Having quit my job in January to persue a few months of climbing and skiing, it seems to have been quite productive so far..... trips to the NW and west coast to do routes and visit places I have longed to experience came to fruition.... Beinn Bhan, Beinn Eighe, Tilt, Shanghigh, Postern, Blood Sweat and Frozen Tears (maybe the best scottish winter route I have done). All brilliant, memorable days out in great company!
Since then 3 weeks of dotting round europe to Cogne, Chamonix, Kandersteg and Monaco (what you've never heard of the awesome ice climbing on the cote d'azur!) have maintained a feeling of transition and shifting objectives. The initial focus of trying to remember how to climb ice efficiently quickly drifting away to be replaced by the steeper, harder mindset..... well except for Monaco sport climbing which proved somewhat of a reminder that polished limestone and no finger strength is a horrible combination for me!!!
Anyway, with a crap camera that detests the cold, and an affinity for shaky pictures, I managed a couple of ok shots, so rather than another 2,000 words, here's a few pictures from the last few weeks with Ally Fulton, Ally Swinton and Alastair Robertson....
Lillaz Gully (Cogne) and the village of Lillaz
Alastair on Lau Bij (Cogne)
Sogno di Gnomo (Cogne), the right facing corner line that might have been slightly out of condition...! Avalanche stopped play after (on) the 3rd pitch!
Tradimento Direct (Cogne) - No pictures of the crux pillar although in more sporting conditions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E78XVqeT1g&feature=youtu.be
Flash Estivo (Colonne Centrale)
Foehn wind loading up the slopes above (and firing the temp up!)
Repentence Super (brilliant route!) on the left and Flash Estivo on the right
Stella Artice (not a bad fall back route for the day) - Cogne
Ally abseil into the classic Nuit Blanche (Argentiere)
Rattenpissoir (Kandersteg) - Polish and French teams creating a proper mess..... nice to see the euros can do it as well as the brits! ;-) Properly wet first pitch resulted in 4 hours of drying kit in the van in the afternoon.
Ally with Rattenpissoir in the background (the pillar)
Ally taking a shower on Grimm/Haizahne, backed off and did it the next day instead after doing another 4 pitch WI5+ which made for some tired arms!
All that remains now is to finalise a few things then get on a plane to the Rockies! Hello Canmore!
Having spent years flicking through Sean Isaac's book Mixed Climbs in the Canadian Rockies, its so exciting being able to get on a plane and go experience a few of the classic venues! Few other places have such inspiring/terrifying/intriguing route names..... nemesis, terminator, nightmare on wolfe street, sea of vapours, riptide, the list is endless. Should be a blast!