In this series of short articles, we ask climbers that all-important question that gets a gear freak's eyes bulging: "What's in your gear store?" Generally, "store" could be representative of something ranging from a messy pile on the floor to an obsessively organised, purpose-built storage cupboard adorned with hanging compartments, electrical tape, labels and shiny kit categorised by brand, function and size...or, if you're really posh, you'll have a gear room.
This week Julie Baum has let us into her multi-activity gear store.
Julie is a 30(ish) year old climber/mountaineer based in the Lakes, although she's not there that often as she spends her winters on the west coast of Scotland and is away a couple of times a year on expedition. She works as a freelance Instructor doing all kinds of work from winter climbing, MLT courses to centre and expedition work.
"I’m mad about winter and everything involved with it, climbing mountaineering, skiing. I really love rock climbing too and think the UK is such a special place because of the variety of rock we have. "
First bit of owned kit:
I started climbing at uni and my first bit of kit was my harness, belay plate and carabiner. I was so excited I hung myself off the staircase in my uni house for about half an hour.
First bit of bought kit:
As above but I did get given a really good bit of kit from our course providers, it was a piece of climbing rope about 2 metres long. I practised my knot tying for hours and hours on that simple bit of tat.
Elderid Lola pants. They are amazing for climbing in, working in and wondering around town. It’s so hard to get pants that fit well, you can move in and that don’t make you look like a right scruff at the end of the day. They are so good I’m about to buy another pair.
What I couldn’t live without:
People who love doing what I love, are laidback and who encourage me to do my best.
Most battered/ loved kit:
Definitely my old Deuter guide 45+ pack. Its lasted me about 10 years and I’ve only just replaced it mainly because it was starting to look pretty tatty. It’s taken some abuse being thrown around crags full of rack and ropes and it’s made it through at least 6 winter seasons!
Can’t bear to throw away:
Any old rope! Not sure why but I seem to have a whole box of retired ropes that I never use anymore and I can’t seem to throw any of them away.
Most recent purchase:
My new rucksack, a Black Diamond Epic 45 (sorry Deuter I got a great deal). It’s in a great colour (because that seems to be the most important thing these days!) It’s a really comfy pack as it has straps that move back and forward and a waist belt that twists too. Sounds weird but it moves with your body really well.
Item that got me out of tricky situation:
A nice fat long bit of tat, Always carry some when in the mountains as it’s definitely the best bit of kit you can carry, your get out of jail free card!
Desert island kit:
Food! I really can’t function without it. As soon as I get a bit hungry, my climbing goes to pot. I usually have to eat every 2 hours when in the hills. Homemade flapjack or sugar free fruit and nut cake is best, mmmmmmmm.
A big warm duvet jacket. I cool down very quickly. I’m always laughed at for having the biggest or heaviest pack in winter and it’s manly from carrying a big down jacket. The upside however is that I rarely get really cold on winter belays, and don’t often get hot aches either.
Strangest thing used as gear:
Don’t know about the strangest bit of gear but I once used a hand jam under a bulge on an ice route so I could place a screw.
Strangest use for bit of gear:
Easy! Using 2 climbing nuts and a carbiner to fix my exhaust back on when it fell off! Strangely enough this has happened to me twice now!
Hoarder or get rid of it: Hoarder (it’s hereditary)
Organised or disorganised: Organised, disorganised gives me a headache
Brand loyal or best of everything: Best deal
Get it scratched or keep it shiny: Scratch it up
Quick wash or polish and clean: Wash, probably not as often as I should though.
More from this series:
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This week up-and-coming 22 year-old Scottish winter climber Uisdean Hawthorn has let us into his self-built gear store.
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