Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Climbing Mt Blanc

Its been just over two years since I have climbed Mt Blanc. I have got lots of amazing memories about 12 day trip to the Alps at that time. I have found a best friend and climbing partner Paul.

Me and Paul. Top of Mt Blanc

 It wasn't a very technical climb, but not everyone is able to reach the top. Many have tried, many were lucky, many have failed.  I was one of the luckiest ones to succeed.
I have pushed my limits. I have made my self a very happy lady :-D. 

Quick trip to the Alps

First of all motherhood isn't that bad! Now I have got Hannah I have got more time to climb! 
At the end of May 2014 Paul and I had a cheeky trip to Chamonix, France. Cham is one of my favourite places to climb despite a massive fall in to a crevasse a few years back in the area.
To save money we choose to camp out just bellow Cosmique hut down the vallee blanche. For a long time I wanted to test out my new The North Face Mountain 25 tent.
We set off early morning. From the top of the Aiguille du Midi we started to gear up. At that point we realised that my ''baby brain'' is still present, ha ha. I had forgotten to pack some essential safety gear. This had never happened to me before!!!  Thankfully Paul had some spare kit so we could make do. As we were intending to camp (for the first time on snow with our own tent) and climb, we had way too much kg in our packs. Before even 30 min into our walk down the ridge I was already calculating how much money I will get from eBay if I sell all of my gear! To be fair I think as its been only 3 months after giving birth, my body wasn't ready for that kind of challenge. 

We have pitched our tent. The weather wasn't to bad, but it felt like it might turn nasty any second. Night was windy and cold. The Tent did a very good job in those conditions, I just need to figure out something about the the flaps a bit more most likely would do the job.  
Not only was I  trying out my tent for the first time I also tried my new Exped Down 7 sleeping mat. Oh my lord that was the best mat I have ever used so far! It was warm, comfy and unbelievably light. 
In the morning it was obvious that we should of stayed at the hut. As carrying to much isn't the best policy to enjoy your Alpine climbing trip. We packed our stuff and went to the hut. So the second night we will be spending in ''luxury'' :-D. Cosmique hut was full because the 'Millet Expert' Shop had clothing training with the Alpine guides.
  With some luck the hut manager managed to squeeze us in for one night. Happy days. We geared up and went to climb the ArĂȘte des Cosmiques. It was a great mixed climbing climb. A bit to busy for my liking but I enjoyed most of it, apart from two abseils. I HATE ABSEILING!!!!! :-). 
After the climb we had a lovely dinner. At the table we have met some great climbers, one of them was Erik Weihenmayer, he is a big inspiration to me and to many people around the world!  In the mean time, the weather was getting worse :-( we kept looking out of the window with a hope for a bit of sunshine, but it was not to be. 
In the morning we made a choice to go back down as it looked like if we didn't go now, we could get stuck up high in the hut for a week or so. With poor visibility we started to walk back to the cable car. And again I have started auctioning my climbing gear! Plus in-between selling my gear I was thinking of a new hobby: knitting...painting...swimming...sewing...LOL
Over all it was a good trip, I have tested myself and found out that I am out of shape and that I need to work on my fitness a bit before I can do any climbing or even walking.  

Sunday, 24 August 2014

One step closer...

I am on the train and I am going to attend mountain leader training in Scotland. I feel like it's time for me to lead people to the mountains and share my love and passion for outdoors! I am hoping to have ML assessment at the end of October. After that I will start training towards my international mountain leader qualification. 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

The biggest challenge yet!!!

I am back and I am back with a bang. My climbing dreams are so close to reality! Big expedition, big mountains ( 7000 m +), new exciting gear to test ( made in mother land), test myself being away for 40 days from my 9 months old baby :-(. If you think that's not an epic adventure think again. Over the next 3 months I will be getting ready for my biggest challenge yet. Lots of news to follow soon ;-)

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

As's time...

It's feels like just a few months back I found out that I am going to have a baby :-D!!! And on the 4th of December 13 Hannah was born. One month and a bit and I am ready to reunite with rocky, snowy mountains of Scotland (8th-9th feb). Fingers cross for a good weather! Can't wait!!!!!!!!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Iceland August 2013


As a UNESCO City of Literature, Reykjavik “Smokey Bay” emphasises the central position of literature in the city’s and nation’s cultural life, its historical significance and contemporary value. The capital is full of charming wooden houses and narrow streets, quirky shops, city bars, cottage businesses and very tasteful street art.  Whilst we were there every shop window display throughout the whole city celebrated LGBT demonstrating the modern values of Iceland. We didn’t have much time to explore this funky city so we agreed to come back one day!

Beyond Reykjavik we visited the memorable ‘Big Three’ tourist attractions – Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir. Usually I don’t like to be “a tourist like” traveller but it was the best way to visit 3 of the many natural wonders for which Iceland is justly renowned.

Thingvellir National Park – a UNESCO Wold Heritage Site was surrounded by outstanding natural beauty, with its stunning lake, lava landscape (a must see), and rugged chasm walls on the rift where Europe meets America at the Continental Divide. Iceland actually sits on two different tectonic plates, the European one and the north American one. Technically we could argue we walked from Europe to north America while we strolled round the national park.

After the trail walking at the national park we visited the Gullfoss Waterfall. This waterfall is magnificent and many claim it to be the most magnificent of the country’s many.... However its proximity to the other attractions makes it a very busy place. As spectacular as Gullfoss was with its view of the River Hvita and drops of 96ft in two falls, we preferred other more secluded glacier wonders that we would see later in the week.

The third wonder literally took my breath away!!! Geyser, an area where hot springs are in abundance and the most active one is Stokkur (this is the original geyser that all other geysers are named after). Every 10 minutes it is spitting out a high column of boiling water up to 60ft. It was a truly epic scene.

After leaving Reykjavik we had Isafjordur and Akureyri.
Isafjordur with its excellent natural harbour become an important site for the merchants that traded with the farmers and fishermen in the area during and after the 16th century.  Production and export of saltfish was the key to the growth of the town and its status as one of Iceland’s main trading posts.  We strolled through the narrow streets of the old town (Nedstikaupstadur) surrounded by it’s modest wooden houses dating from the late 18th century. As we discovered, the town has got lots of walking trails to offer. I wanted to see the view from above the fjord, so we pecked the highest hill and walked up to reach the stunning views over the valley.

Akureyri is most likely one of my favourite stops in Iceland.

 On arrival we made a decision to travel in to the centre of the high lands. We had about 8 hours, that was plenty to fit in some kind of crazy adventure. We hired a local company Iceak to take us inland on the tour. Off road. It was very wet and wild. We travelled miles and miles across Iceland, we visited places you can only visit by foot or by 4 * 4.

On the lava fields, across the desert, baron volcanic lands that stretched for miles and miles.  As you can see from the photo bellow, Icelandic people can be comedians.

Despite the rainy and foggy weather we had an amazing day exploring the High Lands. We saw several apposing landscapes, from baron volcanic deserts, gorgeous waterfalls, and glacier streamed idyllic valleys.

It’s a fact that it wasn’t the best country I have ever visited. But spooky stories about trolls and the unique Icelandic landscape made my trip memorable and unforgettable.  

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Mountains “I will be back” ;-D!

Life is goodJ!!

Every month I am trying to get involved with some kind of adventure.  For the past 8 years I was living in Norfolk. East Anglia was too far from my favorite landscapes. My husband Luke and I were always planning to move up North. Finally at the beginning of this year we made it! Right now our base is York. North Yorkshire is so close to Lakes, Peaks and Scotland. Every other week I can enjoy rock climbing while I am waiting for the Scottish winter.

This summer I had the opportunity to go away climbing with my climbing partner Paul to North Wales.  Full body harness –check, helmet – check, climbing gear – check, over sized trousers and tops for my baby bump – check. We left York on Wednesday  at about 16.00. The journey was good, it took us only 3 hours to get there. Usually I am camping or just bivviing, but now I am a bit different, so we agreed to stay in Ogwen Valley Bunkhouse.

In the morning we knew that the weather wasn’t going to be good till about 14.00. We travelled to the Tremadog. On arrival we stopped off at Eric’s Cafe for a cup of tea and bite to eat. And guess what?!? We met the famous Welsh climber and base jumper Eric Jones.  Mr Jones is the owner of the Cafe and Campsite/Bunkhouse below Tremadog crags.  Eric is one of my row models for his solo ascent of the Eiger’s North Face.  After the brunch break the weather still wasn’t looking great. But we could not wait much longer. We picked one of the easiest climbs on the crag, so if the rock is still wet we will be able to climb it.

Hail Bebe Climb.
 I should say that at the beginning I didn’t really liked that climb. Very slippery start, a bit okward first pitch for a baby bump. On the way up there were too many trees and it turned a bit easy with not much climbing necessary, hardly even a scramble.  After we passed the tops of the tree line, suddenly amazing views appeared in front of us. Sunshine finally started to worm up the Welsh land. It was so amazing to be near the top of this climb in bright sun shine.

Christmas Curry.
I think it’s going to make my top 100 climbs! Strong start, hard work, muddy but well worth it! This had similar features to a chimney climb and you had to grab in and use strong arms to pull yourself up – tough work out.

The next few days we had bright sunshine and were able to climb at Llanbaris Pass and Tryfan.  Scary multi-pitch climbs I had never done ascents like these before the challenge kept reminding me about why I love climbing so much. Some of the moves were so scary I could hardly look down. Pitch after pitch my heart was pumping with happiness I was in my niche...Life is good!!!

That is it for this year. Literally within the last few weeks my belly has got so much bigger. I went to the local wall for a climb and realised that the only grades I could manage where 3 to 5a, ha ha I can’t recall ever climbing grade 3 in my life :-D. 

As of now I have got ‘just’ 5 walking trips planed to make up for not being able to climb. Pretty soon I am expecting to be too tied for even that. After Christmas I will join all the new year’s resolution hopefuls as I try to get back into shape. Hopefully I will manage to escape to Scotland to do some mountaineering before hitting the Alps in the summer of 2014!

Mountains “I will be back” ;-D!