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Winterising Your Rack

Pete Rollins topping out on 'Albatross' on the North Face of Ben Nevis during the International Winter Climbing Meet. Albatross is an icy mixed route where a variety of protection types are required.

Advice on making the most of your summer and winter racks for winter climbing....

The winter game is a tough one and a cool head, warm body and eye for conditions will all help to get you up your chosen route.

In discussing the rack requirements for a winter climber one could cite the extremely ‘minimalist’ gear used by Patey on Eagle Ridge in 1953 or Smith on his eponymous Nevis ice route in 1960. By comparison we now have a fantastic array of hardware at our disposal. This is great as, let’s face it; most of us are pretty keen to stack the odds in our favour as much as possible.

However a winter rack can be a heavy, spiky and expensive beast so here are some tips to help you adapt your rock climbing rack and decide what extra winter protection you really need.