About Me

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I'm Alex (also known as Midge, Al and the Guy in the Neon Orange and Black Leathers). Three main passions in life: Mountains, Motorbikes and Old Stuff. Currently in North Wales, at Bangor Uni with my Transalp 600 and Snowdonia on the doorstep. The purpose of this Blog is a combination of discussing the above and highlighting other blogs and videos of interest.

Slideshow Info

The Slideshow contains various pictures (all taken by myself), ranging from my Dogs to hanging belays at Gogarth. Hopefully they give you a flavour of what I get up to.

20/02/2012

There are only three sports...


‘There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor-racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.’ Ernest Hemingway.

Personally I would change the above quote to ‘there are only three sports: kayaking, motor-racing and mountaineering’, but the sentiment is all the same (Bullfighting is a horrible, disgusting event that should be eradicated from this planet). They have a risk factor that, even with modern equipment, is far greater than any other. Yet the gains from them, from personal experience and with discussion with others, are far greater than any other. You can truly find out who you are when you are on the edge; stuck in a stopper, the rear-wheel slipping, run out above the gear and fighting waist deep in snow through a blizzard.

Recently however I’ve not been capable of doing such things. But I’m getting there. I’ve been busy with getting up mountains and going climbing that spending time updating my blog has proved difficult, so  I’ve only just got round to it.

Having gone running a few times my leg felt strong enough to try climbing and walking. My wrist, I thought I take it as it went. At night at Indy proved quickly that my wrist was strong enough to climb, I even managed to lead up the over-hanging head wall.

The next day with perfect weather resulted in a trip up Snowdon, up the Pyg Track and down the Miner’s path. The ground conditions amazing, powdery snow without the need of crampons. It was a great day. For Krystyna it was her first mountain day, I can’t think of a better introduction to the joys of hill days. For me it held interesting moments, it took a while for my confidence to develop again, in particular while making steps on the more steep snow. It is funny how the mind can play with your abilities to tackle obstacles that previously showed no difficulties, and still are no physical difficulty. Being buzzed on the top of Snowdon by a 22 Squadron rescue helicopter, with their winch men waving from the door really made our day.  

The view from Snowdon top onto Bwlch Ciliau.

The RAF Seaking Helicopter.

Us and Snowdon in the background.

The amazing Moon we saw that night, reflecting in Llyn Llydaw.
Buoyed by my day on Snowdon on that weekend I went up Tryfan with a group of friends. Although we were cold and in the cloud for most of the day it was a great day out. The scrambling on Tryfan is always fun and I don’t think I have ever taken the exact same route up ever. Coming off the top and bog-trotting back to the car was amusing.
The girls and James on 'The Cannon'

Me on 'The Cannon'

The girls and James on the way down, post-bog-trotting.


Last Tuesday was a trip with BUMS to Beacon climbing centre. I easily managed to get up several F6a’s, a few F6b’s and tried and failed on a F6b+. I’m still wary of over doing it, causing further injury and delays.

Wednesday was a cold, wet and incredibly windy day. Setting off with Jack and Ellie we headed up from Bethesda to Carnedd Dafydd to Carnedd Llywelyn then down into the cwm at the base of the Black Ladders. The wind was really strong, it required that you lent into it to walk. In conditions like that, were you can’t feel your hands, the rain is freezing and you can’t see more than twenty metres due to being in the cloud, it tests your metal and you come away feeling better, the challenge met and defeated. Everything is in perspective again.
For Jack it was a sentimental day, the two year anniversary of the death of a friend in who died mountaineering in Scotland.
On the top of Carnedd Dafydd all kitted up.

Ellie bracing in the wind.

'Look I can fly!'

Me being a Berghaus advert.

Saturday was cold. We went to Llanddulas Cave. I got hailed on half way up a route. It still isn’t really warm enough to go climbing yet, particularly if you’re not in the sunshine. The local pub (The Valentine) there however was great, a coal fire and London Pride on tap.

Sunday was the BUMS indoor boulder competition at Indy. Mikey Kenyon and Meg White won. A good time was had by all who took part. Thanks to Indy for hosting and route setting. Some great and challenging problems were put up.

Motorbiking has started again. Getting back into the swing of things I’ve gone on some short but fairly difficult routes. A particularly good one is the roads around Bronydd Isaf (OL17: 627 704).  It is a set of farmer’s roads with grass growing in the middle of the road. I’m struggling to go faster than thirty and feel as if I’m completely in control. Hopefully my throttle and general bike skills will improve with the more challenging driving. I’m looking at doing some routes around the Dolgarrog area. Anybody know of good-green lanes in North Wales?

To conclude on a quote ‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.’ T.S. Elliot.

Some film clips:

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