Friday, 26 February 2016

Testing a Rab Strata Hoodie on behalf of e-outdoors

Rab Strata Hoodie.

A review for e-outdoors

By Andy Spink. Mountaineering Instructor Certificate [ MIC ] and IML.

I have been testing the Rab Strata Hoodie over the last month.

The Rab Strata Hoodie is a versatile and very useful garment. I wore it on a variety of occasions whilst instructing or working on winter courses for
The weather it was tested in ranged from dry sub-zero to warm and very damp days.
The Jacket worked extremely well. I wore it both as a mid-layer under a Gortex jacket and as an over jacket or belay jacket.

The jacket has a Pertex Outer and a zoned woven liner. It has a large elasticated hood. Zippered hand warmer pockets and elastic wrist cuffs. 

Mid-layer usage.

As a mid-layer it was warm and it never felt too warm whilst moving and climbing. When some moisture built up inside the jacket it dried quickly and never felt clammy. Being slim fitting it was not bulky nor obstructive as a mid-layer.

Over jacket.

As a belay or over jacket it performed well, keeping me cosy and the wind off at all times.
Being very wind proof the outer Pertex fabric added an extra element to the barrier against the elements and it shed the snow or rain well.

How water proof? 
The jacket is not waterproof and is not designed to be. However, it shed rain and snow well and even on an absolutely terrible days of driving wind and rain it kept me warm, even when soaked through. 

The hood.

Often hoods are too small to fit over helmets and if designed to fit over them they are often too large and flap around when not wearing a helmet.
The hood on the Rab Strata Hoodie work really well being elasticated on its edging. Obviously someone has tested it in the field whist designing the product.


I was asked to test a medium size. I found it true to size and because I wore it both as a mid-layer or outer Jacket it’s slightly large cut was ideal. I am 5’7” and stocky, so if you are of more athletic build I would recommend a size down form your norm.


The Rab Strata Hoodie is a versatile and well-designed jacket. It does what it says on the tin. I would recommend it for the whole gamut of mountain and cragging usage, from cold evenings at the crag, winter mountaineering to alpine routes.  

E-outdoor were so helpful and I have recommended their online shop to a variety of clients. They provide a wide range of very competitive priced equipment and clothing for the outdoor enthusiasts.
Here are a few ways of viewing their products.


Thursday, 25 February 2016

An awesome spell of weather for our courses and time off.

Over the last few days the weather has settled down and the sun has remained higher in the sky.

The snow conditions are settling down and ice is forming at last. It has been a  challenging week or so with high avalanche forecasts and crucial route making decisions. Local knowledge and high levels of experience have been key to ensuring safe and appropriate delivery for courses and guiding.

Chris on Golden Oldie.

Ben Cruachan. Plastered in snow. Perfect for snow pack analysis,  avalanche avoidance and winter walking skills delivery. 

Graham on School House Ridge.

Andy Spink enjoying the warmth. 

Clachaig Inn lecture night.

Ben enjoying the warm coastal  rock.

Andy mentoring MIC trainees on Raeburn's Route in Glencoe.


Prussian Blue has dominated the sky for days now. 

Andy training on his day off!

Hebridean Pursuits instructors have been busy working out in the mountain on a variety of courses.

They have been out guiding classic winter mountaineering routes, instructing winter walking skills and introducing the art of winter climbing.

Even when leave is due and much essential time with family is needed we still manage to catch some fun times in the sun and snow and on some dry rock.

Andy Spink last Tuesday  delivered a safety  presentation to a packed house at the Clachaig Inn.  These lectures have been running for 30 years, so it was very flattering to be asked and well received.

Scotland and the West Coast is phenomenal when these high pressure periods dominate.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Photos of a few of our groups we have been working with over the last few days.

Over the last ten days we have been working with a variety of groups, from University Mountaineering clubs to school groups, our MIC mentees and private clients.

The weather has been awesome up until today when it has temporarily broken.

We were teaching mountaineering and lead climbing to Manchester University students, winter skills to Tiree High School pupils and St. Laurence's School from near Bath were being instructed on the joys of winter hill walking.

We were also out with trainees on the Outdoor Adventure Academy on their first two days of winter mountaineering course.

A busy period. Our winter season is in full flow.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Intro Winter Climbing Course and Mountaineering Instructor Certificate Trainee Mentoring.

A wild start to the week,  but with  a much calmer middle period.

With some reorganisation we managed to re schedule Tuesday's Intro Winter Climbing  course to Wednesday. And what a difference that made. We had a classic day on Dorsal Arete in Glencoe with Glenn and Dean who had come up from North Wales to experience Scottish Winter climbing and proper walk in's!

They were treated to awesome weather and as Andy Spink was mentoring  a trainee MIC the guys got individualised instruction. Jamie Bankhead MIC guided Dean and Cliff ( closely observed ) by Andy  guided Glenn. A stunning day out for all concerned.

Alot of new snow had fallen the night before and evidence of large amounts of graupel had been laid down under 10 cm of fresh snow. A little worrying if on large open faces or loaded gully heads. It was a very good illustration for Glenn and Dean to see why we spend so much time planning out route choices for the day ahead and how constant dynamic risk assessment is crucial.

Today in Glencoe it was all change again. A cold start but considerably warmer by lunchtime.

Today Andy was mentoring Tim who is also working towards his MIC assessment. Teaching progressions of leading skills for Rory and Rob and some specific use of crampons on mixed terrain. Tim also did alot of short roping in ascent and descent.

Winter conditions prevailed under foot but the snow line  was visibly rising by the late afternoon.

Manchester University Mountaineering Club  are back with us this weekend. Intro Mountaineering,  Advanced Mountaineering / leading course and a Winter Climbing Course are all on the menu.

Pleasingly it is looking like it will remain reasonably cold.

Dean on Dorsal Arete. 

A beautiful start to Wednesday in Glencoe.

High up on Dorsal Arete. A classic grade II winter climbing and ideal for a first experience of this amazing adventure activit. 

Jamie bringing up Dean to the belay stance. 

Short rope practice for Tim on Gearr Aonach today.

The start of the ZigZags on Gearr Aonach. 

Glenn reaching the top of Dorsal Arete. A happy man!