This post is a little late – my trip to Portland was over the first bank holiday in May, but better late than never!
Both my knees are bruised and scratched, my hands look like I’ve had a fight with a tiger, and it really hurts to walk…a sign of a good outdoor climbing trip! Or rather, a sign that I have experienced a number of moments of desperation, and fell quite a few metres to smash my body into some rock.
The first days of May mean only one thing to a climber – the start of the outdoor season. So we forget indoor gyms, where we climb on colour-coded plastic in the winter, and migrate to real rock.
On the first bank holiday in May I went to Portland for some sport climbing – a rare luxury in England, where most climbing is trad. Despite a shoddy weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend, we managed to get in two days of good climbing in the (occasional) sunshine. Well, mostly in the sunshine, actually!
Continue reading Sport climbing in Portland
“I’m used to endurance training, I used to do 28 routes on lead in one go,” she said, as I stared in disbelief. A heavily pregnant woman stood in front of me, having just climbed a 6b+ route (indoors) I had been quite proud of leading just a few weeks earlier, and given it the verdict of “really easy”.
This was something I encountered during a recent training session at The Castle Climbing Centre, a climbing wall in North London.
I was just admiring the fact she was climbing so strong despite being so far along, and then we started chatting. I mentioned I climb a lot at The Reach and she and her partner said they hadn’t been there. Then I mentioned the big overhang project wall there, and how sustained the climbing was on these routes. That’s how we got to the endurance conversation.
Continue reading Strong women: Climbing pregnant
One minute we were cruising along the M4 on the way back form a day of climbing in the Wye Valley, talking about where to find the best pizza in East London. The next the car suddenly lost power and a putrid smell filled the salon. We only just managed to make it over to the hard shoulder. So much for an early return back home to London!
My climbing trips are always a (mis)adventure of some sort, which I’m sure regular readers of this post are more than aware of, but this one I’m not going to forget in a hurry. I’ve experienced my fair share of breakdowns (once even also on the way back from a climbing in the Wye Valley), but it has never previously amounted to five hours of waiting by the side of the road and a night spent in a hotel. In Gloucester, of all places.
Continue reading Breaking down on the way back from Wye Valley…again!
I did not expect to find myself in Berlin at the weekend, nor did I think I would still be here at the time of writing, having originally booked my tickets to fly back early Monday morning.
I came to visit my cousin to help her recover after an appendicitis operation, but this week had other things in store for us. Just two weeks after the op, she ended up having another one. Of course, I couldn’t leave as early as I had planned and ended up extending my stay, because there is nothing worse than leaving someone you care about alone in a hospital after such a stressful period.
Undoubtedly, this has been a stressful experience for me too, as anyone who has watched a loved one in pain can imagine, but apart from worrying about Eva I have had all the comforts I need – her (huge) flat to stay in for free, internet in the hospital for work, and her travel ticket so I don’t have to spend money on going back and forth from home to hospital. The only thing frustrating me in my day-to-day life here was that I couldn’t climb.
Continue reading Bouldering in Berlin