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Bassenthwaite Lake from Binsey Fell. Photo: Jacqui Scott.






Trail Magazine’s technical editor on Striding Edge

Practical advice on hill navigation

Another classic Lakeland car-free walk

Sarah Briggs says age is no barrier to fitness

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Winter climbing in Scotland or a season in the Alps, you need to know that your kit is secure and easily accessible. Our award winning patented ‘Headlocker’ system will secure any axe on the market to your pack, keeping it stable, streamlined and easily accessible. The Alpine Attack range offers maximum durability using Dyneema fabric while optimising comfort by incorporating Lowe Alpine’s unique adaptive fit harness and hip belt system. Weighing in at just 850g* your load is lighter, more comfortable and more stable so you can get on with the job in hand.

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For more details contact Lowe Alpine on 01539 740840 Email

*Alpine Attack 35-45 stripped weight. Also available in other sizes.


Alpine Attack 45:55

FOUR PAWS ON STRIDING EDGE GRAHAM THOMPSON, Technical Editor of Trail Magazine is also a fully-qualified expert in pet behaviour. This issue Graham considers taking dogs onto technical terrain.

Starting out on Striding Edge

Walking in the hills may follow simple paths but sometimes can involve tackling more technical terrain, and amongst the questions I’m often asked is a recurring one along the lines of, “Can I take my dog along Striding Edge on Helvellyn?” Striding Edge is a narrow, rocky ridge on the route leading from Glenridding to the summit of Helvellyn. There is a Public Right of Way along the ridge, so you and your dog certainly have a right of access to the ridge and plenty of dogs do follow this route. However Striding Edge is exposed with big drops in places, so it is not a route to be followed without careful consideration of your own abilities or those of your dog. The first consideration is your own ability to tackle the route, as the dog may be entirely reliant on your judgement and abilities to manage its progress along the ridge. Dogs can easily sense their owner’s stress and so if you are frightened on Striding Edge, then your dog will probably be more anxious too and this could cause you both to have difficulties. So I’d firstly recommend you tackle the route yourself before taking your dog along, unless you have done lots of similar routes of course and are well aware of your skill levels and are confident

on grade one scrambles and other rocky ridges. Your dog’s physical and psychological ability also has to be careful considered. It is generally not recommended that dogs tackle long mountain days until they are at least one year old because they may not have the physical development to prevent injuries to themselves on such challenging terrain. But even older dogs may struggle on Striding Edge if they are not fit, agile and used to scrambling over rocky ground all day and it is common for less well prepared dogs to develop sore foot pads and extreme fatigue which may mean the dog just wants to stop and lie down halfway along the route. Other dogs may be just too frightened by the exposure, or the mental demands of trying to find a route over the boulders. So I’d recommend you build the dog up to the challenge by first taking him/her on smaller rocky ridges and then gradually working up to Striding Edge. The size and weight of the dog is particularly important to consider here. A small dog can easily be carried by its owner, but it would take a team of people to carry a 40kg dog such as a healthy male Rhodesian Ridgeback off the mountain! To keep your dog safe, a Ruffwear Webmaster

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Harness is an ideal piece of kit as it allows you to assist the dog over terrain without pulling on the dog’s neck collar, which could be painful and stressful for the dog. So only you can decide if you and your dog are ready for Striding Edge, but for those that are well prepared it is certainly a great day out.

Happy dogs near Helvellyn summit

Graham Thompson is the Technical Editor of Trail Magazine and the Vice Chair of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors. For more information visit Graham’s website: Images: Roger Hiley,


THE ULTIMATE FACTORY VISIT? ANDY AIREY is amazed by a visit to Arc’teryx HQ

We also realised that wherever you look, much of the equipment has been modified. Arc’teryx has its own engineering department, which allows them to adapt or add to their machinery so that it is perfectly tuned to cut, shape, weld, mould or glue as each product requires. Not surprisingly we weren’t allowed to take photographs and I’m unable to describe any of these ‘Frankensteined Machines’ (as Arc’teryx describes them) – their manufacturing solutions are firmly protected! Perhaps it was most fascinating to see an Arc’teryx Warp Strength harness being constructed. Every harness is hand-built – the whole process from die-cutting, lamination, heat-moulding, fixing of gear-loops etc is carried out by hand. The product is made outside-in so the most hands-on procedure is when the harness is turned the right way out through a small hole in the end of the belt. Seeing this from start to finish makes you think that £130 is incredibly good value for something that has taken so much time to create! The Vancouver facility still accounts for about 20% of the Arc’teryx output – the rest of their production has moved to the Far East where they not only work in dedicated factories, but they have also shipped over their Frankensteined Machines! Whether the product says ‘Made in Canada’ or ‘Made in China’ the standard of manufacturing is the same.

Andy hard at work testing Arc’teryx clothing

After being in the outdoor trade for over 20 years I’ve had the opportunity to visit the factories and head offices of many of our suppliers, but never had anything to compare to my experience last April. I was fortunate enough to be invited to see Arc’teryx in Vancouver. The Arc’teryx brand is synonymous with quality; for those of you unaware of the company then I’d advise you to look at some of their products next time you are in the store. The clean design lines, quality of materials and incredibly precise manufacturing really sets the brand apart, whether you’re looking at their clothing, rucksacks or climbing harnesses.

Andy outside the unassuming Arc’teryx building


There were six of us on the trip; two other retailers and three journalists. We began with an early morning start at the Arc’teryx factory in Vancouver, an unassuming place in the suburbs of this Pacific coastal city. Inside the factory looks much like any other; raw materials entering at one end, people beavering away at production lines, and finished products leaving at the other. It’s only when you look closer you can see that you’re in a very special place indeed – as you walk around the impression you get is one of craft, not of large industrial methods. It’s more like seeing skilled artisans at work.

After leaving the Vancouver factory we moved onto their Head Office. I was astonished to see the size of their design department; the sheer number of people involved in creating their products spoke volumes. Wherever you look, rather than buy-in expertise Arc’teryx use their own people, develop their own solutions and sort everything themselves. After our visit the Arc’teryx team took us on a gear test; I won’t bore you with the details (because it only irritates my colleagues!) other than to say we spent two days in a lodge, set in its own secluded valley, accessible by a 13km snowmobile journey and with nobody there other than our group. Needless to say we had two wonderful days in perfect winter conditions and the Arc’teryx gear performed as you’d expect! It certainly was a long journey for a factory visit, however it had its benefits. Not just for the time in the mountains, but because the Arc’teryx team totally reinforced my appreciation of the brand. Their commitment to develop the best possible gear is tangible wherever you looked and in every conversation with any staff member; their desire to control every step in the design and development process right through to finished manufacturing is incredible and the end result is plain to see.

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HOLIDAY PACKING LISA BERGERUD considers what’s essential for a bike tour This year, as a family we’ve decided to travel from Geneva to Nice by bike, carrying everything we’ll need. So it’s not exactly a holiday in the conventional sense, more of an ‘experience’. It’s been interesting planning the trip; looking at maps, lengths of days, food points. We’ve now got down to putting the route waypoints into our Garmin GPS to give us a more accurate calculation of distance and height gain. When you’re carrying everything, height gain is important! However to help with this, one little gem I’m sure to be packing will be Nuun electrolyte tablets. In the hot sun these will definitely help improve next-day performance, and reduce the possibility of cramp while sleeping off my daily exertions on my Exped Ultralight mat!

THE LIST My must-have clothing includes the Haglofs Endo Jacket (GORE-TEX Active Shell - £230). This jacket design – longer sleeves, good hood, bright safe colour, is combined with the most breathable GORE-TEX fabric yet. You don’t feel the need to take the jacket on and off, perfect for wind or rain and all-day comfort. Plus it weighs just 275g so its not much of a test to carry!

Haglofs Endo Jacket

As part of the planning process I have everything weighed, listed on a spreadsheet and it has to justify itself to be carried. So when everything is packed I can look at this list to decide which 20% I’m going to take out again!

I’ll take two tee shirts, one merino and one synthetic. Which one I’ll wear depends on the weather. Smartwool merino socks; days of no smell! My ‘long leg cover’ will be SKINS recovery tights (£75). These will double up where my muscles have been pushed to the edge, they will help to cut down on next day muscle fatigue and I hope will give protection from biting things.

Whatever your adventure let Royal Robbins take you there in comfort and style

At altitude, even in summer temperatures can plummet so if we’re camping high up it might be quite chilly. We’ve chosen to take lightweight synthetic insulation; Arc’teryx Atom LT jackets instead of a fleece (£160). I tend to cool down and chill very easily, so the thought of a puncture at the top of a cold climb followed by a chilling descent makes me worry. I know these jackets offer instant heat as we’ve used them a lot recently on our lunchtime stops. This is my one luxury carry, but think even if they are only used once in anger it’ll be worth it. (Actually I am taking one dress, true luxury and my preferred design will be the Icebreaker Villa Black Dress, £90) Feet are a bit of a dilemma as we use clip-in pedals so we will need other footwear. Flip-flops are light but don’t offer any support or protection. I love my KEEN Venice sandals, which will also work if (when) I find any rocky pools to swim in. For the next few weeks I’m going to have to consider the right balance; taking the bare minimum and making do, or having a holiday and suffering the weight! KEEN Venice sandal


THE ALPINE PROJECT Hervé Barmasse’s alpine project inspired this jacket – and you can win one!


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: Dam iano Some people say there’s Leva ti nothing new left to do in the Alps. In 2011, to prove everyone wrong, The North Face athlete Hervé Barmasse set off on an exciting new project – to climb three new routes on three of the highest mountains in the Alps, in three different styles, aiming to push the limits of mountaineering.

The mountains were to be close to his home in Italy’s Aosta Valley – the Matterhorn (4478m), Mont Blanc (4810m) and Monte Rosa (4634m). Hervé grew up at the foot of the Matterhorn and has climbed mountains all over the world, including across the Alps, Pakistan and Patagonia. After such a vast amount of travelling he has realised that the value of the experience does not depend on the mountain itself, but rather in the soul of the mountaineer. Hervé believes that, nowadays, adventure can very much be found at home. On 8th April 2011 Hervé set off on the Italian face of the Matterhorn, climbing solo. His line headed up the south face of Picco Muzio, one of the subsidiary Matterhorn summits that tops out on the Furggen ridge. Taking a previously unclimbed route, the first 500 metres covered a steep, icy couloir followed by 700 metres of rotten crumbling Matterhorn rock, which made the ascent particularly difficult. Despite 60km/hour winds, fair and cold weather prevailed throughout the five days spent alone on the wall. “When I reached the Picco Muzio summit, all the stress and the fear of not making it or dying under a rockfall suddenly disappeared; it was just joy and peace of mind. I was aware that something unique had happened, but my great happiness was the fact that I didn’t have to climb that rotten and crumbling rock any more! Above my head there was only the sky, and the first stars of the night,” stated a relieved Barmasse. For the second part of his quest, Hervé was joined by fellow alpinists Iker and Eneko Pou on the Freney face of the Italian side of Mont Blanc. Carrying only the basics in case of unplanned bivouacs, the team free-climbed used traditional protection and pitons, with no bolts. The climb included one night’s stay at Rifugio Monzino (2590m) and one stop at Bivacco Eccles (3850m). Due to weeks of bad weather the team had to approach the route through knee-deep snow but on the first day of sunny weather 11 pitches were climbed up to grade 6c, to the top of the Brouillard pillar. One bivouac was made on the top of Mont Blanc on the Courmayeur side, where temperatures fell to -10°C. Accumulating a total vertical gain of 3,300m from the approach to the Creste del Brouillard at the top of Mont Blanc, the team descended on the French side of Mont Blanc arriving in Chamonix. Christening their new route La Classica Moderna, Barmasse explained: “The ascent resembled the ethics and philosophy of Walter Bonatti who, in 1959, was the first person to climb on the


Herve Barmasse, Mont Blanc, Valle d’Aosta - Italy. Photographer: Damiano Levati

pillars of this side of Mont Blanc. I would define the style as modern-classic; a style that mirrors those of the pioneers who, to get back home, had to traverse the top of Mont Blanc. Hence the route name. The bivouac was fantastic, and the scenery was just stunning.”
 Finally, on 30th September Hervé opened a new route on the Punta Gnifetti on the South-East face of Monte Rosa with a very special partner; his father Marco. After the approach and a bivouac at the ‘bivacco Giordano’, the duo started the route from ‘pianoro Hellermann’ at 3,800m and reached the summit later that evening. The 800m route demanded a classic alpine climbing style on mixed terrain with a fair amount of loose rock, and well-spaced traditional protection. Hervé and Marco (a mountain guide himself) set the grade of the route at ED (Extremely Difficult). “It’s a very psychological route. Flat rocks the size of coffee tables were tumbling down the mountain,” said Hervé. Inspired by Hervé’s odyssey, the new Alpine Project garments from The North Face are an exciting new part of their Summit Series, focusing on designing ultralight performance clothing. The Alpine Project Jacket weighs in at just 510g, which is super light in comparison to its rivals. The use of GORE-TEX Active Shell cuts at least 30% off other GORE-TEX variants making the Alpine Project the go-to jacket for lightweight protection during harsh ascents and nasty weather. We have two The North Face Alpine Project Jackets up for grabs – one men’s and one women’s – simply enter the competition for your chance to win!

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WIN AN ALPINE PROJECT JACKET FROM THE NORTH FACE® 1. Fill in your details 2. Detach the slip. 3. Hand in at George Fisher, or post to: George Fisher, 2 Borrowdale Road, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5DA 4. OR go online and enter at Name: Address:

Men’s or women’s?: Size? Phone Number: Email address:


[ ] Tick here if you do not want George Fisher to send you future details of news and promotions. [ ] Tick here if you do not want The North Face to send you future details of news and promotions. George Fisher and The North Face will not share your details with anyone else. Terms & Conditions 1. The promotion is only open to UK residents aged 18 or over, and excludes George Fisher and The North Face employees and their immediate families 2. A valid email address is required to enter 3. Two winners with correct answers (one male, one female) will be selected at random at the end of the promotion (midday 18 August 2012) 4. Entries may be made in store, by post or online at and received by midday 18 August 2012. 5. Photocopied entries not accepted- entries only on original pages from The Update. 6. The winners will be contacted within 7 days of the draw. In the event that the winner has not responded within 14 days of notification then the promoter reserves the right to reallocate the prize to a reserve winner. 7. The winners’ name & county will be posted online at 8. There is no cash alternative 9. By entering the promotion entrants confirm that they have read and agree to be bound by these terms & conditions and by the decisions of George Fisher, which are final in all matters relating to the promotion. Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of the prize. No correspondence will be entered into. 10. George Fisher will not be responsible for the non-inclusion of entries as a result of technical failures or otherwise. Proof of submission of entry is not proof of receipt of entry. 11. Winners name and county will be available by writing to George Fisher with a stamped addressed envelope after the closing date.

M Alpine Project Jacket

W Alpine Project Jacket

Athens Blue

Moody Blue

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LOST? WE CAN HELP! Roger Hiley, a George Fisher GPS expert, offers some practical advice

Where am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going? The three essential questions of life; equally applicable to home, travel or fell walking. At George Fisher we can try and help you answer these questions with the latest handheld GPS systems. The first rule of navigation is to always know where you are. You stand a much better chance of getting where you want to be! Don’t get caught out in low cloud and end up in the wrong valley with all the hassle, expense and (sometimes) marital disharmony that follows. Modern GPS units pick up a signal quickly, virtually anywhere, even in forests. A basic unit will give you an Ordnance Survey grid reference allowing you to confirm your position on a paper map. More high-spec units include electronic map displays, showing your location. The GPS continues to monitor your location so a line appears on the map where you have walked, plus a trip computer gives times, distance, height gained, average speed and lots of other data making your walk more interesting. If you turn back due to the weather then this track can be saved, reversed and becomes your route back, adding a safety feature to your device. Give the unit a grid reference where you want to go, and it will tell you how far you need to walk and in what direction. Units with an integral OS map display make this easier – just touch the screen or move the cursor to your required position and the GPS will calculate that grid reference. Now you have a line on the map and a direction of travel arrow making navigation in poor conditions much simpler. The Garmin range of mapping GPS units take advantage of their Base Camp software, so you can plan a route in advance or enter key waypoints before you leave home. You can also do roadbased car navigation on the same device. Here at George Fisher we can explain all the important details that online retailers (and many other shops) fail to tell you about. We’ve had people bring new units in for advice and found that they haven’t been set up properly for the UK and settings are incorrect. Our service includes setting up your new GPS, explaining mapping and helping you get the best out of your new device. Come and see us to discuss navigation, answer questions and help guide you along your way safely, easily and hassle free.




YOUR FIRST CLIMBING SHOES JON WICKHAM advises on fit and function

Buying your first pair of rock shoes can be a tricky business. At George Fisher we have an expertise in boot fitting which transfers across to climbing shoes. Myths about climbing shoes include that they should be bought several sizes smaller than your street shoe size, and that they will be painful to wear. These ideas are wrong and outdated, but still continue to dominate many people’s ideas of climbing shoe fitting. Feet come in many different sizes, but also shapes. Each brand makes their climbing shoes to a different shape (or Last), and it’s about finding the shoe that is closest to your foot shape. This is why we encourage customers to come in for a fitting, rather than buying online where you are essentially buying blind. A climbing shoe must be tight enough that your toes touch the end of the shoe. This enables you to feel the rock through the sole, and find the best position on a hold. The shoe must also be tight enough that your toes are not splaying out. This would mean the force you are putting into your foot is being lost, rather than transmitted into the tip of the shoe and onto the hold. This may feel very strange if it’s your first experience of climbing shoes, and you may get some initial discomfort until you get used to them, but you certainly don’t want it to be painful. More difficult climbs may have smaller holds and a steeper angle. Shoes designed for these routes maximise power transfer from your legs by pushing your toes into more of a point and putting your foot into a curved ‘claw’ shape. It is often here where climbers choose an overly small shoe in an attempt to get their feet to fill voids where the shoe does not fit them. A shoe that fits properly will not have these voids, so you will not need to squash your foot into a small shoe. A shoe that is too small will be uncomfortable. This can cause longterm deformity and a loss of feeling due to a lack of blood to the foot, which ends up in losing the sensitivity you were seeking in the first place! Climbing should be enjoyable, so don’t let a badly fitting pair of shoes put you off. Much is made of different sticky rubber soles, but the difference in grip is not massive and it certainly should not sway you when buying your first shoes. The best piece of advice I can give is to try on as many pairs of shoes as possible. We have a wide range of shoes in stock and the expertise to help you find the right pair. Happy climbing!




Tel: 01326 574402


TO PLAY AND TO PROTECT Water footwear experts Teva want you to get the most from your adventures In 1984, a young Grand Canyon river guide called Mark Thatcher revolutionised the footwear industry when he created the world’s first water sports sandal. This idea soon spawned a brand and Teva was born. It’s been over 25 years since Teva took its first steps into the Grand Canyon and not a moment has gone by that Teva (that’s teh-vah, not tee-vah) hasn’t been hard at work developing products that enable and encourage adventures. Of course, given their heritage, they have an obsession with water and their passion lies in identifying and enhancing the areas in which water creates an adventure. To Teva, water is the source of a year-round playground but it also poses a year-round problem. Anyone who has ever slipped on a patch of ice or been forced to deal with soaking wet socks can attest to this. Essentially, Teva says has two fundamental responsibilities: to play and to protect. To help us play in the water, but also to be protected from it. Teva sees its responsibility as managing this fine balance so you can go forth without reservation. Armed with a quarter-century of knowledge and technology, Teva is dedicated to developing products that strike this balance and deliver the most out of your adventures. The company is also committed to environmental activism. Unsurprisingly, Teva has been supporting the same cause since it was founded: water. Where you find water, you find life. That’s why for the past 25 years, they’ve been supporting programmes dedicated to cleaning up rivers, lakes and coasts all over the world. Teva also works to minimise the environmental impact of its business, via a team of ‘econinjas’ dedicated to ensuring responsibility and sustainability at every level of the company. In the end they want to make shoes that help you see the world, but not at the cost of making it a world that you don’t want to see.

Teva Mush flip flops – free with any purchase of Teva closed-toe shoes


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with TIM WOODS of Car Free Walks We’re linking up with, the website for people who love walking but want to reduce their impact on the environment, to bring you a classic walk each issue.

Dash Falls, encountered en route. Photo: Roger Hiley,


A linear, full-day low hills and fells walk (below 600m) starting at the Castle Inn Hotel in the village of Kilnhill. If you don’t fancy climbing the peaks of Blencathra and Skiddaw, then why not admire them from below? This route from Bassenthwaite Lake to Keswick follows the Cumbria Way through the valleys in between these fells. An overnight stop at Skiddaw House is an option as well. Loop or linear?



Castle Inn Hotel, OS Grid: NY215326


OS Landranger 90 Penrith & Keswick and/or OS Explorer 4, The English Lakes, NW Area


Keswick, Cumbria, England, OS Grid: NY267235

Total Distance:

15km (9.5 miles)


Regular Stagecoach buses between Keswick & Carlisle

Total height gain:

892m (2929ft)

Unsuitable for:

Prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs

We’re including OS references to allow you to programme waypoints into your GPS. If you’ve never used a GPS unit and would like to try one of our latest Garmin models for the day, just pop into the store and have a word with one of our tech experts.

1. Castle Inn Hotel OS Grid: NY215326

6. Skiddaw House OS Grid: NY287290 About 1km (0.62 miles) from 5

Stagecoach buses between Keswick and Carlisle call at the Castle Inn Hotel; check with the driver, though, as some go a different route.

Pass by one of England’s most scenic Youth Hostels, Skiddaw House. A good option is to split the walk over two days, with a night here – and possibly a midnight trip up Great Calva if the moon is out.

2. Bassenthwaite OS Grid: NY230321 About 2km (1.25 miles) from 1 Follow the road to Bassenthwaite. Some bus services also call here, but connections are tricky from Keswick. 3. Peter’s House Farm OS Grid: NY249323, about 2km (1.25 miles) from 2

South of Skiddaw House and you really are among the giants – Skiddaw to the west and Blencathra to the east. Even Lonscale Fell looks big from down here.

Follow the bridleway to Peter’s House Farm, on the western edge of the Caldbeck Fells.

8. Whit Beck OS Grid: NY282259 About 2km (1.25 miles) from 7

4. Dash Beck OS Grid: NY269312 About 2km (1.25 miles) from 3

9. Latrigg OS Grid: NY274249 About 1km (0.62 miles) from 8

Just beyond the farm, pick up the Cumbria Way.

Small by comparison, Latrigg is an optional side trip for great views over Keswick to Derwent Water.

5. Views of Skiddaw OS Grid: NY283303 About 2km (1.25 miles) from 4 Skiddaw is slog to climb, but there’s no denying it’s an impressive sight when seen from the valley that separates it from the Calva twins.


7. Between the giants OS Grid: NY292279 About 1km (0.62 miles) from 6

The Cumbria Way gains some height as you skirt the slopes of Lonscale Fell.

10.Keswick OS Grid: NY267235 About 2km (1.25 miles) from 9 Finish up in Keswick, our fine Lakeland town. Head for Abrahams Café for refreshments!

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YOUR PRECIOUS LEGS AND FEET ANDREW STANLEY of the Rebound Clinic says – neglect them at your peril! prepare your undervalued legs/feet for the rigours of the hill, we are launching a series of articles to highlight common problems and ways that you can prevent injuries occurring and treating existing ones. We are also beginning an ‘Ask Andrew’ series in which you can send questions regarding leg and feet problems to our resident podiatrist Andrew Stanley. The most relevant Q&As will be published in future issues of The Update (names withheld if you want!). In the meantime, here is a list of the most common areas which are affected by walking (gait) anomalies or biomechanical dysfunction (this affects more than 50% of the population). In forthcoming articles we will address each area in depth. No doubt many of you have spent much time and significant sums on your kit to date. Those essential boots, that super modern jacket, the special rucksack etc. But how much time and effort have you spent looking after your legs and feet? It is usual for us to ignore our lower limbs, in fact they are just about the most neglected part of our bodies. That is until they go wrong, at which point it becomes an allconsuming obsession to put things right! Only at then do we realise how much we rely on them. Your walking kit can keep you warm, dry and protected but without your feet and legs being in good order you ain’t gonna get there in the first place. OR you might get up there, but you struggle coming down! Sounds familiar? In an attempt to ensure that you are as fully informed as possible to prevent problems and

As you can see, biomechanical dysfunction is a major underlying cause of many problems that can affect your priceless feet and legs. The good news is that all of these are preventable and/or fixable. The vital thing to remember is, as with all conditions, the earlier you treat the quicker the resolution and the better the prognosis. So don’t leave things until you literally can’t walk any more because the damage can become permanent – not a good idea! Andrew Stanley can diagnose and treat ‘while you wait’ at the George Fisher in-store clinic as well as at the Rebound Clinic in Settle. For appointments, call 01729 825900 or email via for all appointments, information or ‘Ask Andrew’ questions. Andrew will also be in store on Saturday 8 September in the boot department to give advice, just pop in anytime!

COMMON PROBLEMS OCCURING IN THE FEET: Lesser/smaller toe deformities Bunion (Hallux Abducto Valgus) Tailors Bunion (5th toe joint) Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (stiff/enlarged big toe joint) Metatarsalgia (pain under the front of the foot) March Fracture (2nd Met’ Stress Fracture) Mortons’ Neuroma Plantar (under) Arch pain Plantarfaciitis (under heel pain) Policeman’s heel Sesamoiditis (pain under ball/big toe joint) Dorsal Midtarsal Joint (top/middle of foot) pain Subluxed Cuboid (pain in centre, outside of foot) Irregular plantar callus patterns and/or corns COMMON CONDITIONS OCCURRING IN THE LEG ITSELF: Ankle pain (inside/outside/central) Achilles tendonitis Shin splints Deep calf pain/strain Osgood Schlatters syndrome Chondromalacia patellae Medial, Anterior, Lateral (inside, central, outside) knee pain Trochanteric Bursitis Chronic groin pain Hip pain Lower back pain COMMON SYMPTOM SITES: Lower Back Hip

The Rebound Clinic Pain when walking or running? Visit the UK’s premier outdoors podiatry clinic.

The Rebound Clinic specialises in the diagnosis and correction of biomechanical dysfunction in the leg and foot. Using the latest analysis technology and treatment techniques, expert podiatrist Andrew Stanley treats walkers and runners of all ages and activity levels. Andrew is the biomechanics consultant for Trail Magazine and George Fisher. Appointments can be made at the Rebound Clinic in Settle, or at the Outreach Clinic at George Fisher, Keswick.

Tel: 01729 825 900 | Phone and website orders received before noon are delivered free overnight 017687 71801

Groin Thigh All regions of the knee Calf Shin

Achilles Ankle Heel Toes

Arch Bunions


BRIGHT IDEAS Exped’s sleeping mats are a brilliant solution

UtraLight sleeping mats DownMat UL

• Outstandingly warm, comfortable, ultralight and compact pack size • Weighing only 420g - 750g

• 700 fill power goose down • Available in 4 sizes

Andi Brun doesn’t come across as one of the most innovative people in the outdoor industry. However this quiet-spoken Swiss is one of those people who is able to come up with products that we didn’t realise we needed. Industry veterans, Andi and his wife Heidi ran a successful outdoor distribution company until the urge to ‘do their own thing’ became too much and they started to bring out their own products. Their first and arguably best-known innovation is the Exped DownMat, an inflatable sleeping mat with down insulation inside. The DownMat has an insulation R-Value of 5.9 whereas a standard self-inflating mat only has an R-Value of 2.5. Regular mats also lose three times more heat to cold ground than to the air. The conclusion: take a lighter weight sleeping bag with a DownMat and so reduce the weight and bulk you’re carrying!

The IDFL certified down is treated and moisture proof. It does not originate from live pluck nor goose liver production.

Each Exped mat is tested for 72 hours prior to leaving the factory. The mats are tested to withstand five times the pressure usually generated during pumping – a car can drive over the mat without it bursting. However any inflatable mat needs to be protected from puncture of course. Finally, George Fisher also stocks Exped’s SIM Comfort mats, lightweight selfinflating mats that are exceptionally comfortable and ideal for basecamp or camping van use. Using Exped’s patented FlatValve Technology for inflation, SIM Comfort mats are filled with a new ultra-light open celled PU foam.





Schnozzel pump included. Medium size mat inflates in less than 90 sec.

SynMat UL

• Warm & comfortable microfibre filling • Available in 3 sizes

• Weighing only 430g - 600g • Compact pack size

The DownMat won the 2003 European Outdoor Award, Europe‘s most prestigious outdoor award. Now the new (and much-anticipated) DownMat Ultralite takes the famous, patented warmth of the classic Downmat and strips back the weight. There’s no integral pump, but a new ‘schozzelbag’ that doubles as a drybag/shrinkbag is used – just pump twice and it’s inflated. Durable but lighter fabrics are specified and 700 fill power goose down is retained making this the warmest ultralight mat available with an R-value of 5.9 – the same as the standard DownMat 7. Once again a European Outdoor Award winner, 2011. Exped doesn’t just develop down-filled mats. The lighter weight, syntheticfilled SynMat Ultralite offers unmatched comfort and warmth at a minimal weight and packed size. The size medium weighs only 470g and offers an excellent R-Value of 3.5. All this in the packed size of a half-litre bottle. The synthetic microfibre filling is laminated to both upper and lower sides of the mat, eliminating the loss of loft common to synthetic filled sleeping bags. The new ultralight fabrics are extremely lightweight yet robust and use highfrequency welded seams.



SynMats pack small thanks to exeedingly compressible microfibre




UL = 2 years warranty

FlatValve technology

Ensures rapid inflation and deflation. Will not snag or dig in whilst sleeping. Made of soft PU with no sharp edges for durability. Exped products are distributed in the UK and Ireland by Lyon

ADVENTURE According to the dictionary there are six meanings to the word ‘adventure’ and I have had my share one way or another. As a boy I bought the Adventure Comics (wish I’d kept a copy or two, they’re collectors items now) and I also got into all sorts of scrapes and adventures during my younger days!

Napes Needle – at least four ‘Keswick Lads’ on top

*Editor’s note: I’m sure Des won’t want to blow his own trumpet but he was climbing at a high standard for the time. The routes he mentions are graded as follows: The Buttonhook Route HVS 5a, Tophet Wall HS 4a, Demon Wall VS 5a, Central Buttress HVS 5b (now E1 without the chockstone), Long John HVS 5a. All are still coveted ticks for the majority of today’s climbers, even with modern equipment and protection.

My most memorable adventures involve climbing, mostly on Great Gable, in the early 1950s. As a group known as the ‘Keswick Lads’ we (including George Fisher) would cycle to Seathwaite Farm in Borrowdale and walk up Sty Head Pass heading for the Napes ridges, quite often stopping off at Kern Knotts. I have climbed most the routes on this outcrop, many are classics, with my favourite The Buttonhook Route*. On the Napes the route every climber had aspirations for is Tophet Wall, I have ascended it a number of times and on one occasion went across the ‘Great Slab’ part of Demon Wall, that was a real adventure and a prelude to an ascent of Central Buttress on Scafell Crag. When one talks about the Napes area you automatically think of Napes Needle, a 60ft pinnacle of rock detached (almost) from the great ridges of the Napes. The gap between the Needle and Needle Ridge is a rock scramble and once you have traversed the gap you are said to have ‘threaded the Needle’.


DES OLIVER recalls a lifetime of outdoor exploits Napes Needle is often referred to as the birthplace of rock climbing, due to WP Haskett Smith’s first ascent in 1886. In my day there were six different ways to reach the top and my first attempts were made in nailed boots. To reach the ‘shoulder’ wasn’t too bad but to get onto the traverse around the top block required heaving up on handholds until you were standing upright, definitely a mini adventure. When we introduced a newcomer to the climb we would tie them to the top block so they felt safe and comfortable then say, “the block is loose, you know”. Their face would assume a “don’t believe you” expression, so we would rock the block (gently) to which we received a “please don’t do that” look… Another route that gave a warm feeling (and sweaty palms) was Long John, with a step up off a pinnacle onto what seems like a holdless slab. In the back of your mind is the thought that if you fall off here, your back is going to connect with the top if the pinnacle with dire results. That’s adventure… Many other adventures over the years include ski touring/mountaineering in the Lakes, Scotland and the Alps, long distance walking and camping treks, and fell running. I am now sitting back watching my family seek their own adventures, there’s plenty on offer!


“Because I train on a wide variety of surfaces, I want a running shoe that combines the lightweight efficiency of a road shoe with the traction and protection of a trail shoe.” – Jonathan Wyatt Two-time Olympic competitor and six-time World Mountain Running Champion




Innovation and Quality in Packs since 1974

How Osprey’s owner decided to guarantee quality Born in 1974, Osprey was the inadvertent result of a Californian design student indulging in his passion for the outdoors. At the age of 20 Mike Pfotenhauer found that designing and making his own rucksacks was much more enjoyable than buying them. Very quickly Mike’s packs really got people talking and it wasn’t long before Osprey could be found on the walls of many specialist American outdoor retailers.


In 2001 when Osprey pack production moved from the USA to Vietnam, Mike worried about how he could maintain his grip on quality control. The solution was to move his entire family to Vietnam so Mike could run his design and production office in Ho Chi Minh City, a short walk from the factories that build Osprey products. This allowed Mike to keep an eye on production, ensuring his designs were correctly interpreted and made to the highest standards by happy workers.


Today, Mike has managed to move back to the US but his staff is still in Vietnam and Osprey is internationally known, with many design awards to its name. The company believes that the secret to its success is Mike’s passion, which infuses throughout the company – the staff hope you enjoy using Osprey products as much as they enjoy making them! A key category for Osprey is travel luggage, where it leads the field in tough, high quality travel bags. The flagship Sojourn series offers the versatile choice of a wheeled travel bag for airports, cities etc, or comfortable shoulder straps turn the bag into a robust backpack. It’s a great solution if you plan on travelling to remote or unknown places where your gear needs to be protected and carried.

my gymnasium

Mike Pfotenhauer testing pack strength


Image (c) Dan Milner

When you do need to carry the Sojourn, the zip-away suspension is on the ready. You’ll also find foam sidewalls for keeping the load secure, while handy mesh pockets and clothing straps maintain your organisation. All Osprey wheeled travel packs use their High Road Chassis featuring a retractable handle, aluminium frame, ultra-durable composite base, integrated foot/grab handle, and over-sized high-traction polyurethane wheels with sealed bearings giving high clearance.

• • • • •

Integrated Raincover ‘Stow-on-the-Go’™ trekking pole attachment Front and side stretch pockets Fully hydration compatible Extra zipped pockets for organisation

Kestrel Series follow Osprey on


Guest columnist SARAH BRIGGS on why age is no barrier to fitness Eleven years ago I was about to turn 40. I went mountain biking, got nettle stings all over my legs and the bloke I was vaguely involved with at the time said, “well you won’t be doing that in 10 years’ time, will you?” My immediate thought was, “why on earth not?” Not long after, I finished the relationship and also entered my first triathlon. I came first in my age group (Lady Vet 40+), which was a huge confidence boost. It also demonstrates an advantage to being older and competing: if you’re even half decent you might get a category placing. This was endorsed recently at the Talkin Tarn ‘triathlon’ (duathlon). My friend Penny is in her mid-40s, and this was her first multi-sport race: she was 2nd in her age group, which I think has whetted her appetite for more. Another running partner is Kerry, who turns 40 this year. At the beginning of the year she was regularly running three miles but had not considered going any further. She started running with Penny and me and quickly increased to doing six mile runs. As I wanted team-mates for the Kielder Marathon,

the Hawkshead trail challenge, which must be the toughest race I have ever done. Since doing this two years ago I had forgotten quite how long some of the hills are; I walked the odd few yards but Penny doggedly ran every single step of the way. By way of tribute to both women, they keep me going at times when I might have just given up and walked if I was on my own.

I asked around: Kerry agreed. We recently did a 10-mile off road hilly training run and she did fantastically. Both Penny and Kerry demonstrate an advantage which sports scientists state is linked to being older: stamina. I am frequently impressed by their sheer determination to keep pushing themselves up hills and across bogs, when in a different age they would have been grandmothers sitting in chairs knitting jumpers. Penny and I recently completed

So at age 50 (I’ll be 51 in September), why do I do it? Ultimately it boils down to the fact that it makes me feel good and I don’t see why I should stop. My 100-year-old grandmother only stopped exercising regularly when her legs started giving way at age 98, but I’m sure the fact that she has kept active has helped her maintain a positive attitude to life and to keep fit so long. And then look at Josh Naylor; the man is awesome and at age 70+ is still fell-running. I’ve entered the Kielder marathon. I’ve always sworn I’d never do a marathon. But I didn’t do any particular challenges for my 50th as I had a new baby and getting fit again is a great feeling. As Penny and Kerry and I always say, when people say we’re nuts; it’s the people who give up because they think they’re too old who are nuts.

X-ULTRA GTX “The X-Ultra GTX combines our trail running shoe expertise with hiking construction to deliver a stable and protective, yet extremely fast and lightweight shoe that is perfect for hiking on mixed terrain.” - Rene Borel, Footwear product developer.

CopyRiGhT© SALomon SA. ALL RiGhTS ReSeRved. pRodUCT phoToGRAphy: SemAphoRe.


Our man in Chamonix, mountain guide MARK SEATON, considers how natural events can affect the Valley

Is wild weather just part of living and working in the Alps? Probably not what the Chamonix tourist board would wish to promote, but it’s a fact of life over here. I have lived and worked as a Mountain Guide in the French Alps for over 20 years. It is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular mountain settings in the world. Yet its soaring peaks and deep glaciers have been formed, in part, by the fact they are continually falling down and have been doing so for millions of years. And they continue to do so. Even in the evolutionary nano second I have lived here I have witnessed virtually every form of so-called natural disaster there is, from earthquakes and floods to village-destroying avalanches. I have witnessed a fifth of the surface area of the glaciers disappear. One particular consequence of this is that a huge pocket of water trapped in a glacier high above the town of St Gervais could release any time. Sensors have been placed in the glacier in an attempt to warn of the impending ‘tsunami’ that, it is reckoned, would hit the town of St Gervais below. About 16 years ago an earthquake unblocked a similar underground lake in the Mer de Glace glacier. This combined with a thunderstorm set up disastrous floods, which swept through Chamonix inundating shops and houses. I have seen rockfall from the famous west face of the Dru so big that dust settled all over our house, despite our location being over 4km away. The shock of these huge granite slabs falling registered five on the Richter scale at the seismology centre in Sion, which is 60km away.

Rosa and had reasonable weather and some good skiing – everything went to plan and we spent the night in the Mantova mountain hut. During the night there was a storm, not too bad but we could not safely continue because there was too great an avalanche risk and so we had to head down to the valley.

I phoned my wife to keep her updated on what we were doing and it was then that she told me that Chamonix had been hit by a hurricane. It seemed a bit ridiculous to continue to think about ski touring and so we headed back to Chamonix. As we came over the Col des Montets pass at the top of the Chamonix valley I was incredulous. Chamonix had been without power for 24 hours and all roads were closed because of downed trees. Houses had been GF Update ad - Ju cut in half by fallen trees, cars had been smashed to bits, the ice rink in the centre of Chamonix had its roof blown off, chair lifts ripped off their cables, windows blown out of mountain restaurants and whole swathes of forest were flattened. No one could remember such strong winds; the official maximum was recorded at 184kph. The amazing thing was that no one was killed or injured. Chamonix council is well use to dealing with wild weather and it was only a day before the whole town was cleared up. Any tourist would not have known anything untoward had happened and the normal ebb and flow of Chamonix stoically continued – just waiting for the next wild weather event.

Are you a confident walker?

Undoubtedly the most notorious incident in recent times was the 1999 avalanche on the hamlet of Mont Roc at the top of the Chamonix valley. Several houses and 11 people were killed when their chalets were either swept away or crushed. Until 29 April this year the one weather occurrence that we had not experienced was a hurricane. At the time I was skiing along the Haute Route, the famous ski tour from Chamonix to Zermatt, when the forecast predicted the arrival of a Foehn wind. There is nothing unusual in this, although this wind comes from the south and brings unpleasant weather and strong winds. We had little choice but to abandon our ski tour and head for the safety of the valley. Normally the Foehn blows itself out after a couple of days, but this time it did not. The wind grew stronger, yet was still nothing exceptional. I left for another ski tour with a new group of clients, choosing somewhere where I thought we would not be affected by the wind. We headed to Gressoney near the Monte


Want to widen your experience into alpine mountains? INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN GUIDE

Based in Chamonix below Mont Blanc, Mark Seaton offers guiding services for all mountain activities. These include alpine mountaineering in the summer season, and off-piste skiing and ski touring in the winter. With over 20 years experience Mark offers options from single day one-to-one instruction, to multi-day programmes for small groups.


Phone and website orders received before noon are delivered free overnight 017687 71801


NEW VIA FERRATA XTREME AT HONISTER Nine times higher than The BIG One rollercoaster and seven times the height of Big Ben, Honister’s new Via Ferrata Xtreme takes the UK via ferrata experience to an exciting new level. Bigger and better than before, and with extra helpings of adrenaline – more vertical climbs, more cliff-edge ladders, more rope bridge crossings and more exposure! Inch your way across the daunting ‘Burma Bridges’ suspended 2,000 feet above the valley floor, and reach the summit of Fleetwith Pike over a 66ft scramble net. You don’t have to be a climber to do Via Ferrata Xtreme, you are permanently attached to a cable and guided by professionals. Minimum age 10 years, minimum height 1.3m.

THE society for lovers of the Lake District and fellwalking.

More at


Annual Subscription of £12 which includes 4 copies per annum of the Society Magazine, Footsteps. Please visit us on line for more information and membership details : THE WAINWRIGHT SOCIETY HAS CHOSEN CUMBRIA WILDLIFE TRUST AS THEIR MAIN FUNDRAISING BENEFICIARY FOR 2012. Photograph by Derry Brabbs

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Last year there was consternation when it was announced that YHA was selling Derwentwater Youth Hostel, one of its most successful and much-loved locations. It had been a hostel for 50 years, giving thousands unique and special memories to treasure for a lifetime. However, the story has a happy ending as a local family stepped in and bought the building to be retained as a hostel and run by the managers of twenty years, Kathy Morris and Dave Piercy. Situated just two miles 17:21 from Keswick the hostel is a 220-year-old mansion on the shores of Derwent Water with bed space for 88 guests, several lounges, a lovely dining room, games rooms and a self-catering kitchen. More info at or call 017687 77246.

999 TEXT TIP Here’s a tip from MRT trainer Lyle Brotherton, which might save a life one day. Sometimes in a poor reception area a text can get through where a voice call can’t, however the catch was you couldn’t text 999. Well now you can; you just have to register first. How do you do this? Easy: 1)

Text ‘register’ to 999


After a minute you will get a text back, to which you reply ‘yes’


The system will then text you to confirm registration


That’s it!

PRIZE WINNERS Staying locally? Ask your accommodation provider for a George Fisher Walk Plan and you could be a winner. The winner of this quarter’s ‘Walk Plan Draw’ is John Mould from Peterborough, who was staying at Avondale Guesthouse, Keswick. Mr Mould and the guesthouse owner both get £50 of George Fisher vouchers. The winners of the two RAB Generator Vests from our competition in Issue 78 are Ellie Taylor from Lancashire and Martin Clarke from Co Durham.


GORE-TEX ACTIVE SHELL PERFECT FOR SUMMER It’s not often that a brand-new GORE-TEX fabric is launched, so last year’s debut of GORE-TEX Active Shell was hotly anticipated. Active Shell is extremely breathable, durably waterproof and windproof. This allows manufacturers to create revolutionary designs with outstanding breathability that are highly packable and very light. Brilliant for summer hill walking in fact. The fabric itself features a ‘streamlined’ 3-layer construction, combining a lighter, thinner GORE-TEX membrane with fine denier-weight outer fabrics, which “delivers the ultimate solution for active users”. On the inside, a new lamination technology helps give fantastic breathability and excellent next-to-skin comfort. All Active Shell garments are very light, with a maximum weight of 400g. GORE-TEX says that Active Shell is “ideal for all-weather fast-forward athletes seeking durable protection and comfort during highly aerobic, done-in-a-day activities such as trail running, mountain biking, and fast alpine ascents”. Basically, if you’re moving fast and light it’s perfect for you! You’ll find GORE-TEX Active Shell garments in George Fisher from brands like Haglofs, Berghaus and The North Face

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Published by George Fisher Limited, 2 Borrowdale Road, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5DA Tel: 017687 72178 Website: Email:

24.02.12 13:27

The publishers of The Update would like to thank all contributors to this edition, noting that the opinions expressed in submitted articles are those of their authors, and not neccessarily of George Fisher Ltd. Editor: Clive Allen | Design: Lavahouse Associates | Printed by Reeds Printers Penrith (Tel: 01768 864214)

Printed on 100% Recycled Paper

George Fisher Update 79  

The popular seasonal magazine from George Fisher, the world famous outdoor store in Keswick.

George Fisher Update 79  

The popular seasonal magazine from George Fisher, the world famous outdoor store in Keswick.