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Andy Kirkpatrick


Pushing the Limits - A series of tips to improve your winter grade

It’s that time of year again were you’re glued to the climbing forecasts, digesting winter battle reports from UKC users, and juggling work and families for that amazing winter weekend you’ve been dreaming of since the last one. 

Most climbers will want to push their grade this winter, going for a classic that’s a bit harder then the classic last year, a test piece, or even a new line.  I thought maybe I could give a few ideas how to do that (I am mr top tip after all).

With all the banter on UKC about how hard VIII’s are, it’s easy to loose sight that all winter climbs are hard, be it a grade I gully or a overhanging death match; they’re all dangerous, they’re all serious, and no one climbs any of them whistling with their hands in their pockets.  Almost all UK winter climbs are the real deal, onsight, ground up, probably in less than ideal conditions and in poor weather. And this is how we like it.  We may be crap compared to the euro and certain expats, be I doubt we’d swap. 

To be honest, I’ve done hundreds of ice routes and cascades in France, Norway, the US and Italy and after a while they get a bit dull.  Nice clear weather, perfect ice, steep and pumpy, screws where you want them, bolts were you need them, and never very far too walk or ski too.  But after a while…. it gets a bit dull, every movement a bit like the last, every move to come a bit like the one

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