A new learning curve, stormy days out, when things go wrong, and climbing for the love of it | The Pinnacle
This week, I've been spending a lot of time Alpine dreaming.
It might be because bad Covid news is starting to make things feel a little like they were this time last year, with Lockdown 3 just around the corner. It might be because we're squarely in the grey season in the Lincolnshire Wolds and my interest in local landscape photography has dropped off a cliff again (as it does at this time every year). Whatever the reason, I've been yearning for freedom and sunshine and big miles in the Alps – and I've been planning.
I have designed a 1,000km route north across the Alps, mostly sticking to the Italian side of the main chain and making use of the Grande Traversata delle Alpi (GTA) for a good deal of its length before striking off to string together segments of other classic trails. I'll be travelling solo for most of the journey, as usual, but towards the end I'll be joined by a friend – and I think I'm looking forward to this most of all. I know all too well the exquisite tang of solitude after weeks alone on the trail. Human contact becomes all the more meaningful.
Anyway, this trip has given me something to plan for, because my fitness needs to be at a higher level than it is right now. So I've started to climb a new learning curve: trail running. I've written a blog post about my first steps and where I hope to head from there.
For now, I'll continue to dream about the Alps.
Lewis Pugh: No Ice, No Life – Lewis Pugh has an urgent message from a warming Arctic.
Links of interest
Thoughts on a stormy day out – Mehmet Karatay's detailed piece for the MWIS blog is a fantastic case study on judging conditions in the winter mountains when bad weather is on its way. Loads to learn from here.
Tips for Pitching a Tent or Tarp in Stormy Weather and Snow – practical tips from Chris Townsend on the camping side of things in similar conditions.
When things go wrong... – Fiona Bennett tells the story of a serious mountain accident in the Cuillin.
For the love of it – Rachel Sarah heads into the mountains just for the love of it – and to find some balance.
Nebelmeer: Climbing Above a Sea of Clouds – new on Sidetracked, Jessie Leong climbs above an inversion on the Breithorn Half Traverse, Zermatt.
Interview with Jon Gupta: ‘I am Done with 8,000m Guiding’ – a very interesting and wide-ranging interview with Himalayan guide Jon Gupta on ExplorersWeb.
The Earth Beneath My Feet – in colour – wonderful colour photographs from Andrew Terrill's first book. I'm currently editing On Sacred Ground, which tells the story of the second half of his amazing trans-European walk, and I think it is a masterpiece.
Christmas book orders
Just a reminder that I have copies of both The Farthest Shore and Wanderlust Alps that I can sign, personalise and post within the UK. Email me if you'd like one!
You can also order the books here:
The Farthest Shore (signed copies direct from Vertebrate Publishing)
Wanderlust Alps (direct from gestalten)
Until next time,
If you'd like to support my writing and photography, you can buy me a coffee. Thank you!