Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in pictures

2016 seems to have flown by. It doesn't seem long since I was seeing in the new year on a sweaty dance floor in El Chalten. After coming back from South America, Nikki and I spent the next sixth months living in Chamonix, before returning to the UK and its flipping excellent rock climbing. 2017 you are going to have a lot to live up to!

Matt Burdekin climbing our new route the Siren on Aguja Bifida Sur. Climbing over two days we made the third ascent of this little known mountain at the head of the Torres Valley.
Rich Howells on the first day of the Verbier-Zermatt Haute Route. Once I'd figured who to ski off piste, it was all about multi day ski tours.
Hamish Dunn climbing black ice on the North Face of the Gran Paradiso, before skiing down the easy way.
Hamish and I on top of the Dufourspitze. This was the last day of a fantastic ski tour, ticking 4000m peaks around the Monte Rosa. Our legs were very tired by this point and it took a look of motivation to get out of bed that morning.  The endless powder on the way back to the hut more than made up for it.
Once skiing finished it was all about alpine rock climbing. Duncan came out for four to see what this alpine lark was cracked up to be. We had a mega time and managed to squeeze in the Salluard Route on Pointe Adolphe Rey and the Swiss Route on the Grand Capucin. Apart from the altitude I think he loved it.
Swedish Mike half way up Forty Metre Dihedral on the Petit Dru's American Direct. We abseiled off several pitches later when it started to rain. This is one to go back for. The climbing is stellar. Next time however I'll be going up and over the top!
The Westgrat on the Salbitschijen with John Roberts. Thirty or so pitches of the best granite you will ever climb. Made ever more hilarious by me forgetting my harness. Big thanks to Karin for lending me one. Thankfully I was pretty skinny at the time and able to squeeze into it.
This is a rubbish picture of a very chuffed me at the top of Dinas Cromlech's Left Wall. Back in the UK, fit and light for all the alpinism,  I managed to tick of a bunch of routes that previously had been just out of reach. The best of the lot was Left Wall, which put up a good fight.
Dad on the magnificent Dragon at Carnmore in Northwest Scotland. The next day we climb Gob which was even better. If Carlsberg made weekends...
Serth on Cloggy - a slightly esoteric E2. The next day I led November, my first E3 onsight.
Unfortunately I don't have any photos of High Tor or of this route: Darius. Thankfully Guy VG was able to lend me this one. Bizarely, having climbed so many world class routes this year, Darius, a 60m pitch, on far from perfect Peak limestone is by far and away the route I am most proud to have climbed. Thanks to Ben for the patient belay.
Another highlight of 2016 has been watching Nikki get her climb mojo back. Here she is, having just lead the first pitch of Gogarth's Northwest Passage. Looking forward to more adventures in 2017.
Hamish Dunn and Adrian Nelhams on Gogarth at Gogarth during our British Mountain Guides Rock Induction. After spending so much of 2015 and 2016 working towards the pre-requirements it was great to get accepted on the scheme. I'm really looking forward to the training and assements coming up in 2017.
Last but not least Rich Howells climbing Motorhead on Eldorado, Switzerland. This was the best route we climbed on a two week trip to the Alps this autumn. It lives up to its reputation as a world classic. 

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