Monday, 19 September 2011


The nights were a cold and uncomfortable time during my last visit, partly due to mistakenly bringing only a sleeping bag liner rather than a full bag, but mostly just because it was f@%king cold for August! Not this time however - shivers were replaced with sweats, it was uncomfortably obvious we were in the midst of a little heat wave.

Chilly times during my first visit (Photo Riky Felderer)

Today was supposed to be the first attempt at the “big push” but motivation was not super high as I rolled out of my sticky sleeping bag into the full morning sun. Coffee did its usual trick of making the world seem a better place, and I started the preparations for later in the day, which essentially involved relaxing and eating as much as possible. This is one part of big-walling that I really enjoy! I usually try to watch what I eat – not quite counting calories, but certainly not eating to excess. However, there are enough difficulties to pass on a wall without having to worry about an empty tank, so I take full advantage of the opportunity to “scientifically” stuff myself, all in the name of good preparation.

For the full post and more pictures go to

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I Remember Nothing

Time in Insbruck is training on the rock and in the gym, which always provides a nice balance of motivation and humiliation. We began preparing ourselves for the next trip to Val di Mello, trying hard to pack well, taking the minimum amount of kit, for the smallest loads up that damn hill. With 150m of static fixed in place and some food and supplies stashed from the time before, I was hopeful for a sub 30kg pack this time round. The addition of a portaledge however played havoc with this plan, and we set off again with packs almost as heavy as before.

Testing our ledge (used to belong to Greg Child!!!) on the wall, thanks to Hansjorg for the kind loan

Free-climbing a hard multipitch route seems to be a lot about planning. Firstly planning what you want to do, then how you want to do it, as the styles and ethics of the big wall world are more complex than I could have ever imagined. Once you have set your goal, the planning then moves on to how best to achieve it – what training do you miss, what time of year to try (cool conditions but short days), what time of day to start, fast and light, slow and heavy, speed or comfort... the list goes on and on.

You can read the full post with more pictures over at