Comfort and Suffering

Scottish Winter Mountaineering and Climbing

Im writing this from The Cold Hotel - my van, parked up at my usual Fort William overnight doss spot. My fingers feel sharp with cold. I’m not complaining, many seasons of winters spent in my beloved metal box have rendered this existence something that I miss when I’ve been away from it for periods of time. Boxes of semi organised kit fill the space around me, and I’m semi organised for tomorrow. Another early freezing start beckons. Tomorrow I’m meeting up with Jamie to catch the early climber’s gondola up to Aonach Mor and on over to the East Face where this evening’s plans will hopefully be realised. I was up there today on an avalanche training course, delivered by Graham Moss of the Scottish Avalanche Information Service, for members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors. It was a good course - the best I’ve been on, and peering over the East Face made up my mind for tomorrow. I’ve been up in Scotland for two weeks now and had two days off since being here. I’m heading into another block of activity and very much looking forward to it. 

My hill legs are kicking back into gear. The pistons have started to pound after a creaky, un-oiled start. The heavy pack is starting to feel lighter and my shoulders are able to relax, my feet are finding the right spots under the masking snow in which to step. I’m beginning to feel the mountains as friends again. 

In the last week I’ve been staying in a lovely rented house in Glen Coe. It beats staying in the van, or in club huts hands down. With large, cosy, warm rooms, with plenty space to speed yourself out. Pulkit, Qin and Ankur stayed for two nights and we went out for a couple of day’s winter skills training. Then friends from Bristol - Ed and Alex came to stay and we had four days winter climbing around Glen Coe. Thanks all for making the long journey North…