Uisdean is a Scottish climber and alpinist best known for his winter climbing and Alpine exploits
I started climbing in Scotland in winter which provided a very steep learning curve, thankfully my practical upbringing on a hill farm allowed me to enjoy the wildness of the climbing. My first few years climbing in Scotland gave me a great base of harder trad climbing. I kept pushing myself and started doing first ascents in winter, I found great pleasure in trying to predict if a certain line would form up and then taking the chance to just go and try them. I think this attitude of just trying things helped me to go the alps and try some of the harder faces, amazingly I got up some of them. In 2015 my first trip to the Canadian Rockies brought home how I most enjoy climbing in remote places. Since then, I have focused most of my climbing towards these types of places from a quiet mountain crag in Scotland or a unclimbed face in the Himalaya. I am currently living in western Canada and enjoying the easily found remote and adventurous climbing be that in summer or winter.
The routes that mean the most
House-Anderson, Mt Alberta, Canadian Rockies
This was the first big alpine route outside of the alps, it felt really committing and I will never forget walking along the base of the face at 2am.
Gandiva 5.11 M5+ 1400m Arjuna (6100m), Northern India
An all free 1400m new route with two great friends on our first trip to the Himalaya, hard to beats those memories.
Giant VII, 7 First Winter Ascent, Creag an Dubh Loch, Scotland
I climbed this my dad, he had spotted the line in the eighties and this was my first new route in Scotland.
Running in the Shadows VI AI5 M6 A0, 2000m. Emperor Face, Yexyexescen (Mt. Robson) Canadian Rockies
Putting up a new route on such a famous face was a truly special experience, practically roadside but with a Himalayan scale.
Cuillin Ridge winter traverse, Isle of Skye, Scotland (4hrs 57)
These are my local mountains and to be able to traverse them in a short day felt special and I was faster than Findlay Wild...
Uisdean's Climbing Beta
- Just go try, you will learn and gain confidence every time even if you don’t start climbing, you will also get good at bailing which is important too.
- Get a good partner, not just one who is good at climbing. One who you trust, has a similar risk tolerance to you and most importantly you like spending time with, alpinism involves a lot of down time.
- Lead in blocks, British climbers sometimes find this odd, but it makes a big difference if you are still swinging leads on an alpine climb go back to the 90’s.
- Efficiency is better than speed. Its very cool to be super-fast and start sprinting up the ice fields at them base of the route but if you just burn out its completely pointless. Consider efficiency in absolutely everything you do, and you will be faster without being needlessly tired.
- Enjoy being in the mountains. Relax, enjoy being there, have a laugh with your friends. It helps break down any unnecessary fear or tension. After all that’s the point if you aren’t enjoying it then maybe you should just go sport climbing.
More from Uisdean
Follow Uisdean on Instagram
The Alpinist's Lens
Shooting in Canada's Bugaboos
Behind the Images
Koyo Zom from behind the lens
The longest climb
On the iconic Peuterey Integrale
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