Thursday, 25 December 2014

Reflecting on 2014

Ok, So everyone else have busy writing blog posts about their highlights of this year.  Facebook even do this photo thing as well, very good.   So I thought I would join the trend and write a blog looking back at 2014.  I have selected one highlight from each month.  I have included my partners for the routes.  There are obviously some regular folk, but I want to thank everyone else who I have been out with this year.  There are 2 people not mentioned below who I need to mention.  I think John Orr deserves a trophy for his effort on Beinn Eighe with me.  And Tess Fryer for keeping me alive despite me chucking a block the size of a football at her mid flight!

January – Sundance

Iain on Pitch 3
Me on Pitch 2
With Iain Small
A route that I had been psyched for a couple of years to do.  It was an absolute pleasure to climb.

February – The Citadel

Uisdean Following Pitch 4 I think?
With Uisdean Hawthorn
I had a few highlights on Beinn Eighe this month.  More can be read about that on a UK Climbing article.  However, The Citadel on the Shelterstone crag in the Cairngorms had been on my list for long enough.  I had tried it earlier in the year with Blair but we never got very far due to cruddy snow and unfrozen turf.  Then my ascent with Uisdean was the complete opposite.  Well frozen and consolidated.  The top pitch was similar to a typical VI, 5 icy pitch on Ben Nevis.  Steep consolidated neve which was brilliant to romp up!

March – L’Escarmala

 Me near the top (Johannes Fiedler)
With Gaz Marshall
I did this on the last day of my week at Siurana.  I managed it 2nd go, first red point…. whatever you want to call it.  This weeks sport climbing set me up well for the rest of the year.

April – Old El Pastits

Me After it...feeling wasted
With Uisdean Hawthorn
Regular followers of my Flickr site will know that I have tried this route a few times.  I usually have struggled with the savage finger locks at the bottom.  But this time I managed to succeed. 

May – Death Wolf

Iain enjoying the spring sunshine.
 Me on the steep pitch 2. 
                                                                                                                                                                    With Iain Small
Wild is all I can say about this!  It is no pushover.

June – The Heart of Beyond

Me somewhere high on the route

The view during the walk back to the car.

With Gaz Marshall
Again everyone know’s about my second visit to Carnmore.  But climbing The Heart of Beyond in a way was more significant for me.  Onsighting a route of this grade for the first time.  

July – Trajans Colum

Iain on pitch 2. 
Me on pitch 3

With Iain Small
I tried this with Tony last year and couldn’t commit to the reach into the boot flake.  This time conditions this time around were better: Cooler and hydrated, I managed the move.  Brilliant piece of climbing.  

August – Westgrat of the Salbit

Tony posing.  The 'Scot Machine'. 
Me on the pillar
With Guy Steven and Tony Stone
After getting washed out from Chamonix to the Verdon, we ventured to Switzerland for some mountaineering.  I guess this was my first time doing anything proper in the mountains of an alpine nature and all that.  We did the West Grat on Salbutschijen.  Moving in a seamless manner from start to finish, we completed it in 7 hours. What an experience!

September – I don’t Know…..there was a lot!  Dalriada?

Me on Dalriada
With Iain Small
Dalriada was pretty special.  An iconic line at a new crag for me.

October  - Pallet Knife

With Lawrence Hughes
First day bouldering at Torridon for me this year.  I somehow managed to despatch Pallet Knife in a session.  Conditions were good though so maybe that was cheating?!

November – Matterhorn

The Horn

3 punters on top at 3.30am
With Guy Steven and Tony Stone
Moving together up the Schmit Route for 6 hours in the dark.  I really enjoyed the journey of just moving continuously.  Some people have asked what the point was.  Were you not disappointed not to see anything?  No.  I’m glad as it would have been a ballache seeing how far we had to go.  I saw the lights of Zerrmatt from the top.  That was good enough for me.

December – No Blue Skies

Guy on pitch 1
I’ve been out bouldering at Tom Riach a few times, a day at Am Fasgadh and a few days in the hills, running, climbing and carrying bags ;-).  But No Blue Skies was ace. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

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