Planning and Supporting

So for the last few days I have mainly been pinned down to my computer doing research for my trip around this great world. In essence I am trying to do as much of the ground work as possible so I can throw a few extra words at various articles based on contact with the places I am going and as a template for the videos I want to make as I go round the world.

Really quite exciting to get to the stage where you are essentially looking at when and where you are going to be where and doing what give or take a day or two!

I was also out yesterday watching the Snowdon Marathon, it was the first time I have been around the event since running it a few year ago. It wasn’t that I avoided it, just that I was working most of those weekends. This year a few of my friends entered, which for anyone would be tough, as the Snowdon Marathon is meant to be the hardest in the UK.

Yet these people I know who entered it for the first time were mothers to at least two children, held down a job and probably do most of the housework. In between juggling those major life commitments they still found time to get out running, and not just a few miles here and there, a full marathon training program. Where the last training runs are 22 miles or about 4 hours or more.

As well as these superhuman mums, three of which I know who have destroyed my Personal Best for the course, there were several male friends who have all beat my PB and set their own in the process. I am in awe and humbled by of you all.

As I watched I felt pangs of jealously and was almost as tearful as some of them as I remembered what it meant to me to achieve the ambition of a lifetime. As a marathon isn’t a fun run you enter on a whim, it turns into a relationship with yourself and your body. You bring to it a whole backstory and in running it you hold a mirror up to yourself and see the good, bad and ugly. What starts of as a ‘race’ or ‘challenge’ rapidly becomes much more of a ‘life experience’.

What my friends reminded me was that through the pain, training and dedication there is a journey that whilst only 26.2 miles in reality, is a much longer one for the soul.

Whilst I think I am going to be out of the country for next years event, I think I will try and find marathon I will be back for. All part of my celebration of life as reach 40. The training will be hard especially when I am away, but I figure that those long runs will be a great way to explore foreign lands and figure as part of a longer journey I am planning next year.

Picos De Europa: The Futures Bright

So last week I felt a little like a rock star, although I put that down to travelling in the far from luxurious Easyjet where you walk to the plane and get to come down the steps like the Beatles in their prime. As well as that I was also asked to deliver a climbing coaching course in the Picos Du Europa.

The course went well and both the clients and the company that employed me felt they got a great deal out of it. It was of course such a privilege to be invited over by The Mountain Guide School, who are running rock climbing courses in the Picos based alongside the local guides at guiatrek. Which if you haven’t been there climbing I suggest you reconsider it as a destination, although if you don’t believe me then wait till next year when I will be based there for nearly three months.

For those that maybe haven’t been following and even those that have, my plans for a round the world trip have come together really well. I leave for South America to work for 42 days in Chile and Argentina for The Mountain Training School, I have already met a few of my students and assistants.

I am hoping that during that course we can explore the local crags of Coyhaique again, as well as travel up to Bariloche, Esquel and fingers crossed Cochamo. The last place we never visited on the first trip there despite this being one of the places I have dreamt of going for year, I have heard that subsequent courses have made it there and even put up a new route.

Cochamo was first climbed on by Cripin Waddy and a few other British climbers. I hear they are trying to develop the place more and more, with easier shorter routes as well as the major wall.

As soon as I finish I fly back to Santiago and start a journey north through south america with a aim to climb Mont Llullaillaco, visit Potosi and Machu Pinchu. If there is time then a quick surf and an attempt at Chimborazo.

I then fly back to the UK, where I have ten days off before I head back out to Picos Du Europa for a 21 day intro to rock climbing course again for the Mountain Training School. I then have a month and a half off when I am hoping to do a little tour of Europe and classic mountaineering and climbing routes before heading back to the Picos again for a 42 day climbing course finishing in July.

After that I do plan to return to the UK for some ‘time off’ and some more climbing. With the idea of heading to the USA to climb some more of their classic routes in sept/oct/november. In particular I want to climb the Devil’s Tower the route made famous in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

I then hope to finish the year off with some trekking in Nepal. The plan is to celebrate my 40th year in style, in what I hope to turn into a youtube series called “Round the World in 40 Climbs”. If you have read my book “Hanging By A Thread” then I plan to try and climb as many of the route in that book as possible, which should keep me busy for a year.

The great thing is with the work I have lined up, the royalties from my various book projects and the hope that I can sell a few articles from the stories of my travels as I go that I have essentially funded it so no matter what it is going ahead.

I have been busy putting a more definitive proposal together to try and get a little more support from equipment manufacturers, as I think a Vlog in the form of a youtube series of this trip could be totally different, if you have seen my recent videos on the History of North Wales Climbs then imagine that on a global scale and that is what I am aiming for.