Monday, 2 June 2008

Squashing the Ben?

As you can see from all these recent blog posts, spending time on Ben Nevis is quite a sublime experience with many a visual delight to be had most days. Here are some shots from today’s session on Echo Wall. You’ll notice they are all quite bonny apart from one. Yes I was feeling a bit knackered after my stint on the route.
I feel that I have worked pretty hard to earn these days on the mountain over the past couple of years. Many a long day and night in front of the screen or travelling the country earned this summer of less work. But I still can’t help feeling a touch of guilt at so much enjoyment! Sitting on Tower Ridge on the way down, just listening to the silence and taking in the play of the light on the mountains reminded me of times when I started climbing, when I did things like that all the time and never felt a rush to get back for work. I feel that I should sit still more often, not for long, just a minute or two. But for sure it can make your day if you take the time just to sit, and to look.

The irony here is that despite my resolve to stop work altogether for the summer to concentrate on this project, I still have been getting a lot done. Maybe 30 or 35 hours a week which is about half my normal work hours. Perhaps I should have done a little less over the past two years and felt a lot more focused and less tired? Who knows, but maybe I can learn from this not to go overboard. I do find it incredibly difficult to let my inbox explode though. I will struggle on with this no doubt.

I felt great today after two days rest – fit and strong. A wonderful feeling! And of course it showed in my efforts on the project. I did a good link though the crux twice in a row, as well as several improvements to my sequence. For sure there are more improvements to the sequence to be had yet. So more days of working myself hard are needed. But soonish (good weather and more progress taken for granted!) it will be time to move to a short phase of more intense endurance training away from the route. I will start making the shift tomorrow and Wednesday with some circuits at Sky Pilot or the climbing wall depending on the midge forecast.

Stage one of preparation is definitely over though. I could call this phase ‘squashing Ben Nevis’. Basically I needed to make the mountain feel small by raising my level of general fitness high enough so that just being up there day after day trying a big, hard, high route was no issue. Today I could skip about no bother and feel like I could do the same every day with several hours working moves on the project. Now I can get to grips with the next stage – a bottom to top link of the moves. Psyched.


  1. Anonymous03 June, 2008

    Great photos .. well .. most of them ;-)

    I reckon you hit the nail on the head re: occasionally taking time out to look around .. been thinking the same thing cycling to work through the Cotswolds. V. easy to just concentrate/focus on your objective and miss the beauty in the moment.

    Good luck with the project + the weather - it's borderline flooding down here in Gloucestershire.

  2. Very good point, Dave. I realised this a couple of years ago, that I was missing everything because work was apparently so important. It is and it isn't; and I think maintaining perspective is more important. Work allows you to do the things you love, and to take that extra moment to look and enjoy. If only I had known that when I was 23....!

  3. Anonymous04 June, 2008

    wow! thats a great place!

  4. heh, i'm struggling right now to put everything together: work, training, climbing, resting, making love.

    how did we put ourselves in such a position that this discipline takes such a great role in our existences?
    after all, we really are privileged.

    keep it up dave.