Just add mountains - the start of an idea & the planning of an expedition

Triglav summit, 2864m
Mt Triglav, Slovenia
The centerpiece of Triglav National Park and standing at an impressive 2864m above sea level it is both the highest mountain in the Julian Alps as well as the highest peak in Slovenia - and it's the mountain that we've settled on as our target for our winter 2013 expedition.

Before I go on with the how's, why's and when's it's only fair to run through the who's; accompanying me on this adventure are "Cptn Street" (James Street) and "JD" (James Davers) who I'd met earlier in the year (April 2012) during my Mountain Leader (ML) course with Hampshire Mountain Centre.
We'd all got on wel during the course and had been looking for an excuse to get out into the hills/mountains for something a bit more challenging than a trip to Ben Nevis or Pen-y-Fan.

So it was during a planning "meeting" for a trip to Scotland that we came up with the idea of doing things properly and planning for a proper expedition.  That way we could use Scotland as a training/proving ground for a more adventurous trip to the summit of Triglav towards the end of 2013.

After a fair bit of too'ing and fro'ing we decided the the following "plan of attack" would give us the best chance of success with Triglav;

Part 1 - December 2012 - Scotland - 4 days
Day 1 - winter skills update and refresh on Ben Lomond
Day 2 - "challenge day" - Ring of Steall
Day 3 - "easy day" and skills refresh and re-cap
Day 4 - travel home (it's a fairly long way from Glencoe to Romsey!)

The main idea for this trip is to practice our winter skills, as a team, and learn certain aspects of winter mountaineering that are, at present, unfamiliar to us such as moving as a group while roped, climbing as a 3 man team and the finer points of kit preparation and packing.

Part 2 - Summer 2013 - Slovenia - 4 days
Summer trip to Triglav to reconnoitre routes and accommodation (mountain huts), test kit and familiarise ourselves with terrain and, hopefully, get some local knowledge for the summit attempt later on in 2013.

Part 3 - Winter 2013 - Scotland 2-4 days
Final refresh of winter skills and kit packing before the "summit push".  This trip will follow a similar plan to the December 2012 trip to Scotland but with a more challenging routes on days 2 and 3.

All major decisions around kit, packing and routes for the Triglav trip will, hopefully, have been made prior to this trip.

Part 4 - Winter 2013 - Slovenia - 4 days
Target in sight!
Day 1 - acclimatisation and travel to immediate location of Triglav ready for attempt on day 2
Day 2 & 3 - Triglav summit attempt
Day 4 - travel back from Triglav and return home

More detail on each of the 4 stages above will be reported back on separate posts as we update the agenda and have completed each stage - this will hopefully give a more in-depth insight into all of the challenges and successes that we have in planning, and ultimately succeeding, our attempt on Triglav.

A number of factors were taken into account when deciding on the above plan;

  1. Experience of the Group - the 3 of us have mixed levels of experience in walking, climbing and mountaineering but we need to work as a team to have any chance of success.
    Cptn Street is a Fireman and ex Royal Marine (hence the Cptn!) with all the experience that brings, as well as a volunteer with Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue
    JD has participated (and completed!) the North Pole race so has a fair bit of experience with the cold!
    My experience is fairly evident from this blog (sorry, you'll have to read it!) but my mountaineering and alpine experience is limited to say the least
  2. Kit - as our ultimate goal requires us to fly to Slovenia with all of our kit we are going to have to learn to pack both the kit we need as well as the kit that we are able to take; we're not commercially funded so paying for huge excesses of luggage on the plan is not an option!
    The scottish trips will give us a good grounding for kit packing to make sure we can "get it right" without having to worry too much about being in a foreign country and having forgotten an essential item
  3. Locations and knowledge - Scotland we know (fairly well) and Slovenia we really don't!  So it makes sense for the practice trips to be in Scotland (which can be just as demanding a terrain in winter as anywhere in Europe).  It also mankes sense to visit Slovenia and reccy the route and accommodation in the summer when we are able to get a good idea of route and talk to people about conditions and the best time to go for the winter trip.  The last thing we want to do is arrive in the winter, at the wrong time of year, have no place to stay and find that the route is well above our grade

There will be many conversations between the three of us and much planning will take place even before the first trip to Scotland in December 2012 and I'll try to update as much as possible onto this blog so that it will (hopefully) provide a useful resource for anyone who is looking to plan and undertake similar challenges. 

Watch this space!
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