Off to find some roadside ice hopefully! Damage to rare plants on unfrozen ground?

Roadside ice !

Roadside ice ! My type of day! Helmet on back to front what and idiot!

Off to find some roadside ice and another early start, I hope the roads are okay. All these really cold days and tales of roadside ice are my type of climbing, an old man day.  We will see what we find!  I am looking for a small walk in and good ice – with nobody about and blue skies, not much to wish for! With all these cold nights and the hills nearby full of snow. Kit getting sorted, crampons, harness, ice screws, (hopefully)  helmet, axes and all the gear, for a bit of fun.  I have a few ideas, and sometimes they come off, sometimes not anyway it will be a day out and a visit ti some old haunts may prove worthwhile, even with the early start.

If not I am sure we will find a coffee shop!  Be safe out there



One of the things you have to be aware of is the damage you can do plants when ice climbing in poor conditions when the ground is not frozen.

The BMC have a very interesting  video on this problem. You will get it on the BMC Website or UKC climbing Forum.

In the video from the BMC Rob Dyer talks us through assessing winter conditions to help avoid damage to rare plants.

” Winter routes often follow drainage lines and vegetated rock, which also provide habitat for some incredibly rare Arctic alpine plant species. We are fortunate in England and Wales because our mountain crags hold some of the most southern populations of these plants.

We’re only now discovering some of these precious populations. Thanks to overzealous Victorian plant collectors and upland sheep, they’re very scarce. Many remaining populations are only found in inaccessible places where they have been safe from hungry sheep and greedy collectors – steep rocky crags…

The most important point to remember is that routes relying on turf or frozen vegetation should only be climbed when they’re frozen hard. Providing the turf is fully frozen, environmental damage will be minimal.

Fully frozen turf has long been considered by winter climbers to be crucial for the obvious reason that unfrozen turf can be ripped off and the character of the route may change drastically. So if the turf is soft or loose, if your tools rip through it or remove chunks, or if there’s dirt on your picks after removing them – don’t climb.”

Food for thought?

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Equipment, Flora, Mountaineering, Plants, Scottish winter climbing.. Bookmark the permalink.

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