It’s busy busy busy this week. Everything from flights to kit to insurance to arranging training… it’s all flying at me and I’m having to get my head round it and keep on top of it. At the same time, that means my Baruntse expedition is coming up soon, only 7 weeks away in fact! I hope you liked my last blog, and now the clock’s running thin I’ll update you on my last minute training.
I’ve just got back from a day’s hillwalking in Snowdonia with my friend Huw James who is a scientist, astronomer and public speaker with lots of mountain experience and works with education and adventure for a living. It was a long day but we smashed the Snowdon Horseshoe in great weather. Supposed to take 8 hours but it took us 5 hrs 30. Nice exposed scrambling. Was great to learn off him and hope to keep working together too. Many Everest legends, including Edmund Hillary and team of course, trained in Snowdonia, so I’d like to think I’m following in their footsteps. For £15 return on the train I have no more excuses to get out.
Last week me and my good friend Chris went out for an epic in Snowdonia, with my first introduction to wild camping. I’ve wanted to do it for ages but always been too much of a wuss. After Fish and Chips in Bala, we loaded up 40lb rucksacks and traipsed up Cadair Idris in the darkness as the rain hammered. Trying to find the lake Llyn Cau in darkness was a challenge as the map disintegrated in our hands in the driving rain. We only found it by nearly falling in. We somehow managed to get the tent up in 80mph gale winds, our waterproofs so overwhelmed that they couldn’t even hold out the downpour, and getting into the tent we just looked at each other relieved and slightly bewildered. That was fun. Hot chocolate and biscuits on the stove tastes so damn good when you’re in that environment. There’s an old folklore saying that anyone who sleeps on Cadair Idris wakes up a madman, a poet or dead. I think we came back close to all 3. If it ain’t raining- it ain’t training!
After 5 inches of rain in the night which kept Chris awake, we were treated to this view as I assumed breakfast duties on the mini stove. Made it totally worth it.
We had a fantastic day on Cadair and then headed to the Nantlle Ridge late afternoon. Carrying heavy packs for a long time is a key part of expedition training but I held up well, until we got to the car and I was walking around like a banana.
The Nantlle Ridge was a steep bugger. With the extra weight it was like pulling a tyre through treacle. Even the sheep were telling me to man up. We got a glimpse of Porthmadog then the fog hit. We decided to get the scramble ridge section done in case the weather was bad the next morning. We’d had a long day so afterwards we got the tent up whilst still dry and light, but the view was a tad disappointing for our efforts. Lovely and peaceful though.
It was an early start and we were keen to abandon the rest of the ridge as the weather was atrocious. Definitely a walk to return when the weather’s better. After my stove skills produced some Porridge that B&Q could probably start selling in their new cement range, we got packed and a quick descent back to the car on Saturday morning. I’d got my A-level results on the Thursday morning before the walk, and I couldn’t have celebrated in a better way, with a good friend, mountains, great scenery (well, some of the time), hot chocolate, Iron Maiden blasting on the car journeys and an all round good laugh. I got the grades I needed to study Animal Conservation Science at University of Cumbria, which I’ll be starting in September 2014. Until then, it’s going to the back of my mind as I have a mountain to climb.
I woke up stiff as a board the next day but it had been a great training exercise, especially getting used to roughing it in tents. I’ve sacrificed a bit of running and cycling but I’ve still got time for that too. I’ve been eating like a gannet. As a high metabolised lanky git, I need to eat all the time to be able to gain muscle bulk as well as extra body fat before I go away. Quite enjoying it though…
This week’s shout-out from Twitter goes out to Henry Potter, a fellow Bear Grylls fan and outdoors lover! I’m always keen to try and help other young adventurers as much as I can, as I know how much I’ve appreciated the help I’ve had over the past years. Although 3 years younger than me I can tell he’s going to go far in the adventure world. The ‘Climb4Change’ project isn’t just an expedition, it’s a long term project that will hopefully inspire young people for a long time to come.
This week I got some great baselayers from my sponsors Icebreaker who are supplying me with my thermal baselayers for the expeditions and training. The best you can buy. Great to come home to this package of goodies which will keep me toasty. With trekking wear from Craghoppers and technical clothing from Marmot, I’m going to be one of the most comfortable, warm and dry people in base camp. Even the Yeti will be jealous.
I even got some Nature Valley cereal bars to keep me going on the mountain, kindly donated by General Mills. I may need to do some explaining when I’m going through customs, if they make it to customs…
I’ve been having some exciting phone calls this week. Can’t wait to share some news with you. I even went to London last Tuesday for a meeting. It’s all go. Exciting things in the pipeline. I’m working with Paul Daniels from thebestofChester website who is a massive help with my sponsorship and marketing, which I deeply appreciate.
The harder I work, the luckier I get….
Heading out for a second interval run session now. Keep tuned for Part 2 of my ‘Run Forrest Run’ blog!