It’s great to have a look at old photos. The one above must be early 60’s winter climbing. I used to look at it and be in awe of the guys. The gear is so basic but it opened a new world to me.
We used to go monthly to the Lakes from North Wales when I was stationed at Valley in Anglesey. These were great trips it was always busy and we climbed on many of the great cliffs. We had a great day in the Red Tarn area when we introduced a few of the younger team members to winter climbing. The dog is ahead with my mate Jock soling great fun days late 70,s I think ?
John Cosgrove and Dave Wood coming of Ben Nevis in winter after a route. Both are wearing a wooly jumper that I read about in the Classic Ice climbing “Cold Climbs” note the classic gear. Dachstein Boots and wooly breeks.
Cold Climbs became a huge favourite book of mine. I bought it and we took a copy to Canada when we went ice climbing in the early 80’s. The photos and climbers essays on routes plus the historical facts made climb many routes. Tone this book is a superb insight into the climbing up to that era. Photos that standout Tom Patey wearing simple gear and a wooly jumper looking exhausted. I think this book took many on a journey all over the UK chasing their dreams. What a classic in my view?
I received this photo a few years ago from the Marines who ran over the summits and had a wee service on Remberance Day. It was lovely to see as the Sgt Major had read my blog on the the Lancaster Crash in 1951.
This photo of myself and Bill Batson completing a route on Lochnagar. Though an easy climb Central Buttress. We had a couple of new troops with us when the weather hit us. It was hard work getting off the hill. Yet I was with Bill and Ned Kelly you could not get better companions. We all took turns on navigation. It was a hard day but they young ones came back with a idea of what winter can be like.
Lochnagar was a favourite mountain of mine I climbed here often especially when I was posted to RAF Buchan near Peterhead. Once we ran a winter course here and that was hard going. The Cornice was huge on Raeburns gully and we had to throw a rope to get our pals off. The weather was wild and it was getting dark. They could not get the ropes off they were frozen solid and they still were as we got back to our transport.
I had some serious lesson taught to me here. The weather forecast in these days was not very accurate. We often got hit by storms coming from the bitter East winds. Cornices could be huge and on Rescues the weather and wind in the Corrie could throw a helicopter about. This mountain was a haunt on Tom Patey and some of his mates from Aberdeen of his exploits here are legendary
I lost two great pals who fell on Parallel B gully in winter March 1995. It was a tragic time that took me years to get over. It was nearly 10 years that I climbed in winter on Lochnagar again. What a mountain what memories.
Of all the companions on the mountains my dog Teallach was outstanding . I have a book of tales about him. What a dog on the hills.
Comments as always welcome