Fragen von Ian Parnell an Ines Papert Why did you decide to come to Scotland winter climbing?

We had several Ideas, me and Audrey, when we met in Colorado for the every year celebrated ice festival in ouray. but the Scotland idea seemed to us the most crazy one,-) Plus, I am getting bored about “monkey style” climbing on hard bolted mixed routes after doing 6 years the full ice climbing competition circus. I like new adventures, trying to transfer the high level of climbing into the mountains (F.E. Himalayas) plus we were hoping for some local support, which worked out better than expected;-))I realy like trad climbing since my last trip to the cirque of the unclimbables. But I have never done hard winter trad routes. I am sure, that's the future of mixed climbing. NO BOLTS!!! Plus, Scottish climbers are very successful in the Himalayas on hard technical climbing. It seems to me a great scool (training).

Before you came what were your expectations?

Far ground falls, broken bones and finally selling my climbing gear;-)
To be honest, there were some crazy dreams before. As well there were a lot of respectfulness and curiosity. I climb all year around and I am trying to climb on a high level in all kinds of climbing. Except soloing… So this kind of climbing was still missing in my experience. I was expecting, to sit and to wait for better weather. Ian recommended to bring climbing shoes for indoor bouldering, just in case, the conditions or/and the weather is bad.My guess was….if Scotland is in good conditions; we will do lots of ice climbing…but I was wrong, we did lots of winter climbing. Not much ice…I have not used my 14! ice screws a lot.

Was it what you expected , better or worse?

Different, but generally better! Thanks ian, that you have mentioned, not to bring the power drill ( to be honest I thought about that, in case we open a new route, just to set bolts at the anchors….but for sure…there is no reason. Sorry for that stupid mistake)

What was the thing you'll remember most?

When I bailed on an off with in unicorn. I have just sent iian ahead on the first pitch, because my bulldog was already set in the lower part and that was the only pro, I could have used. So I have spent all my energy to get true this awkward chimney, without any feet. To be honest…. I felt like a chicken…after I led the second pitch without any troubles.I knew I could have done the first pitch. I thought about returning to that route for the whole trip. But it did not work out, every day we were exploring (for us) new places. Also I remember, being scared when our friends returned very late (9p.m.) on the last day on ben nevis. We were hoping for a sigh of there life. Hours of waiting can be very long, because you feel so powerless.
How did you find the climbing – the hoar ice, trad protection etc?

Ice? There was not much. But the climbing in general was very interesting, you never want to do any figure of four, because you climb very carfully and very slow (it takes a while to find good pro) and I often felt like a snail. Sorry ian!! The climbing remind me to Nepal, when we have climbed a new route on kwangde shar. perfect granit and good snow- ice to climb on it, but the ice is never good enough for any pro. I figured out, that trad climbing in winter is the future of the high level mixed climbing. Winter climbing in Scotland its a step above of all ice climbing I have done in the past.

It makes climbing so much more interesting and manifold. ..and harder I was not surprised, that I have climbed routes (to be honest they have been on my limit) few levels below the grading, I am used to climb- my hardest mixed route was M13, and I have opened new routes up to M12 (alpine but bolts!) But Scotland is different, you cant move fast. You cant just climb M13. 5 steps lower (M8) I felt comfortable and I have been challenged.
Favorite route and why?

There is 2 of them, or better 3

Blood, sweat and frozen tears—because I have climbed with my friend ian. Beside that it was a great climb, fantastic rock and interesting climbing in the´”far” northern highlands.

Unicorn—because its such a beautiful dihedral. Before I knew something about the grading, I saw that line and I was hoping we can manage it. It worked out, but I felt my mental limit.

Northeast ridge on ben nevis—-because it was a fantastic day, no clouds, beautiful blue sky and nice – not to hard- alpine climbing.

Favourite thing about Scotland?

The whisky,-) That's not a rumor, that Scottish climber always bring a good bottle of whisky on a trip. Simon was sharing one of the best whiskies, I have ever tasted. One more favourite think is the sunrises, we had. Usually I get up later ( not like in scottland at 4 in the morning- crazy but necessary)

Worst thing about Scotland?

Getting up early and the 2,5 hours of approach—they can be long after a week of climbing. Your feet and the back are getting sore but you want miss any climbing day. and the weight of the heavy pack. But its part of the whole adventure and to be honest…we are just getting lacy from all the sport climbing and bolts. The gear rack is heavy but necessary and I won't miss any piece.

Feel free to add any other comments?

I really appreciate, having such great friends like audrey, mat and ian. I hope to share more trips with them. Plus I am gone return next year to work on my Scottish level;-) Watch out ian….thats a threat!!! Hope you are INN. And we need to change the perception of —how scary climbing is in scottland, its just, how you deal with the gear and how you deal with your self. (hope you understand what I am talking about;-)

Local climbers are very nice and supportive. That's very impressive. Sponsoren: Gore-Tex, Arcteryx, Lowa, Julbo, Red Chili, Black Diamond

QuelleInes Papert, Fotos: Hans Hornberger, Ian Parnell