Dunno if anyone is still following this thing but I'm planning my next trek and I thought I would document it here to keep everything together.
So, next trip is to Mt. Toubkal to start learning how to ice climb. I'll be leaving January 20th and it will be an 8 day trip.
So I began my preparations yesterday. I need some different equipment than for Everest Base camp - in particular I need better boots, crampons and an ice axe.
And so I began to do a bit of research on boots and crampons. Boots have different ratings, as do crampons and so one must be careful to get the right combination that will give you the level of performance that you need. I decided to compromise by finding a boot that would be decent for the approach trek as well as take a decent quality crampon. Believe me, I wanted the more technical boots but I have to be realistic about what I need. Indeed I worried that a better boot might actually impede me on this trip.
Anyway, I settled for the La Sportiva which is a B2 boot so will give me warmth and waterproofness with a well structured sole that will take a C2 crampon. For the crampons I went for the Grivel G12 which are C2 and are probably far better than I need but anything of lesser quality seemed flimsy and unsafe. I used the same logic when picking out my ice axe, just getting a walking axe but getting a rather decent one. For this I chose the Black Diamond Raven.
Thanks to the boys at Ellis Brigham who were so helpful and also thanks for the British Mountaineering Council discount! ;-)
Even better, I popped by Kathmandu in Covent Garden and the guys there kindly let me have a 40% discount so I loaded up on more merino wool base layers, some more trekking trousers, fleece gloves and a bib. Further to that, I had a letter from them today with another coupon for 40% off and was informed that I'm in their top 100 of Summit Club Members. I think I ought to contact them about sponsorship. Or if nothing else, they ought to read my reviews of the gear I've bought from them!
So now I'm breaking in my new kit and need to kick off my training again. Am considering a weekend Ice Survival Skills course for next month so if anyone wants to go with me, get in touch so we can coordinate.