Thursday, 10 April 2008

Training in North Wales

Karl here - spent the first weekend in April walking, scrambling and climbing in North Wales with Rich, in the sun and the snow! I'll let Rich try to spell all the place names correctly in his bit below; needless to say, I spent the whole time in Wales wondering where all the vowels had gone.

We had a late arrival at the hostel where we were staying thanks to some spurious excuse from my favourite budget airline and after a few hours sleep headed round the valley thanks to Eric the toothless bus driver and up the steep side of Tryfan.

The weather was very changeable but when it cleared the views were great. Some expert

scrambling (always maintain 3 touch-points they said; I reckon 70-80% full body contact with the rocks is more efficient) and before we knew it we were at the peak.

Along the ridge and down the far side stopping for lunch by a lake before heading round the Snowdon Horseshoe. On Rich's

advice, we ducked out of a bit of ridge-walking in pretty gusty winds, but still made it round and up Snowdon, over the ridges beyond the peak and back round again to the valley floor and the hostel.

A pretty full-on day's walking and my legs were pretty burst by the end of it...

The overnight hail and covering of snow forced a change of plan on Sunday morning and we headed out to do some proper climbing.

This was my first real rock-climb and I was pretty pleased with myself that I made it up (again making use of hands, feet, knees, shoulders, stomach etc) and down the 'easy' walk-off route (overhanging abseil...).

An awesome pizza in Pete's Eats on the way back to Liverpool to start my epic budget airline journey home (cancelled flight, no apology, 40 hours and 2 nights in a dodgy hotel later - I did ask them if they'd make a donation in return for me not slating them on the website, but no response, was Easyjet).

Fitness is now the main training, so if you're in St Germain en Laye forest in the coming weeks, and you see a sweaty, wheezing jogger, offer some words of encouragement. The target has been set and I have had an idea of what will be expected, at least without the altitude. To tackle that (and maybe even generate some additional PR) I'm planning on being the first person to climb Mont Blanc with the use of oxygen...just don't tell Rich.

The donations seem to be adding up, and we haven't really told many people about our website yet - if you've stumbled across and are inspired to make a donation, no matter how small, please go ahead and do so. Please also feel free to forward our website address to your friends and family if you think they'd be interested.

Next stop for me is the world of no sleep, with new baby arriving early May - ideal preparation for an ascent of Mont Blanc...

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