Over the weekend of 23rd – 24th January, Glenmore Lodge held their first ever Winter Climbing Festival. The event comprised of courses in winter themed climbing subjects for all abilities, with sponsored athletes giving lectures to inspire and master classes to pass on their vast experience. The North Face were there in full support providing new gear to try out throughout the programme of events. We sent Laura and Insa from our graphics team to get a taste of what the Lodge had to offer...
The first night kicked off with a lecture from our very own sponsored athlete Calum Muskett, singing the praises of the UK for its unique mixture of great climbing opportunities and weather (apparently our temperate climate only adds to the charm) and pointed out the often complete pointlessness yet sheer brilliance of climbing (‘there is a footpath' as one of his friend's once stated after he'd done a route). He talked of trips abroad with Andy Kirkpatrick on the North Face of the Eiger and his expedition to Patagonia with Dave MacLeod. Calum also demonstrated the difficulties of making stool on a porter ledge (NB. to clarify this wasn't a live demonstration), and perfecting the art of waste management on big wall climbs.
Calum continued to inspire in his workshops on dry tooling the following day, along with legend in the making - GB Ice Climbing Team member Emma Powell, for whom axes are purely an extension of her limbs and climbing ability puts primates to shame.
Due to good planning on Glenmore Lodge's part, there was no other option on Saturday night than to have a pre-Burns' Night celebration. The resident (or so we'd like to think) bagpiper heralded the haggis, which was appropriately addressed and washed down with nips of whiskey – a very nice touch.
Festivities continued with The North Face's free soloist and alpinist Hansjörg Auer, who gave us an account of growing up in Austria as part of a mountaineering family and climbing coming before all else, even naked girls wouldn't have derailed his passion for climbing back then he told us (not quite the same these days).
From soloing to partnerships - the second talk of the evening came from Tom Randall, who's renowned Wideboyz partnership is the stuff climbers dream of. Consolidated further through a love of off-width climbing, determination to succeed and bound by a need to inject fun into their climbing (annual fancy dress climbs should really be the rule and not the exception - for everyone…). Tom was on hand the next day to give a master class on Glenmore Lodge's very own indoor off width, a feature we think you'll be seeing springing up in the not too distant future at a climbing wall near you.
Our very own graphic designer Insa had chance to refine her off-width technique.
Not to be outdone, Glenmore Lodge's experts were on hand all weekend conducting coaching and guidance on subjects ranging from avalanche awareness, how to train in the gym for winter climbing and winter climbing techniques, combining the perfect mix for a fantastic Winter Climbing Festival. Roll on next year!
Ten Things We Learnt From The Winter Climbing Festival
- When working towards a challenge, record all your training sessions, if you start to doubt yourself you can look back and see you've put in the work.
- Warm up before climbing sessions- especially the shoulders. This will help prevent injury and keep you climbing for years to come.
- Doing weights will not only help the muscles you're training in particular, but will also help with grip strength.
- For winter climbing it's a good idea to practice tying ropes with thick gloves on - it's a lot harder to tie in while wearing them.
- When screwing up a screw gate in freezing conditions, screw it up completely then screw quarter of a turn so the gate doesn't freeze shut.
- Learning good technique will help you conserve energy.
- Incorporate axes into your training session- such as sitting on a swiss ball and mimic placing them in the ice, and to pull up on.
- Can't do a full pull up? Start from the up position and lower yourself down, use something to push yourself up with (like a swiss ball) - repeat and over time you pull ups will come on.
- Feeling cold belaying? Do some squats and you'll soon warm up.
- If you're buying axes try them out with gloves. You don't want to buy them and realise the grip is too small for you!