Honest Climbers – great finds on the hills and Corries. “Crag Swag” etc.

In the old days when it was in Black and white we used to scavenge for gear at the end of the winter season. Equipment was expensive we were “poor”and often we would find some great gear below the busy routes.

Classic areas like the Northern Corries, Ben Nevis and Glencoe. We found lots of pegs, screws and carabiners in various states of wear.A few years ago recently we found two new technical axes worth £400 “ Quarks” below the waterfall “Oui Oui” near Newtonmore. They were returned to the rich doctors who lost them for a donation to Mountain Rescue all through the modern media.

Nowadays if you look on line people find gear and it usually gets returned . Are we a lot more honest nowadays ?

Yet in my early days of “Crag Swag” I found a new pair Chouinard climax axe and hammer. This was below Hells Lum crag in the Cairngorms. In these days there were few ways to find out whose they were. They are now on my wall on a board. This was the 1970’s !

The Chouinard Climax axe and hammer.

There is a line below Tower ridge I think (Pinnacle Buttress of the tower the Broad Gully below Tower Ridge )where in summer we found so much stuff we had to abseil off. It was the big broad terrace below the ridge. As I saw gear the rucksack etc I feared the worse expecting a macabre find but it was just gear that had fallen from the popular Tower Ridge.We took it to the Police Station in Fort William there were several hill bags, a camera an ice axe and lots of other gear.

I found original avalanche probe broken near Castle Ridge. I later found out they were made by the RAF Mountain Rescue Team in the 50’s out of Gas piping in the Station workshops. I also found an old Alpine axe in North Gully on Ben Nevis. It’s cleaned up and a new shaft and another memento.

Ben Nevis Op 3/1953

It’s still worth a look when the snow goes. Or are we to rich to recycle these treasures? There must be many stories out there of finds. Nowadays will it be phones , Gps and lease/ less axes ? Early recycling?

In summer now that’s another tale some routes you always find gear. A great place was Arran South Ridge Direct was always a day where you could find gear. Glencoe’s Crypt route has so much gear dropped you can see it below but you would have to be a caver to get it. Skye was always a good place to find gear as well, I always find gear here. I will leave you to think of the many other mountain crags that have lots of finds. Is there such a thing as Archaeological finds in climbing gear.

Comments as always welcome.

Comments Booty

Adrian Trendall – Great read, Heavy. Spent many happy hours looking for lost gear. Best find by far was we retreated off the classic N Face route on Grande Jorasses in a storm. Took a moe direct ab line after seeing anchor off route with backpack hanging on it. After that every 50m a bombproof 3 anchor ab point and being cheap skates think we took two of the anchors out at each ab. Half way down found an A5 double portaledge in a haul bag then increasing amounts of gear including a brand new rope still sealed in plastic bag inside a stuff sac. Complete rack of cams, pegs, nuts etc. Got a great photo somewhere of me on glacier below with all this booty. Turned out a few years earlier Jeff Lowe and Catherine Destiville tried a super direct winter line and bailed off leaving stuff everywhere. Ironic really since at time Jeff had a big thing about cleaning up mountains. The portaledge bag had Jeffs name and a PO box address in Boulder. This was pre internet days and I wrote to him but never heard anything back. Sold most of the stuff on campsite in Cham and funded an extension to my trip.

John Easton

Lochnagar was pretty good for “found gear” along the bottom of the crags once the snow started melting.
My best find was in the northern Carries – two sets of pristine crampons. Me being a good boy(?) they spent the required time in the Aviemore police station before finding their way back on to the hills on my feet.
On the negative side, did anyone out there find my Curver axe? I lent it to a young lady who lost it when she slid off the Fiacaill into Sneachda.

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Equipment, Friends, Gear, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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