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  • Bluedome
    peg in a crack and a bundle of slings hanging down from the corner The choice was made I thought to myself that this must be the final F4 pitch to lead us to the station I selected a number of wires and moved awkwardly up the corner I placed a wire and clipped the peg along with the bundle of slings The tat disappeared into the black depths of ice and grit which combined with the granite corner to give this unwieldy task to climb in 4 season mountain boots I scrambled frantically to gain height to my left but failed with the wet cold rock making my hands unbearably cold I tried to use the slings for aid unsure of the stability I stood in them without warning I found myself flying backwards and stopping with a hard thwunk as the peg held true The slings had all but come free from the crack in a bundle of ice and grit which hit me in the face I wasn t having it But then a sudden thought dawned on me Try round the corner With amazement and a complete understanding of where previous attempts had gone wrong A steep slab with a crack and a peg in the corner flagged the way Fighting immense rope drag as it fought back round thecorner I balanced up with complete faith in my Vegas on a 4b slab I reached the peg after a couple of desperate pants I managed to force a clip with the dying efforts in my arms I wobbled up the final couple of moves and fell over the top end of the slab into a recess at the base of a chimney Chris followed up with great difficulty pack and all I took the rope in as tight as possible to help him almost yoyo ing up the route Making it with a frantic bridge and following my lead falling virtually headfirst into the recess which I d body belayed to I d left my pack at the base whilst trying to lead and hoped to haul it up We promptly found it was stuck under the lip of the slab I hooked a sling over a point on the slab and lowered myself back down with the rope running from me up to the sling then back down and through my ATC The bag proved stubborn Giving it a good kick made it pendulum away and as it swung back I gave it a shove in Chris s direction as he pulled on the rope It moved free and we dragged it up the slab Not wanting the predicament of climbing back up the slab again I used the rope system as a pulley moving in a jerk and tighten action Pulling the rope that ran from the sling to my belay device then taking the slack through it with a quick action of the rope and locking off It proved to be a good

    Original URL path: http://www.bluedome.co.uk/ttx/alps2.html (2016-02-10)
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  • Bluedome
    the concentration calmed me talk about pulling together in a crisis Chris didn t question me about the hole he just helped After about an hour of digging we both crawled into the hole we were both sat similar to the posture in a dentist s chair but tipped forward instead of back Unable to straighten cold wet legs and sat on out packs we both looked a sight Chris already looking very cold started to munch on some chocolate as the light faded into the night The usual testimony of people having to wait out a long night before action in a war or a husband waiting for his wife s labour to finish has often been documented Also the interest I d particularly had in the effect of cold on human performance but I never could of related to them until that night never I was cramped the hole wasn t big enough But at least we weren t out in the open I thought I kept saying prayers almost chanting them in my head eyes held tightly closed hands clenched in tight fists to try and force the cold out of my body Energy ebbed I kept wiggling my toes I was worried for frostbite but I could still feel them that was good Chris offered me some food I passed the offer My mind would wander all the concentration on keeping warm I couldn t stop the shivers biting and grinding teeth with my jaw clenched I could feel the muscles tense throughout my face The fear of movement itself that by moving it would release the warmth from my body Must get the stove lit must light the stove It was dark now Chris fumbled his head torch and it fell among our feet We sat in silence three or four words an hour that was all I couldn t accept that I was going to die but the effort in keeping warm drove away thoughts of death It must of been about midnight when we got the stove set up but the lighter was wet Chris put it in his glove and we waited I guessed it was about three I hadn t slept not for a second We d heard heavy thunder overhead and the hole kept filling from slides down the groove Chris by the opening I half envied having the snow pile in at least he had something to do to keep moving I had no room to move I tried stretching my legs straight pushing my head to the roof but the stiffness stayed If hell was cold this would be it I new it could be a lot worse but it was already bad enough Chris lit the stove it flared for a couple of seconds followed by a small yellow flame He turned up the throttle too soon and it blew out It wouldn t relight The force of the vapour blowing out the flame from the lighter

    Original URL path: http://www.bluedome.co.uk/ttx/alps3.html (2016-02-10)
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  • Bluedome
    wasn t happy with it Go for it I ve got you on the rope He urged me on but I couldn t contemplate how deep the crevasse was and wouldn t even try it I faced in and kicked hard into the now firm snow Stepped down swing left axe release right swing lower Good Weight on arms step down with left I was wedged up to my thighs in very soft snow just feet from Chris The face I tried to come down had just disintegrated and I d with luck cleared the crevasse to in the fall and landed in the pile of snow that had come down from the groove We laughed with hysteria We were down The relief overwhelmed us It took us just twenty minutes to cross the glacier and reach the sanctuary of the hut more like a two star hotel on a mountain top We passed a team of old boys who were making there way to the cable car saying it was still running We arrived at the hut with teams roping up and getting ready to get to the telegraphique and get down from the storm We stripped our clothes and let them dry in the room allocated and sat in underwear staring into space sipping from a huge bowl of tea We could barely speak from sore throats wide eyed and be humbled by the experience The locals who ran the hut were astonished with our account of events We were told of how the route had recently become very dangerous due to rock fall and how a guide and two clients had perished on it just two days before we tried it They went on to tell us that that night temperatures had dropped well below minus ten degrees we couldn t absorb that we d survived I examined Chris s knee and suspected that he d maybe broken or chipped his kneecap It was huge and reminded me of Joe Simpson s account I pestered the owners if the cable car was running finding it hard to believe them but eventually accepting the fact that it was We were then faced with the choice We had money enough to stay and eat for a night at the hut and recover But I worried that Nils and Sarah at the campsite would raise the alarm if we didn t return that day We thought of phoning the campsite but found our mobiles frozen and the number inside being unable to retrieve it We waited till one then made the final push My clothes were still damp but know fully re warmed and though exhausted new that we could make it back across the glacier to the cable car We tied on for what would be the final time that month and started across the glacier It was still whiteout but not from snow but more of low cloud The wind was more fierce than ever I led bent

    Original URL path: http://www.bluedome.co.uk/ttx/alps4.html (2016-02-10)
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  • Bluedome - Stok Kangri Report 1
    an air conditioned coach driving worse than Albania mum We were up by 7 and have just had a very good quality breakfast it s a basic hotel room but air conditioned with TV and on suite and a stark view of the city much like the typical poorer Mediterranean views across Argastoli in Kefilonia but without the charm We ll find the extent of the problems today apparently one

    Original URL path: http://www.bluedome.co.uk/ttx/report1.html (2016-02-10)
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  • Bluedome
    food and only one small drink in the entire day We visited somewhere in the region of 60 offices with over 30 levels of management being involved each having to sign dozens of papers to allow us to proceed to the next level At points I could of really hurt someone at others I could of cried from the frustration and at 9 00 pm customs was officially shut and we didn t have our cargo and faced the prospect of being delayed more than just the two nights but up to four costing us 100 s extra Each time we were told it was impossible but with incredible effort on Mukul s part and his friends at the airport we did the impossible and loaded the coach at 10pm with half a tonne of climbing equipment and food The true bonus and what made the delay and the effort worthwhile somehow through a loophole I don t understand we didn t have to pay 1200 duty on the food imported I the end the whole process cost us Rs 8000 which is about 130 some 70 cheaper then I expected Needless to say Rs 500 went in persuasion money at different levels which is considered a good bonus by most here and is about 8 in our money So now we are delayed by two days in total We fly to Leh early tomorrow now and stay there for just one night making us just one day behind the optimal schedule with almost all the possible problems out of the way So long as the baggage on the next flight isn t a problem the rest will be fine Shikar travels have been utterly amazing in contrast to 98 of the system here We re staying B B in a four star hotel which has the ultimate service and food for 30 per room Two share a room and Carol has her own which makes for amazing value because the breakfast alone would cost 8 10 in the UK The extra two nights has cost us 180 more here in Delhi split between five of us but we only have one night in Leh so it s cost us only an extra 90 to stay here NB it costs over 90 per room per night normally In between the time I ve spent at the airport in the past two days 20 hours in the customs building We ve had a real mixture of experiences I ve learnt from Mukul in the times when we have been waiting at offices that he is quite an accomplished mountaineer He s climbed 10 peaks three over 7000m and Stok Kangri 5 times he used to be a guide before office work took over and combined with a nasty fall from a broken rope from 20m onto ice smashing his face which you don t notice at all He s also climbed and worked with Roger Payne BMC president and his wife

    Original URL path: http://www.bluedome.co.uk/ttx/report2.html (2016-02-10)
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  • Bluedome
    loaded the gate shut and luckily with the quick decision making of the team just Carol left at the terminal and the three others and the LO on the flight to Leh To cut the story short Jet airways were not at all helpful and more very heated debates emerged with abusive language being hurled at the manager Either way we got to Leh the next day which was Sunday we spent a day at leisure there and a cold night preparing for the trek up to base camp The whole process from there has been relatively easy we trekked 12 kilometres up the valley from 3400m to 4200m Myself and Chris being quite ill moreover from exhaustion than just purely altitude The trek up a river which was frozen solid is quite an experience especially when your crampons are with the pack horses 2k s ahead of you We set up the first camp with very little participation on my part as soon as the first tent was up I fell inside and slept 14 hours We rested the next day with Chris asleep in the tent all day Myk Carol and Paul trekked the upper river to just below base to help acclimatise and I climbed a nearby peak to 4400m to get some pictures and help acclimatise We set off yesterday and climbed for a long 3 hours in 35 degree weather on ice but fell short of base camp by 1 hour because of very soft and very deep snow The horses could go no further and so now we re stuck in a low base camp and out of sight of Stok Kangri We did get a very good view of it on the trek with heavy snow on the face but with luck no

    Original URL path: http://www.bluedome.co.uk/ttx/report3.html (2016-02-10)
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  • Bluedome
    can t send any more reports other then brief messages We hope too summit up the normal route with in the next 5 days the new route looks less likely everyday but we might have a crack at an alpine

    Original URL path: http://www.bluedome.co.uk/ttx/report4.html (2016-02-10)
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  • Bluedome
    we got within 350 mtr s of the summit but we were forced back with impossible snow conditions The east face is very dangerous so no go there The team are trying for the summit one last time in two days I ve had to make the hardest decisions of my life and have decided not to climb again as I am too slow and too ill and will hold

    Original URL path: http://www.bluedome.co.uk/ttx/report5.html (2016-02-10)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2017-12-11