Archive for the ‘training’ Category

Aconcagua – 6th January 20102

neil On January - 24 - 2012Comments Off

6th Jan

Yesterday we made to 14km hike up to the first camp, the camps are confusing first you have camp 1 then 2 then base camp and then a further 3 camps high on Aconcagua itself. Amy way it was a long hike and very sunny. I did the usual Scottish thing and rolled up my trouser legs and burnt my calfs.

Eventually we made it to camp 1 but the mules carrying our tents and bags hadn’t arrived. Then the rain came on and it chucked it down. When the tents arrived we had to put them up in the rain. When we were finished everything was soaked, our expedition bags were clearly built for expeditions in better conditions. So we had a very wet night everything from our sleeping bags to our fleeces were soaked.The next day the rain had stopped we had our breakfast and got ready to leave. We took down our tent, everything was still soaking wet so we loaded our bags for the mules and I went to get some water to carry on the next part of the journey.

There was a small tap out side the hearders hut but there was nothing coming our, I said to one of them”water” he pointed at a barrel and said “drink only, no wash” I said ok and went over and took the lid off. I then filled my bottle. I noticed something in the water then I checked my bottle, I could clearly see what looked like tiny bugs floating in it. I waved at the man and then wandered off into the bushes putting the lid back on the barrel before going. I then poured out the water.(I don’t want anything growing in my stomach).
xxx L,D,F

Aconcagua – 5th January 2012

neil On January - 24 - 2012Comments Off

5th Jan

We arrived yesterday at our accommodation for the night , it could only be described as a columbian drug Barron’s house. It was huge in size and completely out of context to the surrounding area. Radek and I took a walk down onto the village about half a mile. We were accompanied by two stray dogs that had been lingering about the out side of the hotel. The village itself was very poor looking and our two dogs became three for a short bit. There were lots of stray dogs roaming around so we headed into the filling station to try to lose them. I remember watching a program on TV about how stray dogs are fine on there own but in packs they can become very aggressive, and with the threat of rabbies I wasn’t feeling that comfortable with them. So we headed back to the hotel (with no dogs!)
To day we have a short bus trip with the bags and equipment. We will meet the mules and load up the big bags then we have a 5 hour hike to the first camp. The hotel last night was at 2000 mtrs and our first camp will be at about 2900 mtrs. We no longer have any signal so I think these messages will be posted at the end.
L x D x F

Aconcagua – 4th January 2012

neil On January - 24 - 2012Comments Off

4th Jan

Mendoza, Argentina
Last night we met the rest of the group and all the guides. So we have me and Radek along with Harold, Peter and Reggina, we are the clients and we have Andreas the German guide and two local guides both of who’s names I can’t spell.

This morning we had obtain our permits to climb the mountain, we went about this by all being chaperoned down to some dodgy telephone exchange which we all were squeezed into, then the lady chased everyone else out, locked the door and then made us all cough up $700.00 each for a very small piece of paper. Then we all were lead down to what looked like an embassy building, made to hand over our $700.00 piece of paper c/w all the other paper work that we had filled in and our passports and told to come back in 10 min. After about half on hour I was summoned to the counter, instructed to read the mountain rules and then sign the permit. It was during this time that as I perused the rules that I picked up on the paragraph about the rubbish. It stated that you would be given a large bag with your own number on it and also some small bags for you to put the waste that you produce. So I asked “what rubbish will I be producing” the answer that I was given was “it’s for your s###. “ok” I replied. You know some times the obvious just doesn’t seem to register. So I’ll make sure and go before I head up to the first camp, and then try and hold it in for a fortnight!

The reason that each person has a unique number is so they can trace any rubbish back to you through your passport number, if you dump anything on the mountain you get fined $1000.00 and they don’t let you out the country unless you pay up!Now we are making the 3 hour bus trip to a small hotel that we will stay in tonight before heading for the mountains tomorrow, hopefully they will have service there so that I can post this today.

and relax …………………….

neil On January - 20 - 2012Comments Off

Climbing for a Cure Expedition

Boys are back to Base Camp (4000m) this afternoon (Thursday 19/1/12)

Both were completely exhausted physically and mentally but just delighted with their achievement.

After 12 hours sleep Neil has managed a beer and 2 cheeseburgers !! (Very posh Base Camp ??). From his account, this is more than he has eaten in total over the past 2 weeks.

Tomorrow (Friday) they make a 30km hike to the bottom of the mountain with all their gear. Followed by 3hr bus trip back to civilisation and a comfy bed on Saturday.

Roll on Monday …………………………​…….

Success …………………………..

neil On January - 20 - 2012Comments Off

Climbing for a Cure Expedition

They have done it !!!

1813hrs Wed 18th January Neil and Radek reach Summit of Mt Aconcagua !!

(Tired but not beaten)

Mont Blanc

neil On July - 28 - 2011Comments Off

We started off with an not so early start on Sunday, we got to the cable car at approx 10.30am, we hopped off the top and started the long walk to the Albert Premier Hut. It’s a two and a bit hour slog to the hut, walking at an easy pace, we blasted up there in just over one and a half hours. This season the snow was as far down as the cable car, it had been bad weather up until we arrived with large snow coverings up in the mountains. The Albert Premier hasn’t changed a bit; they treat you so bad, and then charge you to stay there.

I had prepared myself this year though, by the time that we reached the hut, I had consumed more than 4 litres of water, this is to combat altitude sickness, and you’re also supposed to climb 500 mtrs above where you intend to sleep, as they say climb high sleep low. So this was my intention, we ate our dinner at 6.30pm and after we were finished I said to Radek “I’m going to climb the ridge behind the hut” it was a great night, the sky was clear and there was no wind, so I headed up a reasonable scramble, I knew that I that the ridge wasn’t 500 mtrs, and I topped out at 250 or so mtrs, the clouds then came in less than a min, and I thought it was best to head back.

It was a mixed climb, the face was covered in snow with rocks jutting out of the snow, to be honest it was more technical than I had predicted, and if I had read it better before setting off I would have put on my crampons. About half way down, I started my way down a large sloped face, which was half covered in snow, as I placed my first foot onto the snow I slipped and slid down the face and off the end, in the panic I instinctively put my hands down, but as I slipped off the end into what I expected to be hard snow, my left hand went straight through, but as it did my thumb took the weight of my descending body on what must have been a rock below the Snow, bending it back until it gave way, letting the full weight of my body land on my elbow, onto what I presume was a sharp rock. I knew instantly that I had hurt my hand pretty badly, I lay in the snow for a min of so, the feeling of nausea hit me and I sat up, I watched my hand swell up like a balloon and felt the burning sensation in my Elbow grow, I sat there for a min thinking you idiot! I got up and as I did my phone rang, it was Radek, I had been gone now for over an hour and the visibility was poor, I answered it and said “I’m good” but the reception was poor and I couldn’t hear him.

As I made my way down, I run through the ideas of whether or not to mention it to Radek, I was assessing my hand all the way down, convincing myself that it would be fine and that it would sort itself in a day or two, I kept saying ” as long as it’s good for Mont Blanc at the end of the week” my elbow didn’t matter, but you need two hands to climb, I suppose that I was a little embarrassed to tell him, after all we had just arrived and I possibly had put our expedition at risk of not going any further.

However I did tell him all be it in a matter of fact kind of way, I played it down, but the truth is I couldn’t move my thumb very much, and I defiantly couldn’t use it for even the basic of tasks that I would need to perform over the next few days. My altitude sickness wasn’t too bad that night, the thing with the Albert Premier is that there are so many people crammed into the rooms that it gets really hot, so if you feel a little off it seems to be multiplied by tenfold. Anyway I made it through the night and we headed off at about 7 am, this in mountain time is late, the first to rise do so at 4am and head out as quickly as possible, so we we’re some of the last to leave the hut, when we arrived the night before we had bumped into Veit, he was leading a team of 5 clients, Veit is the German guide that we used last year, I have kept in touch with him, so it was good to see him again.

He was first to leave that morning, and had to break trail, no easy feat to do with new clients. We had planed our route before we even came to Chamonix, but after talking to Veit we decided to change our coarse and head straight for a 3520 mtr peak, our route for the day would take us some 8 miles, with an altitude gain of about 810 mtrs, all round a pretty tough day. By the time that we got to the base of the peak we could see that the summit was quite crowded, so after accessing the surrounding area we made the decision to ascend a peak off to the right, as no one was on it, it also had a ridge that followed over to the peak that everyone else was on, so we figured that we would climb the ridge and bag both summits before heading to the Trient Hut.

The first summit had no technical difficulty in it at all, the ridge on the other hand was a different kettle of fish, and it wasn’t till we were across that Radek said casually that Veit had said not to cross the ridge as it was quite dangerous. By this time the second summit was quite clear as most people had started heading back to their huts, so we got to the top, took some photos and then headed for the Trient Hut, Veit had told us that there was an abseil point at the bottom of the second peak that would take us straight down into the col, avoiding the long walk around that you would normally have to take, which eventually meets up with the broken in trail.

So we stripped off our glacier travel rope, and set up the abseil, when we did so and dropped the two parts of the rope down the face, we realised that our rope was about 10 feet or so short, we both decided that it would be better to try and climb down the last of the steep face than have to walk around, so I went first, to let you understand, the point we were trying to get to wasn’t the bottom, only the end of the vertical bit, the slope went on for about another 300 feet, the trick is not to shoot off the end of the rope when you eventually reach that point, but to stop just before this and kick your front points in and make a good purchase with your ice axe, this all went ok for me, and then I down climbed the last 10 feet, before jumping about 5 feet down onto what must have been an open crevasse on the face of the slope, Radek didn’t have such a graceful landing, he rappelled down till the end of the rope, disconnected from it and feed it down to me, he then moved over the face and made his way down to the level that I was standing at, from where he was, he thought that he would avoid the 5 foot jump, this didn’t work, as the crevasse was all the way along the face, only covered in snow, so he landed on his rear in a pile, all be it at least he never tumbled the 300 feet down into the col!

We arrived at the Trient hut at about 14.40, we were about the last to get there, the weather had been great, the sky had stayed clear and the sun shone all day, the sun on the glacier is very dangerous, not only does it hit you from above, it also comes from below, this catches most first timers out, as it did for me last year, burning the underside of my chin, ears and even my nose, but even with factor 25 on everything, I still looked like a tomato when we arrived at the hut. The Trient Hut is much nicer, the people treat you like you are a guest, and make you feel very welcome, our stay there was good, and we went to bed at 20.00, as we had to get up at 4.30am, as breakfast is served at either 4.00am or 5.00am and no later, our plan for the day was to catch a 3570 peak before descending all the way back to Chamonix, it worked out at about 8.5 miles, we know these figures, as we carried a GPS tracker with us which can plot your entire trip, except when we got to the base of the peak, we decided to leave our packs at the base, with the tracker in one of them.

When we eventually got back to Chamonix it was about 15.30, we could have been back about half an hour earlier if I could have read the bus time table properly. I had a bath then headed down to pub across the road from our hotel and started writing this, about an hour later Veit arrived on his push bike and joined me, with Radek arriving two minutes later, to cut a long story short and about ten drinks later we eventually left at 1.30am, now this was fine for Radek and me, but poor Veit had 5 clients to meet at 8.00 am the next morning, he also had to take them up to the first hut at the Gouter side, that is if he made it home on his bike first! We will find out when we meet him at the Gouter hut on Thursday!!!! Neil

Touching Base

neil On April - 29 - 2011Comments Off

Ive not been to good at keeping up to date with the blog! We have had one trip up to the Cairngorms that I haven’t spoke of, it was over a month ago that we last headed up there, we did the normal 5am start and kept our time table as usual arriving in Aviemore at approx 7am. We had not best of journeys as the snow had fallen heavily during the night, when we got to Aviemore there was approx 5 inches lying on the ground. We headed up to the car park of Cairngorms but we were halted at the snow gate, we were told that the road was closed and they were trying to clear it, but they were unsure if they would be opening the centre.

Apparently the wind during the night had been gusting over 100kmph, and still was very strong, by the time the blower got to the top the road had filled in behind it.
We waited until 9.00am, and then made the decision to drive down to Kinlochleven and book in for a two hour session at the “Ice factor” indoor ice climbing wall.
We had no luck that day as the road from Aviemore to Fort William was blocked with a stuck lorry, we had to back track approx 10 miles, before tracking a old single track road through the back country. Again that didn’t work that well as we came across about 10 young guys standing around a people carrier nose first in the fence. They had been traveling in two cars and the second one was blocking the road. So we got the winch out and dragged them out, drove up over the bank to get in front of them and left them to it. (we met them later that day back in Aviemore, they were on a stag party).

We got to the Ice factor and did our 2hour stint, had some lunch and then headed the long journey back home, it was a long day! So the winter season is finished, we’ve been into the indoor climbing wall a couple of times, but really we are just training in the gym, for me twice a day 4-5 times a week. Montblanc is booked for the end of July, so until then we will be back on the cliffs and in the Gym.

Check out the new photos from our recent weekend expedition to the Cairngorms, some really tough climbing but great practice!
Training, Cairngorms, January 2011

Training Update

admin On July - 30 - 2010Comments Off

On a dark wet September night 2009 I donned my back pack with 17kg in it and headed out for my first training hike.

Living in the country and surrounded by hills I didn’t have far to hike to hit some extremely demanding climbs. It worked out to be a 3 mile round trip taking approximately 1 hour 10 minutes. Absolutely no question, this killed me.

I had no idea it was going to be so hard, bearing in mind the only mountain (hill) I had climbed (recently) was Bennachie, 27 years ago when I was 13 years old! How the hell will I ever climb to the top of Mount Everest?

I thought this through the duration of the hike and many more to follow. However, the injections and general unfair lifestyle that Darcey has to endure puts me into robo mode. It’s far easier to push through the pain barrier and to keep going when all I have to do is think of her situation.

So, now I’m carrying 40kg and climbing the side of the steepest hill I can find within easy driving distance from my home – 6 times up & 6 times down (obviously), 4 times a week and climbing sea cliffs once a week as well.

It still kills me, but onward and upward we go.

Our next big training bout before we head off to Mount Blanc is a 450 metre 11 pitch climb up the North East Buttress of Ben Nevis called the Long Climb.