Chasing the Ephemeral – Simon Richardson. What a book a classic to rival Cold Climbs?


( Ephemeral – lasting for a short time}.

Never being a good climber I have been so lucky to have had so many adventures in the winter all over Scotland. I loved the winter  and winter climbing I was lucky that in my time did many of the classics of the day on Scotland’s winter cliffs. I had so many great partners all more talented than me but taking me to places that were usually quite not too busy and at times wild and incredible. It was not just the classic areas Lochnagar, Cairngorms, Glencoe and the Ben but we climbed all over the North West, the Borders and the southern Highlands and even the Islands. My Munro bagging helped open out many of the new climbing arenas with the troops may that are now popular and we did a few routes we never claimed as was the norm at the time.

The better gear, equipment,transport, the good roads helped push standards add to that the internet and the magic knowledge of  where and when to go have dispelled some of the magic and mystery of winter climbing.  I said a few years ago I would cut down my library of mountaineering books and guides but this book is too good for that is an incredible read. It arrived this week and what a  great read it is. It has the best winter climbing photos I have ever seen, the diagrams, topos, route descriptions and tips on how to get the best out of winter and its varying conditions are incredible.

There are also thankfully some of the easier routes that even I have done and what a joy to read and look at and maybe just may be getting “Dan the Man” out again this winter. This is the new classic to rival Cold Climbs and that is some statement as that book that has stood the test of time. Getting old is hard and I would love to be younger and have more ability but what a fire this book will light in the winter climbers hearts.

If your partner winter climbs this is the Christmas present for them, how long will it take for them to get it open and be in a world of snow, ice, aches and magic?

This is a masterpiece and will be a best seller.

“Being in the right place at the right time is critical when Scottish Winter Climbing. This guide will help you make the right choices – do you go high or low, head east, west or north, or attempt snowed-up rock, mixed or ice climbs? With more than 600 new Scottish Winter Climbs to his credit, Simon Richardson reveals his simple strategy for success and selects 50 climbs to put on your hit-list.There is a detailed analysis of the strategy and tactics Scottish Winter Climbers need, taking into account Scotland’s sometimes fickle conditions and unpredictable weather. There are sections on using weather forecasts, using the internet, avoiding avalanches, clothing and equipment, protection, navigation, timing, partners and psychology. Simon also presents 50 climbs mostly in the Grade III to VI range, specifically selected to match a variety of Scottish conditions. Each climb is supported by a map and topo, with access and descent details, route description, optimum conditions and top tips. Climbs include well-known classics and lesser-known gems. There are suggestions for more than 200 alternative routes from Grade II to Grade VII. Detailed overviews are included of approaches and descents on Ben Nevis with North Face panorama and map and summit descent bearings. There is also the largest ever collection of photographs of Scottish Winter Climbers in action!”

The Classic Cold Climbs by Ken Wilson.

The Classic Cold Climbs by Ken Wilson.

The Quest

“And what joy think ye, did they feel after the exceeding long and troublous ascent ?- after

Scrambling, slipping

Pulling, pushing.

Lifting , gasping.

Looking, hoping.

Despairing, climbing.

Holding on, falling off

Trying, puffing.

Loosing, gathering.

Talking, stepping.

Grumbling, anathematising.

Scraping, hacking.-

Bumping, jogging.

Overturning, hunting

Straddling, –

To know you that by these methods   alone are the most divine mysteries of the Quest reached.

Divine Mysteries of the Oromaniacal Quest by Norman Collie Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal. 1894

Says it all!

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Mountaineering, Poems, Recomended books and Guides, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.