Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Flip Sides

With the media attention I've had recently it's got me thinking about the flip sides of my climbing. By flip sides I mean how my climbing seems to be perceived by some and the reality of it and they couldn't be further from each other. I always try to be honest with my writing so here goes with an explanation. I did some climbing in Glen Nevis earlier this year for the Adventure Show (to be shown tomorrow night at 7 p.m. on BBC2) and after the climbing was done we did a short interview. It went the way most interviews do asking about my hand etc then Duncan , the presenter , mentioned that he detected a hint of self-hate in what I do! I'd never really thought about my climbing in that light before but it certainly seemed a logical explanation for soloing. This is one of the strange paradoxes in climbing with me pushing myself into situations where I may die or I know that I'm going to be in pain yet at the same time it makes me feel good about myself. In one interview when I was asked about soloing being a loner's sport, I explained that I feel more alone in a club surrounded by hundreds of people than I do when I'm alone in the hills.
People often ask me about how I manage to become bold for climbing and this is going to be different for every bold climber, but I do not see myself as bold. I put myself in risky situations in a small way because I feel I owe it to myself to a certain extent for not sticking up for myself early enough as a kid when I was being bullied. So if you look at all the above issues they are countered by the mirror image of themselves, self hate diminished by love of climbing , loneliness quenched by loneliness and self perceived cowardice confronted by my boldness in soloing close to my absolute physical and mental limits.............
I'm off to Banff, Canada in a couple of hours to promote and introduce Hotaches film 'Monkey See Monkey Do' and I can't wait to get there but as usual it'll be a schizophrenic experience in that I'll enjoy being in the company of some of the greatest climbers and mountaineers in the world but at the same time I'll wish I was out scoping Mark Twight's un-repeated route 'The Reality Bath' on the White Pyramid. A 600m ice climb under a serac in which, according to one guidebook writer," you have a 50/50 chance of getting the chop".......................

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