As you can probably guess, by the fact that my blog posts have slowed to an intermittent crawl over the last few months and that when I do post it tends to be all doom and gloom, I've been struggling a bit this summer. Struggling with what it means to be a climber who doesn't climb. I've had lots of welcome distractions particularly domestically but also with my new job helping edit Climb Magazine (by the way our second issue, Number 69, is now at the printers and it's another notch forward) but selfishly these aren't enough. In past I'd always assumed I'd be climbing for ever; puntering away into my dottage probably still climbing E1s as grade creep keeps up with my ever declining abilities (I imagined celebrating my E1 lead aged 80 due to the 2050 guidebook by future-fax upgrading Stanage's Crack and Corner up to Extreme!). But this summer has seen me begin to doubt that. I could see how many climbers reach my middle-ish age and just let it all go. Constant injuries, declining horizons and abilities and most of all the stress of balancing all the over-flowing plates of life. I almost envisioned myself turning to running or cycling.
Well those thoughts lasted about a week, and then I woke up! Partly because seeing me fat and forty in garish lycra isn't good for anyone's health - but mainly it's just that the mountains are just such compelling places I just can't leave them alone. In every cloud there is ... a new plan! And so for this next season I will mainly be doing...
You rarely have to pull hard, in fact you don't really have to use both arms, you get to see a lot of mountain. And also in recent manic winters I've missed out on pretty much every classic ridge in Scotland. Obviously the reasons for climbing these majestic features is about much more than sheer technical difficulties. But even so there are some pretty tempting challenges beginning to form deep in my psyche. I'm finally getting excited about winter again.