Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Lessons

It's often too easy to regret the day to day. Your dream routes, adventures or experiences fading ever further away behind a growing to do list. Whether it's pressure from work, family or injuries, life's little speed bumps can seem mountain-like obstacles. Burdened with a year full of all three, I've been guilty recently of feeling a bit too sorry for myself. I had a wake up call a few weeks ago when I heard that Northumberland legend Andy Earl had collapsed with a brain hemorrhage and was being kept in an induced coma after surgery. Well, it seems like there is the first sign of good news here

The fact that Andy came out of his deep sleep on Christmas Eve and his daughter was born on Christmas Day really puts things into perspective.

I don't know Andy that well, although I did have the chance to spend a day photographing him and his Dad John up in Northumberland (pics above Crouching Mahogany E4 6b at Callerhues and on his own route Masterclass E7 6c at Rothley). Several things were really evident that day, one Andy is a phenomenal climber (one of the very best), secondly he seems a genuinely fun-loving, life-loving kind of guy, and finally he is obviously part of a very strong family unit (something I am sure will be invaluable during his recovery). So next time your foot slips off on that nth attempt at the crux, or there are wet streaks at the crag, or just that you have to leave the crag early to go do the family supermarket run remember life might not be ideal but you have to make the most of every opportunity no matter how imperfect.

Here's wishing the Earl Clan speedy progress in 2011, and good luck to everyone in the new year.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Wow!

...and I thought last season was supposed to be the best ever. It's been an incredible start this time and it's patently obvious that not just one or two individuals but collectively the whole British scene has raised it's game. Just scanning the 'net over the last few days you've a new grade IX on the Brack a new Glen Coe grade IX a repeat of Cathedral X a repeat of Cracking Up IX and to top it all off God Delusion just got repeated IX Now that everyone is warmed up what is the rest of the season going to be like...!

Part of me is massively inspired, part of me is massively jealous, and part of me is also a bit alarmed how much I'll have to get my act together for next season (at the moment I am doing bicep rehab with a 1 1/4 kg weight).