Can anyone give me some recommendations on gear needed for beginning winter climbing? Boots, crampons and axes are obvious, but as I will (hopefully) be progressing quickly, what grade boots and crampons should I look at?
Also, if anyone has any cheap or free
Gear they are, willing to give me it would
Be most appreciated.
In reply to adamre12: Hey. Winter's a funny one, because it's not so much a case of turn up and immediately climb a grade, then push the grade. I'm not big on winter climbing (should really get some done soon), but I've done a hell of a lot of mountains in winter, some of which was graded terrain.
Rule #1 is never go without an axe. Ever ever. I nearly killed myself learning that one.
You'll probably have to go out and get some stuff to keep you warm, probably sounds really obvious, but it gets pretty damn cold and keeping warm is a huge priority, more so than, which boots and which crampons are correct, which by comparison (for lower grades) is quite minor. And keep warm is harder to get right than it might seem. (Usually end up alternating between drenched in sweat and bo***ck freezing.)
Remember lower grade routes (= gullies) are where all the stuff that falls off the mountain goes. That scree didn't come from nowhere and that's where all the avalanches funnel. Easy doesn't mean safe.
Be very avalanche-aware, although the more I seem to know, the more I get creeped out! And get good at mountain navigation.
Go with folk in the know, it'll shortcut a difficult process of getting out and DIY'ing it, though that could be fun too, in a type-2 kinda way?? That might be good old join a club kind of advice.
Working from your profile, I hope that's relevant help and advice.
In reply to Kevin Woods: Thanks for the reply, I have done a small amount of winter mountain walking before. I will be joining my university mountaineering club this year. I was thinking of getting technical Axes rather than a walking axe first, saving some money. Yeah keeping warm is going to be important (and expensive) I believe.
I wouldn't consider going out on my own yet, too many risks. Thanks for your help.
You'd need at least B2/C2 if you're wanting to move towards the vertical, and higher if you're looking at graded climbs ... but they're horrible to walk in - that's your dilemma.
Technical graded axe is a good shout, but again choose between a climbing axe and a walking axe - a T-climbing axe will get you up some reasonable lower grades and will last a good few years, a climbing axe won't be great for walking
> You'd need at least B2/C2 if you're wanting to move towards the vertical, and higher if you're looking at graded climbs ... but they're horrible to walk in - that's your dilemma.
Are they?! OK compared to trainers, winter boots are clumpy, but these days modern boots are pretty amazing.
I think the B1,2,3/ C1,2,3 thing was very useful when Brian Hall first came up with the idea but modern boots and modern crampons blur the lines a lot. I can climb vertical water ice perfectly happily* in "C2" crampons in what I still think of as light boots - Sportiva Trango Ice or whatever they're called this season. I think how warm the boots are or aren't might be of interest to new climbers there are so many boots that will take crampons on well these days.
*OK, "happily" is a lie, I'm never happy on vertical ice but you probably take my point.
In reply to seanjc:
Worth bearing in mind though that technical axes are trickier to use as an aid to balance when walking in/out, and for things like self arrest. Depending on how techy they are sometimes don't plunge well either, and can be awkward to bury for belays. All these things are possible to do still, just less easy than with a walking axe.