Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Highs and lows of 2013

It has been a hell of a year!

The best winter ever, followed by living on Skye for a month, followed by moving to the Cairngorms, then a glorious summer and going to the Slovakian Tatras - it will certainly be one I remember.

My soloing in the mountains this year has taken me places I'd never thought I'd be - both physically and in my head. Many of the routes I've done have been the best and hardest I've ever soloed, and with that has come incredible highs but periods of confusing self-doubt as well. It has definitely been one of the most intense years of my life.

My new life in the Cairngorms has been a big change and in so many ways a positive one. Being new somewhere again has been brilliant, as has being let loose on another huge area of amazing landscapes. I am still getting my head around what a massive place the Cairngorm plateau really is.

I always knew that leaving Glencoe was going to be a necessary but formidable challenge, and I was not wrong.  I arrived to work at the Clachaig in 2009 after a period of severe personal trauma, and it soon became a safety net in which I set about the process of recovery. In some ways I've found adjusting to life outside the glen deeply confusing, and I think is going to take me a while longer yet to figure it out.

A very happy new year to you all folks.

A beautiful early winter day on Ben Macdui

A month on Skye during May, a great time.

Soloing Taxus (III***), Beinn an Dothaidh.

The Cave of Gold, Skye

Raeburn's Buttress Direct (Diff*), Sgorr Ruadh

A glorious October day on Central Buttress (Diff***), Coire a'Ghrunnda, Skye

Soloing Black Spout Buttress (Diff*), Lochnagar

A week trekking in the Slovakian Tatras

A Cairngorm heatwave during July.

Late summer snow on Braeriach

On Clach Glas, Skye, after climbing the long Ramp Route (Mod**)

Soloing the superb Final Selection (Diff***), Stag Rocks.

A wonderful morning on Creag Meagaidh soloing Staghorn Gully (III***)

Perfect Beinn Udlaidh ice on the last day of March - soloing West Gully (III*) before my 11am shift in the Clachaig.

Views over Lochaber during the amazing late-winter weather.

A perfect morning in Coire na Ciste, Ben Nevis


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