UKC Articles – Grappling with Fear – Mid Climb

Interesting article on how to control fear while on a climbing route, do you have any tips or tricks? It something I have struggled with more since a ground fall a couple of years ago.


“Come on! You can do it!”

“My whole career has been from scratch, so I never took it for granted that people care and support what I do.”  – G-Eazy

If you read this blog you will see that I often make reference to Alpkit, who for the last 18 months have kindly supported me on my adventures. When I mention that I am an Alpkiteer to people you get a look of respect (or is that confusion?) in return. Only the pro’s and truly awesome adventurers get supported, right? I don’t put myself in either of those brackets, and I am not a social media “trend setter” either. Who has time or energy to maintain such a public image? But I do get out and about and often end up chatting to random people (or ‘my wafes and strays’ as I tend to call them!) about how great there gear is. I often get asked how I got supported and why did I go with Alpkit?

The answers to both of these questions is simple.

I got supported because I was doing something slightly different and I had the nerve to ask the question, even though I am not a big name. I told them my plan, I told them what I was after, and I told them how I would aid the brand, after all it is a business not a charity! I wasn’t greedy, I didn’t want huge amounts off them. I wasn’t boastful, I had no history of big, epic trips. But I was confident, the challenge was big but it was achievable even with my lack of experience. Brands understand that things happen that cause trips to be abandoned but they want to know that at the start there is a good chance that you will succeed.

And why did I ask Alpkit. Well this was down to a number of things:

  1. They did the gear I was after… well you wouldn’t want to be supported by a surf brand if you are a high altitude mountaineer would you!
  2. I like the way they do thing. The brand isn’t one of the old school established brands, they are trying to do something different and be more approachable.
  3. The ethics. This will be slightly different for everyone, I think ethics are quite a personal thing. Alpkit have a foundation that tries to help people from less privileged backgrounds access the outdoors and generally get people out and about. Would I really like to attach my name to a company that hasn’t got any qualms about using sweatshops and live plucked down? No thank you!

If you are looking at getting supported as an adventurer I would suggest that you talk to the brands that you use, you trust and want your name to be associated with. If you are looking at being supported you have to remember you aren’t just representing that brand, but that brand is becoming representing your beliefs. But my biggest bit of advice for anyone who has read this is: just ask them the question.

Impromptu Merriment

So at the end of last week I was recovering from not just the cracked ribs but also a stomach bug, the plan for the weekend was to rest and get the adventure bike finished… Until Friday evening when I get a message asking if I was in the Peak District and fancied a morning scramble on Saturday.

I am not a huge fan of the city I live in, Birmingham, but it has fantastic transport route, most places I enjoy are within three hours of me, so I packed the scrambling gear and set off at a leisurely 08:00hrs to Castleton to meet up with Jennifer and Aramis, who would meet me at the lovely Peak Hotel (great pub if you are in the area!) when I arrived slightly late after a detour to Outside, I struggle to  go to this area of the Peaks without stopping in! So the plan for the day was to ascend both Elbow Ridge (Diff grade climb) followed by Matterhorn Ridge (Mod grade climb) followed , although technically climbs both of these are normally soloed so that’s what we did.


“Matterhorn Ridge”

Elbow Ridge is the first ridge on the right as you go into Winnats Pass from Castleton, the ridge is extremely narrow and quite exposed, but the crux quite early on in the and easy enough to negotiate, we didn’t feel the need for ropes. Jennifer had a “funny” moment to start with but was soon back in the swing of things and we were quickly onto the 40cm wide ridge, all taking different approach’s to tackle the precarious ridge, Aramis using all fours like a monkey, Jennifer straddling it, and me doing anything possible to maintain some semblance of balance on the rocks. Then, after one brief climb you are up to top. Aramis down climbed while Jennifer and I walked the easy way down discovering a small steel door that led into the hillside, I wonder where that goes??


“Hole in the wall”

Next up, Matterhorn Ridge. now that is a fun little route! Easier than Elbow with a small kick it its tail, this is more of a classic scramble in my opinion and great fun! Scrambling done we dumped the (unused) equipment and went for a meander up Mama Tor, a pleasant wander but nothing to write home about apart from the view from the top with a few paragliders hanging over a half frosty, half thawed hills. After a sloppy sliddy decent, it was off to the pub for dinner where it was decided that I would join them for a spot of climbing at the chilly Harborough Rocks.


“A hill for two seasons” view from Mam Tor

So driving over from Brum on Sunday I met the others and we set hand on stone and froze as the mist cleared, the next four hours consisted on trying to warm up, then freezing on the rock all while insuring the horrific noise of the “slightly” imposing factory. Its been a while since I have climbed outdoors and more so leading a trade route, about 8 months when I took a table and damaged an ankle, so getting back to it, even only VDiff was satisfying.

So 6pm Friday, nothing planned…. and then all that, not too shoddy 🙂 What did you do?