One night, sitting around the fire in the Warden's Quarters at Homer Hut and listening to the heavy rain that signalled the end of the Darrans Winter Climbing Meet, my thoughts turned to the following summer. By then, I would be one year into my PhD - time to get some writing done. Homer Hut - what better place to settle down and get away from the distractions of the internet, General Joll and the monotony of Dunedin life? So I talked with Al Walker, 'Hut Bastard,' about wardening over the summer.
The Climbing Space!
To succeed in Patagonia, you must take a chance,
you can’t just sit waiting, your head bowed and cast.
Don’t get in a twist, don’t walk down that path,
just go day by day, then climb hard, light and fast.
North-East Buttress, 700m, 15/16, first ascent.
Something really struck home with me while reading an article by Jane Morris in the recent 2013 New Zealand Alpine Journal. In particular her closing sentence – “Doorstep adventures: make the most of them wherever you live.”
The BMC International meet is held every winter. It's a fantastic event bringing together climbers of all abilities from around the world to experience some of Scotland's finest Mixed and Ice climbing. When I found out about it in August 2013, I was particularly keen to attend on NZ's behalf as I was preparing to immigrate to the UK. I did hesitate, however, as I was effectively bed ridden at the time with a broken pelvis. Eventually, I reasoned it would be pretty much healed by then, so I should be able to climb 'something'. I downgraded my mixed and WI abilities accordingly and sent off my application.
Mater Dei, 1000m, 20, first ascent. Trip report and video from the ascent.
The spring of 2013 will not be remembered for its sustained periods of settled weather. Instead much like the winter that preceded it, it was dominated by warmer than normal temperatures and frequent squally frontal systems. What few clear spells that did come through were short lived and often directly followed heavy snow falls. This all coupled together to make for less than ideal climbing conditions.
Recovering from a big injury takes time, but with some patience and a bit of good old fashioned 'hard work' it can be a heartening and rewarding process. This catalogues my recovery from four breaks to my pelvis and my return to the mountains.
Youtube Videos & Expedition Report
I looked down, for the thousandth time, at the crampon points kicked in as far as I could tolerate, my toes aching and bruising with every step. It seemed funny at the time, wondering if Scarpa had this in mind when they designed the ‘Manta,’ a pair of boots usually sold for tramping and transalpine.