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Tue Jul 01, 2003


Despite the awfully hot weather over the past weeks I have started to become motivated again. I am tired of feeling tired all the time and I am not getting anywhere near my target of 7b this year, so it's time to do something about it. Perhaps writing it down will help, perhaps someone will see it and say Oi Stocker! stop being a lardy arse.

My body feels more relaxed, my joints don't feel stiff and my fingers don't hurt. In fact I have started jogging again, with the odd bit of stretching here and there, and I am feeling so much better for it. Great, so what's the problem? Well I haven't actually climbed for a few of weeks! Perhaps when you are getting fed up with climbing it is good just to stop and do something else instead.

The recent competitions have also been quite inspirational and I suspect sometime soon I will start climbing again. So what can I do differently this time that I have not done before, how can I raise my level? Well I have to start by thinking that there is absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be able to climb to 8a, (which is what I would like to do). I have no injuries or disabilities, I am not overweight or technically incompetent. I see other people in the gym who apparently have made that grade and I think well if they can do it why not me?

I sit in front of a computer all day long, my blood drains into my feet, my wrists and shoulders ache and my eyes get tired. Hardly a good start, so I put some of my time in front of the small screen to good to use and pulled up some articles on nutrition. My diet is not awful but is a touch basic basic, could this be the cause of my tiredness?. Being vegetarian I was especially interested to see if i could be lacking vitamins. It seems so, although in a well balanced diet no supplements are needed. It does not seem that croissant and coffee for breakfast, pasta pomodoro for lunch and pasta formaggio for dinner everyday is the diet of champions. Well of course all this I already knew, everything in moderation. So for my vitamins and proteins I have now added to my shopping list more fruit, beans & pulses, juice and the occasional egg. My carbohydrate intake I would assume is already sufficient, which brings me to the next area as unfortunately I failed to find 8a on my supermarket shelf.
Physical exercise. Eating the right stuff but is a good start but if you don't use what happens?. Will I explode as a result of too much potential energy stored inside me? Ok so I am running now, but I have run before and I still struggle to shift my mass up 7a so there must be something else. Motivation, that's it. Now I am never particularly committed when I arrive at a crag, occasionally if I see a route I really like the look of I will give it a good go, but then that's it and I'm off home. I started looking around the internet and found the site of Martina Cufar. She had her route list online. More than 100 routes over 7c, hmmm perhaps this is why she is so good, I doubt I have even done 100 6a's. Ron Fawcett did 100 extreme routes in a day at Stanage and recently in the peak district John Arran and Shane Ohly did over 1000 routes between them. These are surely just a few examples but the point is clear. These people climb, and they climb lots.

Thu Jul 03, 2003


Devo comprare un nuovo telefono, perche il mio mi fa suonare come una raggaza.

Tue Jul 22, 2003


Friday night and the Pash served up the weekend plan. A mix platter of alpine style climbing lightly chilled on a bed of glaciated ice. Al was also in for the ride and so with the recipie in place we left together the very same evening for deepest Val d'Aosta.

Quietly tucked away at it's head Val Ferret offers great views of Mont Blanc. I had previously only seen it under winter cover so it was strange to drive along the same road that I had skied on. The night was chilly. Since my sleeping bag was at the cleaners I was using a silk liner and a wool shawl from Ikea. Al was prepared as ever, it was the second time I had camped with him. This time he had invested in a sleeping mat but was still sleeping under his reliable towel.
The morning was bright and the sun soon warmed things up, even at 7 in the morning. Fortunately the cafe next to the camp site opened early, fortunate because unlike the yoghurt guzzling Pash we didn't have any food.

We left the car as far up the valley as we could, put our packs on our backs and marched towards the Dalmazzi Rifugio. The walk was very pleasant, taking first a gentle track along a glacial feature before a steep gully brought us to the rifugio. In all it took us 2 hours. Leaving what we could at the hut, we continued to the base of our climb just a few hundred metres distant, the Monts Rouges de Triolet.

The rock was a pink granite from which the peak obviously must draw its name. It overlooked the glacier and was faced by impressive north facing cliffs, and above the glacier the Augille Savoie. Our chosen route for the day was short, just 4 pitches but of good quality, the rock solid. We climbed as two pairs but descended together. It was hot, climbing as we were under a strong sun. The weather was just perfect, there was not a cloud in the sky. We then climbed a small slab on the left of our route which was enjoyable and a bit more difficult than the route we had already done. By now we were cooked, so we retreated to find some shade at the rifugio.

The rifugio had just been reconstructed. It was nice enough but lacked any real atmosphere. The food was good (except for the dry bread which we nevertheless devoured) and with a glass of wine we were in bed by 9 ready for big sunday.

Big sunday started early and we ate more of the dry bread delicately topped with marmalade. Already the sun was flooding the valley but happily we were to find our climb was in the shade for most of the day. 'Les chamois volants' is a climb of 18 pitches on easy ground and protected for its length with bolts. The climbing was enjoyable and it took a little over 4 hours to complete. From the summit we had grand views of the Grande Capucin, Grand Paradiso and the summit of the Grandes Jorrasses.

The decent was not to be such an enjoyable experience, even though we reduced it to 10 abseils. It was over not so steep and sometimes loose ground. It took 4 of us 6 hours, lucky for us the weather held out.

Arriving back at the rifugio I noticed I had left my rock shoes at the foot of the crag. I still not sure if I am more relieved than annoyed. Good ridence to them. We made good time back down the path to the valley, and headed straight for Courmayer for a pizza and a beer. Tired, and wishing we could stay longer we had to drive home to Milan and the heat.

Tue Jul 29, 2003

Taking it easy on lake Como

Enough climbing, rest and relaxation please