Hard graft & blunt picks

By Ramon Marin

Up until now, Scottish winter climbing has always been an spectator sport for me. Something you watch in social media from the comfort of your home, wandering what makes these keen folk get in such predicament. But I could see the appeal, it lures too many of my dear friends into it.

Last year's season was a good one but it lacked in adventure and spice. Climbing a bolted roof is good fun, but it hardly shrinks your balls when push comes to shove, and there are no consequences when you let go of your ice axes. I find that over the years I turned a little purist if you like. I find it hard to justify in my mind why I would spend my winter holidays stuck in a unsightly cave with a bolted roof for the sake of a hard grade. I did an M13 in two attempts, another M13+ in five and I'm sure I can climb M15 if I try a little. But is that really why I do winter climbing? To chase the grades? Or is it the power of a true winter line? I certainly know the answer. But I had to explore all the avenues to find out. And that's the beauty of climbing, it means entirely different things to different people, and only you can find out what is that ticks your boxes. I love the sense of achievement, but achievement doesn't always mean grades. It might mean exploring new things, learning again, putting yourself out there and find out a little more about yourself in the process.

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