Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Preparing for winter

Some of you may have twigged that in a couple of weeks I am returning the Nepal to lead the Adventure Peak's Ama Dablam Expedition.

For most people, this type of Expedition requires a big build up to allow normal life to continue with minimum disturbance.  In typical fashion, I have 3 weeks to get my life in order.

This is normally not an issue but considering that I am coming up to the busiest time of the year i.e. winter and have not only got to organise everything Di Gilbert Mountaineering but I always have to organise Skimo Scotland which continues to grow each year.  Knowing that I will be returning to Scotland when winter could be in full early season condition, I am having to get everything organised now.

I have been asked once again to be one of the MCofS speakers for part of their Winter Lecture Series and as part of this I had to send off a small bio for the website.  I included the following:

"Di's number of outdoor boots far outweighs the number of stilettos she has and has far more rucksacks than handbags."

So since I had to find these, to ensure that they still fitted my feet (*phew*), I thought that I would start to winterise my kit.

Really, how many rucksacks do I need for winter?  By the looks of it, 5.

I know it's silly but every rucksack has its own job.

To explain:  

Deuter Guide Lite 28 SL - the old style with no extension to the hood.  My smallest, lightest and most compact rucksack which is perfect for autumn type walking and personal winter walking (i.e. I don't have to worry about taking all the kit that I need to carry when working).

Deuter Guide Lite 28+ SL - with extension to the hood.  I can just squeeze all my winter climbing equipment in this (except crampons) so it is perfect for winter mountaineering and climbing.

Deuter Guide 30+ SL - much heavier fabric than the Lite rucksacks so perfect to stand up to the abuse that winter throws at us.  I can easily get all my winter climbing equipment in this little puppy and all my group equipment.

Deuter Freerider Pro SL - its pink, what more can I say?   Seriously, my ski touring rucksack when I need to access things at different stages in the day depending on what I'm doing - there's loads of different compartments.

Deuter Guide 40+ SL - perfect sack when away for multi day adventures and I need to carry the kitchen sink.

Don't get me started on ski boots:

or mountaineering and climbing boots:

So, I really do have more rucksacks than handbags and more boots than stilettos.

Very big note to self:  Miss Gilbert, looking at the boots second in from the left.  Absolutely horrified at the state of these boots, must have been a quality last day of the season for these in the bog.  Next time, remember to clean!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Glencoe rain

This weekend the Mountaineering Council of Scotland put on a Student Scrambling course for 12 keen beans.

If you had seen the weather forecast for Saturday you would have probably preferred to stay inside and do inside jobs, but to our amazement the Weather Gods looked favourably down on us.

The first sign that there was going to be trouble was the thunder.

Quickly followed by Callum: "Di, is that cloud?"

Di:  "No, that's rain".  It was as if somebody had stuck a huge sheet of white paper next to the Buachaille.

There was no gentle build up to the rain.  It was just Glencoe Rain.

Heather & Max can be smug, since they actually made it back to the hut before the rain started.  We never.

Sunday was worse and was an inside day - some you win, some you lose.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hot Rock

I am still adjusting to the single figure temperatures - seriously, how can you go from 28.5 degrees in the morning to 1 degree in the evening?

I suppose it can be related to winter in many ways.  In winter we spend all our time waiting for the snow to arrive and then when it does arrive, we spend hours scraping it off the buttresses.  In summer, we spend all our time waiting for the sun, only to complain that it is too hot and seek out the shade.

The great thing about going on holiday as a pair, is that you get lots of climbing - but loads of bum photo shots.  Nearly all our photos are of headless climbers or arses :(

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Lakes 3000ers

I have discovered that there is a smell worse than wet dog.

That smell comes from 2 females living in a van for 3 days in a very wet Lake District with only 1 set of hill kit each and no way to dry stuff.

I'm surprised we are still alive to be honest.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Wild camps

Not a bad office really ...

Well that's my last Summer ML Assessment done for the year.

Time to get strong for winter me thinks.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Lairig Ghru & Lairig an Laoigh

Susie says that this run "is a classic and almost entirely runnable Cairngorm circuit".  Ha, well it probably is, if you had been training.

My training had been last weeks run and Derek's training included 3 bottles of red wine the night before.

Luckily for Derek, this meant that he never got a hangover - purely because he was still rubber.

I did actually manage to take some photo's on on the first half but on the return leg, I was too preoccupied with motivating myself to keep moving to even think about taking any.

What was very exciting was seeing 5 capercaillies - I've only ever seen a couple of these magnificent birds before so to get 5 in one outing was great.

So, 48 km later we [finally] returned to the car.  Neither of us can move today and the only part of me that is not sore is my face.

Thank goodness for Orange Wednesdays ...

Monday, 15 September 2014

One hell of an adventure

We had such an adventure planned this weekend up in the Fisherfields.  It involved running, walking, biking, swimming and climbing - that was until it became very obvious that none of this would be happening due to Dereks back going :(

The great thing about Derek is that he obviously went to the same school as I when it comes to recovery.  So, as much as the temptation was to lie horizontal he loaded himself into the van and joined in as much as possible.

It was with a (slightly) heavy heart that I set off up some corbett knowing that we really should be climbing until I realised that this was one of the very few times where an injured Derek has prevented Di doing anything.

I love the hills.  I love the remoteness.  I love the quiet time that it presents.  I love the way it gives you time to think about things - so I got thinking ....

Di:  "I think I might try the Poolewe to Corrie Hallie Allison tomorrow"
Derek:  "How far is that?"
Di: "43km"
Derek: "That's a marathon.  Have you been training for a marathon?"
Di: "No."
Di: "I'll just think about it as a long day on the hill"

So, the following afternoon I set off on what become my long day on the hill.

The Poolewe to Corrie Hallie Allison is described as "An epic one way run through the heart of Fisherfield".

Heading deep into the hills, the first welcome sight is Carnmore, which in my head was about one third of the way.

Leaving Carnmore, the rising traverse takes you high onto the moor before the long descent towards Shenavall. 

I found the unrelenting deep grass, churned up paths soul destroying and was too frightening to take my eyes off the path in fear of tripping myself up.

The views of the south side of An Teallach provided a welcome sight - not the side that I am familiar with and if it wasn't for the huge detour required to wade across the stream at the head of Loch na Sealga I would have potentially enjoyed it more than I did.

My heart lifted when I got to Shenavall - my 2/3rd mark and nearly back on familiar territory.  With one more climb to do never have I been so glad to see a smiley Derek.

It was great to have some company for the last section, who just pulled up the man suit and got on with it.

Who needs bananas and protein gels when a can of Diet Coke and some moral encouragement will do.  I thoroughly enjoyed putting a very big fat tick against Allison #60.

Today, was all about recovery.  This takes form of the new sport called "floating".  The aim of this is to float in the sea watching the underworld go by, annoying the odd crab, getting spooked by the shoals of fish and getting freaked out by seals.  Who needs to go abroad?