Saturday, 19 November 2011

Getting ready for Winter pt 1: Kit

Hi there,

Havent posted in a while, have had a lot on at work and now back at university. Just thought i'd do a post on how im getting kitted up and preparing for winter.

Firstly, i've got a wonderful beard 'on the grow'. For no other reason than to have some fantastic pictures of a frozen face!

Kit wise, ive replaced my DMM flys with a pair of old school DMM Xenos (left), replaced the picks and bolts on them so theyre in full working order now. They also came with triggers pre-attached which i was pretty chuffed about. I was going to buy some of those Cassin X-Grips for the shafts, but i didnt fancy paying £20 a piece for them, so i just bought some skateboard decking tape which is basically glorified sandpaper which should give a bit better traction when going for a high grip. I also bought a Grivel Springer Leash for when im leashless.

 Last winter i used my Mountain Equipment Kaniq as a belay jacket, however, although it was warm, it was HUGE! Because its a Gore-Tex insulated jacket, it doesnt pack down especially small and therefore takes up half a pack! I was looking at an ME Fitzroy as a replacement, but i opted for a down jacket over another synthetic purely for warmth. I went for the Mountain Equipment Lightline, but the newest blue version with orange zips - which worked out cheaper than a fitzroy anyway. This packs down redonkulously small for such a chunky jacket. But it also retains a somewhat fashionable appeal, so just as suitable for the apres-ski as in the mountains. It is supremely warm too, these cold, hungover mornings walking to lectures are so much easier in it. Cannot wait to try it out properly.

I replaced my aged Scarpa Mantas back in May with a pair of La Sportive Trango S Evos, which are superb. The comfort of these boots is beyond words. They are just as at home on grade III scrambles as on gentle walks in the Peak District. However, as these are a B1 boot, they are not suitable for winter mountaineering; so i had a problem. I have massive feet. So finding a pair of winter boots that fitted me properly was a challenge. However, after a bit of internet research, i found Outside in Hathersage stocked my size in all the boots i was looking at. I dropped in on a day off from work and got sized. I tried Asolo AFS8000, Scarpa Vegas, La Sportive Nepal Extremes, Scarpa Phantom Guides, Scarpa Mont Blancs and the brand new Mammut Nordwand TL.

The AFS8000s were too small and i couldnt get my foot in the shell with the inner boot on, so they were crossed off. The Vegas were stupidly cumbersome and heavy, so they were crossed off. The Nepals didnt fit my foot shape due to them being very narrow at the back. The Guides werent as confortable as i'd hoped and for the price i wanted a pair i immediately liked. The Nordwands were amazing; comfy, supportive and good looking. But due to the price, the were crossed off the list. Which left me with one of my favourites from the off, the Mont Blanc (left). They were supportive, comfy, very agile and not at all cumbersome, plus; i love the orange. They are a brilliant boot and at £360 RRP, rather pricey. So having found them cheaper elsewhere after buying them, Outside refunded me the difference. The experience of boot shopping there was very good, the staff were so professional and had great knowledge.

I have more articles watch this space

1 comment:

  1. Simon,

    I have to say, your axes look pretty awesome. I've been thinking about adding some grivel trigger similar to yours. I figure I'll just borrow your axes for a pitch and see if they make a difference.

    Glad to see you're posting again. I may be following your winter training plan just to give me a bit more edge this winter!

    Bring on the snow!