Thursday, 15 April 2010


They say the first step is admitting it, so here goes. I'm an addict. There, I said it. An addict. My body has become physically dependent. I need. I crave. I demand. And I get my fix. A heady cocktail of chemicals flows through my veins on a regular basis. A.L.E.

Adrenaline. Lactic acid. Endorphines.

Spring in the Highlands. The sun shines, the birds sing, the snow melts, and the rock-jocks get their fix. After a winter of sport climbing and bouldering, the trad season has finally arrived, and with it a whole heap of excitement and expectation. What to do? Where to go? Ambitions? Projects? We'll see. While it's still 'early season' (a classic climbers excuse for not trying hard), I want to get lots of mileage so I can start to flex my muscles and hone my head for bigger, scarier things in the summer (big sea cliffs on Pabbay and Mingulay in June, and hopefully some big granite slabs in the hills when the snow starts to melt).

With all this in mind I'm pleased with the way things have gone so far. Dave's Dilemma at Logie Head seems to have a reputation as a hard E1, so it was a good first extreme of the year, but it was truly trumped by Still Waters at Ardmair (E1 5c and then some). Then Tat's brilliant Someone Else's Dream at Loch Tollaidh was the seasons first E2, and hopefully the first of many. If you're looking for a soft E1 do Kermit Direct on Fraggle Rock at Loch Tollaidh, it's a gift. After-work cragging started this week with my first visit to Tynrich Slabs, near the Ruthven Boulder. It's a bit of a backwater and fairly limited, but the Hard Severe Scorpion and E2 Blewitt were more than worth the drive. And then last night it was the first Huntly's Cave raid of the season and I managed Lime-Ade, the E2 that starts up Lime Street before escaping up the arete, though I think 'escaping' might be a bit strong.

El Chorro next week. I know where I'll get my next A.L.E. fix...

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