Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Project E8

With my ankle pain increasing a bit more I feel I really have to try push harder at my climbing dreams, time to wake up and make them a reality. With the grant I was fortunate enough to receive from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland I'm aiming to make E8 happen before my operation and to climb as hard as I can in winter. 

The last time I tried E8! Pic-Suzy Devey

The last time I tried E8 I think subconsciously I knew I wasn't doing it with my best interests at heart but this time it feels better. I feel if I can manage this I could ,in good conscience, move onto concentrating on the Himalayas without distraction. Also I'll be pretty sure I'll have pushed my trad as far as I can. I wont be quitting rock climbing but simply putting all my effort into another facet which will allow me to push myself in other ways, in another arena and explore the possibilities both physical and mental that climbing in such a harsh environment presents.
I have somewhat of a plan for building up to 'Project E8' , as I've only got around a year before my next operation I not only want to tick off E8 but also do a lot of routes that I've always been keen on but never quite got round to and that ranges from scrambles on the Ben to E7's in the Mourne Mountains and if I'm lucky enough to get the weather to do these things I'll be in pretty good shape to take on whatever route I choose to go at as long as I also put in the training hours.
I'm really psyched at the moment and there is lots happening between the E8, other routes, film projects coming up, keen climbing partners, new job, trying to get ready for SPA and ML, it's going to be a busy year....................

Monday, 11 June 2012

Soloing, No Easy Way Out

I realise after a week of thought that I was an idiot to think I'd just walk away from a decade long compulsion so easily. As soon as I thought I had made the decision to quit I felt the old demon ask who I thought I was that I could just leave it behind. It does feel somewhat different these days though, like the demon and me have mellowed a bit in the time since I soloed E7. I know there isn't an easy get out clause from something that was so compelling, powerful and dominating but I know I have more control these days.

                        This is pretty much how I feel at the moment

I doubt I'll ever totally quit soloing but I wont be doing it for the sake of it anymore, it'll be only on ground where there is no choice or that I feel is truly worth the risk. In the past I soloed as a pretty hardcore escape from the things going on in my mind and it did that brilliantly but success on those routes caused a need to do it more, I was lucky to get away with it. I definitely feel more at peace with it these days and I hope that continues, it feels good to walk away when I'm not feeling it and be happy with that choice............For the time being anyway!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


I went out the other day with Jenny , Dave and Alison with the intention of getting some footage for Jennys portfolio. Things didn't go quite to plan and ,for me anyway, it ended up being an interesting day! The plan had been to do an E2 headpoint, E3 solo and E3 onsight, the first one happened easily but the next 2 didn't. As we headed up to Blacks Buttress for the E3 solo the heat was rising and my psyche began to lower. I got on the route on a top rope and managed the moves without much of a problem but as I lowered off to contemplate the solo I just didn't feel right at all. I have always loved soloing but at that distinct moment I questioned whether it was what I wanted and to even ask the question means doubts and soloing is unforgiving of these feelings so I bottled out and left. I think this could be the end of my soloing career unless a route comes along that really motivates me to do it again I think I'm finished with it. I count myself lucky to have done 11 years of it without physical harm. I'm still coming to terms with having to possibly quit that part of my life, I'm sure I'll write more in the next few days but in the meantime here's Jennys wee film from our outing................