Saturday, 8 August 2015

Life Upheaval and Pre-Match Nerves

Learning how to ice climb with Ally
I've spoken to a lot of friends recently about why they write blogs: to record conditions or keep sponsors keen are obvious reasons but I realised that writing for me is a therapeutic process. It's a way for me to sort out the often jumbled disorganisation of my brain! Writing and telling stories helps me process events. I've realised that's why I often write about disasters rather than days when everything goes smoothly. I need to be in the certain mood to blog and this past 6 months I just haven't been in the right frame of mind for it.
Team rainbow hanging out in Ogwen! So warm for March!
Summer or is it winter?!? Scrambling anyway! 
As much as I hate to admit it, getting dumped at the start of the year sent me into a full blown tail spin. Whilst things between Dave and I hadn't exactly been rosy for quite some time, I was in denial about it and avoiding the situation. Dealing with rejection is never an easy thing to do but it also made me question what the hell I was doing with myself and why I was still in Chamonix. I've had bouts of very self -destructive depression, body dysmorphia and eating disorders since my early teens, but I'm a pro at putting up a wall, hiding my emotions and scars. Unfortunately once I get comfortable being around people I become less guarded and those who are close to me have had to cope with dark mood swings! Dave hadn't exactly had an easy few months and dealing with me too just became a little too much for him to bear. I don't blame Dave at all for calling it quits but I was pretty scared about having to deal with myself on my own again. Whilst we didn't get on in the hills he is exceptionally good at diffusing my panic attacks and dragging me back into the real world. Being featured briefly in the 'This Girl Can Climb' campaign video was actually amazing for me, as it's Past Emily giving Present Emily a 'C'mon Get On With It!!' pep talk.
One of Jen Randalls many lovely photos! This one is a still of me from our "Patience" video shoot.
Since I was in hospital getting chemo, I've developed a fear that I'm frittering my time away. I feel that I need to have no regrets in my life and that's probably why I'm always cramming too much in! For quite some time, I've been uncertain about what I want from life. What do I want to be when I grow up?! Actually being forced to confront this on my own was a blessing in disguise. I know a lot of folk in Chamonix have said that they are worried about me, this upsets me quite a bit as genuinely I'm the happiest I've been in a long time. So many good things have happened to me over the last few months! I got my climbing mojo back, learnt how to water ice did some cool routes, made some truly amazing friends, got some recognition (and possibly validation...) for my life choices and found several career paths that I'm really psyched on. No walls being put up here anymore that's for sure!!
Climbing with a very good (though not new) friend.
Being silly with some newer ones!
And here I am... ready (ish) for another set of expeditions! The build up to this summer in the Stans was so much less stressful than in the past. Third time lucky maybe?! Although I was starting to doubt whether doing back to back trips was a good idea financially, not working for two and a half months was feeling like quite a commitment. But then my Kosmos 2015 Expedition got awarded one of the Gore-Tex Shipton-Tilman grants. Not only was it suddenly financially viable but someone else was as inspired by a lightweight Alpine trip to the face as I am!
Lots of mixed cragging up the Midi, yahooooooo!
Everything has come together for me this summer, including finding several amazing people to sublet my room in Chamonix when I haven't even been looking. Though as ever there are always those pre-trip expedition nerves: am I fit/strong enough? What will 6000m feel like this year? Have I packed the kitchen sink? Why won't the Sat phone work?!? (it does now...) Have we got the right sort of food/gas/battery chargers?? WHERE IS OUR TRANSPORT??? (Going to have to go through these last two stresses three times this year.... YIKES) But all this starts to evaporate when you get off the plane. Now I'm just happy and psyched to be out here again with not one but two groups of my good friends. The next couple of months are going to be super fun, I can feel it in my bones!!
Matt survived his first alpine extravaganza in spite of my best efforts!
Jus' chillin' after finally doing the Tour Ronde north face!!
If you want to keep track of my progress you can follow our website here: British Muzkhol 2015 Expedition I've promised George I'll stop putting fake GPS points into the twitter feed though... (Kabul, Hawaii etc....) but hopefully we will return in a couple of weeks as 'Master Mountaineers'!
LOVE this photo of my main objective this summer... Pik Kosmos!

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