January, skiing, ice climbing, skimo Scotland and a shoe review

Heres an insight in to my adventures over the last month. It started with a plan to go skiing and ice climbing in the Engadin Switzerland, then drive back to the UK to start uni again and go ski tuning and winter climbing in the full Welsh winter conditions. Back indoors puling on plastic training and a wild weekend adventure to the Scottish ski mountaineering championships.

Julier Mountain pass Switzerland 

It all started in the middle of December, with the plan to go home over Christmas to Switzerland and go skiing and ice climbing. I arrived home in Switzerland after a long sluggish drive form Wales due to high traffic… I spent two days at home were I competed at the Swiss indoor dry-tooling competition before relocating up in to the mountains. Having seen the forecast I knew there wasn’t going to be much snow as it was way to warm, but what I didn’t expect, was it to look like spring whit the tourist boards advertising to go biking and hiking due to the lack of snow. I spent my first few days skiing, on the few slopes that were open to get warmed up, and then transition to skimo training running up the side of the ski slopes. 

Swiss dry tooling championships (photo: Tim E)

Not much snow up in the mountains

Only skiing on man made runs

Skimo training up in the Bernina range 

As the day's went on and the snow didn’t come. So I went to search for some ice to climb, having already had to resort to the glacier last year it i didn't expect much different again this year. My sister and I ventured of to the base of the Morteratsch glacier. This time we didn’t ski tour in, we hiked on a rocky path as there was still now snow. We had a good few hours climbing around on the glacier. 

(photo Sina M)

Finally one week in to January it started to snow, nothing to be excited about for freeriding but enough to give every thing a good snow coat. As the slopes where still busy from new years holiday crowd, I resorted to running in the woods for bits of my training. Check out my short film below for an insight in to how little snow there was. The Engadin from above.

running in the Morteratsch woods (Photo: Max M)

Back to Norht Wales

After another long drive, I made it back to Wales to be pleasantly greeted by nice weather and snowy hilltops. Being back in wales also means starting back with university, so I trained during the week and am weekend warrior on weekends. Through out the week the hills where filling up nicely with snow which meant slowly things where getting in to condition. 

Sunset over North Wales

First weekend back Tim Hunt and I had a successful day out winter climbing on Saturday. We climbed the classic route tower gully flowed by a white out lunch of  avocado on pre toasted toast and a long walk out over the devils kitchen and down banana gully. 

(Photo: Tim H)

climbing the icey step

total white out descent 

Sunday the objective was to climb a gully and skimo along the top then ski down the Carnedddau. This was a grate success with only a minor hick up. Once we reached the top of the gully we put our bags and skis down on the plato of the mountain to have lunch. But as we are leaving I pick up my bag with my skis strapped on. But one of my skis detached its self form the bag and starts skiing down an avalanche prone gully on its own…., to cut a long story short I climbed halfway down the gully waist deep in snow where my ski came to a halt thanks to a big rock, retrieved it climbed back up then we skied on. Grate snow conditions for a Sunday ski session. Check out the little film by Tim Hunt.

Tim following up the gully 

cracking skimo training conditions (Photo: Tim H)

Throught out the next week I was training indoors and running in the morning ready for Skimo Scotland the following weekend. 

Skimo Scotland weekend was an epic adventure, both tim and I had deadlines to meet on Friday before we could leave for Scotland, so we worked all day till 5 pm for the hand in then packed up the van and headed for Scotland only arriving at Glenshee at 1am. Which was fine as the race was only scheduled to start at 3pm that day.  After a chilled morning in the van we got our skis out and skinned up and around the ski resort to get wormed up before the registration. 3pm hit its race time, I have my skin tight lycra suit on, then the whistle goes and we are off, I knew I wasn’t going to be the fastest but I could make up time in the 5 transitions we had to do form climbing skins to ski mode and back to climbing skins back to ski mode. I ended up winning the one lap race with a time of 38 minuets. Sadly we didn't take many photos that weekend. The next day we ended up going for a winter mountaineering hike in a total white out which was fun before driving 6 hours back to Wales to start Uni on Monday morning. 

walking out of the mountain in Scotland.

Coming in fast on the final stretch of the Scottish skimo race. Photo by: Drew photography

Evolv Luchador Review

The Luchador as an all-round technical shoe, it is slightly down turn but when on your feet, almost feel flat with a semi asymmetrical toe profile. It uses TRAX high friction rubber, this is a grate shoe for everyday climbing, but also technically advanced climbing.

Toe box ( Knuckle box )

I found that the toe box of the Luchador SC did a good job of pushing all the power right in to the edge of the shoe. This was a big plus for me, as I focuses on my footwork a lot and rely heavily on feeling stable and strong pushing of small edges.

Comfort and fit

The Luchador is super comfortable strait out of the box. This is due to its ergonomic profile which isn’t to down turn. The padded toung with a one side opening adds for a more sock like feel to the shoe. The shoe felt packed out on my foot giving me a tight fit all around and on my heal.

Evolv used there own TRAX rubber again, with a 4.2mm sole section on the front, so it doesn’t wear out that fast. Having climbed in theses shoe over the last few months, indoors and outdoors. I find the performance fit of the shoe stays intact. This is my go to shoe for indoor training sessions and long sustained routes with good holds.


Over all the luchador is a decent all round shoe. The toe box dose its job well of harnessing power, the fit of the shoe is comfortable so I can wear it for an long indoor session with out having to take it off. The slight down turn gives it the upper hand on steep overhanging climbing. Personally I would recommend this shoe to a friend as a good all-rounder.