We seem to be past the half-way point. The elastic can go no further and the nights are fair drawin’ in.
Summer is very bland, it’s like nature isn’t trying anymore. Of course it could be that nature is sitting back with its feet up, newspaper folded in its lap, having a wee doze while the fire burns in the hearth, dreaming about what kind of tricks to pull over the winter months.
The air was fresh after the rain today, I pulled my hood back as the downpour gave way to droplets and I swear I got a wee sniff of change.
I can’t help but pine for the dark nights, cold cheeks and a bunnet pulled down over my ears. Sure I’ll have to carry more weight in the hills, but never enough to take the spring out of my step (for long anyway).
I’ll probably look back at moments like my 7am summits in a t-shirt and get misty eyed as I peer out of the living room window in January at heavy rain falling onto slush as I cancel a camping trip.
Ach, whats life if you can’t look forward. And complain as well.

39 thoughts on “Thwaaap!”

  1. Aye the nights are drawin in. My mum knows this by the scientific way she measures it… when the street lights go on! She’s not here this week but last night i noted that it was approx. 10.05pm. About 5 mins earlier than last week. Anyway.. 7am summits, I’d like one of them!

  2. I’ll be honest, unusually for a summer I’ve had some cracking trips. Usually I leave the tent and head out on the bike much more, but it’s been okay. The lack of water high up is annoying though!

  3. Great!

    Aye it was good. Busy though.. Had a look at that back way again – oof it’s STEEP!!

  4. It’s odd, it doesn’t seem as steep when you’re climbing that ridge. Well, it doesn’t look as steep, your legs tell the true story.

  5. Ha ha! Good to read somebody else is looking forward to winter too. The nights are drawing in slowly over here. The sun is now actually setting as opposed to just nipping behind the horizon for a fag break.

  6. I’m really looking forward to stomping aboot in my crampons this winter. I’ve been out so much more this year than last and we’re only half way!

    Here that mean’s I get to go buy some Kahtoola’s now to stick on my Keen’s!!

  7. so I’m not the only one looking forward to crisp mornings, cloud inversions and an excuse to buy more sleeping bags, mats and snowy stuff?

    I have got my Katoohlas ready and waiting for the snow. The ice axe is primed and because Martin Rye is such a throughly nice chap, I have a pair of MLD snow gaiters too!

    Have been musing over the PHD combi bag to go with the minimus for those really cold nights……… :)

  8. Ach, we had great plans for this summer… until house-moving got in the way. Now it’s going to be September before we get away properly. Unless we’re lucky the whole year will slip by without a wildcamp lazing in leisurely fashion on a sun-drenched summit :(
    (The ones we’ve grabbed so far have tended to involve huddling in the tent for the evening, ah well… :)

    Not that I really mind getting the winter gear out again ;O)
    (even if I’m short on excuses to buy any more!!)

  9. are there any PHD sleeping bags you dont have Matt? :)

    without hijacking the thread, do you have the combi bag and if so what’s it like?

  10. All this banter is getting me excited and we are months away from snow ya buggers!

    Hijack away Backpackbrewer!

    One thing about the Combi which I miss and is very hard to explain is the feeling of being “inside” the bag. When I was using the Minim ultra and the Combi together, you get a feeling of complete detachment from the temperature that I’ve never had in another bag, even a big fat winter one. But because you’re in two bags, once your arms are out of the inner one, you can faff about with your iPod by headtorch inside the outer without bleeding heat away.
    There’s lots of wee subtle things that just clicked for me.
    The biggest hurdle for many will be the thought of carrying two bags, but since one of the two fits in a trouser pocket it’snot really an ass buster.

  11. I don’t have the full PHD set, yet, but I have a few!! My collection, in the order I bought it:
    Minimus (quite a few years ago, full price)
    Minim 400 (sale)
    Minim 300 drishell (sale)
    Combi drishell (on offer with…)
    Minim Ultra (customer discount)

    It kind of evolved as bargains came up at sale time. If I’d been able to buy in a more planned way I guess I wouldn’t have the Pigolo (but now it’s handy as a hut bag) and while I love the Minim 400 as my main winter bag, I’d probably have settled for the Combi version for the versatility. The minim 300 wouldn’t be essential either but it’s such a lovely bag and since I sleep quite warm it really works for me in those awkward autumn and spring months.

    Anyway, the Combi – quality-wise, it’s every bit as good as any PHD bag. I’ve only used it as a combi a couple of times but it’s like ptc* says, very snugly and works well for versatility (I’m a no-zip type but the arms/shoulders between bags thing works well, less trussed up than with shoulder baffles and such).
    I’ve also used it once as a standalone bag and, while I reckon it was about as warm as my Minim 400, it felt rather spacious and not quite as comforting on account of the broader cut. Bear in mind though that I’ve been used to the Minimus-style narrow cut for the last 10 years! The Combi cut actually compares quite closely to MoS’s standard Marmot bag (is it the Hydrogen or Helium, the one rated at -9?).

  12. interesting and of course could turn out expensive for me! I have been eyeing up the combi bag for some time and even though the minimus is great there are times when I really want a seriously rated winter set up. If I combine the combi with the minimus the weight comes out about 1200g or so. Not a back breaker really and I like the comment about being able to use your arms outside of bag one but with bag two to perform small functions like getting the ipod ready etc etc.

    The other option for me is to see if my minimus will work inside the Golite Ultra 20 if I use that more as a quilt than a bag. That would just about keep the weight below 1kilo

  13. Another intersting thing is that the two bags seem to be warmer than a single bag with the same amoubnt of down. That extra fabric in the middle is doing something.

    I want to go camping… it’s been a month…

  14. To completely change the subject, I was up Slioch last week.

    Strangish day. very warm and clear (i.e summer!) until the summit plateau, where there was a very narrow band of ‘weather’ coming channeling across from Liathach and Beinn Eigh, resulting in a ‘wig’ of mist sitting on the plateau (thick enough to require a bearing to be taken and followed).

    On the way down, I passed a young lad on the zig zags. Judging by the size of his rucksack, he seemed to be well enough equiped.

    Fast forward to the next day when I was schocked to learn that that Mountain rescue were out looking for a 22 year old man who had not returned from Slioch.

    Luckily, he was found alive and well (I can’t find any more details) , but I’m wondering if summer complacency played a part.

  15. Aye Kate!

    David, that’s an interesting point. The folks I’ve seen out seem to be divided between regular well-equipped walkers and folk in hoodies and jeans. The good weather does seem to lure folk further up and awy than they would normallt.
    But like you say, even well equipped folk can be caught napping if they’re not concentrating. Entering a cloud without taking a bearing and looking at the map is the same trouible waiting to happen all year round.
    Familiarity and frequency does lesser any thtrerat the hills seem to hold, it’s good to have a wee reminder now and again that they can be dangerous places.

  16. Here goes another thread hijack…

    That picture is unfair, it makes me wish summer was over tomorrow. Wait a second, summer, what summer?

    Anyway, this Haglofs stuff, I’ve got a couple of their things and the fit is really flattering even on an aging old git like me… So, I was thinking of getting the full winter kit from Haglofs this winter, as a lighter and trendier alternative to the Paramo/Montane/Rab stuff I usually wear.

    I think you mentioned somewhere there’ll be a huge price hike in the autumn, so perhaps I’d better get the stuff noo before it’s too late.

    But I’m a bit confused by the offerings. The Spitz jacket seems the thing to have. What d’ya think I should get to have a good setup for cold winter days, with a backup for severe weather? I’m talking fleece (the Frost?) + trousers (the Couloir?) + jacket (the Ozone?) + storm jacket (the Spitz?) These are all things I can find in shops right now. On the Haglofs website, however, they seem to have different stuff, so I’m not sure if it’s being discontinued or what. As I say, I’m after the complete kit to get me through hard days in the snaw, including overnighters.

    Any advice, you wise man of the West??


  17. Swine fever over the internet, man that’s a vicious strain!

    Andy, the Spitz is a cracking jacket, but it is quite short. It’s best feature I think is the hood which can also be found on the Crux (called the Creva for this winter). The Crus is also longer and has four chest pockets.
    I’ve had both and although the Spitz is a better looking, lighter and frankly far sexier jacket, the Crux is what I’d rather be in when winter is at its worst (I’ve used both in horrible weather).
    The LIM Ozone that I’ve been using is fantastic, the lightest ProShell jacket at the time (maybe even still is?) and will do all years round as the hood and features suit winter very well, I was fine in it last winter.
    Fleece wise, I’d go for their lighter offerings like the Single (if it fits) or the Treble with the hood which was great last winter.
    Thr Couloir pansst are the super expensive ones I think? I haven’t used them, but Haglofs pasnt are always the stongest part of their range I think, so you won’t go far wrong, as long as you remember the slim fit :o)
    The winter ones I have are Omni II’s which are brilliant, and which aren’t test kit!

    Just to add a curveball, last winter I started testing softshells, and I’ve got a couple here I’ve yet to write up. One has a Polartec fabric with some some insulation which was was “just nice” on the couple of occasions when I wore it. I’ll be using softshell more this winter, so more later. Jeez it’s a slow process!

  18. Thanks, Pete, that’s helpful as ever.

    Yeah, I’d seen your previous comments on OM about the Crux being better. Creva, so that’s the new name, no wonder I couldnae find it on the website (I found the Spitz though). I don’t like jackets that are short on the arse, so maybe I’ll have to sacrifice the trendy looking Spitz and go for the Crux.

    The Couloir are very expensive (and heavy), so maybe there are lighter offerings I could try.

    Last year Craigdon in Perth had quite a good choice, so I’ll give them a buzz and see when they’re getting the new natty stuff in…

  19. right….
    have tried it….
    the minimus with the ultra 20 loosely covering it as a quilt works…..
    I dont need to buy the combi bag from phd so I’ve saved a few quid there :)
    oh and the resultant hybrid of bags is bloody warm!!!

  20. The Perth Craigdon is a good store, I could spend money in there!
    The Creva is in plain red, blue and plain black and it’s er, £385…
    The Spitz is £345 though and that extra £40 does get you a lot of extra jacket.
    Aye, the prices are going to be a talking point.

    Backpackbrewer, good lad. Winter will your bitch this year :o)

  21. £385??? That’s rather steep, innit. There are still a few Crux jackets to be had for £299 on the net right now. Maybe I’ll go for that right away then. Don’t suppose there’s that much of a difference between the Crux and the Creva, apart from the colour…

  22. If only the Crux/Creva fitted me around the shoulders :-( As PTC* says the hood is magnificent.

    Backpackbrewer: how did the footbox of the ultra 20 interact with the phd? I’d been tempted by a mld sprite quilt to cover my own phd bag in winter as the footbox can be opened right out.

  23. Another vote for the Crux the maybe?
    To sum it up, it’s an old style jacket with modern fgeatures and fabric. As in it’s long, protetctive, pockets, regilar zip with stormflap. Still light though, 500-odd grammes I think?

    Mine’s orange :o)

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