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5 Ways To Stay Warm At The Crag This Winter

All psyched climbers know that the best conditions arrive with cold weather. Of course there’s nothing better than basking in the summer sun, lazily climbing up something easy, and getting down only to sunbathe a little bit more. Nothing, apart from when the temperature drops, the humidity disappears and the increased friction transforms crimps into jugs. And to quote the majority of my Facebook feed right now, ‘send temps are here!’ 

But let’s face the reality. Not much sending can happen when your teeth chatter like castanets and you haven’t felt your toes or fingers since leaving the car. If you fear the cold so much that with the arrival of autumn you confine yourself to the comforts of a climbing wall, here are five tips that might help you not only to survive the outdoors this winter, but to actually enjoy it too!

1. Hot drinks


We all know that naughty skiers carry hip flask filled with rum. In principle, this might seem like a great idea, but not when you want to stay on top of your climbing game. Forget the hip flask and acquire a good, old-style vacuum flask. Whatever hot drink you choose to take to the crag, a great tip is to drop one or two slices of fresh ginger into the flask with it. (It can stay in the flask all day long.) It tastes great with lemon and honey, tea and even coffee, and is guaranteed to make you feel extra toasty after just a few sips.

2. Be more sheep 


Cotton is your enemy and the culprit of that horrid wet back sensation that you get on cold days. Cool tees are only a summer thing. 


In autumn and winter no single addition to your wardrobe will make as much difference as decent thermals. A soft and thin layer of Merino wool close to your skin has great thermoregulatory properties. It wicks moisture away from your body to keep you warm and dry. On top of that, it’s naturally antibacterial, so it feels fresh for longer. (Cheaper and vegan, synthetic base layer options are also widely available.) 


Have a look at Icebreaker Merino at the EpicTV Shop. 

3. Get swinging 


The best exercise to warm up your toes and fingers is vigorously swinging your legs from side to side (or back and forth if you prefer) and circling your arms. This not only helps you to raise your heart rate as with any other exercise (try bringing a skipping rope to the crag) but the centrifugal force rapidly increases the blood flow in your extremities. 


4. Dress the part 


Wearing multiple layers is a good way to stay warm but, as always, quality trumps quantity. The warmest materials are usually fluffy or, in technical terms, ‘high lofting’. They trap your own body heat to keep you warm. Think fleeces and soft sweaters.


Make sure not to forget a hat (not only keeps you warm but also makes you look like Daniel Woods) and gloves. Skiing mittens are great to keep your fingers warm between burns! 


To get to know more about technical layering systems, click here. 

5. The right food


Performing in cold weather calls for more calories than it would in summer but this is not to say we encourage you to dive into a bagful of candy. You’d burn through the simple carbs in no time only to be left hungry and cold. A bowl of hot porridge before heading out will do more good (oatmeal has a low glycemic index). Calories are also steadily drawn from fatty food and this includes not only animal produce but also nuts, avocados or hummus. Snack throughout the day not to run out of fuel.

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