So over the past couple of months people have come and gone and it’s all been just a little bit stressful to say the least. It has been said that my approach is somewhat unorthodox in finding team members; I would say there is nothing orthodox about this expedition!
When people mention this particular aspect my thoughts often stray… Shakleton advertised in the paper when looking for an expedition team with no guarantee of success or even coming back alive. This was in a time when the uncertainties far outweighed anything else, it would appear that now with knowledge being far more accessible these uncertainties are reduced but the challenge is still substantial. We are going to Fox Jaw to establish new routes on big walls, this is not something to be approached with complacency. We have researched and planned meticulously and able to chat face to face with team members who are abroad or living in a different city. Mallory faced challenges which are, in our time almost incomprehensible; yet he continued on his quest with criticism from peers and support from others; this I can relate to.
So our team did meet up the weekend after Easter minus Pat Ingram who was off-shore working, with Sion now back at his job abroad we are once again all dispersed to our little corners of the world. Robert and I see each other regularly, always with more questions for each other and even more things to talk about. I will say this about the team, though we have not all met each other at the same time in the same place there is a common drive among us all and the emails flying around daily is a constant reminder of why we have all been brought together. To feed our hungry climbing appetites… seriously all these guys talk about is food!
Joking aside a team that communicates so well and is inclusive is an amazing feeling to be part of and we are all so psyched right now with only 8 weeks till depature… yikes! Anyway with poor weather we climbed at EICA for the day and had a great time climbing and getting to know each as a team. Simon not letting me take was the extra push I needed that afternoon, I sent the route 🙂 along with self pep talk overheard by Sion (admit it I’m not the only climber to talk to myself on a route).
It’s the little things that bond a team to create a lifetime of friendships through memories and experiences which are shared. Achievements no matter how big or small are crucial; when it comes down to the 17th pitch and still 3 more to go and then getting back down safely when you are exhausted; it’s your team mates, your friends who are there by your side…
I always tell myself I’ll keep up-to-date with my blogs but life it would seem just keeps getting faster and faster… do you ever get that feeling? I know I and others say it all the time and we keep saying it year after year.
A couple of weeks ago, well actually three now I decided it was time slow down the pace just a little and appreciate… life! I met up with team mate for Greenland, Pat Ingram and spent Tuesday afternoon climbing at Dunkeld, the weather was perfect with only a couple of other people at the crag. A chilled afternoon starting with a cup of tea in what has now been dubbed as ‘Greenland training headquarters’ 🙂 for the next few weeks before our departure. Climbing until the light dimmed at 8 pm we headed to the van for some well earned dinner and chat.
A wild camp near by with a hooting owl in the forest to keep me company was a welcome change to the sound of traffic and people coming home late from nights out. The next morning a cup tea at my tent door to welcome a new day, followed by a breakfast and we were ready to hit the crag once again. Some interesting climbing and on the second day and plenty of learning for me with every new situation I encounter. It feels good to be part of a strong team with climbers who fully understand what Wall to Wall is about. Having the same goal in sight that we are all working towards; new routing is exciting and scary both at the same time. There is no way of knowing what we will find, sure we have researched and read about Fox Jaw Cirque and taken a look at photos along with previous reports but with so much to go at there it is and enchanting yet daunting challenge for us all; one which we will undoubtably relish.
So another day of climbing done and it was home for a night before heading south to The Lake District. I am constantly drawn back here like a magnetic pull that I have no explanation for. I first visited many years ago before my son was born and have always loved the atmosphere, while the Scottish Highlands provide wonderment; The Lakes are more of a comfort feeling that wraps around you like your favourite blanket.
A sunset walk up to a wild camp was just what I was looking for. Once the tent pitched it was time to listen to the wind for a while before drifting off into a slumber. I woke the next morning to the most serene sunrise as it enveloped my tent on top of the hill.
After a little breakfast I retreated back to my car and offloaded my pack before a casual wonder around Grasmere. A night at the campsite to refresh with a hot shower and another good nights sleep. I decided to head up to Skiddaw for a hike on Easter Sunday to stretch the legs once again and work on the fitness in preparation for Greenland; a bit blustery to say the least.
Back home for a comfy bed feeling refreshed and ready for the sprint finish of assignments and deadlines at uni. A sublime week split between my adopted home that is Scotland and a place that brings great comfort The Lakes. I am grateful and fortuitous for the life that I live.