Saturday, 6 December 2014


Yesterday saw what is hopefully the start of our winter climbing season so Steve and I headed up to the Ciste on Ben Nevis to have a look at a route, it wasn't in condition so we settled for The Gift, usually a III/IV ice route but was a bit harder in mixed conditions. 

Steve on the walk in
I won the flip of a frozen flapjack for first lead and got stuck in, the route provided a nice wee fight to start the season off with some blind hooking, small torques, lots of powder and some crappy gear, well worth doing though.Good to get some success after recent efforts, always feels harder won and therefore more rewarding in winter.

Me wading into first pitch

Looking for gear

Steve heading onto second pitch

Just about to top out

Steve heading toward the tourist track

Stunning views on way out

The weather looked wild out West

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Recently failure has been a central theme to my own efforts on the crags but I dont see this in the negative light that I once did. These days I try learn from it or bank the feelings of defeat and turn them back on themselves and use it for fuel the next time I'm out or even for training. The memory of coming home disappointed fresh in my memory always helps me get my lead head together or dig deeper into my pain reserves when training. 

Since the Works trip I've been trying to get a very bold E6 at Lochailort in the bag as it's unfinished business but on the one good conditions day I attempted the lead but my head wasn't 100% there and with a fall holding a high possibility of a career ending injury I wasn't willing to take a pointless risk, perhaps it would've been different on a first ascent. The second day we went out the holds were wet, gutted.

Frustrated at not committing- Pic- Conor McCarthy

 Wet holds + psyched mindset = anger-Pic-Conor McCarthy

Dave, myself and Steve freezing at the crag, a good team always helps- Pic- Conor McCarthy

To try tame the frustration I've been feeling I climbed 100 routes on the ice wall at work (about 1100m of vertical and overhanging ice) in 3hr 45min non stop yesterday. It was tiring but not anywhere near enough to feed that appetite that only seems to find nourishment with me on routes that scare me shitless, thankfully it looks like winter may eventually be arriving and that means theres plenty opportunity for a banquet of fear.........