There are three things that I have had drilled into me as incredibly important when facing a mountain climb, or even a long trek across countryside.
Prepare your equipment, prepare your body, prepare your mind.
I’m just gonna waffle about the equipment for now. ;)
I am totally new to this whole splashing through gills and clambering up peaks and fells so one day I walked into Mountain Warehouse in Freeport, extended a pointed finger at the splendidly bearded shop-hand and said “DECK ME OUT, MY GOOD MAN”. He was more than happy to oblige (of course) but also really knew his stuff. Isotherm this, taped seals that… despite focussing on as many of the deals and discounted items as possible it cost a fair amount. I knew it would. But when I was done, I felt ready. Also, I was mostly black and red, a theme I rather like and yes, was aiming for ;)
At this point in time, I have already done hike up to the summits Little Sca Fell and Great Sca Fell, doing so with my very good and inspiringly spirited friend Denise.
- Ventura 40 litre backpack. This fantastic pack also has an air-back system (I think that’s what it’s called) which allows air to move between the bag and my back. It’s got a hundred pockets and looks sweet.
- Talus Thermal layers top and bottom. I like the zip neck. Very comfy and certainly transferred moisture off the skin as designed.
- Walking trousers, or ‘Winter Trek Trousers’. Waterproof, but layered to transfer moisture out.
- Isocool trail socks! Three pairs! And I brought ALL OF THEM along! Spares are a great idea in case you get water in your shoes because wet socks/feet on this kind of activity is a bad thing.
- Hurricane Waterpoof IsoGrip Boots. Very comfortable, super easy to get on. I got no blisters at all.
- Waterproof gloves. Nice and warm when the wind really picked up with the chill. Waterproof is totally an important word here.
- Thinsulate Knitted Beanie. Of course!
- And a thin balaclava for added insulation and face protection in real cold weather!
- Torrent Jacket. In red. I was advised that an item of clothing isn’t waterproof unless it has taped/sealed stitching. This jacket does.
- ‘Dry bags’… these guys are practically airtight sealed bags to contain whatever I want. The weather was marvellous so rain was fortunately no problem, but it could be on any other adventure. I put my camera in one, the other was unused!
- Emergency Storm Shelter (2-3 person). Honestly, I don’t see how 3 people can fit in this, but then I’ve not actually opened it out for fear I’d never get it back in the tiny squishy bag. Each person bringing one of these in case of separation is, I think, a brilliant idea.
- Folding sit mat! I bought this along in case one of us wanted to sit for a while without getting a sore rear. Didn’t use it in the end, but easily could have xD
- First Aid Kit. With all the essentials, except for anti-bacterial disinfectant. I bought that separately, along with some extra blister plasters.
- Emergency foil blanket, in case of … well, emergency. The foil blanket can apparently retain 98% body temperature. That’s a very steep claim to make, but I’m willing to bet such a thing can make a major difference in a situation that calls for it. We both had one each.
- Waterproof phone pouch. These let you use them through the plastic covering!
- Spare Boot Laces! Again, recommended, you don’t want your laces snapping and your boot to be all unsupporty, now.
- Mills Map Compass… Get a proper one, with lines of orientation. A ‘Baseplate Compass’. And then learn how to orient, get your bearings, etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUbPQQxSFWM. This proved vital during our first adventure out onto Little Sca Fell and Great Sca Fell.
- Noosa Sunglasses. Red and Black ;)
- Head Torch with white and red LED. White is to see where you’re going. Red is to read things like maps without blinding yourself in the dark. Again, proved absolutely essential.
- Towel. Actually proved handy.
- Additional spare AAA batteries.
- A mountain walking stick! Didn’t actually really use this though.
- Prints of the walk and a laminated map of the whole route. Crucial.
- 8km Range Walkie Talkies. Highly recommended. I got these in case we got separated, but as we didn’t (good), we didn’t need to use them to talk to each other. However, an added bonus which I didn’t expect was that I could clearly hear other people on the same channel I’d chosen both talkies to sit on. That meant we could hear other people’s brief acknowledgements, and also knew that if we ran into trouble we had the means to communicate with someone.
- After care… Boot Waterproofer and Outdoor wear ‘Wash ‘n’ Proof’… which means I can re-waterproof the boots if I noticed water doesn’t bead on them any more and I can wash stuff like my waterproof jacket and re-waterproof it at the same time in the machine.
Okay, I’ve mentioned it a few times, YES we did the first ever mountain hike. Denise and I are both mountain climbing virgins and we reached both Little Sca Fell and Great Sca Fell. Which was just awesome. The weather was mostly kind apart from about thirty minutes of gusts and near icy winds, and then the great blasted cloud that just silently crept in and over us for about 20 minutes… more importantly, the sights were gorgeous. It was so quiet and still, it really did feel like an escape out into the real depths of nature. Does good for the body and soul and I cannot wait till the next time I’m out there again. The bug has definitely bit. I got to use almost all the kit I took up with me. Photos attached. :)
IMPORTANT: We’re doing this for a few reasons. To satisfy the thirst for a bit of adventure while we still have the capability to do so. And to practice and train for the challenge next July in 2015: The 24 Hours Three Peaks Challenge, raising money for two good causes – The Multiple Sclerosis Society and Special Effect. Sophie at Special Effect has been of fantastic support, keeping in real good contact and supplying us with the wristbands and blue t-shirts.
PLEASE give us your support and sponsor our efforts. Every penny is a tiny bit more motivation to push on and prepare as fully as possible for the one day of the big three next year! It’s gonna be tough but it is gonna be awesome.
- Please give your support for our efforts and these two fantastic charities by visiting this page and finding out more: https://mydonate.bt.com/teams/thisisllama
- Go to the Facebook event page – whether you want to get your boots mucky on the mountains, keep an eye on our updates and/or motivate us with words: https://www.facebook.com/events/1562674720627685