Posts tagged 'Montane'

Soloing from Patterdale

Posted by on December 15th 2011 in Great Escapes, Testing for review, YHA

After Friday's nightmare seven-hour drag up the M6 I was glad to be back on the familiar A591. The further I drove the deeper the surrounding snow was, and I was unsure as to whether the Kirkstone Pass would be navigable. In the end, after discussing the conditions with a few local folk, I decided to go for it and found that although the road-snow at the top hadn't iced over it was beginning to do so on the leeward side and that made the descent into Patterdale quite interesting.

After getting installed at the hostel the evening was spent planning routes, chatting with a Mary and Paul (a nice couple staying at the hostel) and going out into the frosty night to take some pics of the amazingly clear sky.

Saturday was cold and windy but dry with the odd bit of sunshine - perfect weather for taking in a few easy fells. I decided to nab Red Screes and Middle Dodd via Caiston Glen and the Scandale Pass. Not too far a journey, but walking into the wind and spindrift on the way up towards the Pass and then with a strong ice-laden side-wind on the pull up to Red Screes made it seem twice as far. I'll let the pics do the talking for a while...

 

The Red Screes and Middle Dodd route - about 4 miles and 2000ft of up and down.

Middle Dodd and High Hartsop Dodd from the Kirkstone Road.

A better view of Middle Dodd.

Looking back towards Hartsop.

Caiston Glen.

Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd from Broad Crag.

The wall above Broad Crag.

A wider view of Broad Crag and beyond.

Light over Morecambe Bay.

The Red Screes trig-point.

The Red Screes summit-cairn and shelter.

Looking down Smallthwaite Band towards Middle Dodd and Brotherswater.

 

Looking northwards from the upper cairn on Middle Dodd.

Red Screes from the upper cairn on Middle Dodd.

Westwards towards the Little Hart Crag and the Fairfield fells.

Eastwards - a glimpse of the Ill Bell ridge.

A better view of the lower cairn on Middle Dodd.

 

Steep ground on the descent.

 

As the descent got steeper, the views got better.

Moraines and fields.

A bit of blue sky above Little Hart Crag.

Sunlight on Angletarn Pikes.

The evening was spent much as before but without the photo-opportunities - rain had set in and cloud-cover was almost total. After a fine hostel meal and hours of chin-wagging with Mary and Paul I turned in for the night.

Sunday morning was different again - full of incessant driving rain and low clouds. Looking out from the hostel during breakfast I had half a mind to bail to the shops of Ambleside and Windermere, but managed to summon enough gumption for a quick slog up to Shipman Knotts. Another minor walk, but the clag, the wind and the abundant run-off made it quite an ordeal. There was still plenty of deep snow up there but sorry, there are hardly any pics from this walk - for most of the time the conditions were just too wet to risk soaking the camera. Here's what you get:

The Shipman Knotts route - about 4.5 miles and 1250ft of up and down.

 

Plenty of water in Stile End Beck.

A clagged-in Shipman Knotts from near Stile End Farm.

In spate - the Kent in Staveley.

And that's about it. I negotiated the A591/M6/A5 and was home in time for tea and a long session of sorting/washing/drying the gear. Job done.

Summary:

Wainwright tops reached: Red Screes (2541 ft), Middle Dodd (2106 ft), Shipman Knotts (1926 ft). All first-ascents for me.
Number of Wainwrights still to do: 9

On Saturday I was expecting that the overnight freeze would mean that the tops would be more icy than snowy, so I carried crampons. My expectations were wrong, though, and I didn't need them. I really should have taken the snooshows and the clackysticks instead - they would have saved a lot of post-holing in the seriously-deep drifts. The axe saved me several times on the steepest bits of the descent of Middle Dodd. On Sunday I took no such metalwork, I'd have been better-off taking a diving-suit and flippers!

Regarding gear taken for test-and-review... I took one item supplied by Adam Smith representing Go Outdoors. Yes, I actually got around to properly using that Montane Lite-Speed H2O jacket that I've had for months! Conditions on Sunday's walk were so wet and windy that I decided to use it as a shell over my Rab VR Climb jacket as an extra layer of defence. It kept out most of the driven rain and the hood worked well underneath my L.A. Mountain Cap. My only gripe with it is that because there are no pockets in the Lite-Speed I had to resort to gloves, and the cuffs of the jacket aren't glove-friendly. On the plus side, it kept me warm and dry and I didn't have to walk around with pockets full of water!

I was also trying out some base-layer stuff, but more about that later.

Review – Montane Lite-Speed H2O Jacket – First outing

Posted by on November 11th 2011 in My reviews, Shiny new kit, Testing for review

 

This jacket has been supplied on a "review-and-keep" basis by Adam Smith, representing Go Outdoors. It's the Montane Lite-Speed H2O, the Go Outdoors link is here and the Montane link is here.

I would have given it a proper "on the hill" test some time ago but whenever I've been on the fells or out in the countryside the weather's been fine, so I've had to resort to wearing it in other circumstances.

So... this jacket is billed by Montane as "THE WORLD’S LIGHTEST WATERPROOF JACKET"... I can now confirm that it is very easy to wear, being light and sufficiently waterproof to withstand an hour's downpour while working on the garden. It coped well with the mud and sweat of some unseasonal digging, some condensation did form on the inside during the most demanding bits of manual labour but it was all dry after the mandatory tea-break.

On the plus side:

  • it was easily cleaned with a quick hose-down
  • it kept me warm and dry
  • I didn't lose it

On the minus side:

  • there are no pockets
  • the crinkly cuffs are uncomfortable and don't stop water running wrist-wards when hands are raised
  • the neighbour was giving me funny looks (but that could have been because I was digging in the rain)

Overall impression:

  • It does what it says in the sales blurb
  • I don't think it is as good as the Montane Featherlite Smock
  • I will wear it on the fellside and will report back on its performance, but I won't be gardening in it ever again
  • I don't think it's worth Go Outdoors' £90 RRP - for that sort of money I'd want pockets and better cuffs

Next time out I intend to get some pics of it in action. Today there was nobody about that I trust with my camera in the rain!

If you're in the market for a waterproof jacket, Go Outdoors have plenty of other waterproof jackets for your perusal here.

Review – Montane Lite-Speed H2O Jacket – First thoughts

Posted by on August 8th 2011 in My reviews, Shiny new kit

This item has been supplied on a "review-and-keep" basis by Adam Smith, representing Go Outdoors.

The jacket being reviewed is the Montane Lite-Speed H2O, the Go Outdoors link is here and the Montane link is here.

This jacket is billed by Montane as "THE WORLD’S LIGHTEST WATERPROOF JACKET" and who am I to argue with that claim? Go Outdoors are pushing it as a "Running Jacket", I can assure all and sundry that I'll not be running anywhere in it! No, this jacket is competing with the proofed Montane Featherlite Smock for a place on my "must take" fellwalking-kit list. Sadly I didn't get sent the Black version, but I've no doubt that this Fluoro-Yellow jacket will perform just as well.

If you want the proper spec it's best if you follow the links above, I'll add that the actual weights for the one supplied to me are: jacket 174g, stuffsac 14g (5g if you hack off the Velcro strap and plastic loop), those weights are for a size L.

Although it's a minimalist jacket it looks to be well-constructed with excellent stitch-work and taped seams throughout. The zip is a tad awkward to get moving, I reckon that it needs a bit of "running-in". The hood is basic, it has a single-handed draw-corded captive toggle system for closure but no stiffened or wired peak or anything else techie. The hood stowage is neat with three Velcro patches for keeping the collar closed, the only niggle here is that the FreeFlow H2O fabric is so lightweight that I get the feeling that it (or the stitching) will give way before the Velcro opens. It doesn't, of course. The hemline has a drop-tail and another of those excellent draw-corded closures. Cuffs are "self-fabric" which to the terminally-confused means that the ends of the sleeves are simply folded over a bit of elastic and then tube-stitched. TBH I don't like these cuffs, I much prefer the cuffs on the original Featherlite Smock which have a much better fit and feel. Aside from some reflective bits here and there, that's about all there is... no pockets, no vents and, oddly, no hanging-loop.

I had expected this jacket to be quite similar to the Featherlite Smocks that I already have but it is significantly different. Then again, it has a different job to do. I'll report back when it's been baptised, or when I've been released from custody after being arrested by the Style Police for wearing it in public.

According to Go Outdoors the Retail Price is £90.00 but they're currently in the sale at only £36.82 - perhaps it's time to get one for yourself? If that don't float yer boat, they have plenty of other waterproof jackets for your perusal here.

Oh, nearly forgot! Packed size. Many sources claim that the Lite-Speed H2O is about the size of a small grapefruit. Well, we don't do grapefruits here and so I can't confirm those claims, but I can say with no fear of contraception that it's a bit bigger than an orange, a bit bigger than an apple and quite a bit shorter than a banana...

 

 

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