Simple is as simple does

By Andrew Mallison, our resident Mountain guide.

For some bizarre reason I took up golf.

During a period of frustration, induced by family restriction, I needed something to do when I couldn’t get away climbing.  Bad decision.  I bought the book, the CD,  the DVD, the clubs, the spikes, the clothes…the lot.  I invested in some instruction from a guy in Aberdeen who could play a bit, (think he was called Paul Lawrie…).  And having spent £1,000’s I still hit scores of over a hundred every time….shooting less than 90 for a round of golf was never going to happen.

And then by chance I saw a TV programme about a guy who advocated simple golf.

I watched him play a round of golf in t-shirt, jeans, trainers and using just 3 clubs – a 7 iron, a pitching wedge and a putter.  He did 18 holes in a score of 78, just golf played in a simple way.  The next week I went out on Hazelhead Golf Course in Aberdeen with the 3 said clubs and you can guess the rest…..86.

Thinking about my climbing some years later, it’s a lesson I’ve still not forgotten.

Over the last four decades I’ve really simplified the technical aspects of my climbing, in terms of the equipment I use and the systems I employ.  A few examples would be:  I only use one knot – the double figure of 8; if I’m not the first person down I don’t back up abseils – I get my partner to hold the tails; I don’t use slings for anchors – I use the rope.

Because for me the simpler it is, the safer it is.

Because when the pressure is on….it’s 8pm, in mid January, cold dark and bloody scary, at the top of The Steeple and you need to get the job done…..if it’s simple you’ll get it right when it matters.

And it’s worth thinking about all your mountain skills….

Are you over-complicating matters ?

Have you got too many clubs in the bag ?

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