Win Brunton Spotting Scopes Winners

Yes you can use binoculars or a scope to check out the holds in IFSC Lead competitions. Tim Muller, Eli Lassman, Sam Gordon, Zofia Lisowski, and Daniel Cottingham, all win Brunton Spotting Scopes.

Thank you to everyone who entered.

I have a small drybag in my rucksack containing a whole host of useful items. It is filled with little essentials that make life easier, more comfortable and safer when I'm climbing or hill walking.

Items that are easy to forget and yet make a difference such as: lip salv, sunscreen, ibuprofen, a small pair of scissors and a basic first aid kit, a headtorch with spare batteries, matches and a lighter, insect repellent, finger tape and emery board, whistle and compass...........and after a particularly long walk (30+ miles) in the Lakes this summer with UKH's editor Dan Bailey I also pack crotch salve and talcum powder. You will know why if you have ever suffered chafing in the summer when doing a long hot walk.

Dan Bailey using the Brunton Echo Spotting Scope on the Cuillin Ridge, Skye, Scotland.  © UKC Gear
Dan Bailey using the Brunton Echo Spotting Scope on the Cuillin Ridge, Skye, Scotland.

I also have another new addition to my dry bag full of essentials and lifesavers this year: a small Brunton spotting scope.

What in the devil have I used this for? Well, when Dan and myself were up on Skye in the spring we used it numerous times out on the Cuillin to spot the way ahead through the complex terrain of Pinnacle Ridge to the summit of Sgurr nan Gillean and then on the Ridge itself.

The Brunton Echo Spotting Scope is a small but powerful unit, 7 times magnification, as powerful as a small pair of binoculars with a generous 18 degree field of view. It weighs in at 48g and is 8 cm x 3 cm so is very portable, it fits in your pocket, or my small drybag of delights.

The optics are high quality BAK-4 prisms, rather than the inferior BAK-7 prisms, and give a very sharp and contrasty image which gives a clear image close-up as well as distant views. Both objective and eye lens are coated and are protected by the rubbery housing - the scope is robust. We found it fun to check out other people as well as our route and the scenery on the Cuillin. Focusing is by a simple focus ring that forms part of the body of the monoscope. For those into wildlife spotting it would be an ideal alternative to lugging up a larger pair of binoculars, and the price speaks for itself at £22.50. It comes with a lanyard, cleaning cloth and case.


Mick Ryan using the Brunton Echo Spotting Scope to check out holds on a climb at Kalymnos, Greece  © UKC Gear
Mick Ryan using the Brunton Echo Spotting Scope to check out holds on a climb at Kalymnos, Greece

Ed Hamer - the new British Senior Men's Champion  © Alex Messenger
Ed Hamer - the new British Senior Men's Champion: Are spotting scopes or binoculars allowed in competitions? © Alex Messenger

I've not just been using it out on the hill, but climbing as well. Yes, that's right, I've been using it to check out the holds on a route before an onsight attempt; that first try at a route without having any knowledge of the moves. It does help, being of that age my eyesight is getting a tad blurry, and being able to see that finger jug after the crux at 15m has helped or even what's that runout like above the sixth bolt? Can I see good holds there?

But does this invalidate my onsight?

By my definition an onsight ascent means turning up at the crag and not having been on the route before, or seeing anyone on it, or being told about the moves or holds, and climbing it from the bottom to the top without falling off or reversing to the ground. A Flash ascent however is when I flash the route but have some knowledge of the route's moves.

Does using a Spotting Scope - what I call my BetaScope - to check out the holds invalidate my onsight?

I thought I'd better consult an expert and there is none better than Graeme Alderson of the Climbing Works in Sheffield who is also an IFSC International Climbing Competition judge. Graeme is the person at the climbing competitions who knows the rule book and enforces those rules.

I asked Graeme this: In IFSC Lead competitions, are competitors allowed to use a monocular or binoculars to check out the holds on a competition route, before their onsight attempt?

Now all you have to do is answer that question and give us the answer that Graeme gave me and you stand a chance to win a Brunton Echo Spotting Scope, in fact five chances as we have FIVE to give away.


This competition has now closed.

- This competition is only open to registered users at and
- Competition closes on 22nd November at 09.00 GMT.
- The winners will be notified by email.
- Prizes will only be posted to a UK or Ireland address.
- The winners' names will be announced on UKC/UKH and

Brunton Echo Spotting Scope  © Brunton

Brunton Echo® Pocket Scope: £22.50

Impressive performance in a 7x18 monocular, thanks to top-end BaK-4 prism glass and multi-coated optics. Bright, sharp image as close as 13 inches.

  • BaK-4 prism glass
  • Multi-coated
  • Power: 7X
  • Objective diameter: 18mm
  • Eye relief: 12mm
  • Exit pupil: 2.6mm
  • Field of view: 181 ft @ 1,000 yds
  • Weight 48g Size: 8 cm x 3 cm
  • Close focus : 33cm
  • Includes: lanyard and case
  • Limited lifetime warranty

More info about Brunton at

UK Stockists: Contact ROSKER Tel: 023 9252 8711, Web:

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23 Oct, 2012
Oh man I'd love one of these but I just rolled my eyes so hard at the "ethical implications" that I am now blind :-( Incidentally, the RSPB sell pocket-sized binoculars that are more powerful for roughly the same price. Buying through them supports the work of one of Britain's best, and most climbing-relevant, charities.
23 Oct, 2012
23 Oct, 2012
Or not what? I meant the Viking 10x25 or 8x21 binoculars.
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