My Mountain Resolutions for 2019

© Dan Bailey

Some of us might resolve to eat less meat next year, or drink more wine, but what are the real hill fanatics planning for 2019? From spending more time visiting Munros via boat, to working through the peaks in the world with a 1500m+ prominence, here are some inspiring New Year's resolutions...

Kate Worthington - Mountain Leader, writer, runner...

Well this is exciting, isn't it?! Write your goals down and they shall happen. It's true.

In the Brecon Beacons  © Kate Worthington
In the Brecon Beacons
© Kate Worthington

When it comes to hills and mountains I'm staying mainly UK focused in 2019. So, this means I'm going to complete 30 more Wainwrights under 650m, which is sensibly more achievable than saying I'm going to finish my Wainwrights (so it will be a bonus if I do!). I have an awesome couple of days booked with lovely clients in May to complete the Paddy Buckley Round, over two days – which will be great preparation for running it in 2020 (longer-term goal setting here). 2018 was supposed to see me completing a 'fast' Welsh 3000s route (doh!) but this is a good aspiration for 2019. I am also keen to explore some more alpine family trekking destinations with Ross and Libby, so I will look at opportunities for that next summer. Trouble is, it's a little like opening a box of chocolates and not knowing which flavour to choose (not that I'll be eating all those chocolates come January 2019). Mountains and dark chocolate: favourite things! I hope you enjoy planning for your 2019 adventures, too.

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Toby Archer - our star gear reviewer

Like most of us who work inside and not in the mountains for our livings, my main "hill hopes" for 2019 are to regularly spend time in the great outdoors through the year.

Testing a new down jacket on Helvellyn this Novem-brrr  © Toby Archer
Testing a new down jacket on Helvellyn this Novem-brrr
© Toby Archer

If I do a big trip it will be at Easter to the Lyngen Alps of Arctic Norway. This fantastic peninsular of glaciated peaks, not far from the very top of Norway, holds a lifetime of mountain adventures, from moderate hikes and ski touring with views out across the Arctic ocean (the latter being what I go for) to ultra technical climbs and ski descents.

Whilst on the subject of alternative ways of moving through the hills, in recent years I've come to really enjoy bikepacking (or lightweight, off-road cycle touring as the less hip might call it!). When planning walks, scrambles and climbs in the Lakes over the last few years, I couldn't help but notice all the bridleways heading over the Helvellyn and High Street ranges. There has to be an epic weekend bikepacking loop in there somewhere, although my legs are aching just at the thought of it!

Another 'weekendable' aim for 2019 is to explore the Northern Pennines on foot. On many occasions, I've looked across from Helvellyn to the often white whalebacks of Cross Fell and Great Dunn Fell and my route from home to both Scotland and the Northern Lakes takes me over the A66, through this wild and quiet part of the country. In 2019 I really must stop using that road just as a means to get elsewhere, and rather stop and explore the quiet hill country along the border between Cumbria and County Durham.

Finlay Wild - one of the UK's leading hill runners

I'm plotting a similar year in 2019 to the one I've had in 2018, with a mix of skyrunning races and mountain objectives.

On Piz Cengalo, summer 2018
© Finlay Wild

Plans are still coming together but I'm hoping to do some Skimo racing in the Italian Alps in February before Part 4 of our 'Speedy Tours' week-a-year project to ski the Grand Alpine Arc (in 2019 we will continue eastwards from the Saas valley). I plan to compete in the World Skyrunning series again, and some Scottish hill races including the Ben Nevis Race. I'd love to do some bigger Alpine mountaineering days and linkups too, if I can fit it all in around the Skyrunning. And of course a Ramsay Round attempt has been on the list for quite a few years now! I tend to keep plans fairly flexible and often get really excited about a pretty esoteric challenge - like my 'All the Grade I winter climbs on Ben Nevis' linkup which I did a few years ago.

Hazel Strachan - female Munro round record holder

My plans for 2019 make a bridge between mountains and water and are different from what I have done in the past.

In Alaska, November 2018  © Hazel Strachan
In Alaska, November 2018
© Hazel Strachan

I had a terrific year in 2018 which is going to take some beating! – I finished my 10th round of Munros in November. I had lots of fabulous bivvies on the Munros ranging from high winter bivvies to midge free bivvies In July by lochs. I was in the Gates of the Arctic on a trek / paddle in Arctic Alaska. I bought myself a packraft earlier in the year and my Munro adventures looked towards a different side of experiencing the landscape by exploring lochs. It was immense fun walking down from a summit and paddling back along a loch. 2019 is going to be exciting exploring different routes over the Munros using a packraft and expanding my horizons. The year will also be used to gain more paddling skills and testing gear as I'm planning on paddling 1000 miles solo down the Yukon River from the Yukon Territory in Canada into Alaska in 2020.

There is still lots of ascent and descent involved in 2019. An 11th Munro round 'compleation' is possible. I'd love to top my best mountain days out with ever more memorable days – something I always strive to do in each Munro round. I wonder how many summit bivvies I'll squeeze into the coming year – I'll tell you this time next year!

Rob Woodall - world peak bagger

My friend Petter Bjorstad bagged his 300th ultra prominent peak on our joint trip to Northeast Mexico in november 2018, the first person to do so. I'm ten short and plan to pass the 300 mark in 2019, probably in the eastern Alps or Japan [the ultras are the 1500 or so summits in the world with a topographic prominence of at least 1500m - Ed].

Completing the HuMPs on the Old Man of Hoy in July 2018, photo Tim Hamlet  © Hamlet Mountaineering
Completing the HuMPs on the Old Man of Hoy in July 2018, photo Tim Hamlet

A full house of Japanese ultras is another target. The set of 21 includes Ontake-san which we summitted in 2012, before a fatal eruption led to its closure. The other tricky peak is Dai-sen which has a loose narrow exposed summit ridge.

My UK target is to complete the English mainland TuMPs (summits with at least 30m drop on all sides). England has 3786 (probably more by the time of publication) of which more than 30 are islands (many of them difficult to land and/or climb); I have just over 100 TuMPs left on the mainland. These however include Castle Rock near Lynton. I've scrambled up the East summit - but the West summit is 10cm higher and at VS 5a will require a better equipped revisit!

Claire Maxted - our correspondent for all things trail running-related

In 2018 year I had a crazy aim and I failed. I attempted to do the Cape Wrath Ultra, 250miles over 8-days through the boggy, tussock-covered Scottish wilderness. But I only managed 5 days...

Claire Maxted  © Claire Maxted

However, I did enjoy seeing those beautifully remote mountains from the nice comfy mini-bus and cheering on the others during those 3 rest days. I had thought the CWU would be the perfect way to explore exciting new mountains, but this is the second multi-day event I have not enjoyed after Day 4. It's nothing to do with the events, they're fantastic - it's me! I've finally realised that 3-days is my sweet spot. That's the most running I can do before the fatigue, injury and pointless misery starts to set in. If pushed I can manage a 4th, but why suffer? Suffering is not my bag anymore. I don't need to prove anything to anyone, and I'm trail running for fun!

So for 2019, I've readjusted my big goal. I've always wanted to see what all the fuss was about with the 100 mile (ish) UTMB (Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc) race, but never fancied passing through such beautiful scenery in the dark nor the pain of running it all in one go. This year, I'd like to run half of the UTMB over 3 days before the race so I can enjoy the experience, see some of what the racers see, make a film of it and then get back to Chamonix to interview as many top athletes as possible before the event starts. Follow this on my YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running and look out for an interview with 5th placed UTMB-er Damian Hall going live to coincide with the UTMB ballot 10 January.

In the meantime, here's US trail running legend Anton Krupicka's advice on 100 mile races to whet your appetite...

Alex Staniforth - Adversity Adventurer

In the Spring my next book "Out of My Mind" will be published to tell the story of my Climb The UK challenge last year and explore how we can manage mental health through the outdoors and physical activity.

On Ward Hill during his 2017 Climb The UK challenge  © Alex Staniforth
On Ward Hill during his 2017 Climb The UK challenge
© Alex Staniforth

I also have a big UK challenge project in mind as there's so much good stuff on our home soil to experience. It will be even tougher than Climb The UK - but that's all I'm saying for now!

Steven Fallon - Mountain Leader and man with most Munro rounds (a staggering 15!)

Next year I want to get out in the mountains more often!

On Bynack More in the Cairngorms  © Steven Fallon
On Bynack More in the Cairngorms
© Steven Fallon

It may seem strange for someone who leads groups up Scotland's Munros to come up with a statement like this, but bear with me. Leaving my IT job with the NHS behind for a self employed mountain guiding job several years ago, the main intention was for a lifestyle change. For the first few years I was out every weekend with people, loving being in the mountains and sharing my passion.

However as the business has taken off I've been more and more tied to a computer screen, and actually being in the hills less and less. It's quite enjoyable doing this and there's a real sense of achievement when we get such good feedback, but when one of the guiding team sends me a blog post to go up on the website of their great weekend guiding clients up high peaks, I'm just a bit envious. So next year, the intention is to get out more often, whether it's leading groups or running solo, but just getting up high and enjoying life! If I've got one specific challenge, I'd like to bag another round of Corbetts - there are some classic peaks I've not been up for a long time that could really so with a visit, particularly those in the west Highlands.

Alex Roddie - UKH contributor and ultralight backpacking specialist

2018 was a year of quality hill time over quantity for me, and I'm hoping to continue that theme in 2019.

On a recent walk through Knoydart  © Alex Roddie
On a recent walk through Knoydart
© Alex Roddie

I'm planning a winter hike of the Cape Wrath Trail in February, with a bit of a twist (as if hiking the CWT in winter weren't enough): I want to walk the entire route without going online, to see how it affects my immersion in nature and to investigate other ideas and concepts. There's much that could go wrong – and I'm not looking forward to the email backlog when I return – but I can't wait to get started!

  • To find out more about Alex's upcoming CWT winter trip, see his blog

And me...?

Well I'd like to up my rock climbing grade (I say it every year); we've dozens of new UKH Route Cards to walk; and there's always the just-about-achievable goal of a sub-12-hour Cuillin traverse. But most of all I'll be happy in 2019 simply if I can have plenty more mornings like this... Fingers crossed

Spring camp in Coire an t-Sneachda   © Dan Bailey
Spring camp in Coire an t-Sneachda
© Dan Bailey

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