Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Recently I've been trying a lot of new routes and attempting repeats but without much success. Most of the time it's been down to my hand and regardless of how much I try to accept I'm disabled I can't seem to quite get there with it and it makes me angry with myself. In turn though I hate myself for being weak in not accepting that I'm different. If I could beat these pathetic weaknesses then maybe the demons that push me so hard wouldn't have such a hold over me and my life, whether this would be good or bad I do not know, I doubt I ever will.

Struggling to accept that I'm beaten on a route in the Glen, these are always shit times -Pic- Suzy Devey

Today though was one of those days that make all the misery, self hate and insomnia that comes with constantly trying other routes worth it. Dave, Donald, Suzy and myself headed out Glenfinnan way. I had an E5 to go at and Dave had a new route project to go at.

This shot captures a bit of what climbing is really about for me, good company and good laughs
Pic- Suzy Devey

As Dave and I worked our respective routes I knew pretty quickly that I was ready physically for the route, I just had to (in the words of Mr T) "Get some nuts" and go for it. So I tied in and sorted my rack which didn't take long as it was just a skyhook. I started up the climb, the first few moves I was struggling to relax with my head still a bit messed up from my fall but I knew if I pushed on I'd be fine, I knew this as if I wasn't and started to tremble I'd be off the precarious slab. I moved up and placed the skyhook, Donald tied it off at the base, time to go for it. Moving up on nail edges and small quartz holds I began to remember the feeling of bold routes I crave. As I climbed on and became more committed then the more I relaxed, this bodes well for another impending trip to the Mournes.

Nearing mid way on Frustration E5 6a - Pic Suzy Devey

Next up Dave despatched a new hard route, I don't know grade or name so I'll leave out details for Dave to blog about, needless to say it was an impressive bit of climbing. He then proceeded to easily onsight the E5 I had just done, a close call near the top though as just as he caught the large hold at the end of the route a fighter jet blasted overhead by only a few hundred feet (if that) and gave everyone a bit of a jump. All in all though today was an awesome day..................

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Pain & Pennies

With the ankle pain getting markedly worse I'm not working much at all the moment which means its back to not eating as much as I'd like or going out etc. thankfully I've got a few talks coming up, one for the Mountain Rescue Conference in Aberfeldy this weekend and one for the Ochil's Mountaineering Club in Stirling on Dec 2nd. I'm always scared of these things but if I could do more of them I could climb more and certainly eat better, if any of the few readers of my blog have any contacts for clubs etc looking for speakers please drop me a line...............

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Looking Back

Suzy, Connor and myself headed over to Newtyle Quarry the other day to get some pics on Fast & Furious for a piece in next months Climber Magazine about my soloing exploits, it's pretty brutal writing by Dave but I'm looking forward to seeing the finished article. It was strange to be back on the route with a rope on and be looking at it knowing I'm safe and under no pressure.

Connor going through the moves thinking about his attempt

Connor was well psyched to give the route a try as it was totally different to his trad background, it reminded me of myself the very first time I went there with Scott and saw the route. Trying the moves for the first time it just seemed impossible and crazy..........

Back on the route, I cant believe I soloed this 3 times. someone told me the other day there it was gutsy but it wasn't, I simply timed a moment or three of mental instability with some physical capability.................

Pics by Suzy Devey

Monday, 8 November 2010

Tolerating Tolerance

On Saturday morning Suzy and I headed to Belfast to meet up with Ricky and Ali. This was to be my second trip to the Mournes with the sole intention of climbing Tolerance. The forecast was good and with clear skies as we landed it looked promising. Unfortunately within ten minutes of arriving on Binnian it started to rain and I only managed 15 minutes on top rope before the friction vanished rapidly and the rain turned to snow, cue hasty retreat.

Keeping the moves fresh in my head while Dale got ready for top rope on day two...........

Next day saw Ricky, Michelle , Suzy and myself make another attempt. Same nice sunny walk in, then as we approached the Tor the weather crapped out again. We set up a rope any way and myself, Dale and John had goes on top rope but with crap friction, dampness, little visibility, and no feeling in my fingers I decided it probably wasn't optimum to attempt my first E8 so it's back to training and watching the weather and continuing insomnia........................

This shot says more about the trip than I could put into words....Both pics Copyright Suzy Devey