Monday, 31 March 2014

Scarier than thought....

After the news of the loss of a good friend last night I didn't feel much like climbing today but decided it was best to just get out regardless, life really is too short to waste time. I picked Joe up and we headed back up the Glen, both of us working on cleaning and trying projects. 

Joe inspecting a potential line

Trying to find any kind of weakness

I belayed Joe for a bit after my first attempt ended in brutal foot pain, like if they were being crushed in a vice, the temptation to request amputation becoming ever more tempting. I tried again and managed to figure out most of the moves but also found that a skyhook placement at a vital point (now a 10m run out) is out of reach for me to place making the route an even more dangerous proposition. I've never tried a route as technically difficult as this and with such high risk.

Sunday, 30 March 2014


The past few weeks have been a time of re-focusing my disappointment of no more mountaineering for the foreseeable future and trying to use that negative energy to produce a positive. I've found that outlet in seeking out new routes. I've always found new routes far more rewarding than repeats, not just in the climbing of the routes but in finding, cleaning and trying them. Spring has begun to sneak its way into Lochaber and we've made the best of it, on Wednesday myself and Dave headed up the Glen for some routes before he goes on MIA training. It was warm enough to climb in t-shirts which made us think it was time for a BBQ.

Dave sorting gear at the base of Pine Wall

Scottish BBQ, down jackets a necessity 

On Thursday Matt, Dot and myself headed up the Glen again to check out some new routes after me telling them how good the weather had been the previous day I think we were all surprised to end up rigging in howling wind, rain and snow, you got to love Scotland. I managed to figure out the very sparse protection for the route but it was too wet to start cleaning. 

 Myself scoping possibilities

Today I walked up to Steall falls with my Mum and Dad who were visiting and then I left them to begin the process of cleaning one of the projects. Lots of work and fear to come.....

Maw & Paw at Steall

Spring cleaning

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

One small step

Today I headed to the Quadrocks at Largs with Gerry. Warming up on damp routes I hadn't done in a long long time was good fun. I noticed more today in a trad environment just how much difference the fused ankle is making, having to move a bit differently. We did a few routes then milled about to let a group clear from next to where I needed to set up a belay for my project. I've been trying this line on and off for around 7 years now, it's definitely E7/8. Today I made progress in that I discovered a placement just big enough to get about 10mm of a slightly modified skyhook in, bomber :) Quite a social wee day up there and good to be making progress on rock after the lows of last week.

On The Traverse

I love the outlook from this great wee crag. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Tough Choices

This morning I headed to SCNL with Dave, Joe and Nadir to work on a filming project. We were making good steady time up the hill when my ankle and knee began to hurt immensely and I knew a tough choice was coming. I've been fighting this injury for over four years now and I dont mind the damage I inflict on myself but today I felt I was becoming a potential burden/risk to my mates. I stopped and told the guys I was bailing, they left for the route and I slumped down on my pack and popped more painkillers. It took me a long time to descend, sweating, near vomiting, trying not to lose it listening to stupid questions from folk. I had to wait a while for a lift in Glencoe and sitting there on such a beautiful day I began to take in the fact that Scottish winter climbing maybe over for me, who knows though. I guess if junkies can replace smack with super lager then I can maybe find a replacement..........