Newsletter – September 2018

Tip of the Month

The recent expeditions to Kilimanjaro that I led included a number of people who were relative, or total, novices when it comes to backpacking and trekking. This was refreshing for me, because it made me look at certain things from a novice’s perspective again. As one’s experience builds, sometimes we forget and take for granted the sum total of our knowledge and what seems obvious to one person is a voyage of discovery to another.

Here are a couple of tips for the novice backpacker, based on some things that cropped up during the trek.

Stuff-sacks. These are sacks for stuffing things in and they work really well if you do just that – stuff stuff. For sleeping bags, you are onto a loser if you try rolling the sleeping bag neatly and then sliding it into the stuff sack. Stuff it! Take the foot end of the sleeping bag and just start stuffing it in. It will all fit in eventually, I promise.

Ruck-sacks. The weight should be on the hips, not the shoulders. I wrote about how to achieve this in September 2017, so have a look at the old newsletter (or find it online soon in the Resources section of my website).

Quote of the Month

“It’s not how much you practice, it’s how you practice.”

Route of the Month

As autumn approaches, I’m going to start including a few high-quality walks among my Route of the Month selection. To start this off, here’s one of my favourite mountain walks, the Langdale Skyline. It pretty much does what it says on the tin – follows the skyline around Great Langdale takin in Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes to name a few. It’s 31km long, including over 2000m of ascent, and typically takes 13-15 hours. A fantastic day out.

Photo of the Month

In the past I have slept in these tunnels, all in the name of the ‘alpine start’. This is the view that greets you as you emerge from deep inside the Aiguille du Midi.

mountaineering path

© James Keeble, UKC, Aug 2018

Forthcoming Events

  • 6-7 October 2018.“First come first served”. Design your own two-day course (walking, navigation, climbing, scrambling etc).
  • 10-11 November 2018. Mountain navigation course – either Introductory level or Advanced level, including ‘Contour Masterclass’.
  • 24-25 November 2018.NNAS Bronze Level Award.
  • Winter 2018-19. Now taking bookings for all courses, including:
    • 18-21 January 2019. Introduction to Winter Mountaineering (Cairngorms).
    • 8-11 February 2019. Introduction to Winter Mountaineering (Cairngorms).
    • 16-17 February 2019. Introduction to Winter Mountaineering (Ben Nevis).
  • January-March 2019.Winter climbing courses – 2,3,4, or 5 days; Beginner or Improver; West Coast (Ben Nevis) or East Coast (Cairngorms).

Download this newsletter as a PDF (below)

Newsletter 2018 09