Saturday, 6 December 2014

Success

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

Failure......

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.........

Friday, 14 November 2014

Usual November

As per November is a busy month for me between work, sponsor stuff, family obligations, training, partying and of course trying to climb. It started with our comp at the Ice Factor which went well and we raised around £600 for the Glencoe MRT. The following Friday was helping set at GCC for their comp then on the Saturday to Snow Factor with Rhona for her first shot at ice climbing. 

Monday morning was an early start with Joe and Conor to pick up Jeff Mercier who was visiting from France. First we headed to Lyon Outdoor HQ so I could do a short talk and we met Steve Johnstone there too. After this we had an epic trying to find the Works but got there eventually to find Greg, Masa and Will already there and everyone got stuck in. Watching these guys is a real eye opener to how strong the top boys are and it has really made me want to train harder.

Cave full of psyche

After a first day where I felt the effects of sleep deprivation and horrendous recent epilepsy side effects hitting me I knew I had to try harder the second day. After a good warm up I tried the route below but came frighteningly close to breaking my left arm and became very dejected, definitely the low point of the trip for me. 


Seconds before nearly breaking my arm

Severely scunnered and thinking of selling my DT kit

I kinda just walked off myself for a few minutes after this told myself to stop being weak and just get back into it. Shortly afterwards Jeff sent Powerdab (hardest route there)  first attempt which seemed to psyche everyone up, the guy is a machine. 

Jeff on Powerdab D13

Next day was our last visit to the cave and with everyone keen to finish routes and some good patter with Ian Parnell the mood in the cave was good. Joe sent First Blood in an impressive battle and its his hardest route to date.

Joe on First Blood

A mix of French, Polish, Scots, Irish and English accents made conversation interesting.

After numerous attempts at First Blood I was feeling strong and on my last attempt I got to within one move of the finish and dropped my axe, denied :) 

Me on First Blood

Jeff laughs as I try stretching and Joe takes the piss, humour soon killing my feeling of defeat.









Thursday, 16 October 2014

Extreme Gardening and TV

It's been another busy stint again with working on arranging the DT Comp, training and more cleaning at Wave. Steve and I were both busy there last weekend cleaning new routes and also cleaning heather, muck and sludge from Teenoso (VS) and from Ziggy (HS), rarely climbed but now looks like a really nice route, may take a bit of rain/wind to finish the clean. The base of the crag was also becoming boggy as the last rocks put in place by whoever and whenever were sinking so we dragged some more over and have placed them there.

Steve cleaning heather away to make a safer top out

Also this week EpicTV posted a short interview I did with them last week and the response has been fantastic, none more so than this piss take picture from Steves fiancee Jane :) The vid is here....

This cracked me up!! Pic from Inside The Lens

Monday, 13 October 2014

Stupid Hand

Last Thursday Joe and myself headed to Newtyle to get on Fast And Furious once again with the intention of Joe getting his first ascent of it and for me to improve my style on it. Fergus came along to film and Simon Yearsley  and Susan Jensen also rocked up to work on a new line.

Joe and me in matching Rab breeks chatting about the route- Pic Fergus Faulds

I got on the route and climbed it easily in my original style using multiple Fig 4 moves but I really wanted to cut down on using them so treated this as a warm up. Joe was up next and went for it but got stopped only a few moves short of topping out. I tried to sort out climbing it in better style but without being able to switch or high axe there were more than a few stopper moves and I lowered off frustrated. Joe also had a frustrating battle getting to the same point close to the lower off multiple times.
Getting the rage with disability-Pic Fergus Faulds

After that we were both fired up to train, I've been beasting myself and eating salads since :) Wee montage of the day from Fergus here... 

Sometimes my disability really gets to me, especially when its something that really means something. That can range from days like this when the physical aspect of it hurts then there is the mental aspect like when I see people look at my hand then make eye contact and I feel like I should be in circus freak show. There is also the frustrating question that I cant help asking myself what I'd be capable of with two hands, it'd certainly be a lot easier to carry multiple pints!!!

Also to help with motivation we have our annual comp coming up so get your entries in folks, all in aid of Glencoe MRT this year.....


Thursday, 2 October 2014

Nevis Days and Video

I've been spending an increasing amount of time on the Ben this past fortnight, some good, some not. It started the other weekend with another clean up but this time we approached from the CMD direction with some local students, good to see some of them getting involved to help out. The stuff we collected on the summit would've gave most people the boak but it has to be done unfortunately.

Some of the delights we shifted from Ben Nevis

Today I was up with Dave to try get Castle Ridge done before the forecast winds kicked in. It was great to get back here as the last time I was here I was concussed after a fal and am short of the memory. Cracking morning.

Dave on Castle Ridge

Me with the ridge behind

Lunchtime selfie before crappy/interesting scree descent

After that it was time to go check another potential new rock route before the rains arrive. It looks to be technical, little to no gear and scary, ah well once more into the breach :)

Also here is some footage from the first ascent of Smackaroonies last week..... 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Back To Basics

After years of slagging my mates who left climbing for MTB I've started to drift to the dark side too, though I've no intention of anything distracting me from climbing. MTB has fear, speed, fun and bars to get bevy at lunchtime so whats not to like. With my hand, one brake and crap eyesight I knew it'd be challenging but if I wanted easy I'd do normal boring crap. 

On Thursday morning I teamed up with Scott Kirkhope who had kindly offered to show me the basics and we did go right back to braking, cornering etc, even down to stuff I'd never have thought of like seat height.

Proper punter-Pic-Dorota Bankowska

The downhill champs aint gonna lose their crown anytime soon

Next day was down to Glentress with Rhona, Fergus and Gareth, great trails and some amazingly unprintable banter, great day.

Myself, Rhona and Gareth- Pic-Fergus Faulds