planned weekends now which to be honest arent practical, especially with a baby and little spare finance for petrol for the far north. :(
Cragging I can do on the cheap, with little petrol expense (when staying in local quarries anyway), and gets me out the house on the evenings as well.
> What do you do the rest of the year? (when its not raining that is haha)
> Campsite camping with the missus and dog in a big comfy tent with a slab or 2 trying to store the brownie points for winter while accumulating an all important insulating layer ;-) haha.
Like it!! :-)
Elsewhere on the site
This Winter Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are... Read more
With four photos in this week's top ten, and a UKC gallery of stunning images we thought it was time we had a chat with... Read more
This years ROCfest will be slightly different. We've decided to run a Climbing Festival, not just a competition! Over... Read more
On Saturday 13th December Greg Boswell and Guy Robertson kicked off their Scottish winter season early by making the... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
The Epicentre Mega Winter Sale starts in store 9am Christmas Eve. We have a great selection of in store only deals from... Read more