"Expert Village" an oxymoron???

Well I got sent this video by a friend, it is a reasonably funny video on climbing safety from “Expert Village” or as I now know it this is how my mate dave does it dot com, Dumb Yank Village or expert idiots. I do like that after telling us never to trust one anchor on its own he is happily leaning back on one bolt, not that i would ever hang of a single bolt. As for the total mish-mash of extenders it looks about as textbook a set up as I have never seen. I also hate cordlette’s I am afraid, never needed one never wanted one, although I must confess to having a 16ft sling.

I did see one ‘how to belay video’ that was down right dangerous on the site, the saving glory is at least he didn’t use the American death triangle to rig it!

Thanks to Mr Davis for emailing me the link.

Gear Review: Ice Breaker 200 & Marmot Hat

Gear Review: Ice Breaker 200

If you need a thermal top then forget smelly helly’s the Ice breaker is the way forward, made of the finest marino wool, it comes with an eye splitting price tag (£50), but is worth ever penny, as it seems to be able to last a few days before the stench of body odour seeps through. Of course it is only a simple long sleeve t-shirt, but what a shirt.

My last ice breaker is thread bear from two years of near constant use, but that is a testement to their build. In the two years since my last purchase the material seems to have improved, and feels softer on the skin, not that the last on was itchy, this one just seems nicer.

I personally wouldn’t want to be on the hill without my ice breaker 200, as they are seriously comfortable, warm and far less smelly than the more usual synthetic designs of Helly Hansen’s. My verdict is whilst pricey, a worthy if not essential investment.

Gear review: Marmot Hat

I can’t remember the number of hats I have gone through this year, I lost the last Patagonia one months ago. I have been through a few that my mum sent up. So I decided to spend some money on a new hat ready for the winter winds that seem to stab at my ears, another extremity that seems to feel the cold.

So I went for a design similar to Tibetian hats that cover the ears, however this is supplemented by a nice fleece lining. Now whilst I might look like a total gimp in it. My head and ears are toastie warm.

Gear Review: Terra Nova Sticky Windy Gloves

We are only as strong as our weakest link, for me that is my hands. Often out on the hill I suffer from terribly cold hands. The only solution seems to be windstopper gloves, which I tend to use in all but the sternest of winter conditions, my last pair have simple fallen apart, so shopping for a new pair is quite hard, as I have reasonable wide hands but short fingers. These gloves fit me well and the sticky grip seems like when I have a ice axe in hand will offer all the grip that I need.

The fit also means that I will be able to do all but the hardest scrambles in them, this will be a true test of their build as scrambling has a tendency to tear gloves to shreds. However these seem reasonably well put together, and should last well under the barrage of abuse that I put them through.

For Hire: One freelance Instructor

Well having had to phone the centre back a few times about my job interview, it turned out that the person who was supposed to phone me didn’t get round to it before they went on holiday for a week. However I was informed by his colleague that despite the great work that I do as an instructor for them there is no position in their team for me. Other than a possible gentleman’s agreement of 50 days work a year, a photo on their instructors board and some free equipment.

Apparently I need to get a winter ML so I can direct summer ML course, however I go into the winter season with no money, having not got any work during December and January, so rather than head up to Scotland I have to work to put a roof over my head and food on my table. Catch 22!

How does it make me feel? Pretty shitty to be honest with you. I have committed a lot of time and effort over the years to working with them, and trying to do the best work I can. I have gone out of my way at my own expense to try and develop myself as a climbing coach, my MSc is a big part of that, unfortunately it is not enough. So I am left in pretty much the same position I have been in for several years. Seemingly stalling on the start line of a proper career.

So basically I am thinking of trying to branch out and develop work beyond the centre that has been my major employer for the last five years. I feel really sad about it, but with the feeling of disappointment so raw I really don’t know what else to do. So if you need a MIA either personally or as a business then I know one who has a wealth of experience on a variety of climbing, mountaineering, walking and NGB award courses who feels that he needs to move on in life, and look beyond his the safety blanket of what has been the normal for years, and branch out towards new challenges.

I have written a book on climbing, co-authored a couple of guidebooks, and studied coaching (physiology, psychology, effective coaching) to a masters level. Any ideas of where I should look, how to advertise my services or possible employers please add comments.

A New Goal

Well, having complete the marathon, I need a new goal, I decided a while back that the goal of climbing a french 8a sport route was a suitably achievable and realistic goal for me over the next year. Although the real training isn’t going to start until after I finish my thesis. However, not wishing to rest on my laurels, and despite not being able to walk, or bend my right leg that well I went to the wall to attempt to do some easy routes to stretch my body out.

I illicited several laughs as I hobbled like a arthritic pensioner to the wall, and then climbed up and reversed down some easy problems, before hobbling back. I only lasted 30 minutes and did a handful of problems but it is all training. I will try and keep you all informed with my progress towards the 8th grade!

I am still sore, crippled even, and today I have to babysit a 2 1/2 year old, so will be sore and knackered after being run about by a youth. I am sure I will suffer death by teletubbies, gigglebiz, balamory and Thomas the Tank engine! Happy days.

Job Done: Marathon Completed

Well it was hard, as you’d expect. However my knee held together till the final descent and I managed to run the entire course which other than my main goal of completing it was my next goal. I had aimed for 4.30, but according to the internet my course time was 4 hours 12 minutes, so I will dine out on that amazing achievement for some time.

Of course the fundraising was a major part of my reasons for running, and as a non runner I think I managed to get a lot of people behind me, as it looks like with gift aid I have already made about £1000 online, plus the £210 from the slideshow, so I have truly smashed Bear Grylls £290 online for his very expensive Antarctic Expedition.

Thanks must go to all the people would donated plus the team of people that supported me around the course. In particular Rich Beech, who cycled along giving fluids and gels, plus the host of friendly faces that made the effort to cheer me on. There was nearly 20 people in the village who spurred me on to make a fast finish, and they are as responsible for my time as I am.

A very good friend sent me an email the day before, telling me of the emotional journey he had, as well as a quote that i will share with you. I have to say that having so many people cheer me in the village, my home nearly brought me to tears on the final loop. My main concern was not to be blubbing as I crossed the finish line. Anyway the quote was from Mohammed Ali.

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses… behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights”

Get In!

T minus 2 hours

Well, I am up fed and have more lubricant spread over my body than the last time I was engaged in some baby oil fun! The nerves are building but soon it will be testing time. I have friends who are meeting around the course as well as a team of cheerleader in Llanberis to hopefully greet me home in around four and a half hours!

Anyway i need to apply some vaseline to some personal area so best go!

Marathon Tomorrow

Well for some of you read this I will have already have started or hopefully finished my marathon challenge, due to the wonders of modern technology you can see also as soon as I do whether I have finished. If you visit this link and find the Snowdon Marathon and enter my race number 1162, you should be able to find my finish time. Hopefully around 4 and half hours (finger crossed).

I know one of UKC’s best runner Iain Ridgeway is running as well as a few others, so might be worth checking his time out, as he was returning his first local home medal when I registered this evening, I won’t be surprised if he picks it up again!

Anyway thanks for all the messages wishing me well on my challenge, please do try and support me and my charity Llanberis Moutnain rescue team by clicking here.

Oh and in anticipation, anyone know a good physio?

BUMS Night and final marathon prep

Well last night went well, despite having only a few hours to remember what I was going to talk about. The turn out was awesome something like 60+ would be my guess, so hopefully we managed to raise a fair bit of money for mountain rescue. I left before John Radcliffes talk which I saw a couple of years back at LLAMFF. The feedback I got during the burgers and fries break betwen me and Raddy, was awesome, hopefully I inspired a few of them to just get out there and climb.

I have to spend the rest of today making final preparation for the marathon, so some ibuprofen, vasaline and zinc oxide tape are the order of the day. As well as the mental side of trying to relax and feed myself as much as possible. The nerves are starting to set in, so I will have to head into bangor to try and relax whilst suffering death by SPSS!



Slideshow Tonight at the Greek Upper Bangor

I agreed to do a warm up stint for John Radcliffe at thew Greek Taverna a few weeks ago, but only remember today, as no one really got back to me to confirm they had booked the venue etc….

SO the deal is I am going to rant on about my trip to America for about forty minutes, The show starts at 7.30 pm, and as far as I am aware will be followed by John Radcliffe talking about his search for Dom Whillian’s that takes him to the back of beyond, left at the lights and then past the arse-end of nowhere to where a trail leads him to a magical valley where a drug induced dream makes him think he is in the big wall utopia of Krygestan, or some other K…..Stan with big Don.

If your lucky he will drink too much and get naked!