Monday, 19 August 2013

Nicola's first climb..

As the days tick by to the Matterhorn trip I find myself getting more and more psyched to be stronger, better and ready for my attempt, other than a slight hicup with an ankle injury my training is going well, I'm currently in the gym 5 days a week, climbing at the indoor wall and also venturing into the outdoors at the weekends and packing in as much fitness and climbing as possible. My weight seems to be high at the moment though and with the scales tipping 14.5 stone I'm a little concerned, its really hard to balance my training, it seems the harder I train the bigger I get, this is amazing if you want a men's health cover body but for a climber not so good, I just need to make sure I keep my strength and stamina up so the weight doesn't effect my climbing. A mixed selection of climbing and training was had this weekend, Nicola managed to get the day off work Saturday and for some time now she's been mentioning that she would like to try climbing, so what better opportunity to introduce her to the world of climbing, With it being her first time we headed to the well known beginner area of Hedbury, she seemed very excited and keen to get on the face, Secretly Inside I was wondering weather this would change once she got a few feet off the ground, I put a top rope up on some of the easy grade 4 routes and she sailed up them no problems at all, and considering she only had normal trainers on it was pretty impressive, after a bite to eat she wanted to try something harder so I put her onto a grade 5, again she sailed up it with no problem, We decided to call it a day due to bad weather coming in, she was so excited and happy and spent most of the walk out talking about her climb, if honest I was quite impressed and very proud of her.. It was nice to share a day doing what I love with someone that means allot to me.. Sunday Was a little more tiring and challenging, I headed into the long steep walls of Wallsend with Dan Fletcher & Tom Powell, the walk in wasn't the greatest and I was a little shocked and the amount of landslides that have occurred in the area, and judging from experience I think there will be many more over the next few months, so please if you are venturing out tread with caution. We warmed up a long 30m 6b called "No place for Mamba's" , A really good route which packed allot of different styles in, other than feeling a little pumped none of the moves troubled me and I managed the onsight it, we then stepped up and jumped on a couple of 7a's, The first being vin chaud, this is an awesome line, due to heading to the Matterhorn in a few weeks I only played on it with the rope already in but didn't feel to bad and I'm sure as soon as I get back I will get this ticked, Tom did well and managed the onsight, we then tried another 7a called "Acid Jazz Disco" this seemed allot harder than the first one with a tough crux, but with a little working out of a sequence seemed fair, with time ticking we had to pack up... I'm psyched to get back down here though, there are hundreds of amazing lines and I plan on getting super strong and spending allot of weekends down here ticking the lines off. For now though its back to the gym and lots of running, must be strong for the mighty toblerone.....

She's that excited she wasn't waiting around

Damaged path on dancing ledge approach

Climbing Can be dangerous

Happy and ready to crank

Nicola on the bottom cliff at Hedbury

An Amazing wall - Wallsend and Coastguard

Dan Fletcher

Tom On "Acid Jazz Disco"

Tom On "Acid Jazz Disco"

Tom On "Acid Jazz Disco"

Tom On "Acid Jazz Disco"

Tom On "Acid Jazz Disco"

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Inspiring words...

With only four weeks left before I head to mountains to try a quick burst on the Matterhorn I've been training loads and reading as much as possible about the mountain as I can, this way I have a good understanding of the route we plan on climbing and the history behind the hill I'm about to take on, After receiving my monthly copy of climb mag this week I was happy to find that a piece on the six major North faces of the alps had been written, With the Matterhorn being one, it was a really good read and I found myself glued to pages, One tale in particular, a piece from a highly admired mountaineer " Jack Geldard" in which he describes his climb of the classic Schmid route on the North face of the Matterhorn, to some it would put you off an attempt, or even stepping foot near the mountain, but not me, I found myself drawn to words he'd written, gripped, hands sweating and wanting to experience this great wall for myself,  I hope Jack don't mind but I want to share his words and hopefully one day look back on them and see if my experience is similar to the adventure he had whilst battling up this dangerous wall..

Our one-day ascent of the Matterhorn was for me distilled in the final three hundred metres of climbing. Up until that point we had followed obvious runnels, with spaced but acceptable protection and straight forward ice climbing. We had passed a party who were now on there third day on the face - and we found out later that one of them was killed descending the next day. But such thoughts were not in our minds when we swung our axes into the first ice slopes. Above us were the head torches of another British team, who made good progress on the wall, and we passed them and chatted.  We were all moving about the same speed and indeed we shared the Solvay bivouac hut with them that night. But for the final stretch of climbing, they were way to our left, out of sight, and very much out of mind. We were alone. We were probably off route, but by the angle and the terrain meant that we could climb anywhere, albeit with the degree of trepidation. I was tired. I wouldn't say exhausted, as I know, through experience, just how far into exhaustion it is possible to push. Still, the going was slow. My stomach churned with nausea and my head boomed with the altitude. We'd not slept the night prior, and id come straight from sea level. I felt weak.
The rope snaked out ahead. We were moving together with the rope between us, as protection was so scares it came only every hundred metres or so, and even then it was poor. For much of the time there was nothing but our tools holding us to the face: there was no gear at all. Brittle, paper-thin ice was splashed over the rotten gneiss. Crampons ripped and axes shifted behind loose rubble. The climbing was easy, perhaps Scottish III, but we were tired, 1000 sunless metres behind us testament to that. We stopped briefly to take stock, still unsure how far there was left to go. Succinctly we voiced our concerns to one another, our words zipping down the rope like telegrams; If one of us fell, we'd most likely both die. We needed to push on to try and reach the descent by nightfall. And so we continued. unknown to us, a party had fallen from the route we were on just the day before. Seven hundred metres they fell. One died, the other sustained horrendous injuries. We didn't know. We carried on climbing. Up ahead, Rob had discarded his axe and was climbing bare handed, he'd decided that although his hands were freezing, it was less tenuous than climbing with tools. The thought never crossed my mind, and I continued mixed climbing up the rotten rock. I lifted my axe and, suddenly, both my feet ripped down. I slid, just a short way, maybe four inches. the low angle of the wall meant my single axe was enough to keep me in balance. I kicked my feet, and carried on. Fuck.
With only a couple of rope lengths to the summit ridge, the easiest way to retreat would be to ascend. We carried on climbing, We wanted to, but also, we had to. I hoped Rob wouldn't fall. He, I'm sure, tried is best not to. I thought about why I was there. I noticed my feet were a little cold, but not to bad I felt a bit sick. My mind wandered, until it concluded, that this was, in fact, a very dangerous place. I remembered that my face still hurt. Lower down the route I'd been hit by a bricked sized piece of ice. dislodged by a climber above. It hit square in the face, bursting my cheek and splashing blood on the ice, like red wine on a beige carpet. I was nearly knocked out. rob said it looked okay. The bleeding stopped after another pitch. Jesus. Why was I here? What exactly was I getting out of this? Nothing. I was tired and it was cold. We'd been out of the wind all day, but now, as we approached the ridge, it picked up. At least its chill numbed my aching face. I thought about a women I might be in love with. And the children we might have one day. I thought I might tell here. I knew I wouldn't though, of course. The rope tugged, and I kept climbing. A couple of days later, Jon Griffith asked us how the route was. "Fine" we said. " a bit loose, but pretty easy".

Jack Geldard - August 2013

Previous Matterhorn Success... 2011 @tscoobydoo

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Ignoring the bolts

Deep down My love for the mountains as always shined way above the thought of clipping bolts at the local sport venues, don't get wrong I love sport climbing and the power and endurance you need to climb some of these routes but if hand on heart and speaking the truth it doesn't give me the same feeling as I get when traditionally climbing a big mountain route or soloing and easier graded trad line.. Today I headed into Hedbury with my friend Paul Jackson, the plan was to get some mileage in climbing in my B3 mountaineering boots and climb all the lower graded routes without the bolts using my own protection, Previously id already climbed a few of the harder lines here traditionally like "jumping the gun" and moves of masses, but today climbing in B3's I wasn't going to push much above the 5's, we done fair few laps on the easier routes climbing them in big boots and placing the odd  nut on the way up, I think all the routes at hedbury can be climb without bolts so if your into that its defiantly worth it. As the day came to an end I was feeling strong and wanting to solo something so I made my way down to the waters edge and found a line running up the edge of the great hedbury cave so decided to go for it, the climbing no harder than a 5+ easy 6a but, without a rope can feel scary and tougher... still for some reason I love the feeling of the freedom and being alone on the wall..

With only four weeks left to the Matterhorn trip the trainings going well, apart from a slight twinge in my leg and ankle I'm feeling pretty strong and ready, Currently trying to run around 8miles a day and gym work so lets hope come next month il be in a great position to hopefully have success on the mountain..

Thanks Paul for a good day and getting some cool pics of me soloing :-)

Forgot my nut key.. maybe this will encourage others to try the
routes traditional style..

Soloing up the edge of Hedbury cave..

Don't slip now...

Monday, 5 August 2013

Something diffrent..

A pretty awesome days climbing was had Saturday with Stu & Phil at Wallsend north, a few easy 6b's a 6b+ and a tough 7a+ climbed, all in all a good day other than all the pictures I had taken got lost due to memory card messing up.. But not all is bad as I went to the zoo yesterday with my lady and took some shots to make up for it.. Hope you enjoy them..

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