Friday, 3 June 2011

GETTING OLD BUT STAYING BOLD. (Two weeks to Switzerland!!)

Theres less than two weeks to go till my annual three week Swiss mountaineering binge. I am in my two week "Atkins Diet" phase,as high as a kite on protein-rush,(i cut this and return to normal diet eight days before departure)shedding the last few pounds of surplus fat. I am doing three 2hr gym sessions a week mainly on free-weights and resistance machines,seven reps of the 270-Peacehaven steps three times a week. And the Sussex-"Seven Sisters"in both directions (Exceat to Birling Gap and return) with a 20kilo sack three times a week.
Dont get me wrong people! I have never been a fitness fanatic and at 64yrs old it hurts like hell and makes me question my own sanity.Though Peggy tells me its never in question,as she allways thought i was totally "batshit".(she learns these exotic epithets from me by the way.)
As usual we are going to Kandersteg (Berner region)first to aclimatise and warm-up on 3000ers for two weeks,and just wander the incredible ridglines and high-walks of that area.The last week we will spend in Wengen (upper Berner)for my usual solo-runs at the remaining three sides of Eiger.(1938-route,Lauper,& SE-1937 route.)
                               seven-sisters training yomps.

The last two years in Swiss julys have been bloody awful,so i am hoping the "Barbegazi"(mountain spirits) will be kind this time and let an old guy have at least two routes this year to make up for it!?
I am not obsessed over this berg and sure as hell am not trying to set any kinda record on it,i just love everything about the old monster. I have spent many nights bivvying on it and it has been very kind to me. Maybe it gets a quiet chuckle out of this old geezer and his "silly assed" solo scramblings at the wrong time of year?
                                   Austrian Route Solo-2008

Ive never set out to do all the Swiss 4000ers i just dont have that kind of ambition,though i have the greatest admiration for those who have completed them. I just like to go and climb bergs that i find haunting and beautiful,and maybe spend a night or two on them listening to them breath and speak in their own timeless language,and enjoy their star-filled summer nights.
In fourty years of mountaineering i have seen so many climbers come and go. Some die tragicaly,but most just fade away by the time they are thirtyfive or move on to other things. As someone once said,"its a ridiculously expensive and tottaly pointless activity",and with the lure of family,money pressures,and the civilising pressure of old "father time" we all give it up eventualy.(well! most of us that is?!)Maybe they are the sensible ones,who knows?!
Ive never seen age as a reason to give up anything.Its bloody insulting when some young(or old!) know nothing tries to tell you your "over the hill and picking up speed".The great Swiss Guide "Ulrich Inderbinnen" kept on leading parties up mountains till he was 95yrs old,then he chucked the job and took up "Ski-Racing" for christ sake!!
                                      Great read! (on Amazon.)

He won a whole load of races in the Veterans Division,and still gave the "younguns" a run for their money!
My philosophy has allways been,that if you cant keep up with the up and coming rock-apes,use your age and cunning to just change gear and work out ways and goals to achieve in that which you enjoy. Why the hell throw away that which you love,just because some jerkoffs think you should?!

A few creaky joints and grey hair are no reason to sacrifice a lifelong passion! Maybe one day i will complete all four sides of that big old pyramid,or maybe not? It wont matter much realy,as long as i can feel the thrill of coming back for another try each year!
And after that??
                      Well i would realy love to have a solo crack at Matterhorn north-wall!

Good climbing,