Newsletter – February 2020

By 26th February 2020 July 31st, 2020 Newsletters

Tip of the Month

A fundamental technique involved in building many climbing/mountaineering belays is the ability to equalise a sling. Most often, I use the method that involves tensioning all the strands by pulling them in the direction of the expected load and then grasping all the strands and tying them into a large overhand (sometimes Figure of Eight) knot on the bight.

However, there seems to be something special that occurs in winter whereby the distances and lengths involved rarely allow this method to work. It’s vital, therefore, to know other methods of equalising slings at a belay.

There are several methods, but two of the most well-known that I find come in handy in winter are these ones, because they need very little of the sling’s length to create. The first involves tying a loose overhand knot in the sling before clipping the second anchor and then adjusting this to create two equally tensioned loops. The second, involves tying a clove hitch in the sling at the correct point of tension and clipping a large karabiner into this clove hitch. This karabiner is then locked and used as the main ‘power point’ into which other karabiners are then clipped.

Fact of the Month

The hut at the foot of the north face of Ben Nevis is universally referred to as the “CIC Hut”. It was built in 1928-29 by Dr William & Mrs Inglis Clark in memory of their son Charles Inglis Clark, a keen mountaineer, who was killed in Mesopotamia during the First World War (1914-18).

Route of the Month

The East Ridge of Beinn a’Chaorainn has become a very popular ridge climb/scramble in winter. It’s serious, but never too difficult, and has wonderful views when you top out. Just be sure of your navigation on the summit plateau, as there is very dangerous corniced area that needs to be avoided!

Photo of the Month

This was taken on the descent from Ben Nevis after climbing Ledge Route. The day’s weather had been fine but the late afternoon/evening was really stunning.

Descending the plateau of Ben Nevis in winter after climbing Ledge Route on a winter mountaineering course© thesummitisoptional

Forthcoming Events

These are some of the scheduled events coming up in the near future:

  • March 22 – 1-Day beginner’s navigation course (Yorkshire).
  • 4 April – 23 April. Leading Island Peak expedition in Nepal (places still available).
  • May-June – availability for rock climbing, scrambling and navigation courses in north England and north Wales.
  • 12-15 June – Cuillin Ridge Traverse (fully booked).
  • 16-21 June – further availability on Skye.
  • June-September – UK rock climbing and scrambling courses available.

Download this month’s newsletter as a PDF (below)

Newsletter 2020 02

…or see last month’s:-

Newsletter 2020 01