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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

Crazy arctic nights and pulling on the trail tights

By David Robinette
14, Oct, 2016

Straight from Svalbard to support, Dave tells us all about his life up till now.

I moved to Sheffield for University, partly for the course but mainly because its Sheffield. Four years later I’m still here, climbing, riding and running. I finished my undergrad, got scared of the real world, and didn't want to go back to Suffolk, so I stayed for a masters. However now the real world was beckoning and I needed a job, luckily Alpkit decided they needed a new Support Hero and after a hectic interview straight after flying back from fieldwork they seemed to like me. After years of being a student and enjoying the freedom of Uni life, the idea of working 9-5, 5 days a week was pretty terrifying, but it turns out Alpkit is pretty fun to work for. Once I’d wrestled a coffee pot from the marketing team I got stuck in with the other Customer Support Heros.

I’ve studied a lot of glaciology at Sheffield, focusing a lot on the ongoing changes in glaciated and polar regions around the world as a result of climate change. There are two compulsory parts to a geography degree, colouring in and field trips. I still can’t colour within the lines, but I did go to Svalbard over the summer to monitor the meltwater and mass balance of glaciers there. Living in Longyearbyen was amazing fun, the 24 hour daylight, polar bears and great people, plus it turns out you can have an awesome night out in the Arctic Circle. Old habits die hard however and I do have a trusty pack of crayola under my desk.

So I climb a lot, mostly trad and winter but I’ll dabble in sport and bouldering from time to time. Now the first snow has fallen on the Ben, I cannot wait for the winter season to start, roll on the cold suffering. I used to cycle a lot too, from time trialling in Suffolk to touring around Scotland. Having worked in a bike shop a long time ago, I am looking forward to getting involved with the Sonder bikes, hopefully Neil the bike guru will let me borrow the Camino for a weekend soon. But currently I seem to have focused on running. I had a rude and brutal introduction to fell running in the Peak District during my first year as I trained with the Sheffield mountaineering club for the High Peak Marathon, a 42 mile event in February around the Derwent watershed. However, somehow I thought it was fun and since then, most of my running has been at night, in the cold, wind and rain!

After a enjoyable summer of long evening runs in shorts and t shirt, I was very confused leaving work at 5:30 and needing to remember a head torch. Needless to say there were a few evenings of stumbling around in the dark, but I’ve finally remembered to charge it up and throw some shoes in the car so I can get out after work, often joining other staff as they fall off very shorts climbs. I ran the Red Bull Steeplechase down in Exmoor at the weekend, which was a fantastic course and you get a great hoody too. I thought I felt fine a few days after so I decided to get out for a leg loosening run around Curbar and Froggatt after work, never have I struggled up to the Curbar Gap so much! But armed with the new Viper II, I bounded along the top of the crag. I’ve used Alpkit head torches in the past and always been impressed, the new Viper is no different, once I’d got around the buttons being somewhere new… I was happy with it on the low setting for most terrain, once it got steep and technical I whacked it into high power and threw myself downhill. but on more remote runs it’ll be good to pick up any features and monsters hidden in the dark.

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