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.


Why do we fall...

‘Why do we fall, sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.’ Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine, in Batman Begins).

Falling down (well at least off) has been a theme recently. With two consecutive trips to the Great Orme (21/22.04.2012) on a grey and damp weekend a group of us worked a series of routes. Pete, Henry and I after warming up in Split Infinity cave tried Split Infinity Direct (claimed to be F6c, but took trad gear to make safe and felt harder than any 6c I’ve done). Requiring a leap to start and then frantic moves through a series of roofs it is an inspiring line. The moves between each roof are hard. Each of us took turns on progressing up working the moves, little progress at a time, each time getting a bit further.  Moving to clip to last bolt and insight of the belay bolts the rain started. Play stopped and the route had to be abandoned. One to come back to. 
Pete tackling one of the roofs.

Grabbing the jug and getting a rest.

Me lowering off in the rain.

We moved into Parisella’s Cave to have a go on some of the harder boulder problems. We all played on the left hand wall and Parisella’s Original. Again falling off was the main feature for all of us. However with perseverance progress was made, with all of us making significant steps on the problems. Time and light levels caused us to leave before we finished the problems but we’ll be back. 
On the Left Wall Traverse.

Attempting Parrisella's Original.

Pete doing the same.

The next day I meet Dylan. He was psyched for cracking on with hard routes (and being tried after two days of climbing I was happy messing around on a top rope). Dylan’s inspiring redpoint on You’ve Had Your Chips (F7b) meant that I had the chance to attempt a route that I would never had tried at the moment. I made little progress and fell of numerous times, but I battled on and still did not finish the route. Trying things that are beyond your limit and that you have a tiny chance of succeeding with can be highly demoralising, that is if you let it get to you. If you approach the situation as the quote from Batman Begins suggests, that failure is only failure if you do not get back up, then trying something challenging leads to development, rather than annoyance at not completing it. Also attempted that day was Cage Full of Budgies (F7a) and Werry's Woof Woot (F7a+), the latter I did on the redpoint. It was great to have finally succeeded at the end of the day on something that I thought was beyond my limit, but it was only achieved by getting back on the route after failing several times. 

A quick fix on the Friday night with Dale was secured with an evening at Bus Stop Quarry. It was a great break from the stress of essay writing. First we did Solstice (HVS 5a), a great route, which gets the arm pump going quickly. Dale came up on the second loving it. We tackled Bosch Stop Quarry (6a+) and Bish Bash Bosch (6a+) a pair of good routes if slightly poorly bolted (Bosch Stop requires you to clip halfway through the crux, if you’re a bit short like me). Last we got on Gnat Attack (E1 5c) protected by a Cam and a pair of bolts. Designer danger and a real blast of a route. Due to the sun setting the rock was going cold and I could not feel the tiny holds. Trusting my feet I went for it. Suddenly it was all over. Dale went on the second, a practice run for leading. He fell once on the crux moves, got straight back on and finished it. 

Next day a phone call from Matt and Jack resulted in another visit to Bus Stop Quarry. This time Fool’s Gold (E1 5c) got repeated. Jack took some really good pictures of me on the route (so a big thank you goes out to him). Fool’s Gold is an amazing route, one of my favourites. Safe as houses but with amazing moves. You stand on a good ledge, place some gear, then step up and out on to the main face then through a series of jams and face holds make progress up the crack line. Just brilliant. 
Hiding under the lip before stepping out onto the main face.

Stepping out.

And up we go.

Get in the groove.

And push for the top.

Getting back up and attacking the situation again is important in life, too many people get knocked down and do not stand back up. Going guts for glory can make all the difference in whether you succeed or fail. Once the risks have been weighed up, a measure taken, then all that is left is to commit. As Mark Twain said ‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’.

N.b. The essays were finished in the following week, several short nights sleep occurred. I think I’ll start them earlier next time. Roughly 10,000 words in a week was not fun.  

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