blog

An eclectic mix of writing, covering climbing equipment, technique, life & death (and all the stuff inbetween).


Freedom is slavery image Dark-Half  | Mar 05, 16

Freedom is slavery

Once the code of our existence was the simple complexity of nature.  Our great evolutionary leap… words we could use to pass on that code; where to dig to find a root, how to cut wood from a tree without killing it, how to sharpen flint to make an arrowhead; words passed down over millennia, our animal ability to communicate through sounds as important as our ability to make fire.  As well as this, the technique of survival, there was gossip, which informed those who would listen of the nature of man.  Gossip soon turned to a story, a...

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Ehrmantraut counseling image Dark-Half  | Mar 04, 16

Ehrmantraut counseling

Had a few emails over the last few weeks with people who are going through difficult breakups, the winter always a good time for such things.  It’s always hard to know what to say, or if to say anything at all, but when I do I most often seems to opt for blunt and not to rose-tinted about such things, and very often the problems that lead to breakups are easy to see.  A mate rang me a few months ago who had only just got married, but things were not going well already, his lifestyle just...

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Running Away Together image Dark-Half  | Feb 28, 16

Running Away Together

I feel like a tramp.  Worse still I look like a tramp, by which I mean I smell like a tramp.  The laces of my shoes are undone (haven’t done them up for a week), and have slipped half their holes, making my shoes like shuffle slippers, their tongues popping around the cuffs of my trousers like the tongues of two excited dogs.  On the side of one shoe is a big blob of ketchup, McDonald’s ketchup, blobbed onto them when while dipping chips at 2 am on some lonely road.  In fact, I smell...

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Active Layers Question image Climbing  | Feb 27, 16

Active Layers Question

Hi CalumYour ‘active’ layer for alpine climbing is there for two reasons, the primary one to keep you ‘comfortable’ (I’ll address comfort below) and to keep the sun off you. plus look cool and photos!Alpine climbing is a sport of movement, with the aim to keep the static time down to a minimum (if you’re doing hard alpine rock you’ll need to use your booster layers more).  The best way to think about it is long-distance running in winter.  Yes, it’s cold and snowy and maybe raining, yet you can run through...

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Getting Clean image Climbing  | Feb 16, 16

Getting Clean

Someone emailed me today from Norway, where the three-part TV program has just aired about my Antarctica trip in 2014. Their question was a simple one, but also one that few people actually ask, basically “How do you stay healthy when you don’t have a bath for 2 months!”.Well first off I have to admit that in that 2 month period (about 52 days) I also wore the same clothes as well, including my underwear (maybe I changed it halfway through!).  I had a shower before leaving South Africa and then one on my return.  Was I smelly, well maybe,...

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Morning before valentines image Dark-Half  | Feb 13, 16

Morning before valentines

We lay in bed still hot And I tell you that there is no such thing as love as I stare up at the ceiling. You close your eyes. No love, not like in cards or poems or a sacred word people dare not say, Like the time I told you ‘I think I’m falling in love’ and you dare not reply. No, not love, just DNA, our only job To pass it on, No more than that. The fun we have in between Packed in tight or otherwise Between birth and death Our reward for a mission we...

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Rabbit Stories image Dark-Half  | Feb 11, 16

Rabbit Stories

How real do you think you are? How much of you is a story, how much is true?Have you ever heard the story about the rabbit and the scorpion? In this story a rabbit comes across a scorpion beside a wide river and keeping its distance in fear of a sting, the scorpion asks the rabbit if it can help it get to the other side.  ‘No’ says the rabbit ‘you’ll just sting and kill me as soon as we get to the other side’, to which the scorpion replies ‘I promise you I won’t, I...

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A mile further down the road image Dark-Half  | Jan 29, 16

A mile further down the road

As usual, when someone dies somewhere cold or steep my phone and inbox fill up with messages, pinging in from radio, TV and the papers, wanting an opinion on the tragedy of someone else’s adventure.  I tend not to respond to most of these anymore, as I eventually asked the question for whose benefit would I reply?  Would it be mine: hubris, to be supportive or critical or nonplussed, humping some small jazz of fame out the dead.  Would it be to help sell papers, fill in some broadcast time, just a voice to link another...

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What’s writing about? image Dark-Half  | Jan 24, 16

What’s writing about?

For me writing is more music than maths, more magic than grammar, it’s as free as I can make it in order to make it free.  I re-read what I write and it makes me sick, like reading out my last blog in the car to someone driving.  It makes me sick as it makes no sense to me now, not like I thought it did.  I read what comes out and want to chuck it all away, makes me feel like one of those hopelessly deluded losers from the X-factor who had no idea they...

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More Black Than White: image Dark-Half  | Jan 22, 16

More Black Than White:

What I like about racists is that although they attract the righteous anger and indignation of those who judge themselves not to be so intolerant, and lack the lofty view shared by those who have made it to the moral high ground, you can’t deny that at least they’re honest.  Now before we carry on (maybe I’ve lost you already and you’ve headed back up the hill, cursing me for tricking you down here) when I say the dreaded R-word close your eyes and what do you see?  Probably a white guy, maybe someone...

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