Saturday 7 July 2012

Happy Days. Commercial climbing. Houseman and Bullock. A quick spin on my bike.

Yesterday should have been a day out guiding North East Buttress on Ben Nevis but poor Wendy was feeling too poorly in the morning. Fortunately I knew that the 2 Jamies were planning an Ardnamurchan hit so I tagged along. We had a hot, sunny, humid day on the gabbro. I soloed Greta Gabbro to warm up, which the guys then led and seconded, and then together we climbed Claude, Volcane, Pyroclast, Ringmaster (gabbro jamming- ouch) and Ring of Fire. 8 pitches of perfect rock.

Ardnamurchan with the Jamies from Alan Halewood on Vimeo.
 Ducking under the overhang on Claude VS 5a
Pic courtesy of Jamie Hageman. If you haven't seen his mountain artwork do check out his website- stunning stuff.
 Jamie B on the crux of Greta Gabbro VS 4c (?)
Now this should be Saturnia Pavonia if the warts were yellow but they didn't seem to be? Any entomologists out there? 
 Jamie H seconding pitch 1 of Volcane VS 4b,4c
 Jamie B on Pyroclast (S 4b)
 Another shot of Pyroclast
Jamie B on the excellent hand traverse on Ring of Fire HVS 5a

I came home and read this interesting piece on the changing image of climbing in The Economist. Like many climbers above a certain age I'm a little uneasy with the mainstream world embracing climbing and the large scale commercialism that comes with this. I don't feel this is ironic even though I  make my living at climbing. I love it for the freedom, the independence of action and self reliance I associate with it. On balance though I don't really feel that competition and large sponsors for 'athletes' will change my climbing. And the development of climbing as a whole and an injection of capital will undoubtedly allow the next generation to push themselves and standards further- which always inspires me.
...and maybe someone will invent a pair of gloves that are waterproof enough for Scottish winter, tough enough to last me more than a season and not feel like I'm wearing a steel gauntlet. Probably not in my lifetime though!

And to balance any rampant commercialism we still have charters like Andy Houseman and Nick Bullock. 'Real climbers' doing real climbs. More great pics of the Slovak Direct on Houseman's blog here and some thoughts from Nick on his forthcoming book:

Nick Bullock talks about Echoes from Vertebrate Publishing on Vimeo.

This morning my son Sandy watched Blue Peter presenters learning to dive. This afternoon, with no prompting from us he stood straight at the side of the pool, put his hands out at the end of straight arms and dove in. We've never even talked about diving. Never cease to be amazed at how children are a blank canvas waiting to be filled. Afterwards I had a very pleasant ride home from Kinlochleven over the West Hihland Way on my bike. Way too long since I had a good blast off road...

Quick ride on the WHW from Alan Halewood on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Alastair MacLean said...

Possibly an emperor moth caterpillar ?