Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Abseiling Thoughts...Is your belay plate worn out?

~ Saturday 27th June 2015

A week working on the BMG Alpine Summer training course let me see the world from the "other" end of the rope for a change. A "client" perspective on being short-roped, belayed, abseiled and generally looked after! One thought was on abseiling...

"Stacking" is the normal, safe way to manage abseils, and leaves the second and third person with this view, as the leader disappears in to the void.

Then we looked more closely...

...especially at the top of the belay plate where the rope bends sharply round an edge.

which made me happy to have a newish one!

GORETEXeu trip to the Balmhorn

~ Thursday 18th June 2015

2 days in the Oberland with a huge team from GORETEX Europe. As part of their ongoing relationship with GORE, the BMG provided guides for a big, international group of competition winners hoping to make the ascent of the Balmhorn. I say "hoping" because the weather was looking doubtful, and the Balmhorn is a 1700m ascent from the hut - a tough challenge for people who'd flown in yesterday from all over the world!

The Oberland seen fro the Balmhorn.

The pre-dawn saw us leave the hut in damp, cloudy conditions. Not ideal. Reaching the glacier a couple of hours later after a long and confusing ascent through moraine, and we were still in the clouds. Luckily, as we joined the summit ridge at 3000m, we climbed above the clouds into a stunning inversion! Good snow conditions, stunning views, and a fine summit were a well-earned reward!

Emerging into the sun on the start of the summit ridge

Resting before the final part of the ridge

Nearing the top, with fine views to the South

The last 15 minutes of a long ascent!

Teams above a sea of clouds

Ceuse Rock Climbing

~ Thursday 11th June 2015

Just back from a week in Ceuse, near Gap in the South of France. Ceuse is arguably one of the best cliffs in Provence, which makes it one of the best in France, which makes it one of the world's best. It's famous for very hard climbing on perfect, pocketed rock, but luckily has lots of great climbing in the mid grades too. It's high, so not too hot in the summer, and has a great campsite at the bottom. The catch is the the walk-in - a stiff hour or so uphill from the campsite, laden with a huge 80m rope - ideal preparation for the imminent summer Alpine season! Climbing partner for the week was our Webmaster "FreeRange" Chris, but we got the work stuff out of the way quickly and the rest was pure holiday.

Day 1 warm-up at Demi-Lune

Luke from London going for it on Super Mickey

Finnish Anna going for it on Privilege du Serpent

Chris on Tabernac

Afternoon storms approach

A quick Éole route before catching the train

Paragliding in Evolene

~ Wednesday 3rd June 2015

Helping out the Evolene Paragliding school by driving their bus this morning. There are some great take-offs above Evolene, accessible by long walks or short 4x4 drives (with special permission)

This morning was spectacular, with perfect flying conditions and great views for a first flight...

Or for more experienced flyers logging the required 50 flights to get their licence

Then this guy came along to show us how it's done!

Buff Headgear

~ Tuesday 2nd June 2015

I've been trying out some different Buffs recently. Summer and winter, you need protection from wind, cold and sun, and Buffs seem to do it all with simple, lightweight and cheap headgear. There's a bewildering range of styles and patterns to choose from but you'd struggle to beat the Original Buff. It's a scarf/hat/headband/face cover depending on conditions, and we're giving one free with Alpine bookings.

I've been using a Bandana Buff too. Basically the same shape as an Original Buff but with a little extra material - a tiny change that seems to make a big difference. The extra triangle covers the back of the neck as sun protection, or drops further down the throat at the front for wind protection when worn as a neck-scarf, and it also works well as a Bandana!

For hot summer or ski touring days when you need sun protection without overheating, the Headband is ideal. Comfy, very lightweight, and not too warm, it keeps the ears and forehead safely covered and protected from the sun, without boiling your head like a warm hat would! Comfy under a helmet too, or as a sweatband. A Buff takes up about the same space as a hanky, but looks much more stylish!

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