Scottish winter climbing
Pilgrim’s Progress: a century of development in climbing equipment and technique
Alex Roddie charts a century of development in the tools we take for granted This feature was first published in Mountain Pro Magazine, January 2016. Take a look in your rucksack. If you’re a winter climber, you’ll find a pair of crampons in there, and two ice axes
The Lochaber Traverse in winter – Field Notes
In the January 2017 issue of TGO Magazine, available now, you can read my feature on the Lochaber Traverse – one of the UK’s finest long mountain ridges. I waited a decade for the right conditions. It was worth the wait! Here are a few photos that didn’t make
Sad news from Glen Coe – and some perspective
On Saturday, two climbers were found dead, still roped together, on Stob Coire nam Beith in Glen Coe. Tragedies like this happen every year, and the Bidean massif seems to cause more than its fair share of accidents. Back in 2013 an unfortunate run of incidents caused the British press
A Blizzard on Ben Nevis
No rational person would choose to seal themselves in a nylon bag halfway up Ben Nevis, for ten hours, in a blizzard – but, for reasons which still aren’t entirely clear to me, that’s exactly what I found myself doing on the 27th of November, 2008. The night before
A Scottish Winter Season Missed
“The mountains will still be there next time…” This is a phrase commonly used by climbers to console those who have missed an opportunity, failed on a climb, or retreated for safety reasons. It can be a great comfort. Unlike us, mountains do not wither or grow old, and they
Scotland’s last glacier … as it appears in the present day!
Photo (C) James Roddie 2014, all rights reserved Back in January, it emerged that the last glacier in the Scottish highlands may have lasted well into the 1700s. Coire an Lochain, a deeply carved corrie in the northern Cairngorms, was believed to be the site of one of the last
Winter climbing conditions – how much information is too much?
British winter climbing is in a strange place at the moment. We like to get away to the hills as an escape from “real life,” and yet the world of climbing frequently mirrors the world around us even if we like to pretend that it doesn’t. Look around you.
George Mallory on Ben Nevis … in 1906!
George Mallory is arguably Britain’s most famous mountaineer. Known for his early attempts on Everest in the 1920s (and his subsequent disappearance on the mountain in 1924), Mallory’s name has become something of a symbol: a transitional figure between the old school of Victorian climbers and the new
Defeated by Lochnagar but inspired by Balmoral
Wham! The gust of wind punched me in the chest, lifted me off my feet, and hurled me twenty feet back through the air to land, dazed, on a snowbank. I struggled to get up again but the force of the wind was relentless, pushing me back step by step,
The magic of early winter in the Highlands
Exactly five years ago I was standing on a mountain ridge in Glencoe, spindrift blasting in my face and rejoicing in my first winter climb of the 2008/2009 Scottish winter season. It was an exciting time for me. I’d moved to the Clachaig Inn about a month earlier