Where to begin……..

I’ve been wondering about writing my first blog of the year for a few months now but I’ve often wondered where to start and what to write.

Being blunt the end of last year was not a good time for me, I went through some personal tough times and didn’t really climb much apart from a couple of days in Morocco whilst on a trip with Mountain Hardwear. I managed to surprise myself by flashing a 7c+ whilst climbing with Tim showing that some element of my climbing was still there. It was difficult to accept that last year was a bit of a step backwards but I hope I can push forwards again this year, sometimes things don’t always work out the way you plan them.

Whilst my psych for climbing was low I did my Mountain Leader qualification through Phill George (for anyone doing any qualifications along these lines I can’t recommend him enough. I had a great time and learnt so much from him, Mick Jones and Sam Leary). I spent many windy days out on the mountain and committed to going out at night to navigate with Ollie Cain, it felt good to be productive in another way.

So this year came and I was still finding it tough to get motivated to climb until Alex and I started talking about a 2 week bouldering trip. Bouldering isn’t my forte but I was psyched to try and get stronger so we set each other training programmes and decided to enter the CWIf comp.

I had a lot of fun at CWIF climbing with Tanya who climbed amazingly well. I also surprised myself by coming 7th in my first competition in a long time. I held my own but still felt like there was room for improvement.

Unfortunately 2 weeks before we went away there was an extremely sad event for Alex that came as a complete shock. Neither of us was sure as to what was happening or whether we would still go away but in the end we managed to get to Switzerland for 11 days of climbing.

The weekend before I headed to Pembroke for some trad fun climbing with a group of friends. I climbed with a mate called Dougie on this very windy trip (we were pretty surprised at how quiet it was for a bank holiday) I will not recount the whole trip but the first day was definitely an adventure of the wet variety! I have learnt the valuable lesson never to The Rob Greenwood about sea cliff tides and karma for laughing at Ollie Cain as the tide was coming in came back to bite me when we abseiled back in with Rob and Duncan only to get soaked by spring tide waves on belay duty – plus the wimpy side of me got a bit scared!

Team wrap up warm with Dougie, Ollie and Helena
Team wrap up warm with Dougie, Ollie and Helena

Highlights of Pembroke included:

Butcher E3 5c                            Get Some in E5 6a

The Fascist and Me E4 6a

John Wayne E5 6a

Finally it was Swizzy time – yeah baby! I was so excited about heading out and looking through the guidebooks on a daily basis for the best problems in a very geeky way.

We climbed at Cresciano on the first day but it was so hot and I lost a bit of skin, the higlight of the day was a 7a traverse that was cool. We did want to have a look at le boule but it was in the sunshine for the best part of the day!

After meeting up with Ben West and his wife Heather in the evening we decided to head to Chrionico but the next day it rained heavily. We were itching to climb and the next day was overcast with light showers but we managed to get out  🙂

I really loved climbing at Chironico and Magic Wood even though problems were wet at Magic from snow melt. I am psyched to go back which is a first for me when it comes to bouldering! I was pleased to tick some powerful problems and frustrated to come so close on others in particular Jack the Chipper (7c) at Magic Wood where I slipped off the top. I was pleased to come away a bit stronger though I would have liked to do better, still that’s all part of the game.

I was also very proud to watch Alex smash in Never Ending Story Part 2 (8a) a problem he has wanted to do for ages and came very close to last time .

I also learnt that I can survive more than two days without a shower even if I did get a bit narky towards the end plus I did brave washing my hair under the cold river water!

The tables are turning for the next trip in August when we head to Ceuse for some roped climbing – psyched!!

Highlights of this trip included:

Powerstrips 7c

Autopilot 7a+/b

Slooper Attack 6c+/7a

Chads Bulge 7a

Autopilot 7a+/b - Alex Haslehurst
Autopilot 7a+/b – Alex Haslehurst
Autopilot 7a+/b - Alex Haslehurst
Autopilot 7a+/b – Alex Haslehurst
Autopilot 7a+/b - Alex Haslehurst
Autopilot 7a+/b – Alex Haslehurst
Autopilot 7a+/b - Alex Haslehurst
Autopilot 7a+/b – Alex Haslehurst
Brushing sweaty holds on Le Pilier 8a - Alex Haslehurst
Brushing sweaty holds on Le Pilier 8a – Alex Haslehurst
Trying Le Pilier 8a - Alex Haslehurst
Trying Le Pilier 8a – Alex Haslehurst
Sore skin from hot humid attempts - Alex Haslehurst
Sore skin from hot humid attempts – Alex Haslehurst
Powerstrips 7c - Alex Haslehurst
Powerstrips 7c – Alex Haslehurst
Powerstrips 7c - Alex Haslehurst
Powerstrips 7c – Alex Haslehurst
Powerstrips 7c - Alex Haslehurst
Powerstrips 7c – Alex Haslehurst
Close but no cigar on Jack the Chipper 7c - Alex Haslehurst
Close but no cigar on Jack the Chipper 7c – Alex Haslehurst
Close but no cigar on Jack the Chipper 7c - Alex Haslehurst
Close but no cigar on Jack the Chipper 7c – Alex Haslehurst
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