I’m really looking forward to my Alps trip this summer, it’s always one of the highlights of my year and I’m also looking forward to running a few Alpine Preparation Courses here in Wales to help other people get themselves ready.
It’s prompted me to write this very tongue in cheek blog about how to spot a Brit abroad in the Alps!
Here’s my top 5 tips for spotting us lot in the Alps.
Nooooo, black softshell, crap helmet and white sunnies, the horror!
Rock camouflage, well firstly you may struggle to spot us at all! Think about what colour clothes you’re wearing and how they’ll look on Instagram. If you’re old skool Brit, you’ll be mostly in blacks and greys, shunning the Euro Fluro look. When you’re in Chamonix, treat yourself and go shopping for some yellow trousers and a bright blue softshell (don’t forget your credit card). However, avoid the white sunnies unless you’re a wannabe Mountain Guide.
Text book climbing calls, even though you probably can’t spot the Brits, you’ll definitely hear them! SSSAAAFFFEE, OOOOOFFFF BBBEEEELLLLAAAYYYYY,
Better colours and better sunnies at the top of the Rebuffat-Pierre route, 6a+ on trad gear.
TTTTTAAAAKKKKIINNNNGGG IIIIINNNN, TTTTHHHHAAAATTTTSSSS MEEEEEEEEE, WWWWWHHHHHAAAAATTTTTT IIIIIISSSSS TTTTTHHHHHAAAAATTTTT YYYYOOOUUUUU…. You get the idea. Build up that solid climbing partnership and you’ll minimise the unnecessary shouting, you won’t destroy the peace and the French won’t be doubled up laughing at you (maybe).
Being slooooow, we’ve got a hard won reputation for being slow, we plod along, faff on belays and abseils as well as being far too polite to other climbers. Get on with it!
Carrying too much, one of the reasons we’re slow is we carry to much crap! When you’re stood in the Midi lift queue take a look at the French Guide’s pack next to you, I can pretty much guarantee it’ll be half the size of yours. I do hope you’re not carrying a sleeping bag “just in case”?!
Getting up late, if you’re not first in the lift queue you’re late. Chances are you’ve eaten too many burgers in Poco Loco and then drank too much over priced beer, pressing that snooze button on your alarm about twenty times. Next thing you know you’re planning to do the Cosmique Arete over two days…
All the other things! Chest coils that are far too tight, or massively loose, not remembering how to put crampons on, getting lost, massive rack, etc… We’d love to hear your telltale signs!
Be efficient, be fast, have fun and pretend you’re French.
Our Alpine Prep Courses are slightly more serious, but we still make sure we have a laugh, as well as covering loads of stuff to make you slick and safe.