Un-named climber to my friend, Alex."Your friend carried 'that' up with him?" "Yep", Alex replied, "That's why he's so slow..."
When the aim for many winter climbers is to reduce the weight of the equipment they carry to the absolute minimum, it may seem odd to be adding a digital SLR to the mix. But I like the picture quality it gives you and my friend Alex and I have agreed, as long as it doesn't interfere with the safety of what we're doing - him leading and me seconding - he's more than happy for me to take pics as we go (even going out and buying a bright yellow jacket so he stands out better against the black rock and white snow (well, no, not really, but having a model in bright colours is a huge plus).
Last weekend, we went up a route called Dorsal Arete (pictured above), a grade II climb that wanders up the edge of a rocky buttress on Stob Coire nan Lochan, high up in Glencoe. The route is wide at the bottom but narrows at the top to, you may have guessed it, a series of whale-like fins. It was my first 'proper' winter climb (steep-ish, front-pointing on crampons and brandishing two axes) and I took my DSLR up with me to try and take some nice pictures.
Camera gear-wise, I carried all my equipment across my shoulders in a LowePro Toploader Pro 75 AW camera bag that sits on my right hip. This made it quick to get my camera in and out of the bag (attached to a sling so I can't drop it) and very easy to move it out of the way to climb. The bag doesn't stop the snow getting in but the weatherproofness of modern camera equipment is very good indeed (neither my camera nor lens is marketed as being water-resistant but both stood up well to being covered in snow). Overall, it worked very well and I can see it going out with me again on the next climb.