21 August, 2008

Our Winter 2008-2009 brochure is here!

It's here...our new winter brochure is on its way to the printer and should be ready for circulation in about 8 days time...woo hoo!!
In the meantime you can check out the online (pdf) version by clicking here

15 August, 2008

Tough Day On The 'Dent Du Geant'

Abseiling down the Dent du Geant from the summit after an icy ascent.

Tjalling ascending the icy fixed ropes to the summit.

An easier yet atmospheric day rock climbing on the Index.
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12 August, 2008

Our new logo!

We pleased to reveal our new logo...simple yet striking!

For winter...

For summer...

Concept and Design by Katie Moore at Yakmedia

Introducing James Thacker Mountaineering

If you're looking for mountain adventure in the UK, we're very pleased to recommend James Thacker Mountaineering.

This Sheffield-based company is run - unsurprisingly perhaps with a name like that - by James Thacker. James is a good friend of Olly Allen - they are longstanding climbing partners in the Derbyshire Peak District and beyond.

James holds the Mountain Instructor Certificate (MIC), and is qualified to instruct mountaineering including all aspects of rock climbing, winter mountaineering, snow, ice, mixed climbing and associated activities.

James is also the proud recipient of the 2008 Mark Clifford Climbing Grant for his planned first ascent of a possible new line on the left hand side of the North Face of Phari Lapcha (aka Machermo, 6017m). Click here for more information on the Mark Clifford Climbing Grant

For more information on the courses and trips that James offers in the UK check out his website at James Thacker Mountaineering

10 August, 2008

Matterhorn Hero!

Look no hands! just above the Solvey Hut.

Picnic on the Summit with the other Mountain Tracks team.

Looking down towards the Hornli Hut.

Looking up, its a long way!

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Perfect! Last week I climbed the Matterhorn with Caroline, this was her third and final attempt (allegedly). After a cold windy start to the week everything was in place for the summit push. Finally the wind died and the sun came out. We set off from the Hornli Hut at 4.30 and arrived on the summit at 9.30. The views were spectacular and temperatures were warm enough to have a brief picnic (precarious) on top! Carolines three chilkdren and family now have elevated her to hero status. What next? I'm sure she'll be back in the winter for some ski touring.

Ciao Olly

05 August, 2008

Climbing in the Monte Rosa, July 2008

A few shots from our recent outing on the Monte Rosa - a successful week with everyone summiting on the Dufourspitze, the highest peak in Switzerland.

04 August, 2008

Wot i did on my 17th birthday!

Sleeping next to tall - or should I say short - mountaineers, blocked toilets, waking up at one o'clock in the morning, climbing Mont Blanc on your 17th birthday...sounds pretty good to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the 28th of July Dad and I cruised up to Chamonix to meet Dad'sclients and to start the expedition. They were called James and cathy and were really cool and looking forward to the challenge! We did our final gear checks at the bottom of the midi lift and then we were off.

For the next day and a half we lived in the Cosmiques Hut (aka the cosmic hut) just below the Aiguille de Midi, whilst there we became acclimatized and trained for the gruelling ascent. We practised on the glacier and also climbed the Cosmic (sic) Arete, which was an interesting and exciting climb up to the top of the Aiguille. When arriving at the top: tired, sweating and feeling thoroughly pleased with our efforts we were attacked from all sides by insane Japanese and Chinese tourists asking "Hallo, you beeeeeen climbinggggggg the Mant Blanc, you like picture, picture??!!" After that we returned to the hut and rested, ate and psyched ourselves up for the main event. Rupert Rosedale, a long-time friend and trainee mountain guide was to take me up the hill, whilst Dad took James and Cathy. We wolfed down our meals and ran straight off to bed so that we were full of energy for the 1:00 o'clock wakeup call....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

"Wake up, wake up", came Dads croaky voice from three bunks below "it's 1:00 o'clock and we've Mont Blanc to climb". The team clambered downstairs, had a small breakfast whilst gazing out in to the dark mountains. We emerged from the hut onto the glacier first with only the lights from our head torches for comfort and the uncomfortable feeling in our stomachs that could have only been vertigo from thinking of how far we had to walk.

We set off ploughing towards our first major peak, Mont Blanc du Tacul. Rupe and I were at the front cracking a blistering pace, with Dad, James and Cathy following in our wake. We walked solidly for around two and a half hours, twisting and turning up the steep face and finally jumping a few giant crevasses. We reached the top were we could begin to picture the outline of the mountains through the night sky. Phew...we had conquered our first peak.....only another nine hours up and down to go.

Our next mission was the ascent of the extremely steep face of Mont Maudit. This was where the work started to get extremely tough. This face needed a very slow plod and a more cautious approach due to its steepness. It took much longer than Mont Blanc du Tacul and was a lot more taxing because of the altitude. Below us the lights of other climbers were scattered across the mountain...cool! Five minutes from the top of Mont Maudit came the steepest part of the climb yet where we had to clamber up a sheer wall of ice..., it was great fun and good that the darkness hid the fall!

From the top of Mont Maudit it was now a long slog were tiredness and altitude took their toll. After walking for what felt like ages we finally reached the summit where the visibility was poor but it was still an amazing feeling...wow, it was brilliant!!

Overall it took us twelve hours up and down, it was a great experience, the team was great and I cant wait to ski it next...!

Words by Archie Parks (17 and a bit!)