30days of being vegetarian – day 5

While away in the Alps I was trying to the think of a good challenge for once I got back. I wanted something that would test myself control but was achievable, with listening to Elis and John and remembering that John was a vegetarian I thought that would be a good challenge.

I am now 5 days in and this is what I have found so far; the first thing I have noticed is that cheese is a big part. Pubs seem to love to make cheese based dishes, not just cheddar but stilton halloumi or other rich cheeses.

Fast food is also a bit of issue, McDonalds or KFC don’t have a massive vegetarian range so they are out the window. Also Tesco’s only have cheese and onion sandwiches and no salads without meat.

It is becoming more of a challenge as I go on my I am enjoying it so far.

Alps 2016

This year we headed to Saas Grund to start the trip.
the first trip in to the mountains was a multi pitch route up Jegihorn, the next day we tackled Weissmies.
We then when up to the Mischabel Hutte, next day we took on the Nadelgrat. It was a very long day a 2.30am start and did not get back to the hut till 11pm, but still summited Dürrenhorn, Hohberghorn Stecknadelhorn, Ulrichhorn.

We then relocated to Pontresina. The first day out on the mountains we got half way to the hut but got rained off. We then took two days to dry out, and then when back up to the hut. With a 5am start we sumitted Piz Bernina 4048m.

Saalbach – Day 3

Started the day off on a easy slope and then worked up to the longer slopes. Then moved over to the longest route here. It was a long lift up and to my surprise the slopes were a lot less steep than the lower slopes. They were long but easy slopes. Stopped half way down for lunch which had an amazing view.

It was lovely and sunny but this meant the snow got sugary at about 3pm so I called it a day.

Tomorrow that I am thinking of going high and then try to do a circuit of the valley.

Saalbach – Day 2

Got up for 8am and down for breakfast, typical European breakfast of cheese, ham and bread. Got ready for the slopes and was out the door at 9am. This time I did a bit of research and found the gentle blue slopes. It was shorter too. The first run when ok better than the day before but still struggled.

Over the next 3/4 runs I got better and better falling less and feeling more in control. It was run 5 where I got top to bottom with no problems it was a good feeling.  Carried on in that run till I felt brave and then ventured off to another run. The next one was higher and longer, the problems crept back in but I kept getting back up. On this run there were a couple of sections which were a lot steeper, which I struggled on but I kept at it.

After lunch I when back to the first slope working on the steeper sections of it. Back on the big one. This time completed it fine, it was now 4pm. I managed to get another two clean runs in before 5pm when the lifts closed.

To the bar for a well needed beer. My ankles were killing me but nearly 6 hours of skiing would do that.

Tomorrow I will work on these couple of runs in the morning and then might venture to a higher one in the afternoon all going well.

Saalbach – Day 1

Flight was at 7.10 from stanstead so was up at 4.30 am. The drive over to the air port was clear so made good time. Last time I flew from stanstead it was a nice airport to fly from, they have clearly become a budget airline airport. After security it was like walking though a shopping centre, winding around and only one route. Then when trying find the gate the glitz and glamour wore off and it was back to walking down what seemed back alley steps to the Ryanair shed at the far end of the airport. My only hope is that Luton does not turn in to this as my trips to Edinburgh would become more painful.

Landed at Salzburg at 10:10 and just missed the transfer and then waited for the 12:45 transfer. After the wait and many coffees it was good to be moving again. We were soon in the mountains and it was good to be back.
The mountains here are not as big as the other parts of the Alps I have been to but there seems to be a lot of activity.

Arriving at the hotel I found that my room was tiny and the toilet was downstairs. It was cheap and comfortable. I was not here for the hotel room but the skiing. First mission was hiring skis. So I hit the streets and hired a pair from intersport. Only got charged for four days as it was later in the evening.

Next ski pass, I got changed and when to one of the lifts. Picked up my pass for the rest of the week again only paid for four days as it was after 3pm, so now time to hit the slopes!
I jumped on the first ski lift with a blue run and felt like I threw myself down it. The snow had the sun on it all afternoon and there was lots of ruts in the snow. Struggled to link turns and came off in the first 20m. Back up go again, down again and again and again. All the way down the hill I was struggling. Getting to the bottom I was not in the best frames of mind and just wanted a beer.
It was at that point I wrote of that days skiing and thought I would get a early night and be first on the slopes.

Learning to Ski

This year one of my goals was to learn how to ski. For Christmas Mum and Dad gave me a voucher for skiing lessons. I took a day off work and booked in levels 1 & 2 lessons.

Parts 1 & 2 when well and actually got level 3 complete too. The next patch of lessons then were only levels 4 & 5. Again took a Wednesday off work and booked a morning session.

After the first 2 hours I completed 4 & 5 so now it was just adding a bit more style to my skiing. Towards the end I was skiing really well a lot further than my original expectations.

Climbing at Reading

This year I am aiming to climb more at other places that big rock. The routes at big rock are starting to bore me, the routes don’t flow and the grades are over the place.

The weather was due to be really bad so the others sacked off their weekend away, so Alec suggested we try Reading climbing centre. I was in Windsor so that worked for me.

Got to Reading at 11am which was good, when though the normal signup process and checking I know what I am doing. It is so clear that climbing walls really discouraging visitors for other walls. It seems odd that the national governing body awards SPA, CWA and others are transferable from site to site but there is no simian scheme for just wanting to climb.

Once started climbing I found myself very anxious about the first climb. It was quite odd, i think it was a different wall, different holds.

Over the next couple of climbs I settled down and found it easier and became more relaxed. Think this is one thing for me to work on this year.

By the end of the session i was nailing 6a’s and was climbing well.

Perfect Energy Bar

So after my experiments with different energy bars none seemed to tick all the boxes, they were either too sweet or stodgy.

Only a couple of days before going away, I was getting in the mood for the Alps I was reading Ueli Steck’s kit list. On it was PowerBar Energize bars. So I found some at a local cycle store and picked up two flavours Banana & Mango Passion Fruit.

The first high trip we took I cracked open the Mango Passion Fruit flavour bar. It was really nice, not too sweet but filling. It was chewy but with a little bit of crisp.

For every high trip I had 1 or 2 a day, they were perfect, small in size by also packed in 845Kj 200kcal.

So on my return I ordered a whole box and plan to use them for all my trips away.

The banana flavour was also nice, but i preferred the Mango Passion Fruit.

Wet weekend in North Wales

Alec, Dan and myself headed up to north Wales for the weekend. It was nice to get away in to the mountains. It was nice to be back, shame the normal campsite was closed so had to head in to Ogwen valley. Weather was windy but got a good nights sleep.

Saturday we headed over to Pen yr Ole Wen and headed up to Pinnacle Ridge, a short V Diff and then moved in to a grade 2 scramble. We then carried on up to Pen yr Ole Wen summit.

The weather started closing in so headed down via Cwm Llola.

Sunday was very wet and windy and there was no motivation to get wet so headed over to Beacon climbing wall. It was nice to climb at a different wall.



Dan ready to lead with min gear