My first foray into mountaineering

 

I’m currently reading Andy Kirkpatrick’s Psychovertical; it’s worth a read! It’s all about his escapades in winter mountaineering and terrifying aid climbs, and if there’s one thing it has made me realise once and for all, it’s that I’m not at all interested in suffering my way up multi-day winter epics.

It has, however, inspired me to share my one personal account of mountaineering, which totally and completely pales in comparison with Andy’s mind-bending adventures, but was still one of the most memorable experiences during my travels so far.

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Why does it always rain on me?

Snowed in in Asturias

Looking out of the van window, all I could see was white. The landscape around us had transformed into a postcard-perfect winter picture overnight. For the third time during our travels, which were supposed to be all about us escaping the winter, we were well and truly snowed in. Continue reading “Why does it always rain on me?”

Frankenjura four years later

Almost exactly four years ago I was stood beneath a piece of grey pockety rock in a German forest, having just put on a brand new pair of 5.10 climbing shoes, about to get onto my first ever outdoor sport route on the sharp end of the rope.

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Tirolean grades

Have you ever heard of Tirolean climbing grades? Neither had I until very recently, when my brother told me a story about him and his climbing partner struggling on routes that were supposed to be far, far below their abilities. Having spent around three weeks climbing in various parts of Tirol, I can now testify that this is indeed a thing.

There’s nothing like a different type of rock to make you feel like a bit of a novice again. Austria has been a country of many firsts for me, and one of these was my first experience of climbing on granite. And it well and truly kicked my ass!

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Croatia 2.0: Our adventures on Brac island

SMRKA

With a sickening noise, the tyres skidded on the loose pebbles, as the van swerved violently this way and that on the steep incline. One, two, there revs of the engine and we had to admit defeat, retreating back to the relative safety of the road below. Deep breath, let the tyres cool for a second and try again.

We were less than ten minutes drive from our destination, but separated from it by a steep track of loose gravel, which swallowed up our heavy vehicle in a cloud of dust as we tried to propel our way up, holding the wheels in a tight grip they couldn’t escape. But there was no way back at this point, either. Reversing back down the zig-zag we had just driven up was out of the question.

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