Just a quick post to share my last-minute plans for the summer.
I’ve just booked my flights for a six week trip traveling and climbing in the Alps. This will be my second trip to the Alps but this time will be a more focused and specific project climbing some of the hardest big-wall routes around rather than a leisurely holiday.
I was invited on this trip by Robbie Phillips a really strong and well known climber from Edinburgh who’s recently made the transition from crushing really hard sport grades to hard trad and big wall alpine climbs. It’s all rather last-minute as he’d had a few partners fall through on plans for this summer and after working with Finalcrux Films on other projects Robbie heard about my willingness to drop everything to go and climb gnarly big-walls and invited me along.
Our plan is to head to the Italian Dolomites for the first two weeks to climb on the north face of Cima Ovest, one of the three 3000m peaks of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. There are a few projects that we have looked into on the face with ‘project fear’ being the main goal for Robbie being even harder than the classic line ‘Bellavista’ 8b+ that he made an ascent of last year. From Italy we plan to travel over to Switzerland where I will meet with the rest of the team that are involved in the ‘Eiger Paraclimb Project’ who will be flying over mid July. This project is separate from mine and Robbie’s trip and he’s made other plans for the time with which ill be preoccupied filming the paraclimbing team attempt to climb the west flank route of the Eiger. We have allocated roughly two weeks for this project which leaves us with plenty of time for a good weather window, something crucial for success to a slow moving team. If luck is on our side, the accent might be over and done within the first week so with the ‘spare’ time left over there’s hope that me and Euan might find a chance to dash over to the Matterhorn and possibly attempt a route, only time will tell I guess.
With the para-climbers planning to head home at the beginning of August it’ll be time for me to meet back up with Robbie to head for the main goal of the entire trip. An attempt at ‘Paciencia’ 8a on the north face of the Eiger, the hardest route on the face. I have a lot of apprehension about this route but also a lot of excitement. I’ve wanted to climb the north face of the Eiger since I was a wee boy, since before I even got into climbing, it’s an iconic face that has so much history behind it, along with a serious reputation for being the biggest and baddest. Then to be invited on a trip to climb the hardest route on it… how could I not want to get involved!! We’ve set ourselves two weeks to work on the route and get it ticked meaning my entire trip will consist of six weeks away, I don’t think I can think of anything better.
Anyway, there are plans and then there’s reality and I have no doubt the latter will strike hard with many mistakes being made, unexpected challenges every day with several steep learning curves but we are going, the flights are booked and I’ve never been so psyched!
If you’d like to follow me and Robbie on our trip, follow my twitter where I plan to keep it updated with daily info and pictures.
If you’d like to know more about the Eiger paraclimb project or even donate towards it have a look by following this link.