Monday, 5 September 2011
So September has crept up on us and another summer has come to a close,though here's hoping for a few more days out on the rock before it gets too cold :)
And what a summer it has been, for me it began after returning from the Arctic Circle and our team's successful last degree expedition to the North Pole. We skied in average temperatures of minus 30 and the sun never set. Arriving home in May I pretty much drove straight to sea cliff climbing at Swanage (Hi mum! Bye mum!), had a bit of an accident descending into a route using a fixed rope and ended up in A&E with a very painful foot!
Days later I was back the airport on a flight to Toulouse for some hot rock in the Pyrenees with a climbing buddy, Rich. We were met at the other side by Rich's friend's Adam and Dawn and spent a great week driving around France visiting various crags, getting tanned and climbing pristine rock with the sun on our backs. I managed to onsight a 6a line and went home very chuffed considering that my foot was still swollen and didn't really move much! Thanks Adam and Dawn for hosting us :)
By June England had some hot rock of its own and some great weekends were spent down in Devon at Baggy Point on the 40m slabs that jutted out of the Atlantic ocean. A fun afternoon was spent with fellow Karrimor athlete David Pickford on the Promentory Slab getting shots for our sponsors. Nights were spent sleeping in caves at Hedbury, long evenings messing about on the boulders at Froggatt, days swimming in the River Test, some speeding across the Solent on a RIB and weekends bivvying on the summit of Mt Snowdon.
In between weekends of climbing work was super busy- i've been hot footing it between Leeds, Sheffield, Harrogate, Newcastle, Wiltshire, London- the list goes on. One minute it's speaking at a corporate event in the city with spectacular views overlooking the London skyline, the next i'm kicking off my heels in the car and heading straight off for a weekend of sleeping in a tent. Sofa surfing and hotel rooms have become the norm and i've been lucky enough to meet some sporting legends such as Peter Shilton, Tim Henman and Graham Bell, who are also supported by Sports Direct, along the way.
Once July was out my work diary for August was a massive blank, with 4 weeks to play with this was quickly filled with trips abroad.
First up- some Alpine climbing for Trek & Mountain magazine. Accompanied by editor Chris Kempster i packed my rucsac and headed to Chamonix, where we firstly met with BMG Chris Ensoll and bagged a 4000m peak (the Weismeiss in Saas, Switzerland). I somehow managed an AD route called the Dri Hornli traverse with a raging hangover after the Les Houche pub quiz with the lovely Emma Jack, who was a great friend when we climbed an 8000m peak together back in 2009. We attempted Mont Blanc with IFMGA guide Tim Connerley but were twarted by the weather and only got as far as the Gouter hut- third time lucky next year i hope... check out Trek & Mountain magazine for the full details of that very sketchy 24 hours on the Blanc!
Back from the Alps and i was pretty much straight back to the aiport for a trip to Norway, again for Trek and Mountain Magazine. We spent 4 days being shown around the Fjords by the lovely Hanne- we trekked up a mountain, ate lots of good food and got to visit a UNESCO world heritage site. All i can say is: Visit Norway! It's an incredible place.
Finally, 48 hours after getting off a plane from Alesund i was back at T4 pushing a huge kit bag through departures on my way to Africa- Tanzania to be precise, to attempt Kilimanjaro with a team raising money for the charity Cash 4 Kids through Radio Wave 105.
We trekked the Lomosho Glades route and were blessed with great weather. Summit day went smoothly and 9 out of 11 reached the sign on the edge of the huge crater which marked the summit. I'm psyched to be leading two teams out there next year on the same route, but very much missing the people i've spent the last 10 days eating, sleeping and experiencing such a beautiful place with, aawww!
Back from the mountain that day, a few of us summoned the energy to visit the infamous night club, la Liga, in Moshi. We partied until gone 2am, taxied back to hotel, woke the rest of our team and went straight to the aiport- no sleep! An internal flight, a 4 hour stop over in Nairobi and finally a last 8 hour flight to heathrow and we were home and straight out for drinks with the Reading Climbing Centre team (still no sleep). A big thanks to Camps International for supporting my place on the trip, and to our fantastic team of guides, cooks and porters lead by Kassim. Visit www.rjseven.com for more info on climbing Kili :)
And that leads me to now- sitting on my bed, uploading a summer's worth of photos onto my computer and remembering some great moments but also planning some new ones for the winter. I'm hoping upon hope to get out to the Himalayas in November to attempt a peak just shy of 7000m, but for now its back to work with a very busy September of talks at schools and businesses across the country, including a 3 peaks challenge at the end of the month with Artillery, whom i gave a talk for in the city a few months ago and have gotten a bug for climbing of their own- can't wait for what should be a fantastic weekend!
Will keep this updated on whether i make it out to the Himalaya. If you'd like to catch me at an event in the next few weeks i'm speaking at the Night of Adventure in Bristol in October, which raises money for a great charity- Hope and Homes for children. Check their website for tickets :)
thanks for reading... B