Six useful habits for the winter mountains


Anna Alexandronec loves winter. And that’s why she shares her advice with you on how to make travel during this period pleasant and comfortable. Why are we publishing the article not in October but now? We remember that there are always places on Earth where winter is a ruler!

Text and art: Anna Aleksandronets
Photos: Oleg Ivanov


A few useful habits to help you endure the hardships of the winter mountains, if you are suddenly got there with mountaineering purposes. These habits I have developed through personal experience, and any master of sports or couch experts can challenge them, if they want!

1. My most superheroic habit is to blow your nose on the move. It saves time and saves the mucous nose as much as possible. Leave napkins and handkerchiefs for social occasions and climbing gyms!

2. Lift something special to the mountain hut. Something that does not fit into the harsh realities of vertical terrain. Do not spare room in your backpack and put there something delicious, such as “Snowflake” cake, vodka and tomato powder – the basis for Bloody Mary, pancake mix or everything for the lagman. Believe me, you’ll have huge pleasure on a rest day! Or you can bring a garland powered by a battery. It won’t only give you light, but also brighten up frosty evenings. If there is still a little space left in your backpack, then put the book in a soft cover and a small format.

3. Don’t look up on the ice route when someone is working above you: a lens or a small stone may come to your face! If it’s your partner climbing above, you can tell if he’s moving or organizing protection by shaking of the rope – you don’t have to look at him constantly. As a last resort, he’ll scream at you for being dumb and give you the right command.

4. At the bottom of the route itself, you have to put on so much equipment! And you’ll have to put on a lot of gear if you’re using ice fifi. So make sure you do it on a comfortable platform, not balancing on one leg on a 50-degree slope. If you’re a comfort fan, take a shovel and dig out a balcony underneath the route: you’ll enjoy it, and so will the subsequent mountain climbers!

5. If you’re cold, don’t just stand there. Wave your legs if the situation allows: first wave on the maximum amplitude of one foot and then the other. Also move your hands, squeeze and unclench your toes and hands. I like to bask in Bear Grylls’ method, which he showed after swimming in the river in minus temperatures. Place your bent arms parallel to the ground in front of your chest, and bring them together sharply. Repeat the exercises until the warmth spills over the extremities.

6. Hold on. You will have to endure a lot, even while sleeping: the nightmare that I climb a kilometre-long ice wall in a blizzard does not leave me in the mountains! To endure hunger, cold, calls of the nature, and to convince yourself that you are the master of your body. Snoring and coughing neighbors, wind or blizzard in the face, back, side! Accept, endure and humble.

This things saved me in Ala-Archa in March. And even if it’s not winter already by Urubko’s opinion, it’s still bloody cold even in spring, which is confirmed by herpes on my face, toes swollen from the cold and a slight cold that has nothing to do with coronavirus!

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