Friday, 24 May 2013

Back on it... and back to the Beatson!

It's been a while... I guess I haven't been motivated to blog because I feel that I haven't really done anything significant or indeed really achieved anything major this winter. This isn't entirely fair however, I have learnt and experienced a LOT in the past six months.

Tuesday was an important day; it marked the end of my longest stint away from hospital for cancer treatment! An entire eight months since I was last in, a significant improvement on daily visits in 2011. I've only got three years left on hormone therapy and then I'm done. The past three years have definitely flown by so the next three should too.

I hate being in the Beatson in Glasgow. Hearing the chemo machines beeping down the corridor brings a nauseous memory right in the pit of my stomach. But Tuesday's trip was quick and pleasant, mainly chatting to my oncologist and nurses about what I've been up to in the past year! The visit was a bit surreal as I had been out climbing on the gritstone in the peak district 7 hours before. I had had very little sleep before getting the train to Glasgow and must have looked a little worse for wear. Several nurses asked me if I had my blood tests done yet, obviously I looked pale and tired enough to presume that I was still on chemo!

Goulotte Pepite with Ally Fulton, first route of 2013.

Heading up the Tacul.

A lot of fun adventuring has happened since the OMM: took my first lead fall onto an icescrew, led my first scottish tech 7 and somehow kept both my eyes after sticking pick of my ice axe into my eyeball. I also learnt how to ski real snow at last and bought some skis that would make a Scandi proud. Excitingly I am in the middle of planning my first expedition, we are off to Kyrgyzstan next September for some new routing. Though I miraculously dodged major epics this winter, I needlessly went to A+E three times (bike crash, ski crash and the eyeball incident) and helped to rescue a dying Lithuanian alpinist on the Argentiere glacier. Oh, and I moved to Chamonix in December.

The mountains around Chamonix aren't exactly secluded but there's so much potential and choice. I'm really psyched by the fact that I can walk to a crag or boulderspot and that I don't have to drive a couple of hours to be in the mountains. Though I would have like to do a bigger route or two, it's been a real learning curve. I'm a lot more confident in the mountains now than I was in January. I've had a fair few wake up calls to remind me just how dangerous the Alps are in winter but I guess that's all part of the process. Now that I'm back rock climbing again, I feel like I've got my momentum back so let's hope this summer in Chamonix and Kyrgyzstan is a good 'un!

Mellow day on the Chere was not so mellow! 

Jonnie on 'that' move, Fall Out Corner

Cragging in Cogne
Skiing into routes was hard work at first, but totally worth it! Cutting out the walk in makes a day much faster
Andy wading up snow on Pellissier Gully.
Cosmiques Arete after the Burnier-Vogler.

Dave on Cosmiques Icefall, the names right... it needed more ice!



    1. You should get a fake tan to match... I have an even better one where you can see your orange boots and harness too haha!

  2. Ha, a good advert for a certain stoneware company? Mug on Busman's Holiday. Does he still hanker after Suilven? 'Because these green hills are not Highland hills
    Or the island hills, they're not my land's hills,
    As fair as these green foreign hills may be,
    They are not the hills of home.'
    A. Stewart, The Green Hills of... er, Tyrol