Snowholes and parakeets!

6th Feb 2010

I’m sitting writing this eating tea and cakes up at Glenmore Lodge with the Marmot crew. Tim has been taking some images for promo stuff (Marmot sponsor the lodge with bucket loads of clothing) and also Marmot ran a comp on UKC and the winner is up here with her prize clothing and taking a free weekend course- not bad! I’ve just had a great day out, well, the visibility was pants but hey you can’t have everything. I had my first go at using skins (on ski touring skis), it’s something I’ve hankered after for ages but either never needed to or not had the gear. It was awesome, I love it. It’s amazing what the skins stick to and how steep you can climb, it seems like a fantastic way to get about and I am dead set on doing some ski touring trips as soon as I can.

In January I was trekking out to the Peak with my board when we had all the snow, I was doing a lot of difficult walking and thought it would’ve been much easier on skis and more fun too. Well, after today I can see that I would’ve been having a great time and been able to travel a lot further.

Yesterday, we were doing some shots with the senior instructor on an easy mixed route, again for Marmot stock images. Having never winter climbed in Scotland it was interesting getting a little insight into how it all works, albeit on a small, easy pitch. It wasn’t the best of days (surprise surprise), very windy at times and low viz, luckily not too cold though which was a relief, as I’m rubbish in the cold. So it definitely felt like how I imagined the Scottish experience to be- GRIM!

Hmm, I’m not convinced but who knows it might be fun to try something bigger and trickier.

Off now to watch an avalanche safety lecture and a winter navigation lecture. It’s all quite new for me, so I’m looking forward to taking some useful info onboard.

I will be back…to talk about snow holes and parakeets!!

Back again.

The lecture was good, I feel fully navigated! Just got to go out and practice now…

Today was about snow holes and more. I’ve already mentioned the ‘skinning’, we also played with some avalanche transceivers, which was fun. Randomly burying them then watching the other person (Martin from Marmot) walks round the hillside trying to find them. They were easy to use and I would consider investing in one if I decided to do more backcountry stuff. We also dug a funky snow hole which was entertaining if not quite hard work. At least we had shovels, I couldn’t imagine being in the situation where I would have to dig a hole with an ice axe- hours of fun.

Before coming up to Glenmore, I’d been working in London doing some access work. It’s been a while since I’ve done any and it was a nice job to come in on. We were doing a survey of a NT building called Osterley House on the outskirts of London, which is set in large open grounds. So we were able to take Kodo down and she could come on some nice walks. Which brings me to the parakeets…there are fluorescent green parakeets flying around the grounds. It’s really quite bizarre, they make a real racket and aren’t shy. Apparently they were introduced x amount of years ago and have managed to survive. We were staying opposite Bushy Park and there were parakeets there too, so they’ve migrated 10 miles down the road. There were deer there too and they are extremely tame, having been there for 400 years, they’re used to humans and you could happily wander through the herd, they were ace.

My climbing was going well before I started the access work. I was definitely making good gains with my fitness and realise that I hit a small purple patch; I was able to keep trying hard routes and push myself for a lot longer- even if it happened down at the Foundry! That will probably have dropped back again, as I have only managed to climb twice in the last two weeks, hmm a bit annoying but works work and it’s gotta be done. My shoulder seems to be improving slowly although I have to admit to being pretty slack with my physio exercises over the last week, tomorrow, I’ll pick it up again.

It didn’t help that I was doing some assisted pull ups on a bar I’d put up in the hotel room, it’s one of those ones you twist and it expands into the door frame. Well, I obviously hadn’t done it up well enough and was doing some assisted one armers with bungee cord and the bar just fell out of the door frame. And because I was pulling only on one arm, I whacked it down onto my left hand. I thought I’d broken it, it was blooming painful. The bruise I got did not make up for the agony I suffered- OW!

Anyway, enough whinging. Looks like we’re having another photo day tomorrow doing various shots for the Lodge brochure etc. The weathers looking a bit pants again, so Tim will have to be creative with his flashgun. It’ll be fun though and then we’ll head back to Sheff on Monday night and be reunited with our pooch, who’s been staying with Miss Alex of Hughes, lucky her.

Cheerio for now.