The first trip to Canada in 1983 was a great trip, the best expedition I have ever been on, we went as a group of friends and everything was new. We were one of the first groups ever to visit from the UK it was an incredible time. Tom had read about Canada along with Mark Sinclair in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal in an article by an ex Scots pat Bugs Mc Keith. It told of huge curtains of ice, new routes a mecca for climbers and lots of new routes waiting to be climbed. He never said how steep the ice was and how limited the protection was and little was said about the scary long abseils off. There were few belay stations in these days and everything was very new. It was a long journey to Canada and we arrived in mid winter in Calgarry in -20 normal for the time of year. We could only afford one car between the 6 of us and that meant 2 trips from the airport a 5 hour return trip in mid winter in Canada. The gear we had was very simple compared with the gear now as was the clothing. We had never climbed ice so steep and long as in Canada it was a huge awaking. Our gear though was great for the time and Chouinard rigid Crampons – a nightmare of bolts but magic on the ice. 12 point adjustable crampons with neoprene straps.Spare screws and allan key in plastic bag. Photo Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection well worth a look.
Look at the website http://www.smhc.co.uk
Plastic Boots – wonderful. warm but hard to walk in
Yeti Gaiters – lasted a few weeks on rough ground.
Rohan Trousers – expensive but warm
Whillians Harness – simple harness but a breakthrough at the time. If you fell the early nylon harness cut in the legs on a big fall. Do not fall!
Sticht plate belay device.
Troll tape slings another magic piece of gear. We left so much abseil tat we ran out after two weeks. It was scary abseiling of ice belays!
The Classic Helly Hansen jumper what a great piece of gear.
Chouinard Frost Axe and hammer marvelous – the thud of the axe in ice was so re assuring
Chouinard zero ice axe. Wooden shaft with metal at base. One hole in middle of head painted blue inside. Adze, serrated pick.Pointed spike on ferrule with two flat sides and a white circle on each.
Dachstein mitts – say no more.
Lightweight helmet, so much more comfort than the Joe Brown.