Mountain history

For those of us interested in recent (50-60 years) mountain history, especially mountain rescue and general adventure. Check out the John Hinde diaries

Thanks to Fiona, his daughter for archiving these online. I was fortunate enough to work with John at Loch Eil Centre. He was also on an joint services expedition to Mt McKinley in 1962. A ‘true’ adventurer. An inspirational person.

Crevasse Rescue

Some research is being carried out by mountain guides in Chamonix on methods and kit for holding falls into crevasse slots. Much of this will be familiar to many, but it’s always worth revisiting common areas of concern to reinforce and invigorate questions about how we do things. Check out part of MCofS – BMC video and Technora for Glacier Travel and 

ballee blanche

Vallee Blanche

Cape Wrath Trail map

The respected map maker, Harvey, will soon be publishing a brand new map for the Cape Wrath Trail. It should be out soon for the present season. Any trail walkers interested in arranging transport back south from the northmost end at Cape Wrath should get in touch with Durness Bus
More details to follow on Cape Wrath Trail website

Matterhorn 2014

Matterhorn Base Camp 2014
The Hörnlihut will be closed until July 2015 due to restruction.
For the comming summer 2014 we will build on 2880 Meter a Base Camp
for 50 persons. (half way up between Schwarzsee and the Hörnlihut)
The Base Camp will be open from Juy 14 untill Sept.15
The price will be CHF 150.- per person (cash only).
This includes dinner at 19:00, breakfast and overnight in one of the shelters
The shelters are equipped with sleeping bags, you have to bring with you only the silk sleepingbag

Reservations will be taken only by telefon after May 19th. 2014
Tel N°: 0041 (0)27 967 22 64

Foundation Hörnlihütte Zermatt
Kurt Lauber & Team

Why not just walk up from Schwarzee? Run cable cars, starting midnight from Zermatt and add a couple of hours to the ascent! Soup kitchen at the Solvay Hut. Sounds like a plan to me. Looks like the Italian Route will become more popular. Regulation on the way?

Summit view towards Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn

Summit view towards Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn

Found kit

Radio found

Radio found

Found recently in Scotland. If you know where you lost it and the persons name on the front I can return. One bottle of red wine and postage please!

Nae Chance


It’s raining so a rant for your amusement, of course it’s all bullying! NOT from AK!! Just a very good pal.

Why on earth would a Scot who gave England an intelligent Stuart Monarch, to replace a barren semi legitimate Tudor, so that England, Wales & Ireland became part of the Scottish Isles, give up what they had so long desired, a united kingdom under Scottish rule. James VI sensibly told the Saxons that they better thole the arrangement and accept that they were to be British, e.g. a subset of the people that Edward thought he had conquered, and expect them to fight under a Union Jack with a thinly disguised St Andrews Cross as its main element.

Then to better exploit the resources of England corrupt and avaricious Scots united the parliaments and exploited both the resources and English market to build an industrial power, and spread Scottish influence and products throughout the World, making the Scots the wealthiest and most successful sub set of the British Diaspora. Scots governed many of the colonies, and governed England much of the time. It could be said that the UK operated mostly in the interest of Scotland, and probably still does. A Scot is welcome almost everywhere.

What rational that has any merit justifies breaking this arrangement which has benefited Scots, and economic immigrants like ourselves. It is very hard to be positive about a thoroughly crap idea.

This Brave Heart syndrome, that seems to have revived the Jacobite cause, would leave Scotland separated from the wealth and economic strength Scots did so much to develop. It’s like cutting off a nation’s nose to spite its face. The fact that the Norman usurpers of both countries found common cause and continued to exploit the indigenous population of both countries seems to be written out of the narrative. Class divisions and the divide between rich and poor will remain, and probably become more acute. The problem is not one of nationality but of economic power and exploitation, which has to fought on an international scale.

The whole discussion lead by the media and purportedly artistic community based on cultural identity is almost daft; the culture of Scotland was exported by Scottish landlords to make way for sheep. It is more honoured among the consequent Diaspora than here. The Gaelic culture barely survives, and the present Scottish culture only prospers as a local variety of Anglophone culture. Local dialect has largely disappeared. Sikhs, Moslems and Poles probably have a more coherent cultural identity. Many of the media arguments are redolent of insecurity not confidence.

I would be convinced if the former SLF conducted its business in Gaelic and landlords spoke to estate workers in Gaelic, rather than the language of the dominant minority and exploiter being the lingua franca.

The idea that Scotland could not be independent is a non argument, of course it could operate independently, and it could eventually make itself prosperous. It was only ever poor because those in power exploited those who generated the wealth in the name of governing and defending the country, that cost will increase not diminish.

What is going to change, except that 4 million people will have to bear the cost rather than 65 million? When we look at the cost of establishing the Irish State, corruption, de population and civil war dragged on for decades and depopulation almost equalled that of the Potato Famine.

God knows what it will be like to live in Scotland if the vote is very close. It will split the country and vile spirits of past religious, ethnic and class conflicts will get a new lease of life. All foreigners are resented in the East End of Glasgow, and that in a community of people of Irish, Italian, English backgrounds who came in desperation as economic immigrants, who while thinking themselves Scottish know almost nothing about Scotland, and are more gripped by religious and political divisions that have their roots elsewhere. There are people on the Housing Committee who might vote Yes if they thought it would result in desperate immigrants/refugees having a free bus pass withdrawn and access to any sort of social benefit denied. Anybody who is ahead of them in a Dr’s surgery is self evidently, an immigrant exploiting the health service, not an sick person in need of medical care. They resent the presence of the thousands of Chinese who currently enable the Universities to survive while educating the indigenous population for free. Under the surface there is a stinking swamp.

Will Scotland become a fairer and more equal country, no. Will it be able to get rid of nuclear weapons, not for a long time. Will it be able to operate effectively in the short term as a completely isolated currency, no. Will it get the wealth from oil, no.

In international law breaking up a country to secure exclusive the benefit of a natural resource is thought to be illegal, and has resulted in wars throughout Africa and South America. In fact it could be said that Germany’s invasion of the resource rich areas close to its borders it order to increase its economic power was the reason for WWII, and defending or integrating its European Diaspora just an excuse. Will Shetland & Orkney remain as part of Scotland, probably not.

If Russia can dismember Ukraine, annex Crimea, and gain control of the Donetsk coal basin, leaving an agrarian rump, then the remnant UK can quite easily justify taking control over any part of what is currently defined as Scotland if the vote for independence is dominantly no. Who puts the boots on the ground to defend it, a militia with pitch forks? What we currently think of as Scotland could be dismembered. The supporters of independence could end up with a theme park of heather and mountains owned by foreigners, who do not pay tax in any jurisdiction, but exert extraordinary influence. In fact the last people Scotland wants are the ones on behalf of whom the state has operated for centuries.

A new future, yes, as a minor rump economy open to exploitation by every foreign carpet bagger, from Donald Trump to oil companies, Norwegian fish farming firms and Swedish forestry and pulp firms. After golf courses, wait for gambling casinos and health spars, served by cringing indigenes dressed in tartan and tweed, on a no hour’s contract. Will the financial sector remain strong, yes, but as a tax haven for people making money elsewhere? Will it produce wealth for the people of Scotland, no, it will be the location for hedge funds and foreign investment operations and brass plates on doors, like Monaco, good for a few.



More from the Pyrenees

More from the Pyrenees but on the best winter week that Ben Nevis experienced this winter.

Check out Remi’s website for more inspiration.

Hello Alan,

Eveything OK ? I send you a few pictures of the routes I climbed with my client for your blog if you want.

We were so lucky with these incredible conditions !Last week was very wet I heard…

Everything ok here in France, I could climb in Gavarnie last week (20th March) near home, a place you might already know, if not you should !

Also : one day I found at the bottom of Orion an old Mountain Technology piolet, probably dropped the day before from North-East Buttress by someone (I found it the 12 of march). I left it in the entrance of the hut if the holder wants to get it, it probably has a sentimental value !

I will send you soon our dates for next year and thanks again for everything.



‘Full on’ Scottish with a dash of French

‘Full on’ Scottish with a dash of French

Hello Alan !

We are the two french mountain rescuers from Pyrenees who came on mid march. Here is little blog spot on our trip, Enjoy the picture, some little sentences in English but for the most you will work your French :) Hope to see you again in the next years … to rock climb ?

Thanks for the stay, it was perfect.

These two guys entered into the spirit of winter climbing and travelled all over the place to sample what was on offer in a period of very unsettled weather. Very well done and a good summary of what foreign climbers have come to expect and enjoy about Scottish winter.

Skye Ridge

A fine day out on the Skye Ridge with Mike Lates of Skye Guides and Simon. The weather, although overcast, stayed dry 99% of the time and was better than expected. Still plenty of snow patches, which although they do not cause problems underfoot can be used to brew up if you are carrying a small stove.

Superb late season mountains

aonach mor

Glorious Aonach Mor

Thanks to Spike Sellers for this shot, as he enjoys a day off from guiding and goes ski-ing instead.

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