Back In The Mountains

After an admittedly long hiatus, my dad and I are back in the mountains doing what we love. I’ve decided to write a blog again, and I hope maybe someone might be interested, but if not – it’s been a great way for me to record our trips and memories for the future. And has been a really good basis for parts of the book I am in fact in the process of writing! It might be a long time coming, but I will finish it. Someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

It’s been over a year since our last climb and to say much has changed in the meantime would be an understatement. For my dad, this climb comes after his supposed “resignation” from mountaineering and after an impressive double operation on his knee and leg to fix up his many knee injuries – an operation that he’s still in the process of recovering from. For myself, this comes after the completion of my first year of university and after recovering from PTSD following our last epic adventure. Our Everest expedition opened our eyes to the harsh realities of mountaineering and the ruthless twisting of the media, but how much the entire experience affects you is something that only time brings out; every part of your life is touched in some way, and, as a young adult, my character has been moulded over the Seven Summits in a way very different to how it could otherwise have turned out. The sense of accomplishment is a long time coming, and the immediate response, at least for myself, was to dive straight into dedicating my time to helping others – because reality shock is a huge drive to try and work to righten wrongs in the world. However, over time, you begin to realise the wider affects of the climbs, achievements and circumstances, and to feel the urge to get back into the mountains.

Digression over, now onto the present. At this moment in time, we’re in the picturesque village of Zermatt, Switzerland, in a beautiful, lush valley overlooked by the Matterhorn. We’re on a 9 day long climbing trip in the Swiss Alps and are aiming for both the Matterhorn and the Eiger, plus a couple of day trips from this valley. So, today we spent the day climbing a small peak (well, kind of peak, more of a very big rock) called the Reiffelhorn. It was stunning. And so much fun.

It was basically a day of refreshing our technical skills and getting used to the feel of these boots, and we spent most of it rock climbing. And by that I mean properly rock climbing near vertical rock faces, in solid Alpine boots. Interesting to say the least, but brilliant too. It was the most perfect day, we had clear blue skies, near 30C temperatures, the most stunning backdrop and a challenging, exciting climb. And I’m pleased to say that my dad’s knee help up fine too. I didn’t even get sunburnt. Definite success.

We’re not in a team or with a group this time, but are with two guides called Seth and Dillan, who, so far at least, seem awesome and evidently pretty good at what they do. That’s pretty much it for now, but really looking forward to some brilliant looking ridge work up high tomorrow. Ttfn.

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