Newsletter – May 2019

By 25th May 2019 July 31st, 2020 Newsletters

Tip of the Month

Having just got back from another expedition climb, I thought an expedition tip might be appropriate, though it’s also one that really applies to all your mountaineering clothing purchases. In short, it’s this – make sure stuff fits.

To elaborate on that, all too often folk are tempted to buy items of clothing based on reviews, colour, brand or any other number of criteria. I’m not saying this is wrong per se, but the over-riding criteria should be to have clothes that fit and are functional as part of your overall clothing system. For the layers of clothing that you have chosen, make sure that they will actually fit over/under one another in the way that you envisage. Once wearing all the layers, can you still bend down? Can you still lift your legs? Can you touch your head (to reach your helmet, head-torch or goggles and adjust your hood)? Are your gloves and jacket cuffs compatible and fit together appropriately? Above all, can you use your hands adequately in your gloves/mitts without having to expose bare skin?

It figures that the best place to do all of this is in the shop, before you commit to making an expensive purchase, but at the very least do it at home before you fly.

Fact of the Month

Mera Peak (6,476m) is the highest of Nepal’s (so-called) ‘trekking peaks’. (I say ‘so-called’ because most of them are easy mountaineering peaks rather than literally ‘treks’.) From the summit of Mera peak you can see 5 of the 6 highest mountains on earth – Everest (1st); Kangchenjunga (3rd), if visibility allows; Lhotse (4th); Makalu (5th); and Cho Oyu (6th). The only one not visible is K2 (2nd), way over in the Karakorum in Pakistan.

Route of the Month

If the summer stays reasonably dry again, this will give an ideal opportunity to head high into the mountain crags that are so often wet. This month my recommendation is another route from the famous book ‘Classic Rock’ – Tophet Wall (Hard Severe, 4a, 3-Star).The route finds its way up an impossible-looking wall high up on The Napes, overlooking Wasdale in the Lake District.

Photo of the Month

Glacial lake above Thangnag on the way to Mera Peak. A few years ago this lake broke its moraine dam (on the left) and flooded the valley below, amazingly with no loss of life because of the season it happened in. The collapse of moraine dams is becoming an increasingly serious problem in the Himalayas as the glaciers are melting so fast.

Glacial lake on Mera Peak trek, Nepal © thesummitisoptional

Forthcoming Events

Here are some of the scheduled events coming up in June and beyond:

  • 2 June.One-day introduction to Via Ferrata and scrambling safety & rope-work. (Fully booked).
  • 7-9 June. Aonach Eagach and Curved Ridge (one place remaining).
  • 15-16 June. Beginners’ Rock Climbing in the Peak District (two places remaining).
  • 24-25 August. Two-Day Mountain Navigation Course (Keswick, Lake District).


  • July-August.Still some weekday and weekend availability, predominantly for rock-climbing and scrambling courses in Snowdonia and the Lake District.

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

Newsletter 2019 05