Friday, May 6, 2011


I'm currently in Alaska. We've just finished the brain-numbing tasks of food shopping for a month of food appropriate for life at 4000 metres, and then de-packaging everything then re-packaging everything in carefully calculated portions of zip-lock bags. All off the back of a sleepless 26 hours (the jet-lag to AK is horrific!).
       My credit card has been having a stressful time, with the worst to come - paying for our ski-plane drop off! Jon and Matt left last night and are probably carrying loads to the bottom of their route on the Kahiltna glacier as i type ( ). Other friends are arriving in Anchorage as we speak and we will probably all cross paths in Talkeetna tonight or tomorow.
        So next step: drive north to Talkeetna, pack our sledges and kit, have a drunken night in the Fairview then meet our pilot and get dropped off in the range sometime tomorrow!
       I'll hopefully have some interesting stories and good photos to post in a few weeks time.
Ciao for now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Getting ready for AK

I've just returned to my parent's home in St.Bees, Cumbria. It's the usual routine that i follow in the final few days leading up to a big trip, and one i'm starting to get down to a fine art.
          Its goes something like this; a confused day in Cham trying to figure out what gear i need where for when, between AK, England for summer, England for winter, and what i can leave in Cham, all depending on where i'll be when over the next year, which i don't ever actually know. This is followed by a heavily laden Easyjet flight to either Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool or Newcastle and then a train journey that usually atleast doubles the time of the flight (oh the joys of transport to West Cumbria!). A couple days or more are then spent at home in St.Bees "packing", which usually suffers greatly from getting drunk with old friends and taking advantage of a fully stocked kitchen! A quick Needlesports run is usually required and of course a couple of doses of St.Bees bouldering. Then its on the train to London, a sweaty tube ride to meet Jon in Fulham, a day re-packing followed by a long long flight.
         I'm gonna be heading off to London tomorow and am just about sorted. It crazy what a difference it makes going back to a place you've been before. The logistics are so easy and there is minimal stress compared to the first time.
          I've now shrugged off the negative thoughts of leaving behind sunny summery Europe, the smell of chalk, pain of rock shoes, the feel of warm rock underneath my finger-tips and barbeques. And in its place i've been getting excited about cold nights willing for the minutes to pass, climbing big routes with a couple litres of water and a duvet jacket, and that feeling of biceps cramping with a thousand metres still to climb.....
    Hmmmmm am i making some bad life decisions?????.......
    Seriously though, i'm now super motivated to get stuck in on Denali snd start the drawn-out process of acclimatisation before we can get to work on our main goals.
      Some vaguely related photos:

Colin and Jon clipping bolts in the sun a few days ago.

The cliffs at St.Bees must be the only place in England nowadays where you can go and climb three 5 star new routes in an evening. This photo shows an evening doing just that. This was last year but the photo illustrates just how cool a place it is.

ALASKA! Mine and Jon's very cold feet, sitting on a small ledge three-quarters of the way up "The Moonflower" on Mount Hunter. We're melting snow, its about -15 and we have no sleeping bags!!