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Winter Climber or Mountaineer

Image from the front of the book Savage Summit, by Jennifer Jordan
Savage Summit // Book Review
Savage Summit // Author Jennifer Jordan.   This book is sensational.  For anyone interested in the history of high altitude climbing or in pushing themselves further in any area of life it’s a must read book.  Savage Summit tells the story of K2, the killer mountain, and it’s relationship with the first five women who achieved the accolade of reaching its peak.
Women to summit K2 – first five ascents 
  1. Wanda Rutkiewicz   23. June 1986
  2. Lillian Berrard   23. June 1986
  3. Julie Tullis   10. August 1986
  4. Chantal Maudit   3. August 1992
  5. Alison Hargeaves   13. August 1995

Savage Summit charts the lives of these five remarkable mountaineers.  To say it is compelling is an understatement.  I couldn’t put it down.

Author, Tiffany Stonemason posing in her climbing helmet at the bottom of a climbing route in Mallorca
Embracing ‘Sexy’
Author, Tiffany Stonemason posing in her climbing helmet at the bottom of a climbing route in Mallorca

Tiffany Stoneman posing and cooling down after a long old walk in! before her first multi pitch climb in Mallorca

By Tiffany Stoneman // Climbing is a complex sport. It requires stamina of body and mind, the ability to haul your weight up vertical cliffs, and the mental stability to take on huge challenges that can incur risk. It is a sport/activity/hobby that has been around for longer than you might think, and is slowly but surely coming into the mainstream as an awesome way to get fit and see the world. Not only this, but it can be hugely competitive, and these competitions are gaining an increasingly global audience, recently helped by an attempt to get sport climbing into the Olympics. Overall, climbing is a pretty badass thing to do, and the ones who do it tend to be pretty badass too!

Film Review // Climb Like a Girl // Nicole MacGregor

“That’s a good question.  It doesn’t really matter does it, as long as you enjoy climbing?”

The expression of doing something ‘like a girl’ has become a familiar insult in the UK, usually words spoken by boys and men as a way of belittling each other or others.  This film, by Nicole MacGregor, seeks to challenge and explore what people actually think it means to ‘climb like a girl’.

Film Review // Barre des Ecrins // Laura Simpson

This clearly hand-made film by Laura Simpson gives the viewer a quick glimpse into the higher world of the Ecrins Massif in the Dauphiné Alps in France.  Standing at 4102 metres the Barre des Écrins is the highest point  of the Écrins Massif and is one of the classic 4000ers – peaks over 4000m.

With a couple of soundtracks, fairly low quality sound and wobbly camera shots, the film isn’t a cinematic first in any way, but what the film offers is the first hand experience of a woman mountaineering with two friends at altitude.  It’s about someone putting themselves out there to show that women do mountaineer and showing what you get when you go out into the higher European mountains.

Yellow and Blue Adidas Terrex Fast Jacket
Review // Adidas Terrex Windstopper Fast Jacket

Love… 

The wind-stopping capabilities. The fabric. Superb functionality.

Price:     £145

This jacket has been given an incredibly thorough test – climbing at the crag, in winter mountaineering conditions, for running, at the climbing wall and day-to-day.  It has coped very well indeed.  All * ratings out of 5

Design *****

Yellow and Blue Adidas Terrex Fast Jacket This jacket has a slightly retro feel to it, but with all the things you need in all the right places.  The pockets are a good size and in the right places.  It’s a perfect marriage of form and function.  The colour is good – a change from the tedious pinks and purples with which we women are ordinarily presented.  

Winter Mountaineering, Mixed Climbing and Ice Climbing – What’s the difference?

In our efforts to give a succinct overview of Winter Climbing, we thought it would be useful to provide other short definitions as follows:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Winter Mountaineering is generally considered to be something different to Winter Climbing and to be larger in scope or scale than ‘climbing’.

Fundamentally, mountaineering most often involves summiting a mountain.  It also often refers to longer ‘classic’ lower grade routes – usually no harder than Grade II, very occasionally graded II/III.

It is usual to climb a mountaineering route with a single axe, although on the harder ones many people now carry a second tool ‘just in case’!

Hex
To Hex or not to Hex

I have been in the market for a set of hexes for some time now.  What I’ve found is that even when I have cams and nuts, I quite often feel that I need a nut that’s just a little bit bigger – to slot into a gaping hole and protect me from a fall.

So when I saw someone selling their hexes for £20 I jumped at the offer.  When I arrived to collect them I realised with much consternation that they all looked like this:

Mountain Hardwear // Medusa Glove: Review

Mountain Hardwear Glove Review02Love: the waterproofness.

What I would change: Need to have women’s sizes.

Best for: Wet Scottish winter climbing, walking and mountaineering.

Description:  Inner and outer glove – Inner is a windproof soft-shell with palm grippers, which covers the hand snugly.  Outer is a separate super-waterproof glove, with  high gaiter, nose-wipe thumb panel, easy function gaiter-tightener and arm-hangers.

Mountain Hardwear Glove Review01

Fit:  I bought a men’s small and they fit very well.  They don’t come in women’s sizes (yawn).  I have rather large hands for a small woman, so usually buy men’s gloves anyway.  I doubt very much that those with small hands would have the same luck.

 

Mountain Equipment // DriLite Ultra Jacket: Review

Mountain Equipment Super lightweight Jacket2Having searched high and low on the internet for this jacket to get an idea of how much they now cost I have been unable to find it – it is now 2 years old.  So, you may think why the review?  Well, I really like this jacket and it has served me well.  Mountain Equipment still use this fabric and I really rate it, so… find DriLite Ultra and you will find the same properties that this jacket has! 

A Tale of Woe with the Shewee Extreme

Scottish winter skills course1The background to my purchase of the Shewee Extreme was a 14-hr epic mountain day in Scotland this winter with three men, during which time I had to perch on a snow ledge sandwiched between two men with their eyes closed while I crouched for a wee, with another man ascending up to the stance at the same time.  The ascending male had to be asked to hold on for fear of receiving a face full of warm yellow liquid.  An interesting tale, but not an experience that I particularly wanted to repeat after that journey.  I’m sure the men would rather it weren’t repeated too.

Talon 44 Backpack Review

Osprey Talon 44 backpack review

In 2011 I went walking around Ben Nevis and realised that it was to invest in a backpack to accompany my multifarious mountain pursuits – single and multi-pitch climbing, mountain walking and winter mountaineering.  My first port of call was Manchester Oxford Road Cotswolds, as they are stalwarts in reliability and good customer service. Being a clearance store they didn’t have a full range so, instead I went to the Manchester Deansgate branch.

Osprey Talon 44 Backpack review6

At first glance I thought that buying a pack would offer a straightforward choice, but I was, firstly, dazzled with the array of packs available, and then very quickly became suitably disappointed by the very few packs from which I eventually had to choose.  Why? I am small. When I say small I mean 5ft tall (155cm) and with a waist of about 28 inches. The staff member in the shop was brilliant, helping to work out the best fit using realistic weights and assessing my needs. My resulting purchase was the Osprey Talon 44 in Indigo blue.  So, more than a year in, here’s my review of the bag…