/ Stuck about what gear to buy

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TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
I'm going on a winter skills course at Glenmore lodge in January and plan to really get into winter climbing. I just about have the right clothing for it, bit when it comes to boots, crampons and axe I've got nothing (apart from a 1944 ice axe).
I work at Go outdoors so I get a pretty hefty staff discount, but I'll stop working before I leave for the course so no more staff prices :/
Should I go ahead and buy some of the gear while I can get it really cheap? If so what would you recommend? For boots I'm thinking of the La sportiva Nepal's (I've got some meindls vacuums currently which some people have said you can get a c1 crampon on). The ice axe range is fairly limited, only about 5 available, should I go for a walking axe over the curved ones? Or go super retro and use the 1944 one for walking, or will it just break on me? Crampons I think are mainly grivel ones but I'm not 100% sure.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated
JayPee630 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

Don't buy anything until you've done the winter skills course. You can borrow GL stuff and maybe try a few other peoples axes and look at what they use and then make a better decision about what's good for you.

Don't use the 1944 one, stick it on your wall as an ornament.

Generally it sounds like your first purchases should be some B2/B3 boot and matching crampons like the Grivel G12, and a 50-55cm general mountaineering axe like the DMM Cirque.
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to JayPee630:

Okay, I'll hang back on buying (much) stuff for now
SenzuBean - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:
Meindl vakuums are good boots, and you can definitely fit a c1 to them (I have done in the past). I wouldn't use mine for anything more than an easy grade I though as they're just not rigid enough, and unless freshly waxed - are a bit cold and not quite waterproof enough. I don't know what grades your course is going to take you on on, but if you can get LS Nepals really cheap - then I'd say go for it, as you'll definitely be able to use them.
Post edited at 12:26
steve_pwo_79 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

Nepal's would work, they are a workhorse winter boot. Depending on fit with the boots a pair of Grivel G12 Crampomatic crampons (or similar) will see you up everything to grade III/IV.

Axe wise a DMM Cirque or Grivel Airtec would be a good mountaineering axe, something with a semi aggressive pick, but not a dropped curved pick, this would do for grade I and most II's. Once you get above grade II you'll be into twin axe ground so take your pick from there, BD Viper, Petzl Quark etc.

Check out BMC TV as they have put up a good series on Winter Skills for this season.

Have fun!
Greasy Prusiks on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

Out of interest what is the go outdoors staff discount?
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to SenzuBean:

I've been hiking a fair bit in them and have found them to be not quite waterproof too, I was kicking steps in a fairly steep slope and scrambling up some steep rocky icey ground. I was contemplating returning them as they leaked a bit, but if its common I guess I'll hang onto them
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to steve_pwo_79:

The Nepal's fit me really well, can't quite remember the staff price on them but I think it's pretty low. Thanks for the advice!
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Its trade price + VAT. So it depends a bit on the brand, for instance Rab tends to discount really heavily, about 50% normally. The own brand products often can be really cheap, for example a head torch I bought was 4.50 on staff and its 30ish discount card price.
Recently there was a error or something and the VAT got knocked off, so everything was insanely cheap for a while before they fixed it...I bought a lot of things
SenzuBean - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

> I've been hiking a fair bit in them and have found them to be not quite waterproof too, I was kicking steps in a fairly steep slope and scrambling up some steep rocky icey ground. I was contemplating returning them as they leaked a bit, but if its common I guess I'll hang onto them

I think you just need to top up the wax coating Mine tend to be waterproof for 3-4 usages after each waxing, and then it's time to do it again. Recently big cracks have opened up in the leather of ine, so I've covered them with McNett Seam Grip (the one for shoes not the one for tents) and that should keep them waterproof for a lot longer (previously I've used the same stuff to repair scratches in the leather and it's lasted for years).
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to SenzuBean:

I'll give them a coating then
Greasy Prusiks on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

Cheers mate.

That's quite the discount!
jonnie3430 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

Nepal's are old and heavy, do you have the Nepal cubes? I replaced my Nepal's with them last year and they are lovely. Would second what everyone is saying about doing the course first and buying after, try as much as you can on it too.
carr0t - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

I bought all my ironmongery used but in good condition. Plenty of life left in it, better than I could afford new and a fraction of the price. I think I bought boots, crampons and axes for less than 300 from ebay
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to jonnie3430:

Sadly not, the mountaineering range is really quite limited
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to carr0t:

Pretty certain that's what I'll do, under 300 is some good value!
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Oh yup, it almost makes up for the pittance we get paid :D
Jack_Lewin - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

I'd probably delete your post about the staff discount you get. Your employer will almost certainly not want that to be public knowledge.
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Jack_Lewin:

I'm pretty sure its public knowledge that staff get discounts...
Don't think it matters too much if some people know that staff can get a really cheap headtorch
Greasy Prusiks on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

True, especially if you sell on the odd tent ;-)
L TheFasting - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to steve_pwo_79:

Do you recommend the Vipers as a good all around axe for technical alpinism? Should you carry one pair for technical ground and a longer one for glacier walking? Sounds like a lot of weight. I'm looking in to axes myself, preferably some to use for winter mountaineering and some ice climbing (the latter to prepare for the former). How do you solve that dilemma for when you have to move over a glacier before you tackle snow slopes you need to arrest on and then steep ice?
Jack_Lewin - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

Completly that it is public knowledge staff discount exists. However in the two retailers I have worked for discussing the exact amounts goods cost and prices I pay would be an automatic sacking, my backside wouldn't hit the he floor on the way out. Just a polite warning that's all!
TheBigFactHunt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Jack_Lewin:

Ah okay, hopefully it won't come to that :/
ModerateMatt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to TheFasting:

Buy an axe for mountaineering first if you plan on mountaineering first, then get techy tools later. You'll find a lot of people have both climbing axe's and less technical ones for mountaineering and walking.

"How do you solve that dilemma for when you have to move over a glacier before you tackle snow slopes you need to arrest on and then steep ice?"

With tools like BD Vipers arrests still work fine (very aggressive tools may not be as easy), so just take your ice tools. They are not as good at cutting steps or using as a walking stick (it's not a walking stick get a ski pole) but i imagine by the time your a traveling over glaciers to ice/mixed climb you will know what you need to take.

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Ben Sharp - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to TheBigFactHunt:

I'd at least get boots and crampons before leaving if you're getting that discount. Your feet wont change size between now and your course and you're unlikely to learn that a pair of B2's aren't suitable or that you've got the wrong crampons.

Pick the boots that fit your feet best and then pick the crampons that fit your boot best and that would be a good start, there's lots of advice on here and on other web pages about the intricacies between different boots and crampons but fit trumps almost everything.

Any axe will be fine, again you may as well make the most of your staff discount.

Oh and buy lots of gloves and a pair of mitts.

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