BMC International Winter Meet 2016

The BMC Winter International Meet has come to an end. The guests have packed their bags, taken one last look at the Scottish mountains and headed for home. 

Everyone has experienced the delights and elation whilst winter climbing in Scotland, reaching the summit. They have also seen the frustration and hardships: wild weather, driving rain, soaked kit and unsuccessful walk-ins. All climbers involved will certainly remember their time at Glenmore Lodge this January, and will have been thrilled with an unforgettable experience and fantastic routes.

Around 35 international guests have been partnered with 35 British hosts, with a simple aim: to enjoy the delights of Scotland in winter. Abilities ranged from winter climbing superstars to first-time-in-crampons; it’s a real mix of ages, abilities, backgrounds, but everyone is really psyched for it.

The weather and winter climbing conditions have been very poor during week, with Storm Gertrude blowing gales. Initially, conditions were too warm, before becoming ‘too windy’ (something that was previously considered ‘impossible’ in Scotland!).

Climbers enjoyed the delights of sport or trad climbing on Monday and Tuesday, with some braving the delights of the nearest dry tooling crag, Newtyle.

Conditions had improved by mid-week and teams enjoyed the delights of the Northern Corries and Ben Nevis. Sioux Wall, Deep Throat, Fallout Corner and Savage Slit were particularly popular, and every evening we were inspired by a Guest Speaker: Uisdean Hawthorn (Scotland), Raphael Slawinski and Ian Welsted (Canada), Prerna Dangi (India), Erik Eisele (USA), Nuno Goncalves (Portugal) and George Voutiropoulos (Greece) enthralled us with climbing tales of their home countries.

Thursday’s weather was particularly poor, with storm-force winds and heavy snow but teams made the most of the weather. Mess of Pottage and Fiacull Buttress were particularly popular. Impressively, Raphael Slawinski managed to onsight The Secretin a single pitch, Dave Almond and Luka Strazar climbed Pic ’n’ Mix and Ian Welsted and Tom Livingstone climbed The Gathering.

The weather has certainly been ‘tough’ (125 mph winds were recorded at the Cairn Gorm weather station!) and goggles have been useful every day. Friendships have been formed, stories retold and routes shared. At times, the walk-ins and resembled being in a freezing car wash, but every climber has agreed: they have certainly experienced the ‘full’ Scottish experience, and will be back for more.

Thanks to Nick Colton and Becky McGovern and the BMC, the International guests and Glenmore Lodge.

Tom LivingstoneComment