Wednesday, 31 August 2011

wet feet

Isi & Di both spent rather a lot of time checking the weather forecast before embarking on the drive North.

We were both convinced that the place to be was Caithness & Sutherland.

We were obviously right but the weather was most definitely wrong.

So, it mizzled yesterday, but we got away with it - just.

However, it rained today which meant that we never got away with it.

So, we done what any sensible person would do.  We drove south until the road looked dry and the shadows were cast.

We decided to head up to the bolts at Silver Rock, a small conglomerate crag near The Mound.

I forgot my harness, so we had to rotate the makeshift sling between climber and belayer, before the heavens finally opened up once more and we decided to throw the towels in for good.

Sometimes its just not meant to be ...

Saturday, 27 August 2011

the cairngorm 4000ers

I couldn't find anyone to climb with yesterday and I have absolutely no intention of starting a second round of Munro's so...

It was a client, Peter Ellis who sowed the seed whilst on Tower Ridge one winter, so on Thursday evening I finally opened Ken Wilson's "The Big Walks".

There are only 2 rules I have self inflicted:

Rule #1 you must do the route as described.

Rule #2 you must do them sub 24 hours.

So yesteray, I set off on his Cairngorm Four Thousanders - what he describes as "an exceptionally long and arduous walk over a high and extensive plateau".

Some 50km later with 3000m ascent, I finally arrived back at the car in just under 11 hours.  Not bad for someone who hasn't done any running in the past 5 weeks and been walking at a very slow big-mountain-pace.

OK, it not quiet in the same league as Ramsay's Round  (its on the radar but not quite fit enough) but its a start.

Needless to say, I can hardly move today.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

adjusting back to western life

I have now spent 3 days firmly planted in front of the computer.

I managed to escape for one day and opted to go for a 90km mountain bike.

Needless to say, I have a very sore arse.

The website has been updated with all the China antics and I am sure that the boss will let me get out and about tomorrow.

Monday, 22 August 2011

the 43rd highest mountain in the world

I have survived 4 weeks without facebook or blogging - I am making up for it now.  More importantly I have survived 4 weeks without red wine, white wine or fine chocolate - I tried to make up for it last night but failed miserably.

Wearing my Adventure Peaks bonnet, and joined by Jim, Chris, Duncan and Mairi our mini break can be summarised as follows:

Point number 1: despite the chinese authority stalling tactics, it is actually possible to gain access to a rather fine mountain deep inside the Xinjian Urghur Autonomous Region.

Point number 2: don't walk behind camels - although very pretty, they are rather windy.

Point number 3: never try and go to the toilet when the wind is blowing from the south east.  If you do, be fully prepared for anything heading 'south', to suddenly head 'north' without any warning.  With the added bonus of flying toilet roll, it all makes a very exciting and unpredictable experience.

Point number 4: real chinese food is nothing like the chinese take away you will encounter on the high street.  It will probably take a few weeks before any of the team can face a bowl of rice again.

Point number 5: if you are faced with bowl after bowl of rice, it is amazing what a bottle of tomato ketchup can do.

Point number 6: the definition of the effects of altitude should read something like this .... "you will feel lousy, have a thumping headache, have absolutely no appetite, will not be able to sleep and feel nausious at all times".

Point number 7: keep reminding ourselves that we have actually consciously chosen to spend 4 weeks in sufferland.

Point number 8: ensure that on return from the mountain, there is a vast amount of pepsi to rehydrate on.  Failing that, ensure that on return from the moutain, there is a vast amount of beer to rehydrate on.

Point number 9: snow shoes are just rather large flip flops.  Instead of the relaxing sound of 'flip flop' normally associated with sands and sea, the sound of our snow shoes were normally associated with numerous curses.
Point number 10: we probably all ate pigeon without knowing it *barf*.

So, 4 weeks later, probably more than 4 brain cells less, we are back in the United Kingdom.  Di & Jim did finally stand on the summit of Muztag Ata (although judging by the summit photo we could actually be on the cairngorm plateau) and life in the mountain suddenly seems a very long time ago...

More information on the Muztag Ata expedition can be found on the website.