Sunday, 6 September 2009

Hedbury Sport

I started the day today feeling very tired and thinking that I was going to have a complete nightmare on the easiest of routes. I arrived at the Langton House carpark to find two of my Friends there, They had spent the night there and were planning a days climbing at guilimot ledge. I haven't climbed there before so I couldnt comment much about the place. After chatting a short while Phil and His dad arrived so I said my goodbyes, Got Alisha ready, got the rucksacks out of the van and off we went. Phil took us a different route into the crag today and i am glad he did because it is a bloody damn sight easier than the route i have been travelling the last few years, Even Alisha wasn't complaining. We arrived at the crag and i was quite surprised as we were the only ones there, Hedbury has a habit of attracting the big crowds due to the easier beginner routes at the far end of the crag. After finding a nice spot we slumped our bags down and chilled for a little, Phil was off looking at some seriously hard routes whilst I was just thinking oh god here we go. We decided to warm up on an easy 5+ called "Goddam Sexual Tyrannosaurus". A pretty easy route that we both seemed to fly up with ease, When I got to the top I shouted down to Keiron to see if he wanted to lead the route or if he wanted me to set up a top rope,He asked for a top rope so I set it up then lowered down the route. Keiron tied in and set of up the route, He managed the route with ease and I think he could have lead it quite easily.

Next we decided to Try the 6a+ to the right of us called "Ammonitemare", The guide book read,"sustained, technical and hard for the grade".Phil cruised up the route making it look pretty easy, all that was left now was for me to cock it all up . Once I got on the route I didn't feel any hard moves through the whole route, I actually really enjoyed it and felt I was starting to flow a little, I didn't feel as tired anymore and was looking forward to trying something a little harder.
We moved along the crag, we looked at another 6a+ then the 6b. In the end we decided to try the 6c called " Hangs like a dead man". I was a little nervy has 6c is right on my climbing ability. I belayed Phil has he worked his way up the route making it look easy, He reached the top without a tiny bit of sweat anywhere on his body,I lowered him down to the ground and he untied from the rope. It was now my turn...Phil kept telling me how easy the route was and that he was sure I would be ok but I wasn't to sure, The route itself didn't look to bad, most of it was my style of climbing but there was just one little section that i wasn't to sure about "TINY CRIMPS" on a overhang.I chalked up and set off up the route, I felt pretty good on the first section, I clipped the second bolt and down climbed a little to a no hands rest, after feeling good i set off knowing that the crimps were close by, I crimped the first hold with my right hand then the left,slowly brought my feet up and then a little slap to the next set of crimps, my left leg was a little shaky at this time, i wasn't quite sure why because i was right on the quickdraw, maybe it was the adrenaline or something like that. Anyway I pulled up and bang,managed to latch the big side pull, I quickly moved up the route to the big flake at the top of the crack, After hanging around a little trying to shake the strain off in my arms I set off, this section was hard for the feet,I had fell off here a little earlier in the day and i was a little nervous, I just relaxed and started to climb, i managed to get my feet sorted and move on up past the corner, I had done it...the last section of the route was covered in big jugs so i knew i was home dry, i climbed up and clipped the two bolts, then left off a shout of first 6c and clean. Phil told me i had to take a victory jump, still excited i didn't think a just took the lob, I didn't fall that far but it was still fun, Phil lowered my down the route where i untied with a big smile on my face. I thanked Phil.

A few more routes were climbed through the day Phil and keiron including "Jumping the gun"6b . Also Alisha managed to climb the grade 1 "Very Ordinary route". Phil also had a little play on a 7c which looked nails.

Overall today was a great day and Hopefully th start of some harder routes for me.

Friday, 4 September 2009

A Tiny Alpine Epic

During the Alpine Raid trip myself, Julian and Nick decided to attempt the midi plan traverse. We managed to book ourselves into the cosmiques hut for the night so we could get an early start the following morning.

Once all packed and ready to go we left the camp site in Chamonix to catch the last cable car up to the midi station. There were not many people on the lift as most people were coming down at this point. The weather wasn't looking to good and it wasn't long before we were in complete whiteout conditions with the cable car blowing all over the place. We finally arrived at the midi station where is was now very cold with lots of fresh snow being blown around. At this point I was a little concerned as I knew how bad the Auguille de Midi ridge could be with fresh snow sitting on top.

After little discussion we decided to just go for it as we knew the journey around to the Hut wasn't that far and would only take around an hour. after getting ourselves geared up we made our way out of the ice tunnel into the unknown.

We decided that Nick Should lead because he was the lightest and if for some reason the ground was unstable and he did fall we would be able to hold him.
Descending this ridge is bad on a good day but we were finding it quite hard today, We were in complete whiteout and the snow was very powdery causing our crampons to not bite as well as they should do, I also had a problem with my Glasses steaming up but I was unable to take them off due to all the spindrift flying around. Around halfway down the Ridge All of a sudden I heard a loud cracking noise, My first thoughts were that the ridge was collapsing and I was about to be taken down the mountain in an avalanche, I stood still waiting for it, and nothing, I looked down at Nick in front of me and noticed he was crouching down, I could still here the cracking noise and it seemed to be coming from his direction, I walked down to him and noticed to my amazement that he was getting some sort of charge through the ridge and up through his ice axe and the cracking noise was him, He couldn't let go of his axe and seemed to be shaking a little, finally he managed to let go of his ice axe then "bang" a loud roar of thunder and lightning. he turned towards us and shouted"Run". I didn't need asking twice and started to run,scrape and drag myself back up the ridge, I could barely breathe and the altitude was killing me, I was pulling on the rope from Julian to get him to pull me a little but he was just as out of breath has me, I stopped for a matter of seconds to catch a breath, then nick was shouting behind me"don't stop..just run", eventually we made it back up to the top of the midi station and into the snow cave. after getting our breath back we were quite shocked at what had just happened, We decided that maybe we should'nt head round to the hut and maybe we should wait until the morning. We have been back up since and managed to do our intended climb, we have also given Nick a new nickname of "Buzz".

A message to all " stay off the ridges in a thunder storm"

Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are
naught without prudence, and that a momentary negliance may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; Look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end