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Any need for axe/crampons now?

Any need for axe/crampons now?


Postby sking40 » Thu May 27, 2021 1:32 pm

Obviously it's not real winter any more, but is there likely to be any need for winter equipment on some high ridges next week (end of May). In particular the CMD arete? I'm after some info from anyone who has actually been there in the past week or so, rather than any speculation.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby jmarkb » Thu May 27, 2021 2:17 pm

There are some recent posts on the "Ground conditions in Scottish mountains" Facebook page that you may find helpful.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby sking40 » Thu May 27, 2021 2:54 pm

Thanks for pointing me there. Looks unlikely except for the possibility of a few short segments on certain ridges. I'm going in the car so will take at least my crampons anyway (not sure how useful an axe will be, but could chuck it in). I'll leave the B2 boots at home though as I'm taking the B1's and fabric summer boots which will be enough.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu May 27, 2021 11:38 pm

If for some reason you can only take one - surely axe comes first. :?
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby WalkWithWallace » Fri May 28, 2021 8:23 am

Sunset tripper wrote:If for some reason you can only take one - surely axe comes first. :?


Agreed, if its one or the other I would take the axe. Offers a bit of security if you have to cross a large snow patch, can cut steps with it too.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby sking40 » Fri May 28, 2021 9:55 am

That does appear to be the standard thinking among forums like this. Though I don't why - to me the security of crampons over a patch of ice or hard snow feels like much more use than trying to flail around with a axe IF you slip due to having no crampons.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby Pointless Parasite » Fri May 28, 2021 11:43 am

Would you bother fitting crampons for one awkward snow patch though? The problem with crampons is you need the right boots, and it's not a great idea to wear stiff soled boots unless you really need them. At this time of the year most snow patches are the soft sugary stuff, not hard or icy snow. I had this problem at the weekend and needed to turn back, despite having both crampons and an ice axe. Another option is microspikes, but they're still a pain to fit for just one patch of snow.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby sking40 » Fri May 28, 2021 11:58 am

My Scarpa SL are B1 which I use all year round, particularly for ridgy walks (also have B2 for proper winter). I get your point about not bothering to fit them for one awkward patch, but I hope I've learned my lessons in not delaying crampon fitting now. I've also had to turn back from certain places not far from summits with both B2 boots, crampons and axe so I know the feeling, but also my own limits! Not sure of any point in microspikes, unless you're walking round town in a ski resort.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby simon-b » Fri May 28, 2021 12:14 pm

Agree with others about axe first. Surely in situations where crampons are needed, then the axe is a basic safety requirement. And for routine work as well, I've never needed crampons in Scotland in summer, but did once use an axe to descend a steep snow slope in late June.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby madprof » Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:30 pm

sking40 wrote:That does appear to be the standard thinking among forums like this. Though I don't why - to me the security of crampons over a patch of ice or hard snow feels like much more use than trying to flail around with a axe IF you slip due to having no crampons.


Because the axe helps you self-arrest and you can still get it wrong with crampons and go down.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby Border Reiver » Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:59 pm

sking40 wrote:That does appear to be the standard thinking among forums like this. Though I don't why - to me the security of crampons over a patch of ice or hard snow feels like much more use than trying to flail around with a axe IF you slip due to having no crampons.
It's not unusual for walkers to trip when using crampons (front spike catching in gaiter strap of other boot) hence the need for some to carry both crampons and ice axe. I've done it myself, forgetting the golden rule of keeping cramponned feet well apart and lifted high enough when walking. Also, anyone who is proficient with an ice axe, will seldom, if ever find themselves flailing around with their axe. Plenty of practice will ensure that the ice axe user will automatically and quickly bring it into the self arrest position.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby Giant Stoneater » Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:38 am

At the start of the week people were turning back near the top of Ben Nevis due to it being like a ice rink.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:17 am

Snow from about 1200m elevation onwards on the Ben Nevis mountain path and unavoidable. I was up there a few days ago via CMD and no snow on that route until the summit plateau.
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby mrssanta » Sat Jun 05, 2021 1:02 pm

Any news about snow on grey Corries and Aonachs?
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Re: Any need for axe/crampons now?

Postby malrobb » Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:45 pm

I did the Stob Ban and the Grey Corries Ridge a couple of weeks ago (Sat 22May) and we didn't need them. Only had to cross a couple of snow patches. The Aonachs looked a bit more laden with snow but that was from some distance away.
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