Monday, 15 February 2010


Warming up for The Warm Up (F7b) at Am Fasgadh.
I've been bitten by the bug. Once again I'm in deep, to the end: a muerte, as the Spanish say. It's funny how patterns form in life. It sounds incredibly crass comparing love and life to climbing rocks, but when you spend equal amounts of time obsessing about both it starts to make sense. Miss Sarah Jones is back from the other side of the world and back in my life and I'm a very happy bunny indeed, also, I've found a climbing project and I'm super-dooper excited about the roller-coaster journey ahead. A flame has been re-kindled and I'm as psyched up as I've ever been.

So, those rocks. In an attempt to become a proper Highland climber I'm trying to infiltrate the ranks of the northerners, to learn their tricks and climb their routes. That trip to Rhue with Rich a few weeks back has made me want a bit of their remote and beautiful pie. The problem is that they're all much fitter, stronger and braver than me. So, how can I become like them?

After extensive research and undercover surveillance I think I've discovered the source of their power, the place that they come to train and pay homage to small holds and steep rock. It's called Am Fasgadh, or The Refuge as us Sassenachs might have it. A short, sharp, savage sweep of overhanging gneiss; south facing and dry in all but the worst rain. With grades from F7a+ to F7c+ this isn't a place for begginers. Static crimp-master and Am Fasgadh devotee Andy Wilby gave me the tour-de-crag last weekend and I came home inspired. Knowing that most of the locals have ticked almost the whole crag I suddenly realised why they're all so bloody good. I've got work to do. I got on the classic initiation route called The Warm Up, and though it's graded F7b this isn't an ironic name, it really is the easiest worthwhile route here. I didn't do it, but I could do all the moves almost first go and know that it's not too far off.

Now, a week later I find myself thinking about it; those moves and holds, where to clip from, where to try to shake out. I had a day off and went back in the week, bolt-to-bolting as the Atlantic fell on Wester Ross, and that's when I think it happened. I got that electric feeling in my belly. It's on. Since then I've been thinking about it before I fall asleep and as I trudge through the woods at work. Working through the moves as I go about my day. I have an obsession. Once again, I've fallen.
Winter Continues

Steev and I about to play on the Ben

Steev starting Compression Crack

Perfect steep blue ice on Compression Crack

After a sickeningly early start Murdo and I were the first on Creagh Meagaigh this Saturday, climbing Smith's Gully then nipping up Last Post. Here's Murdo high on the latter.

The end of a great day.

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