+44 (0) 1479 831 331 info@scotmountainholidays.com

Gear Advice

Summer kit list
  • Windproof/Waterproof jacket with hood
  • Windproof/Waterproof trousers
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Proper Walking boots and socks (not walking shoes nor sneakers/approach shoes )
  • Walking poles (optional)
  • Ruck Sack – 30 litre plus capacity
  • Warm clothing – (e.g. fleece or 2 x thin wool jumpers)
  • Hat (warm and sun hats)
  • Gloves
  • Walking Trousers (not jeans)
  • Sun block
  • Sun glasses (optional)
  • Water bottle/flask
  • Towel
  • Slippers/indoor shoes
  • Outdoor shoes for bus, etc
  • Thermal underwear top or warm shirt (preferably not cotton)
  • Shorts and T-shirt (optional)

If you are coming on a navigation course then you will also need to bring the following:

  • Compass: Silva Expedition 4 preferred using degrees and not military mils, etc
  • Map: O.S. 1:50000 preferred (Sheet 36: Grantown and the Cairngorms)

Map and compass are not essential for the guided walking holidays but if you would like to bring your own maps please do – just check with Andy which maps will cover all the routes he intends to do.

Clients are advised to avoid wearing clothing made out of 100% cotton for mountaineering since cotton loses a lot of its thermal potential when wet. It is far more versatile to opt for a number of thin layers, as opposed to a couple of thick layers with regards to warm clothing.

If you have any doubts on the suitability of your kit please don’t hesitate to contact us: 01479 831 331.

Winter Kit List
  • Waterproof jacket (old one if you have it for self-arrest) – a duvet jacket is no substitute.
  • Waterproof trousers/sallopetes (avoid Paclite Gortex if you can as it isn’t robust enough – we have spare overtrousers to put over the top if need be)
  • Gaiters – large enough to go over winter boots – essential to preventing snow getting in and hence wet boots.
  • Winter boots* (B2 or B3 rated).
  • Head torch (plus spare batteries)
  • Crampons
  • Ice axe* preferably no longer than 55cm.
  • Walking Poles (optional)
  • Ruck sack – minimum 30 litres, ideally 40 litres i.e. one that can take all the gear within including a helmet and crampons
  • Rucsac liner e.g ‘rubble’ bag
  • Fleece jacket/tops including one thick one for putting on at stops/breaks
  • Warm Hat
  • Warm Gloves (and adequate spare if on Snow-holing Expedition)
  • Fleece Neck Gaiter
  • Warm trousers (not jeans and not made of cotton, preferably fleece or salopettes)
  • Walking socks
  • Sun block (optional)
  • Ski goggles – double lens, anti-fog (essential – sun glasses aren’t adequate). For those who normally wear glasses you may want to consider contact lenses. Anticipate wearing contact lenses for 8hrs plus alternatively you might want to spray your glasses with de-mister.
  • Sunglasses (optional)
  • Water bottle and flask preferable (Hydration bladder hoses readily freeze – fill with warm drink and empty hose after each drink)
  • Thermal underwear
  • Towel
  • Slippers/indoor shoes
  • Outdoor shoes for bus, etc
  • Helmet – for winter skills refreshment day, bring if you have one.
  • Mobile phone
  • Lunch box
  • Camera (optional)

These items can be hired. Please call 01479 831 331 to check for hire rates.

If you are coming on a winter course (including Hogmanay) then you will also need to bring the following:

  • Stop Watch
  • Compass: Silva Expedition 4 preferred using degrees and not military mils, etc
  • Map: O.S. 1:50000 preferred (Sheet 36: Grantown and the Cairngorms)

If you’re coming on our Snowhole Expedition, Knoydart Winter Wilderness Expedition or Cairngorm 4 K’ers Winter Odessey trips then you will also need to bring the following:

  • Sleeping bag that goes down to around -10 Deg C
  • Full length sleeping mat

Map and compass are not essential for the guided walking holidays but if you would like to bring your own maps please do – just check with Andy which maps will cover all the routes he intends to do.

Clients are advised to avoid wearing clothing made out of 100% cotton for mountaineering since cotton loses a lot of its thermal potential when wet. It is far more versatile to opt for a number of thin layers, as opposed to a few thick layers with regards to warm clothing.

If you have any doubts on the suitability of your kit please don’t hesitate to contact us: 01479 831 331.

Training Camp Kit Lists

Run Camp:

  • 2 pairs of run shoes.(1 of off road pair if have them)
    shower/water proof run jacket
  • run socks
  • gloves and hat/skip
  • sunglasess…you just might need them !!
  • 2/3pair run tights/shorts
  • 2 sports bottles
  • 1 hand towel
  • personal gels/energy drinks
  • heart rate monitor if have one

Triathlon Camp:

  • 2 pairs of run shoes.(1 of off road pair if have them)
  • shower/water proof run jacket
  • run socks
  • gloves and hat/skip
  • sunglasess…you just might need them !!
  • 2/3pair run tights/shorts
  • 1 road worthy bicycle
  • 1pr cycling shoes
  • 1 cycling helmet
  • cycling top
  • cycling leggings
  • overshoes and warm gloves
  • spare tube/gas and tyre levers
  • 2 sports bottles
  • 1 hand towel
  • personal gels/energy drinks
  • swim trunks
  • goggles
  • fins/paddles/kick board if have them
  • heart rate monitor if have one

Boot Camp:

  • 1 pair of run shoes
  • 1 pair of walking shoes
  • leggings/shorts
  • exercise tops
  • 1 sports bottle
  • 1 hand towel
  • waterproof jacket
  • fleece jacket
  • sunglasses(you never know)

Boot manufactures along with many retailers have adopted a crampon compatibility scheme to try to clarify which boot models are capable of taking which types of crampons.

The boot grading goes from B0 to B3 and crampons go from C1 to C3. B0 boots aren’t suitable with crampons and a B1 boot is only compatible with a C1 crampon etc (see table below)

 C1 CramponsC2 CramponsC3 Crampons
B0 bootsNoNoNo
B1 bootsYES (see notes on boots)NoNo
B2 bootsYesYesNo
B3 bootsYesYesYes

C1 crampons are the flexible walking type, which have a flexible shank connecting the front and rear sections of the crampon. Their attachment is by either straps or a plastic cradle/strap system (less fiddly). They do not involve a toe bale (wire) or heel clip arrangement. They usually have between 8 and 12 points.

C2 crampons (a.k.a. Hybrid Crampons) at least articulate between the front and rear portions of the crampon whether this is through being able to pivot around at a particular point or more commonly through a flexible shank again. Their attachment to the boot is via a heel clip arrangement and a plastic cradle/strap (for the toe). They’re generally a lot less fiddly to put on when hands are cold. They have 12 points with the front 2/4 at an aggressive somewhat forward pointing (lobster claw) angle and are suitable for general mountaineering and winter climbing. I recommend this type providing your boot is of adequate stiffness.

C3 crampons are designed for a fully rigid boot with hard technical ice climbing in mind and are not very well suited to being used as a general mountaineering crampon.

C1 and C2 crampons now days have a horizontal ‘frame’ with the points having been bent down in their construction. This is as opposed to a vertical frame where the points extend down. The latter type tends to ‘ball-up’ far more readily thereby rendering the points ineffective. Balling-up is the phenomenon by which, in certain snow conditions, snow builds up on the underside of the crampon/boot sole thereby rendering the points ineffective. In the boot/crampon system the boot should provide the rigidity or the life of the crampon is likely to be greatly reduced.

Most crampons now automatically come fitted with anti-ball plates due to it being law in France. These are pieces of rubber, which attach to the crampon and don’t allow the snow to stick. Alternatively the problem can be dealt with by banging the shaft of your ice axe against the side of your boot though this is a hassle and can slow the pace considerably. It is definitely preferable to have anti-ball plates.

Crampon compatibility is by no means the only criteria on which to determine whether a boot is suitable for Scottish winter. In winter there is generally far greater variety in the snow and ice conditions encountered than on any remaining snow in summer. Within 100m the underfoot conditions can change back and forth many times.

A good winter mountaineer will have an array of techniques to deal with the variable conditions and situations. B1 boots are often too flexible to effectively kick steps in harder snow as well as apply Front Pointing and American/hybrid crampon techniques on steep terrain. When Front Pointing in hard conditions the toe will bend up, the heal will drop and then the front pints will shear out of the snow or ice surface. There is then the risk of you falling backwards out of your step. They will also have less grip in icy conditions compared with their stiffer cousins. The addition of crampons doesn’t necessarily solve the problem as they can feel very awkward on e.g. rough rocky ground with a thin covering of fresh snow. With stiffer boots you can manage to wear your crampons less and therefore save on energy.

Your boot is as much a tool as your axe or your crampons. Admittedly Front Pointing is a technique more applicable to the winter climber than walker but you don’t want to be limiting the techniques at your disposal before you have even ventured into the mountains. If you are looking to get the most out of an Introductory Winter Skills course or are planning to regularly go winter walking it’s definitely a case of going for a B2 boot or more. B1 boots with crampons may be OK for crossing a snowfield or glacier in summer but it doesn’t automatically make them good winter boots. Unfortunately many gear shops are still advising people that B1 boots are OK for Scotland’s winter mountains.

It’s also important to check the condition of your sole. The edges of the sole and tread should be sharp and not worn. If they are it’s probably time to get them resoled or buy a new pair.

The upper has to be robust enough to allow the crampon straps to be done up tightly without causing your foot to feel restricted.

Comfort is also a very important factor. Don’t rely on “breaking the boot in” should they not be a perfect fit in the shop. Your boots may “break” you first. Pay close attention to whether there is any heal lift as you rock forward on to the toe of the boot. Remember with walking in crampons there will be additional leverage on the heel as you rock your centre of gravity over your front points as you walk.

Insulation is also very import and a boot that has been designed with winter in mind should be adequately insulated. Often the additional insulation provides added padding and hence comfort.

Generally a high quality leather boot is more durable and waterproof in the long term.

If you are thinking about buying boots then check that the shop staff have been properly trained in boot fitting (i.e. they’ve been on a Phil Oren’s boot fitting course or equivalent) and that they will be available when you want to try the boots on. They’re often able to tailor the fit of the boot with the addition e.g. insoles, volume reducers, etc if need be.

The shaft: If you’re thinking about purchasing an ice axe before you come on a course, here’s a little demonstration on your ability to brace the shaft against your torso and hence the appropriate length of around 55cm. Many shops still subscribe to the convention that an axe used for winter walking should have a long shaft. We do not.

Demonstration: your hands should be close into your sides when bracing the axe. Hold your left hand clenched, slightly away & just below your left hip level and get someone to push down on it whilst you resist. You should find you’re only mainly able to use the small muscle groups in you arms. Then hold you left fist level & to the side of your chest and repeat the procedure. You should be able to apply more resistance due to the use of the large muscles groups (back, chest & shoulders) of your upper torso.

The final arresting position of all the various self-arrest techniques is about bracing the shaft of the axe in as tight as possible against your chest – i.e. using as much muscle power as is possible. There are some advantages of having a longer shafted axe but they are outweighed by the disadvantages. The shaft should be straight or nearly straight.

The pick should be curved but not inclined (as in many technical climbing axes). The most versatile type of axe is sometimes referred to as an Alpine axe i.e. there is a reasonable downward curve on the pick & a straight shaft. This axe would allow you to both successfully self-arrest as well as do easy grade ice climbs should your aspire to this in the future.

Axe leash – they have their pros and con’s which will be covered on the course. For training purposes they are best not used. Our advice is to postpone making the decision to purchase a leash until completing the course.

The adze (spade shaped component to the axe head) should not be too steeply inclined as in Grivel’s Eagle axe and some climbing axes.

Sticks – yes sticks are O.K. with certain provisos. This will be covered in the course. If you need any further advice please don’t hesitate to contact me on: 01479 831 331.

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