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Introducing Gertrude…

There she is. My new beauty!  I’ve forgotten the pleasure it is to own my ones own vehicle! Took her on her maiden voyage to Swanage for the Easter weekend, and my smile grew as the mile rolled on under her! Yes she’s old and yes she a little nicked and dented, but she a smooth roller and she’s mine. Bring on the summer!

She got us there – ‘us’ being myself and a concoction of randomly thrown together new and old friends at the last minute.  Now we had to make the party happen.  Always makes me nervous when I introduce friends, always stupidly worry they won’t get along.  There was most certainly no need to worry this weekend!  The jokes erupted moments after the side door slammed and we pulled out of Camden and they just did not stop.  It was hard even concentrate on the climbs at times for the banter!

Really felt like we welcomed in the start of the summer, early.  Friday started cold and wet, by Sunday the sun tried braking out but we had a ground frost Sunday night. Monday however: Suns out, Guns out! Sun tans included!

Climbing, now didn’t one learn and thing or two about one’s psyche this weekend!  Happy to cruise up grades that in my head are warm ups, but the closer I get to my on-sight grade the harder it was for me to believe I was capable of doing it. Moreover, if i were to watch someone else climb a hard route even if I knew to them to be stronger and better to me, I would happily go up after and pull out the bag whatever was needed to get to those chains.  If, however, I went first all my confidence; in route reading, skill, strength and technique just evaporated.

Saturday and Sunday I enjoy the company of an incredibly good climber, who was cruising all the routes.  I was very willing to try any route he did and was able to do any of the moves he did with barely a shadow of a concern for my ability. Come Monday, I’m picking out my own routes, at the first hint of a complexity or power doubt came knocking.  I was not trusting myself or my technique, suddenly I worried about silly falls, over gripping, heavy breathing, the lot.

Don’t get it, it’s defiantly a mental thing and it’s probably a milage thing. Playing around at the 6a thru 6c range for so long, I’ve got used to what those routes expect of me. Now I’m trying to up the game, things now are feeling uneasy, unfamiliar and hard. Is milage the key now, should I just stat doing every 7a under the sun until they feel like the new 6a’s or is there a deeper thing to address!

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Spending life

Why am I beginning to feel like I’m different to the norm? Why do I not feel like I belong to the masses?

I both wince at and am highly envious of the person can who virtuously find security and sability in getting that stable, well paid(ish) job, with the nice house in the suburban, but gentrified and trendy part of town, settle down, have their two kids, and growing old safe in the knowledge that they have made it to the other end!

The same person, I fear, is asking at me, why I don’t just conform and fit in?

Am I in the wrong for seeing the paradox in this plan? Knowing that life is not a sure bet, seeing people that are either still waiting for or hold on so dearly to those cards to bet everything on but may still loss? What happens when you loss? Why not bet on the early Pair, rather than wait for the perfect Royal Flush!

So I say, is it not a waste to save life and not to spend it? Not using the time you have to live, rather than to stay alive? Humm, sounding a big cliche, right?

If life is so vulnerable that we have to work so hard to build our safety net? If we invest everything into this one goal, what happens if it goes wrong? That same security becomes our biggest vulnerability.

Too spend what we have, to invest our lives into life it’s self, into enjoying what this world has to give, and to grab at the chances we have? Surely the return is much greater when we leave that poker table. To remember, to daydream, to reflect, to chew on, and feel a world you have indulged in, rather than admire it on your Twee-Insta-Pinstres-book.

Don’t get me wrong if I get to the other end and get to reminisce over the old days, with my life long partner; sat on a park bench eating white bread, cheddar cheese sandwiches; while wearing matching cream rain coats/trouser combos, and not having to say a world because you’ve said it all, this would be the prefect finish.

The moments when this planet makes me feel insignificant I feel most alive in. The in moment when this life puts a bet down, you can either choose to fold or to bet in!

I’m beginning to realise that I want to bet, maybe that’s why I’ve begun feeling so different.


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Aiguille Dibona

Although I have already been here before, it’s still on the bucket list as last time I failed miserably, and ended assailing 300m off the cliff face into the dark, fatigued, hungry, and cold. The place just looks like something a 6 year old would draw when drawing mountains: massive pointy peaks poking out of a vast range of rolling landscape. There is one particular route that is a must on visiting this face ‘Visite Obligatoire’: a 12 pitch route up the middle of the face which leaves you balancing on the point of it’s summit.  Brilliant.

Click here to read more on Berated – Aiguille Dibona

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Kursts (China)

So over the years many places have come into conversation or have briefly been visited… I’ve never really kept track, which annoys me greatly, so this maybe as good-a-place as any to start one!   Top of the list, is one that I recently discovered, the Kursts in China! Looks absolutely stunning, not only have I never seen rock formations like it,  the surrounding area is so beautiful, and the culture must be so different to anything I’ve know to date.  Cedar Wright captures it nicely in this National Geographic article:

Click Here to watch a video about National Geographic – Kursts