Mt McKinley

The McKinley Diaries – 21 Years On…

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be recording daily video logs about the fateful expedition to climb Mt McKinley in Alaska. April 30th 2020 will be the 21st anniversary of the adventures start. Using original images, equipment and reading from my mountain diary, I’d like to share my experiences, feelings and emotions from this life changing time in my life…

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Control…

Due to the present COVID-19 outbreak, we’re all under Central Government Control. Control is a subject I’ve been discussing with my close friend Helen Davies for a while, so by the power of the internet, we’ve maintained #socialdistancing and brought our ideas together. Before we get started, here’s an introduction from Helen…

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Hold Me Now…

Ice Climbing is a sport which many thing crazy, wrong or downright dangerous.  I disagree.  It’s a pure athletic sport, with routes that change year on year, challenging even the most skilled climber.  Variations in the weather can make or break a route, or a season.  It can be made as safe as you wish, but also as challenging as you like.  Physically it’s incredibly demanding, but the mental aspects come harder.  Youre climbing up water, which for much of the year is heading downhill.  Ive recently returned from a weeks climbing in Rjukan, Norway, where icefalls galore await…

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Uganda 2017 – To the the Mountains of the Moon, and Back… Part 2

We left the Bujuku Hut at 4am in our attempt to summit Mt. Speke 4890m (16.042ft).  Initially the terrain was thick bog and undergrowth, but this gave way to more open ground as the sun tried to break through the dense clouds.  We ascended a large scree field suffering faltering disability, reaching the ridge early morning.  This is where our problems began.  Thick rime ice had plastered the rocks, making what should have been a challenging scramble, impassable.  The only way we could summit was to circumnavigate the peak and approach it from the opposite side.  It’s all sounds so easy to read it here, but what followed was a two-hour slog up and down scree scattered boulders and exposed edges.  At least the clouds broke occasionally and allowed extensive views over the range and the tongue of the Ruwenzori Glacier.  This ice used to allow easy access to Ruwenzori Peak, but its retreat has made any ascent of the mountain a real challenge.  Few ever venture there now because of the loose rock and unstable ridge.

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Coming of Age…

Reaching your 18th birthday is seen as a coming of age.  You can marry, drink, vote, serve on a jury and legally get a tattoo..!  My 18th birthday was marked with a disco.  It was 1987 and Rick Astley was riding high in the charts, as was Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, The Bee Gees and most of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman stable.  The Compact Disc was launched and I was driving a 1977 Metallic Gold Morris Marina with a huge Ghetto Blaster across the back seat.  I thought I was cool…

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Forcing Your Hand…

Frostbitten Hands

The phrase ‘The day we stop learning is the day we die’, may be old, but it’s true. I thought after 17 years I had learned all there was to know about my frostbite injuries, but I was wrong. Though the amputations were very visible, regular treatment kept my skin grafts in good condition, and all was well with the world. The last few months however, have taught me a hard lesson in reality.

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Himlung Diary part 2 – The Haunting…

Icefall

One of my favourite ghost films is ‘The Haunting‘.  Based on the wonderfully written book by Shirley Jackson, it tells the story of a house which is haunted by a ghost you never see.  Door handles move and people feel strange presences, but there is no visible spectre.  Why am I writing about this when I’m mountaineering in Nepal..?  Well, an old ghost came to visit me on the hill one night…

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Don’t (always) believe what you read…

Nepal-Press

The modern world seems to rely on instant news media.  Satellite communications and Social Networking relay information around the globe within milliseconds, against the hours, days, weeks and even months that used to be required.  Though this has a good side, it can also cause unnecessary stresses and tensions, as my family found out recently…

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You and Yours – Here’s Me and Mine…

Cairngorm-Plateau

The 2012/2013 Scottish winter season has caught the eyes of the press on many occasions, due to the high number of avalanche victims.  There have been 13 deaths so far, with Journalist (and ex MSP) Dorothy Grace-Elder attracting much attention with her views.  Today, she appeared on the Radio 4 programme You and Yours, with the opinion that all Mountaineers should hold rescue insurance.  Here’s what I think…

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