Scottish Winter Update and Remembering fellow climbers March 2019

It now feels more like January rather than mid March as the snow is building up in the Highlands. Its been a topsy turvy winter with Spring conditions in mid February. Despite the conditions APM has had a busy season so far and enjoyed over 40 days out fulfilling clients aspirations. From training for Denali to teaching students winter skills as well as climbing a number of routes. Working for UClan,  Jagged Globe as well as Durham University together with many returning clients

A winter update would not be complete without remembering the loss of Andy Nisbet and Steve Perry. Although I did not know Steve I had the pleasure of knowing Andy and his late wife Gill who I had shared many days in the mountains with as we completed our Summer Mountain Leader Assessment together. Memories of us getting told off on our night navigation for communicating will last with me for ever. ” Do you want a Mars Bar ” were the words that I  muttered after we had been wandering around the Cairngorm plateau for hours with a candidate that was lost.  Gills giggle as I was told in no uncertain terms not to confer with her was infectious and was not taken on lightly by our assessor.  Feeling very proud of ourselevs on passing our assessment  we continued to have days out on the Scottish Munros. Sadly Gill died of Cancer.  Andy was a great inspiration and passionate about new routing in Scotland. His humble nature and kindness was never forgotton after he served tea for myself and a friend whilst camping outside the CIC hut on Ben Nevis. In those days woman were not allowed in the hut even after ticking off a couple of the Classic grade V routes on the Ben! In recent years I had followed Andy’s array of new climbs with enthusiasm and occasional bumping into him he always had a beaming smile and a hug for me. Just two weeks before his very sad loss I had met Andy at the Ice Factor. Sharing the Ice wall I watched on at this great man experience for the first time the indoor ice and seemingly enjoying it. Taking the time to say goodbye at the wall and a quick hug never did I expect it would be the last time I saw him.

As we know Mountains can be dangerous places and never a day goes by where our thoughts do not wander to those who have lost their lifes. Now with the devastating news of the bodies Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi found on Nanga Parbet  this 2019 season feels a little sureal.

It is difficult to explain why we continue to go back onto the hills but we do and for all the sad moments there are hundreds of happy ones. Striking a balance is important and life without the mountains and instructing/ guiding others would not be life for me.