Knowledge Base

Trip Grading and Training Advice

It goes without saying that arriving fit and well prepared is important if you want to get the most out of your climbing holiday – and it is often essential for success. Check out our trip grading notes, plus advice on training towards your goals.

Axe, Boot and Crampon Advice

An overview of ice axes, crampons, mountaineering boots and crampon-boot compatibility.  We’ve also added some advice on rock climbing shoes suitable for longer multipitch routes in the Alps and elsewhere.

Alpine Clothing Systems

On a typical alpine climb the temperatures can vary hugely, from sub-zero early mornings to hot and sunny afternoons on open glaciers – with the occasional chance of heavy snow, strong winds, or even rain(!) Therefore, a good clothing system needs to be versatile and adaptable, whilst also being lightweight and durable.

Climbing The Matterhorn

Some sound Matterhorn advice for anyone thinking of climbing the world’s most iconic summit: The Matterhorn is well known as one of the all time classic Alpine peaks and with good reason. It’s perfect pyramidal form dominates the skyline around Zermatt and across the Western Alps.  Couple this with the dramatic story of it’s first ascent and you have all the ingredients for a truly classic climb that’s an essential tick!

Using Alpine Huts

Alpine huts or ‘Refuges’ are uniquely positioned in the high mountains, often in spectacular and improbable situations – worth the journey for the views alone! They are usually located in strategic positions, as a base for climbing nearby peaks, or as a stopover connecting glacier basins or alpine valleys. They offer food, shelter, a bed for the night and allow climbers to move fast and light through the mountains, without the need to carry heavy bivouac equipment.

UK Scrambling

Some UK scrambling advice for British hillgoers; “Space below your boots, not another fleece or rucksack in sight, adrenaline pulsing through your veins. This is why most of us head off the well beaten track. For many, the first taste of scrambling is generally a tentative foray off onto some rocky ridge, probably an unintended navigational error…”

Winter Walking

Some winter walking advice for British hillgoers.  The higher British hills will generally have snow cover (above 3000 feet) for much of the winter. In Wales and the Lake District it may be just a dusting at times, but in most of Scotland the snow line can be much lower and snow cover more consistent. Walking in winter requires all the same techniques as summer walking, plus other important skills including crampon technique and handling an ice axe.

Scottish Winter Climbing

Scotland’s winter mountains can be as challenging and uncompromising as any other mountain landscape in the world. Gale force winds, zero visibility and numbing cold can be an integral part of the average Scottish day. It’s a tough game but the rewards are well worth it: if you’re in the right place at the right time… atop the summit plateau of Ben Bhan, alone at the end of a perfect day with the sun sinking behind the distant Cullin of Skye, there’s nowhere quite like it… Some common sense scottish winter climbing advice, hints and tips to make your life easier.

Planning Your First Alpine Trip

How to plan safe mountain adventures in the Alps. An overview of planning and logistical info including the main Alpine climbing centres, some classic route examples, seasonal considerations, rescue, insurance and further reading.

Introduction to Alpine Mountaineering

Cheap flights, increased knowledge and good equipment have made the alpine experience safer, more pleasurable and easier to access than ever before, with a resultant increase in popularity. However Brits visiting the Alps for the first time are often unused by the scale, and not familiar with the skills required for safe and efficient travel.  Here we describe the essential differences between climbing in UK and the Alps and give useful advice for first time British alpinists to help make the transition.

Alpine Climbing Progression

British climbers who are technically very good on home ground can find it hard to adjust from our ‘belt and braces’ approach, to adopting alpine ‘risk management’ techniques. The skills for moving safely but quickly in the Alps can be hard won, but there are many common sense tips and techniques that can help – these are some of the things that we teach on our Alpine Level 3 courses.

Alpine Ice Climbing

The European and Norwegian icefall climbing scene is becoming more popular with Brits on account of cheap flights, reliable conditions and more accessible information. The average trip from London to the Continent is faster than the drive to Scotland, so opportunities for fun in the sun even over a long weekend are endless! Most of this climbing takes place on accessible icefalls draining the sides of alpine valleys in fantastic settings, but this alpine arena and the qualities of the routes themselves present unfamiliar challenges to climbers used to the Scottish winter scene. This article aims to provide an overview of the European Ice experience and some useful ice climbing advice for the first time visitor.