Friday, 25 January 2013

The Final Countdown

Last week I got word that my ankle fusion op would be happening in early to mid April so I'm keen to be out in the hills as much as possible. On a bit of a minging day Christina and me went up some local Corbett and were extremely bored by it as you can tell by the expressions on our faces below.

Christinas 'Adult Entertainment Star/Idiot' face-Pic-Christina Bell

Karma strikes quickly, I fell on my arse instantly after taking the piss out of Christina-Pic-Christina Bell

On Tuesday Joe,Dave and myself headed up the Ben to have a look around and maybe get on something depending on conditions. There was lots of powder blowing around and as we approached the Cascades there was lots of spindrift coming down from above so we did the manly thing and ran away to the cafe!

Dave and Joe on Wednesday
On Thursday Dave,Craig , Joe and myself headed back up to the Cascades in better weather and had a cracking wee day on the rightmost of the 3 main falls. 

Myself on the first pitch-Pic-Craig McDonald
I really feel I have to soak up every morsel of the mountain experience at the moment as the prospect of leaving them for at least 6 months is worse than leaving the friendships behind for that time. I'll catch up with friends during recovery but it's the experiences and adventures that play out on the mountains and the bond that they provide that I'll really miss.

Craig,Dave,Joe & Myself on the walk out.-Pic- Craig McDonald

On Thursday Ken , Davie , Conor and I headed up Aonach Mor. I planned to get back on Stirling Bridge and Davie and Conor headed to the Twin Area. Unfortunately there was a team already on Stirling Bridge, we watched for a bit as the leader made initially quick progress up to the harder moves then came to a sudden stop. We got cold and bailed, scunnered as it'll be the last chance in a while after looking at the forecast.
Davie and Conor on their approach

Friday, 18 January 2013

Battle of Stirling Bridge Prt2

Yesterday Dave and myself headed up the gondola to Aonach Mor to with the plan being for me to have another shot at Stirling Bridge. Also with both of us having injured ankles we would be saved from a long descent using the cable car. We walked up in near whiteout conditions and dropped in to Easy Gully and round to the base of the route, it was in perfect nick, game on.

Dave and me at the belay

I geared up for my first proper attempt at winter climbing in about 2 years and the sky began to clear as I did so. I got on the route and felt really good and relaxed, new Petzl Nomics and prosthetic really helping with my confidence. I climbed quite easily past my previous highpoint but then it started to got a bit wrong. I couldn't get my axe with the prosthetic to place right as it kept bouncing out of the shallow crack. Also with only being able to wear a liner glove with the prosthetic my hand had lost all feeling but Rab are making me up something to deal with that. It looks like I'll need to run out the top section after watching Dave place most of the gear out left which is simply impossible for me.

Myself on the route, tantalisingly close-Pic-Dave MacLeod

Dave climbed the main pitch after I'd lowered off then he abbed and retrieved the gear, we battered back round and up Easy Gully. The wind was increasing on our way down but as we followed the chairlift line down we could see the Gondola was still running and this was a boost considering we had only one good ankle between us, we dropped into a dip shortly before the Gondola and in that short time they stopped it running and we had a painful descent to the cars. All in all a cracking day for Daves first day back in the mountains since the accident.

Dave happy to be out, Ben Nevis in the background

Monday, 7 January 2013

Doing Time

After what began as a promising start to winter the weather turned to shit so I trained at Ice Factor and on my bike. I went to rotate my ankle after a session on the bike before Xmas and it let out an almighty crack and a little pain. I knew I had done some damage so I went to see the Doctors while in Ayrshire which was a waste of time, I say Doctor but it may have actually been a mental patient masquerading as a Doctor as she was clueless and as much help as the proverbial inflatable dartboard. Not content to let it lie I saw the Docs back in Fort William and the difference was huge, they couldn't do more to help. As it turns out I seem to have broken a fragment of bone away from the Talus again and need surgery ASAP. The problem is that it's limiting what I can do, there's a 5 month waiting list and I won't be able to walk again for over 9 months post op, it's like a prison sentence hanging over me.

I'll miss simply being in the mountains-Pic- Dave Anderson

I'll have to move home with my parents in Ayrshire to recover as I wont be able to drive or get around myself or work to pay rent, it'll be soul destroying leaving the Highlands again as I've come to feel totally at home here among the mountains and the few like minded friends I associate with. The physical thing of not climbing, walking or training will definitely get to me but it's the mental aspect that worries me. I think I'm lucky though in that I've lived my life being made aware how lucky I am in the grand scheme of things and that there are folk out there way worse off than me and my comparatively minute problems. I guess I just need to cram 18 months of life into the next 5 or so and start to stockpile DVD boxsets again..........