Sunday, 20 May 2012


I must apologise to regular readers of this blog for not posting anything since last christmas.Theres no real excuse for this,other than my state of sulky malaise over not being able to escape for my winter climbing.But time marches on and now i find myself in training again and psyching-up for my annual solo battle with the Eiger in july.

Yeah i know,July is a sucky month for anything on Eiger these days and i have known this since i started this project in 2003,but its all the time i have and beggars cant be choosers.
My original goal was to solo-summit by all four ridges on this berg,so when i got through with that it seemed like a realy good idea to do the same on all four faces(or faces and flanks if you wanna get picky about it),following the less demanding of the most frequented routes.Now i have only the Nordwand,Heckmair route and East Flank,Lauper routes to complete and then i can finally put the old monster to bed having "capped the pyramid" so to speak!These will be the toughest of the lot for my meager skills,even if i manage to get a weather window and good conditions,which is highly unlikely.
Anywhoo,however things pan-out on these last climbs i hope to get the West Flank,Barrington route in again with my buddy Boris Krielen of "ICE-X".

Eiger from Kleine Scheidegge.

This route is allways good to warm up on and will enable me to get a good look at the Nordwand all the way up to the summit.
It dawned on me last month that i turn 65yrs in June this year,you kinda lose track of time when your not thinking about it!? Ive never worried about my age i only ever worried about my fitness and looks.Colour me shallow if you like,but i never ever planned on actually getting old,and my increasingly infrequent glances at that "picture of Dorian Grey" known as a mirror,are an annoying reminder that this entropic process is happening to beautiful me! That and the fact that this year (due solely to my age i might add) my bloody BMC-Alpine & Ski Insurance is gonna go up by fifty per-cent for christsake!?? What can these grabbing buggers be thinking of?
Ive allways accepted the fact that as a soloist,sooner or later its all gonna go tits-up and i will end up injured or dead,it comes with the territory.No matter how careful you are,how many good precautions you take its eventually going to happen,time and the fickleness of chance get us all in the finish.
Being a very vain person my biggest worry has never been "when" it will happen,but rather "not" looking like too much of a complete wanker when it eventually does! So heres a couple of tips i want to share with fellow soloists which have served me well,and i hope will help you too.

Soloist Legal Waiver Form.

Ive used this style of form for as long as i can remenber to cover myself whilst climbing,and so far nobody has ever had to follow it up. I think its the responsible thing to do if your climbing alone,for yourself and others who may feel obliged to risk their arses in horrible conditions in order to save yours. I fill one in before each climb to give in a sealed envelope to my host or the local authourities,marked with my name and "Open in X-days if i do not return to collect!"
It is self explanatory and should cover required on your death or dissapearance.You dont need to use my format you can use your own, in as much or as little detail required to do the job.
The second tip is if your soloing high-alpine and moveing hut to hut,allways have your Huttenwarte(hut warden) ring ahead for you to your  next hut.Giving your Route,Time of Departure,Planned Climbs/Excursions off Route,and your ETA(estimated time of arrival).Allways carry a means of signaling by day and night,an emergency bivvy,phone with emergency numbers logged in,and extra rations and water just in case.
I will pull my finger out and try to get some more blogs of interest out before Eiger in July.

Good climbing,


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