Saturday, October 25, 2014

Big, bigger, and biggest!

The last few months have been pretty full on, bouncing from one continent to the next. Since my last blog post in May it's been a non-stop climbing schedule for me starting off with multi-pitch/alpine climbing in France and Switzerland to hardcore bouldering in South Africa, Deep Water Soloing in Exeter and finally Sport climbing in France.

Its been one amazing adventure to the next so instead of me writing about it all, here are a bunch of pictures that will hopefully tell the story much better than I will. Enjoy!

First stop, Samoens, France. (Multi-pitching)

The plan was to try a route called Bin Fizz as a warm up route to the main objective of the trip. Unfortunately we only managed to get up the first three pitches of this route before having to bail off and run back down to the car before the storm hit. Not a short approach!
South Face of the Fizz. Photo Calum Muskett.

Not a bad view. Photo Wiz Fineron
The death gully as I called it. This is where Calum came in to his element. Choss. I was sh##ing myself, and we hadn't even started climbing yet. Photo: Wiz Fineron
3rd pitch of the route. Amazing water warn slab. Photo Calum Muskett
Smearing to the max! Photo: Calum Muskett

Next up, Ratikon, Switzerland.

This was the main event of the trip, to climb the famous Multi-pitch, Silbergier. An impressive looking route with it all. Hard climbing, big run-outs and amazing views.

Good old 'Monique'. Citroen C1 doing us proud on the crazy drive up to the Ratikon. Nobody told us about this? Photo: Wiz Fineron
Not a bad place to go rock climbing at all. Photo: Calum Muskett
Psyched!!! Ready to give the Crux (8b/+) pitch a good go. Managed to send this thing on my second attempt. It doesnt count until I climb from the ground though... :P Photo: Calum Muskett.
Oh yes..... The weather. Not the best that's for sure. Photo: Wiz Fineron
Getting caught in a storm at the top of Pitch 4 again. Yes... that is hail. Photo: Calum Muskett
Looking up at the terrifying second pitch. A very thin and run out 7c+ traverse. Photo: Calum Muskett
Checking out the second pitch. Definitely more scary on second. Photo: Calum Muskett
Calum in training. Cake, cake then more cake!!! Photo: Wiz Fineron

Calum trying to stay warm at the top of the third pitch. Amazing water warn rock and a good view of the approach in the background. Photo: Wiz Fineron

The clouds are coming in again. Photo: Wiz Fineron

What a view. Switzerland on one side and Austria on the other. It didn't quite look like this on the day of the send :P Photo: Calum Muskett
The clouds have arrived. This is our view from the ledge at the top of pitch 4. Still two more to go! Photo: Wiz Fineron

The day of the send. Back on the rock after a forced one and a half hour break due to rain. Thank god for the sheltered ledge. Scary and cold climbing in a white out with some decent size run outs. Photo: Calum Muskett

Trying to stay warm for the upcoming crux pitch!! Legs in the haul bag is the trick. Photo: Calum Muskett
Just keep on climbing. Believe that its dry and it will be... (I think) That's what I told myself anyway. Here I am on the 4th pitch looking up at the crux pitches to come in the fog. Uh Oh! Photo: Calum Muskett

Back on the ground. So psyched to have achieved the goal of the trip. Silbergier (8b,7c+,8a+,7a+,8b/+,8a) done and dusted! Thanks so much to my partner of the trip Calum Muskett for keeping me alive on these big walls the past few weeks.
Pitch three 8a+. Photo: Calum Muskett
Next up some proper alpine climbing in Chamonix. I had to use those axe things and even those spiky things that go on ya feet. Team extreme that's for sure. No better place for it but on the peak of Aguille Du Midi.

Thats right... I'm alpine climbing. Atop of Aguille Du Midi about to take my first steps in Crampons. Psyched. Ok fine, I did fall over once but that's it. What a beautiful place. Photo: Calum Muskett

Stunning. Photo: Calum Muskett
Up high on Ma Doltan of the South Face. Granite crack climbing...  Uh Oh. Great fun. Photo: Calum Muskett

Calum in the awkward transition between crampons and climbing boots. About 8 or 9 pitches later we should be at the top. Photo:Wiz Fineron
Oh no, what you doing Calum? Taped hands mean...... Photo:Wiz Fineron
Yes, crack climbing. Horizontal roof crack climbing as well. So hard! Good effort Calum. Photo:Wiz Fineron
Climbing with Mont Blanc in the background. Nice! Photo: Calum Muskett
A lot of rock fall going on nearby.  A little too close for my liking. Photo: Calum Muskett
The view from our hut for the night. Cold but beautiful! Photo:Wiz Fineron

The next morning it was time to get back on the ice and snow. The usual route was busy so this was Calums idea of a short cut. Pretty dam fun.
Psyched to have successfully squeezed my way up that chimney. Not long to go now. Photo: Calum Muskett
What a poser. The summit is in site! What a great adventure. Photo: Calum Muskett
Well that's the end of the big stuff for this year anyway. Just want to say a huge thanks to Calum Muskett for giving me this opportunity and for keeping me safe when I had absolutely no clue what I was doing (which was most of the time). Lets do it again!!

Stay tuned for part two including Rocklands, UK, and Ceuse!