Thursday, 28 July 2011

Tower Ridge

I'd promised Kaye a while back I'd take her up Tower Ridge on the Ben so with the forecast being good we headed up yesterday. The walk in was brutally warm for a pasty ginge like myself and I had to drink plenty. As we arrived on the ridge proper Kaye announced that she was running out of water and I had to begin considering retreat or dehydration, at that point she said she could only get water by tilting her pack to get water from her Camelbak, turns out it was upside down, cue plenty of abuse.

Kaye scrambling up with Observatory Gully below

Starting onto the Eastern Traverse

At the top of the ridge

The views all day yesterday were utterly stunning, I feel so privileged to stay in such a beautiful place and be capable of going out and appreciating it in the way I do...........

Monday, 25 July 2011

Regaining Fitness

After 3 weeks of constant illness and ankle pain I had severe cabin fever and a hefty feeling of generally being unfit so it was time to get out on the hills. Last Saturday Johann and I had another MIA training day in Glencoe, Lagangarbh Buttress is a great scramble even when done in pouring rain and clouds of midges.

Johann looking psyched for the route!!

During the week it was down to Arran to meet up with Craig and hit the amazing hills there. We steamed up Glen Sannox and onto the Saddle in rather minging conditions, even stopping for one minute guaranteed a feeding frenzy for the midges. From there it was up Cir Mhor, Caisteal then onto the Witches step which was a greasy mess. After that it was plain sailing apart from a bit of ankle pain on descent.

Near summit on Cir Mhor

Dropping briefly out of cloud, Craig looking over Firth of Clyde

On Saturday Ross, Danny and myself left Dalry at 6 in the morning and headed for Cruach Ardrain just outside Crainlarich. It was a bit of a boggy slog but well and truly worth it, from the summit we had clear views to Arran to the South and Glencoe and the Ben to the North, I don't think I've ever been out in clearer conditions.
Danny and Ross on the summit

Feeling a good bit better, another part of the jigsaw in place for Ireland!!

Ben Nevis Film

Back in April Johann, Dot and myself met up with Kate and Ezra from Bangor University to work on part of a film they were making about different facets of life on Ben Nevis. I think the finished article is really well made and will definitely make you want to get out there, judge for yourself here though :

Johann and myself talking about the route while Kate does sound check. Pic- Dorota Bankowska

Monday, 11 July 2011

Good from Bad

In the past month or so the pain in my ankle has taken a real step up. Causing me to lose even more sleep than usual which aint good for my epilepsy. I thought it was time to get put on the waiting list for the fusion operation so I duly called the hospital the other day and it looks like I'll be in around Christmas time for the op. In a way it's good to have these time pressures as I've been able to clearly set two major goals to train for and hopefully achieve before the op. One is obviously the E8 project and the other to eventually climb the Cathedral after so many years of trying. At the moment though I feel I'm starting from scratch after losing half a stone rapidly after the worst stomach upset I've ever had.
If I'm successful at climbing these I'm hoping to use the op as an opportunity to change the direction of my climbing from purely technical to more mountaineering as ,let's face it, I feel I have almost found the limits of what is possible with my disability, though I did say that at E3. Also if I can somewhat change direction to mountaineering I'm hoping it will help me maintain my decision to quit soloing. I've been playing that game for 10 years now and took my share of chances and had a few close calls so it's time to heed the warnings of my mentors and walk away while it's still my choice, if I can. Ironically in the months to come I'll need to be more dedicated than ever to my climbing if I'm to go for this operation feeling relaxed!!