Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Final Post, enough is enough....

Well, that's it folks, hope you've all enjoyed my posts over the past few years.... I started to pick out photos and write a post on Alaska and Denali and just decided that enough is enough, no more blog from me, it's done! Thank you to all of you for reading and all the best.
Denali 2013 with Mathew Knox and Oly Leask. Photo by Jon Wylie.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Denali here we come!

 Well the time has come for us to head off to Alaska and begin our attempt on Denali. Our expedition happens by total coincidence to match up with the 100th Anniversary of the first ascent of the mountain. I believe the first ascensionist's reached the summit on the 7th June 1913. Could end up the same?
Fair whack of kit and that's not even everything!
So on Monday morning I'll make my way down to London. Feel as fit and organised as I'm ever going to be. It's been 6 months planning and training and I think now we're all just wanting to get stuck it. I'll post some further details as to how we're doing as and when I can, that will most likely be after the 20th June, until then........

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Glen Coe, Aonach Eagach Ridge.

Myeslf and Roddy managed to get along the Aonach Eagach Ridge on Tues, took us a while, we were roped up and moving together most of the ridge, Roddy's 2nd ever time out in winter using crampons, axes and all the rest of it so he really did pretty well.
We started at about 10am and we got down to the Clachaig by 9pm ish..... Spent a long time on a section of down climbing where we really should have abseiled and clearly others often do but added a bit more spice to the day in many ways....
Some sections were just completely bare rock but good ice in the back of the small gullies etc, some sections were full winter conditions and others you felt daft wearing crampons North face going down off the ridge looks very dodgy just now, big cornices, slopes loaded and 'heavy' looking.

We took our time a bit for Roddy to get some snaps, he was wielding his bulky digital SLR, but hopefully he got some nice shots from the day, I'll put them up at some stage....Nice to be a little more chilled and be able to take our time in these surroundings on such a clear, still day, no need to be rushing along! Was light until 9pm I think.
Good training and a great day out, hoping to now have a chance to squeeze one final climb at least out of the winter if possible, still don't feel I've had a chance to really get stuck into any of the routes that I'd had on my radar for this winter, but in fairness all things considered it's be pretty good and I have got Alaska as a consolation prize I suppose! Good chance to make up for any lack of climbing out there.
Good view on the walk out.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Sled training.

Bit of 'sled' training at the beach with Jo yesterday. Found an old tyre half buried down there which was handy, already filled with sand so just tied it onto my pack and went for a walk. Need to do more of this over the coming 6 weeks, made the 30 kg pack feel like a whole lot more, bit of a shock.... hopefully it's unrealistic in the amount of friction etc good training though.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Salamander Gully.

 Myself and James went to Bridge of Orchy today and headed up to have a look around and see what options there were, nice chilled one for my knee with short walk in/ out, short routes etc.
James on the lead....
We went up onto the hill and the snow felt good and ground frozen. The ground was frozen all the way to the summit, Turf taking sound warthogs. Ice good at points, tried and abbed off after 2nd pitch of Fahrenheit 451. thats the second time that I've done that... Bare rock and slush at the start of pitch 2.... Moved over onto Salamander Gully instead.
Contemplating the 2nd pitch of 451?
Conditions were must better here, only had One half rope after I forgot the ropes....! and so we had to use the one that James luckily had stashed in his car. Good day out, some fun climbing and good to stretch the legs.
2nd pitch of Salamander.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Cuillin Ridge... well a bit of it anyway......

 Went up to Skye on Friday morning with Jon to go along the Cuillin ridge, with good weather and ideal conditions we were set for a pretty good shot at it. Started out from the car at Sligahan at 13.00ish and headed up to the ridge.
Bla Bheinne, I think...? 
Jon Disappearing down the other side of the ridge.
Very nice bivi, no wind and lovely night.
Just about a full moon but too much cloud for descent light.
Sunset on the ridge.
The Red Cuillins
Jon Heading along.....
Getting down off the ridge after our 4.30 am start.
We actually made pretty good progress with getting up onto and along the ridge at first and through a few of the abseils before we stopped to bivi, lovely sunset and calm evening. My knee was twisted from a rather 'special' slip/slide down a step before the 'tooth'. Not very graceful or clever.... anyway this caused signs from a previous injury to start rearing their ugly heads again and come the morning it was apparent that continuing on was going to aggravate my knee further for sure and so we made the tough call and decided to just head down. Fair to say we were both pretty gutted by this outcome but with Alaska now 7 weeks away, injury is not a good idea so it was the best decision... had this been the end of the season like it is and no plans for Denali I think we would have carried on then I would just have to rest the knee for a couple of weeks but we would be heading home just now having just completed the ridge, conditions were ideal, we were up by 4.30 ready to get started and we were both feeling good! Annoying is an understatement to say the least!...... On the flip side, other than the knee tweek it was good training and beautiful being up on the ridge.... It's not going anywhere either so we'll be back again.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Deep Cut Chimney and more Denali training....

Oban at Sunset.
 Just been getting ready for Denali of late, lots of training.... Running, weights, pack carrying using a 30kg pack now up Arthur's Seat and the Pentlands. Went out with 35kg for 14 miles the other week, grim! Going well though, feeling stronger and getting heavier! Put on over 6kg in the last couple months. Rumor has it that it's common to loose over a stone on the Upper West Rib...?
"Mark Westman told me he was stuck in a storm on Denali and lost weight eating 6,000 calories a day sitting still" - Summitpost.org
If so I want to have it there ready to loose before I start.
"Climbs of this grade are exceptionally strenuous and some weight loss is inevitable. Train hard, but take along some spare calories!" - Jagged Globe.
Slogging up hills in the Pentlands with a 35kg pack on...
 Flights, Glacier flight, food, fuel and permits all sorted and paid for. Just trying to gather all my bits of gear now. Expedition climbing is an expensive business!
Stob Coire nam Beith- No.3 and No.4 Buttress Sat 2nd March
 Had a great day out with Darren on Sat, climbed a very thing, falling apart Deep Cut Chimney on Stob Coire nam Beith a lovely IV,4**** and very long at over 450m. Great fun first 3 pitches with nice crux sections with some good tech 5 moves (in my opinion) thrown in as a suprise... Above mainly snow plods but another tricky very much unexpected rocky step or 2 to cross, long day at 15 hours car to car or there abouts?
Darren at a belay on Deep Cut Chimney.
Special thanks to the 3 we met on the route who very much helped us out with light and direction!!! We left our bags at the base of the route with head torches, map, compass. food and water as we planned to ab off after the 3 pitches but didn't as 2 parties below. Anyway we would have been benighted with no light if it wasn't for them... Hope the last team heading up were ok too after one getting hit by falling rock! They were flying of the top of the route from way above even us, scary stuff. Again though huge thanks to those guys for helping, members of the Rock and Fell Club I believe...?