Training

The training continues post MT Blanc for new and unexpected climbs

The training continues post MT Blanc for new and unexpected climbs

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MONT BLANC ………….THE DAY

A reminder at the station of the journey ahead and just how steep the climb will be!!!

A reminder at the station of the journey ahead and just how steep the climb will be!!!

The view from the train leaving the valley behind.......

The view from the train leaving the valley behind…….

he mountain was behaving and the weather window was here the wind was starting to pick up making the now minus 10 closer to minus 20

he mountain was behaving and the weather window was here the wind was starting to pick up making the now minus 10 closer to minus 20

The low cloud clearing to show the walled in extent of the lower hut....

The low cloud clearing to show the walled in extent of the lower hut….

The beginning of the real event, the 1900 tramway to take some of the strain up Mt Blanc...........................an hour journey but I'm sure was less than 5mph

The beginning of the real event, the 1900 tramway to take some of the strain up Mt Blanc………………………an hour journey but I’m sure was less than 5mph

The infamous Martin Morran in the forefront already summited 40 times Mt Blanc and the only climber in history to have climbed all 4000 peaks continuously in the Alps (that is a lot) .........

The infamous Martin Morran in the forefront already summited 40 times Mt Blanc and the only climber in history to have climbed all 4000 peaks continuously in the Alps (that is a lot) ………

The 2 hour trek to the lower hut (Tetruse).......below the Grand Couloir and the Gouter ridge...........already at this level of 2500 metres experiencing snow............................

The 2 hour trek to the lower hut (Tetruse)…….below the Grand Couloir and the Gouter ridge………..already at this level of 2500 metres experiencing snow……………………….

The sight of the final climb was indeed positive and negative only 600 metres to go but by far the most exhausting I have ever done.........this climb for sure was not achievable .it shouldn't have happened ...........it became 4 steps ...stop.......3 steps stop.......gasping for air , nearly at times physically lifting my leg in front of me but Martin always there tugging on the rope but 3 got there 5 minutes before gave the last push we needed and then ..............The Top of Europe Speechless ......literally/.........with phone calls to Loredana My wife virtually without a word spoken.......truely speechless ......this time the iphone gave me some fotos.......having pulled it out from 6 layers down A dream come true........A vision realised but really nothing like the struggle that day to day the people we help face daily............15 hours of sheer on the edge (but not a lifetime like our fellow people down in Kenya)

The sight of the final climb was indeed positive and negative only 600 metres to go but by far the most exhausting I have ever done………this climb for sure was not achievable .it shouldn’t have happened ………..it became 4 steps …stop…….3 steps stop…….gasping for air , nearly at times physically lifting my leg in front of me but Martin always there tugging on the rope but 3 got there 5 minutes before gave the last push we needed and then …………..The Top of Europe
Speechless ……literally/………with phone calls to Loredana My wife virtually without a word spoken…….truely speechless ……this time the iphone gave me some fotos…….having pulled it out from 6 layers down
A dream come true……..A vision realised but really nothing like the struggle that day to day the people we help face daily…………15 hours of sheer on the edge (but not a lifetime like our fellow people down in Kenya)

The day started as planned and with sheer grit we were gone..........1 guide to 2 people , I was with Martin whose relentless approach was beyond inspiring Passing over the Grand Couloirs at 2.15 am (where most deaths occur on route) Martin calm , cool approach was reassuring............layered up with 5 on top and 3 below and head torches we all snaked up the rock and ice with axes to hand..........thin gloves feeling totally inadequate!! Martin allowed 2.15 to do this stretch and 1.45  we reached the 1st Ridge.............surely that must be the top( it felt so like we had climbed the Mountain) But sadly not...........huddling in .thermos out for the 1st stop in this time we took on valuable liquids and energy but now told to put more layers on over the climbing belts with max 6 minute stop...........the ferocity at still only 3.15 in the morning was vindication the guides skills........we were already to have a 30 minute snooze!! Off we went then into the snow fields where the crampons really started to fail..........6 inches of powder snow meant 2 steps forward and slipping one back...valuable energy lost and burning Calves Only 1 way to deal with this, head down , one step at a time ........1 step is a step close!!!!!!! Before we knew it Dawn was breaking with the sky lighting up about 6 am and slowly the sun providing what was now valuable heat ..........feet were turning to ice blocks and hands were getting difficult to get warm  The 1st real stop was when the sun brought hope and light to this mammoth task

The day started as planned and with sheer grit we were gone……….1 guide to 2 people , I was with Martin whose relentless approach was beyond inspiring
Passing over the Grand Couloirs at 2.15 am (where most deaths occur on route) Martin calm , cool approach was reassuring…………layered up with 5 on top and 3 below and head torches we all snaked up the rock and ice with axes to hand……….thin gloves feeling totally inadequate!!
Martin allowed 2.15 to do this stretch and 1.45 we reached the 1st Ridge………….surely that must be the top( it felt so like we had climbed the Mountain)
But sadly not………..huddling in .thermos out for the 1st stop in this time we took on valuable liquids and energy but now told to put more layers on over the climbing belts with max 6 minute stop………..the ferocity at still only 3.15 in the morning was vindication the guides skills……..we were already to have a 30 minute snooze!!
Off we went then into the snow fields where the crampons really started to fail……….6 inches of powder snow meant 2 steps forward and slipping one back…valuable energy lost and burning Calves
Only 1 way to deal with this, head down , one step at a time ……..1 step is a step close!!!!!!! Before we knew it Dawn was breaking with the sky lighting up about 6 am and slowly the sun providing what was now valuable heat ……….feet were turning to ice blocks and hands were getting difficult to get warm
The 1st real stop was when the sun brought hope and light to this mammoth task

And what were we moaning about ............this is the way it was!!!!!!!

And what were we moaning about …………this is the way it was!!!!!!!

And now the sheer extent of what was happening with head torches from 1.30am.......a virtual vertical 600 metre climb to the next hut on the ridge.......

And now the sheer extent of what was happening with head torches from 1.30am…….a virtual vertical 600 metre climb to the next hut on the ridge…….

Feeling great about having reached the summit

Recovering from the climb; feeling great about having reached the summit and look forward to updating the blog in a couple of days.

DAY 5 and 6

4am and out the door.........not my favourite time of the day with only 5.5 hours of sleep a full 12 hour day ahead

4am and out the door………not my favourite time of the day with only 5.5 hours of sleep a full 12 hour day ahead

The last photo of the climb before the realisation that iphones really don't like the cold and the sun was needed to thaw it out!!!!!

The last photo of the climb before the realisation that iphones really don’t like the cold and the sun was needed to thaw it out!!!!!

Taschehutte on the map!!.........the route penned out

Taschehutte on the map!!………the route penned out

With 1 hour in to the climb, dawn starts to break and the imposing beauty of the Matterhorn appears

With 1 hour in to the climb, dawn starts to break and the imposing beauty of the Matterhorn appears

The 45 degree hold onto the rope for dear life section and yes the  ridge in the distance was walked by us!!!!!

The 45 degree hold onto the rope for dear life section and yes the ridge in the distance was walked by us!!!!!

ache Hutte with its challenge directly behind...arrival at 4pm.........food at 6.15, bed for 8 in preparation for a 3am Swiss time awakening

ache Hutte with its challenge directly behind…arrival at 4pm………food at 6.15, bed for 8 in preparation for a 3am Swiss time awakening

Looking up from the car park in the distance is Alp Hubel

Looking up from the car park in the distance is Alp Hubel

30 minutes in to it Tachehutte comes in to view a relatively easy walk today 2 hours max but was all about the 2.5 hours in the minibus to get to the start point!!

30 minutes in to it Tachehutte comes in to view a relatively easy walk today 2 hours max but was all about the 2.5 hours in the minibus to get to the start point!!

Day 5 started from this point.............stunning views and the minibus having done its fair share of the work

Day 5 started from this point………….stunning views and the minibus having done its fair share of the work

Day 2 and 3

1st Shot of Mont Blanc 34 miles away (the whiter one in the middle)

1st Shot of Mont Blanc 34 miles away (the whiter one in the middle)

The view looking back from the summit we are still at 2500 metres

The view looking back from the summit we are still at 2500 metres

Boots turn to crampsons and the ropes come out

Mount Blanc day 2 and day 3 031 Mount Blanc day 2 and day 3 030

But this is what you get as a just reward

But this is what you get as a just reward

Looking back at the summit we just climbed

Looking back at the summit we just climbed

Summit arrival........3700 metres.......9.45am  Swiss time on Pigne d Arolla

Summit arrival……..3700 metres…….9.45am Swiss time on Pigne d Arolla

Leaving the hut at 5.30am .................not a good look...........

Leaving the hut at 5.30am ……………..not a good look………..

And now the pointy one in the middle . The awesome Matterhorn

And now the pointy one in the middle . The awesome Matterhorn

But this is what you get as a just reward

But this is what you get as a just reward

Coming off the glacier from Pigne at Arolla

Coming off the glacier from Pigne at Arolla

Glacial Morrane

Glacial Morrane

The ascent to Vignettes Hut

The ascent to Vignettes Hut

Vinettes Hut

Yes proof I arrived

Yes proof I arrived

Day 1 On to the Glacier

Day 1
Up at 6 am having arrived at 11 …. Bed at 12.30 Onto the glacier near Evolene near
Sion. Preparation training for a Monday / Tuesday climb of a local 3800 peak.
Still 1000 less than the challenge. Looking to do 1st attempt next Sunday / Monday but hut
spaces are causing problems and a 3.30 am ascent time is critical. All in 1 piece after day 1 although some falls in the team drew blood 1st day:-((
Report back Wednesday as no Internet

Taking on the King of the Alps Mont Blanc

With so little time to go until the climb I’m feeling a mixture of emotions. Excitement and a little nervousness if I am honest.
But I am buoyed up by two things . I know I have put the hard work into the training . So while it will be tough I am prepared to deal with it. Then there’s the reason why I am doing this. I’ve seen what a difference money raised for this charity (of which I am a trustee) makes. Only this week a baby’s life was saved. It had been starving to death because its mother had no milk and couldn’t afford formula. It’s now on the road to recovery thanks to the clinic which I and my company helped fund. When I think about the challenges these people face on a daily basis it makes me realise that this big challenge for me is the right thing to do. I have been getting some great support from friends, family and people I know through business. Seeing donations come in and getting messages of support is so important . I shall be reminding myself of them as I tackle Mont Blanc. It’s not called King of the Alps for nothing. But doing the base camp of Everest last year has proved to me that I am capable of reaching new heights of physical challenge . I am going to be keeping in touch with home and sending back regular blogs. My team will be letting me know what people are saying and hopefully we’ll see the total raised reaching a new summit too. Thanks to you all who have donated . It means a lot to me and will mean even more to the lives of some very poor people who will see their children educated and get treatment for ill health as a result. If you haven’t seen the website for the charity take a look http://www.funzi.org.uk/ and you can donate through Just Giving http://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Cook13. Mont Blanc – I am ready !

Day 3 – Scottish Training Climb

march 13 650

march 13 648

march 13 646

Day 3

I awake to not any part of my knees, ankles, thighs calves in real pain……….how will i manage this day?

The 30 minute drive helps defer and get closer to 5pm but then we arrive at Ben Eigle and it might as well have been Everest

A 14k roundtrip from 9k the day before with an already tortured body

But Alpine weather bestowed

A long trek to the snow line Clobber up and get on with the job in hand……..helmets a must with the  rocks and now roping up due to the angle of the climb!

Calves are now bursting..this is just NOT possible but by the inch sinch , up the Mountain we go to Summit No 1

Today was a Ridge climb so hard can that be ,only the next hour would tell with 3 rock Climbs in the way with ice !Grade2 climbing apparently but the tools we need for MT Blanc!

With great trepidation , all navigated successfully and a great feeling that now MT Blanc was douable coupled with we already have a 5500 metre exposure down last year…….4400 circa on MT Blanc has to be in the bag!!

Summit to minibus was sheer endurance of carrying  extremely sore limbs coupled with an ice dance from me landing flat on my back

Every step down was gruelling………wasnt it Mallory that is purported to have summitted Everest and died on the way down!!

Focus and concentration were so needed more than ever

Down and out ……….dinner again……….the best preparation I could imagine

Now back to the gym!!