My New Badge – Proud

Guides badge

Its been one hell of a summer preparing meticulously for my final guides exams. As with all things, not everything can go your way and there were some ups and downs in the lead up. First Michelle’s Father sadly passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. Being Chamonix based you are surrounded by death and loss, I would never go as far to say we are hardened to it but more that we are used to the strong emotional feelings of loss, sadness, stress. Its hard to comprehend the feeling of loss her Mum has after 50 plus years together.

After the dust started to settle I put my head back to the grindstone and was in the mountains training nearly every day practicing guiding techniques with peers. Then I caught a nasty D&V virus that had me feeling nauseous, weak and sleeping for hours after work. It seemed to go away after a week but after a Grand Paradiso and Mont Blanc week it made a return and I started to get nervous that I’d get my strength back in time. Another week went by before I felt better enough to try a 2 day alpine route. On the walk in I sharted, all was not good and that was a stinky couple of days.

With 10 days to go the viral fatigue disappeared and I started to eat properly again. Back on track. Then I took a call from my sister that started with ‘are you at home?’ and ended with the shocking news my Mum had died unexpectedly. The funeral couldn’t be delayed and I flew back to Scotland to be with my family on this sad occasion. With only a few days to go before the exam I needed to get back to Cham quickly, sort gear, prepare, acclimatise and gain some head space. On the way to the airport in Aberdeen I got a text from British Airways to announce they had cancelled my flight from London to Geneva. I couldn’t imagine anywhere more lonely than stuck in a airport hotel at heathrow on my own the night of my Mum’s funeral.

I made it back to Cham the next day and had to wait until the day before our exam briefing before there was weather to run up Tacul to acclimatise.  I carried quite a bit of emotional stress into the exam but after a couple of days my motivation returned and it was a good weak with a great bunch of people. Somehow I made it though it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

 

Summer Alpine Guiding

The focus of this summer has been my first season as an aspirant and gaining as much alpine guiding experience as possible. With a low tide last winter and an exceptionally long hot summer, the glacier conditions have been suboptimal providing some additional hazards for travel, but in general there has been a good, varied and continuous supply of work. This has kept me busy travelling far and wide across the Alps to the Matterhorn, Breithorn, Castor, Pollux, Lyskamm nose, Mt Blanc, Peigne, Dent de Geant, Rochefort, Entreves, Marbree, Cosmiques, Vallee Blanche, Stockhorn, Barre des Ecrins, Rifflehorn, Jegihorn and a few others. During this time I’ve got to work with some fantastic guides and also meet a bunch on incredible, motivated clients who were after some big adventures in the mountains. A big thanks to everyone I met along the way and also to those who sent me some of the photos which I’ve shared below, in no particular order. There were a lot of great days out but if I had to pick a favourite it would be the 5 Towers Ridge on the Stockhorn, while the low point was getting soaked to the pants coming back over the glacier from Cervinia to Zermatt during a Foehn storm – a bit too reminiscent of North Wales for my liking ;).

Roll on next year!

received_10213591166123110received_10155694732438984received_10155694726293984IMG_1520-2IMG_20170614_113654-2IMG_20170614_113735-2IMG_20170616_110942-2IMG_20170616_111258-2IMG_20170616_133837-2IMG_20170616_135325-2IMG_20170619_154355-2IMG_20170620_073733-2IMG_20170620_112439-2IMG_20170622_061409-2IMG_20170622_061413-2IMG_20170622_080724-2IMG_20170622_112348-2IMG_20170624_140757-2IMG_20170624_141640-2IMG_20170624_175255_299-2IMG_20170706_205731-2IMG_20170708_084923-2IMG_20170708_140244-2IMG_20170710_145356-2IMG_20170710_145453-2IMG_20170710_172427-2IMG_20170711_075009-2IMG_20170711_082805-2IMG_20170711_090758-2IMG_20170711_090806-2IMG_20170711_094705IMG_20170711_094711-2IMG_20170711_112240-2IMG_20170711_112326-2P1080977P1080976P1080974P1080972P1080967P1080966P1080961P1080960P1080956P1080955P1080954P1080953P1080951P1080946P1080945P1080944P1080943P1080939P1080936P1080931P1080929P1080927P1080921P1080916P1080913P1080911IMG_20170915_100221IMG_20170915_093843IMG_20170914_193631_1IMG_20170914_192901IMG_20170914_105050IMG_20170913_124409IMG_20170908_193406IMG_20170908_193400IMG_20170907_132028IMG_20170907_131456IMG_20170907_122622IMG_20170907_122012IMG_20170907_120821IMG_20170907_104300IMG_20170831_230829IMG_20170830_062446IMG_20170830_062441IMG_20170830_062356IMG_20170830_062010IMG_20170829_201551IMG_20170829_095541IMG_20170829_094630IMG_20170829_094619IMG_20170829_093909IMG_20170829_092649IMG_20170829_092621IMG_20170829_092606IMG_20170829_062839IMG_20170829_062506IMG_20170829_062502IMG_20170828_202112_1IMG_20170828_124903IMG_20170827_140152IMG_20170827_133245IMG_20170827_103850IMG_20170820_124711IMG_20170819_135234IMG_20170819_133633IMG_20170819_121927IMG_20170819_121854IMG_20170819_121338IMG_20170819_114733IMG_20170818_110813_12CSIMG_20170818_101546IMG_20170818_065038IMG_20170818_064918IMG_20170818_063134IMG_20170817_120339IMG_20170817_120053IMG_20170817_120030#1IMG_20170817_115714IMG_20170817_082822#1IMG_20170817_082532IMG_20170817_082432_1IMG_20170817_082402IMG_20170817_080411IMG_20170816_143055IMG_20170816_142733IMG_20170809_085111IMG_20170809_064050_1IMG_20170809_064029IMG_20170807_084905IMG_20170806_183321IMG_20170805_143730IMG_20170727_073352IMG_20170727_073349IMG_20170727_073346IMG_20170727_060142IMG_20170726_173006IMG_20170726_154725IMG_20170724_171200IMG_20170723_121020IMG_20170723_121009IMG_9414IMG_9409IMG_9408IMG_9401IMG_9400IMG_9395IMG_9394IMG_9391IMG_9390IMG_9385IMG_9381IMG_9380IMG_9372IMG_9371IMG_9361IMG_9353IMG_9343IMG_9340IMG_9334IMG_9330