Monday, February 18, 2013


The first 5 weeks of 2013 were for me a good mix of hot and cold, work and play. After arriving in Chamonix in time to spend new year dancing to the early hours in the Roue de Moulin, i started 15 days of back to back guides courses between France and Switzerland. All were well run, and required some concentration of the sort i haven't had to use since.... well i was about to say school, but i don't think i ever did much at school, so maybe EVER.

So after 3 days being beasted on the ski's by Swiss ski-wad Alex Langeutin in Leysin, 5 days digging snow profiles and studying them in the classroom with Per As and Steve Jones in La Grave, and several other days in Chamonix and Arolla covering stuff in-between, it was about time i went climbing rather than talking about how potentially dangerous it is.
     I had some plans in the Mountains, but the weather wasn't playing ball, then i had some plans on the ice with my friend Michi, but the temps weren't playing ball either, so i went for my plan C (which was actually my plan A, i'm just too weak to admit it...) and go hook up with some friends who were being sensible and spending their winter climbing steep limestone in the sport climbing mecca that is Catalunya, in northern Spain.

Here's some pictures

Before the courses started i did manage a route with Dougal and Jon. "Encore une Fois" on the Argentiere Rive Droite, still awaits an entirely free ascent?? Myself on the first pitch.

Swedish guide-trainer Per As takes some measurements.

Snow profile record.

Skiing like a Giraffe with broken legs, through breakable crust on the Grande Envers.
Masriudoms - Amazing crag where we spent nearly 10 days.

Hazel cruising an 8a+.
Pete, Hazel, Howard and my awesome van.

Lamey on an 8a.

Howard crushing.
My plan for Catalunya was to get mileage, then  hopefully come April after more time on the woody i may scrape myself up some harder sport. I didn't really try anything hard, but managed a few 7c's all 2nd go, and onsited 7b, which bodes well considering its January! Psyched for a summer of rock.

After a very long - almost single push - drive back from Spain, i immediately started working again and will do until i next have to be down in the Alps in March. This is what 2013 is going to be like for me, lots of stints of guides scheme work with time inbetween spent here in Cumbria.

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