Wednesday, 17 August 2016

2016 Quickly

2016 hasn't been the best of years, the old ankle injury was getting incredibly painful and my epilepsy was giving me cause for concern. I had only one day out in winter with Steve to try Mega Route X but my mind and body just weren't ready. Bailing off the route and scrapping winter was a tough but correct choice as within weeks I'd had a bit of an epileptic absence and I lost my driving licence which is a ballache.   

On the failed attempt on Mega Route X -Pic- Vertical Fever

Thankfully I have some particularly good people around me and that makes things somewhat easier. I'd hoped to be driving again in 6 months but After an appointment last month I was told that wasn't to be and I left hospital feeling angry but minutes later I passed a kid with cerebral palsy and realised I was being a wanker, what do I have to complain about, it really put things in perspective.

I've managed 2 great days on Ben Nevis, both on Tower Ridge, I love that route. This video  also appeared on my timeline around the same time and I got to thinking about how much the Ben means to me and how much of an effect it has on me. It's seen me at my worst, physically and mentally broken but it's also helped me be at my best. On the rare days I get to climb a great route in great conditions I feel something that I cannot find anywhere else, infact even on the brutal days it provides me with more emotion and connection than most humans will ever manage. It has also helped bond the few important friendships I have in the shared risk, hardship and joy.

Chaela,Mark and Tam on the Great Tower

Dave and Me at Tower Gap -Pic-Lochaber Guides

At the weekend I had surgery to remove metalwork in my foot so hopefully that allows me to walk further than the bathroom without severe pain. Few weeks recovery shall see whats going to happen.

Some of the metalwork from my foot!!

I've already got plans for what I want to get done next so I need to focus on proper recovery and see what happens!!

Steve thinking about future possibilities in Glen Nevis!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Square One

I've been inactive in climbing for a few months now due to issues with my epilepsy. I haven't really given it much thought over the past 15 years and have found that was the best approach but now its very much making its presence felt and I have to take a serious look at my life. Having epilepsy is very different from the other disabilities I have which are physically obvious, this one is hidden, even to me and I have no idea what its up to. The others disabilities are restrictive but I've usually found ways round them but this carries such a social stigma it makes things more difficult to work round. Between my ankle getting worse and now the epilepsy and their repercussions I feel like I was doing well at Snakes & Ladders only to land on 99 and end up back at square one. 

Soloing easy routes at Largs-Pic- FinalCrux Films

I somewhat feel like I'm back where I was 15 years ago with my climbing and I have to prove myself again to myself and to others. I considered completely quitting climbing but it simply isn't an option so I thought long and hard about my options and decided to start my climbing process all over again, back through the grades, the pressure to see if I can find where my limits are now. I've already been told I shouldn't be doing certain things but it's all to easy for someone on the outside to say. Climbing is inherently a selfish and dangerous game and I know theres a line between pushing what we do and simply being a selfish prick, this is why I'm starting again and if/when the moment comes I find myself near that line I'll back off whether that be on Severe or E7.

With this in mind I headed to Largs with Euan and Derry on Wednesday to start work on a wee film project and to get on some easy routes, I soloed a bit and felt good so I'll see where this new start takes me...........

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Time Is Now

After breaking my prosthetic back in November I eventually had it back and I was keen to check out a couple of potential new routes so today Joe and I headed off early but within minutes I felt the searing pain begin to build in my ankle and after an hour I had to descend. I had a feeling last night that things were changing for my climbing and not in a good way. Recently a surgeon told me theres no more help for my ankle and I'm not helping by going out in the mountains. I thought when the day came that the pain got to this stage I could accept and at least slow down it but it seems I cant really face that 'reality'. 

It was stunning on descent, someone definitely taking the piss

I've decided that in winter I'm only going after the routes I've had on my list for years and as for rock I've decided that with opportunity to climb slipping away I'm going to focus on the routes that have always scared me and use the mindset of having no hope of recovery to help me lose some of that fear so hopefully I'll get some great routes done this next wee while..............