There are many reference and guide books for climbers and walkers, but this one, in particular, is both Tiago and my favourite. The book has been published by Mountain Leader Training UK and was written by Andy Cunningham and Allen Fyffe. Both are very experienced and have many first ascents under their belts. Cunningham is a Ullapool based Mountaineering Instructor and Fyffe is also a Mountaineering Instructor, Mountain Guide and works full time as the secretary at the book’s publishers Mountain Leader Training Scotland.
This book is aimed at mountaineers and especially those mountaineers that want to lead, coach and instruct others in the field. This was one of the main things that attracted Tiago and I to the book. It is a very practical book and has very easy to read, reference pages with a colour-coded system. The text is enhanced by the many lines and relief maps and colour images.
Winter Skills is Mountain Leader Training UK’s official and main handbook and with good reason as it includes all of the vitally important information and techniques that walkers and climbers need before they hit the mountainside and while they are on the mountain.
The book is split into 6 handy sections:
- Winter Environment
- Basic Winter Skills
- Snow And Avalanche
- Security On Steep Ground
- Winter Climbing
- Winter Incidents
Within these sections, there is text that is aimed at climbers and walkers of all levels, with advice directed specifically at leaders and instructors (in easy to spot boxes). Throughout the book, the authors refer to the different types of cliffs and hills round the United Kingdom and Ireland and the illustrations and text acknowledges fully the range of people who take part in winter based mountaineering, from the beginners to the seasoned pros. It follows on from Hill Walking and Rock Climbing, both published by Mountain Leader Training UK, though this is the most comprehensive of its kind solely about winter walking and climbing. Both Tiago and I owe a lot to this publication and the authors as without it we wouldn’t have much of the knowledge and technical skills that we perfected over our many years of mountain climbing and hill walking at wintertime.
Although actual field experience is what makes a good climber great, it certainly doesn’t help to read up on one’s hobby and interest. Particularly when much of the information and advice you read about can mean the difference between life and death or keeping warm and freezing to death while on the side of a huge mountain.
We are particularly fond of its very reader-friendly layout. If there is a subject that you are interested in or need to sharpen upon, you can simply browse the content page and find the correct chapter that covers that subject and hey presto! you find the photographs, graphs, illustrations and information pertaining to that particular subject.
Absolutely no winter time and conditions hill walker, mountain climber or anyone else in a similar field, should skip reading and owning this book!