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

Black cyclist image Dark-Half  | Feb 23, 21

Black cyclist

No faux-bravery from @jabig. Bravo!"February is almost coming to an end & I cannot wait for it to be done. This month, I got five different requests for interviews from cycling media or podcasters to talk about...being Black on a bicycle. This will come across as news but Black people don’t walk around or cycle around thinking that we are Black. It’s the world around us that points that out with its behaviour towards us. The only thing I mostly think about when I am on a bicycle is "I am free!" or "I am tired" or ...

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Alien image Dark-Half  | Feb 21, 21


The subject of alienation, to be different to everyone around you, is rarely discussed, even though it’s perhaps the subject of our age. What’s tough about alienation is that people can often embrace being different because they know being different makes them special. People like special, double so if you’re a narcissist, and find yourself endlessly fascinating, and everyone else just dull. Being unique, like a peacock amongst the crows, is your identity, separateness, like an Armani coat. At the same time, such people - the alien - often weaponise this difference against everyone around them -...

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Bums Life image Dark-Half  | Feb 21, 21

Bums Life

I can't remember who said it, but the idea that the powerful don't tell you they are, but powerless people do, something well worth considering, both in reference to how others speak but also how you think about yourself. The same is true on the flip side: people who appear fragile or injured, or who express low self-esteem, but it's just a cover, sheep's clothing, while wolf clothing can be expressions of pride or apparent ego and arrogance when each is make-up, designed to hide pathological self-hatred. I suppose it's easiest to lie, a little harder to do sudo-honesty: a...

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Gravey image Dark-Half  | Feb 20, 21


One of my heroes is Beck Weathers, who like a high altitude Lazareth, died and came back from the dead, surviving an open - and unconscious - open bivouac high on Everest during the killer storm of 96, and was then left for dead by his potential rescuers. ⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣Wiki:⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣“Weathers spent the night in an open bivouac, in a blizzard, with his face and hands exposed. When he awoke, he managed to walk down to Camp IV under his own power. His fellow climbers said that his frozen hand and nose looked and felt as if they were made of porcelain,...

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Chess image Climbing  | Feb 18, 21


I have this odd idea that everyone should try and play a game of chess every day, or at least learn to play chess, so as to learn the life lessons it has to offer up (which if you play every day, are made very clear), lessons you can apply to anything, but in this context, climbing mountains.First, chess is a game that requires an equal opponent, otherwise, what’s the point of playing it? The easy win is not a win, it’s a slaughter, and who plays at slaughter? No, you need to have a stake, an...

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Hippies image Dark-Half  | Feb 18, 21


I went to quite a rough primary school, as in the kids were rough, and so the teachers were rough in return. I was a good kid, but I still got the' the ruler', and once, something more severe, which was dolled out in a corridor by the headmaster. What it was, I don't remember, but I had to bend over, and the headmaster took a run-up. The junior highs school was rougher because it took kids from two primary schools, the other being even worse than ours, funny, as it was only about 500 metres away, the junior high in...

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Breakfast image Climbing  | Feb 17, 21


An alpine climbing breakfast is always a tricky thing, and I guess in my early days I fell into the trap of convention. I’d read all those stories of climbers eating porridge, and I did the same. But generally, my porridge munching heroes were not perched on the side of a mountain, be safe – relatively – inside a tent.Under canvas you can create a comfortable kitchen, weigh and measure out, maybe even produce a steaming mug of tea and porridge at the same time. On an ice face, using a hanging stove – or in this case, an MSR XGK...

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I didn’t get it image Dark-Half  | Feb 17, 21

I didn’t get it

I like lending books to strangers because although drugs can change your perception of reality for an hour or two, books can change it forever.One good book can change a person in ways that nothing else can, the process of reading, the translation of words to thought, images, ideas, emotions, the greatest gift humanity bestowed upon itself. It’s amazing how many people don’t read and have never read a book since they left school, how some can’t read at all.The history of reading, how the plebs got access to ‘the word’, and through it the...

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Fall apart image Dark-Half  | Feb 15, 21

Fall apart

It might be an Irish thing, but having an ear for patterns, I keep hearing the phrase, ’toxic positivity’ being used by the media, a ‘thing’, which is defined as: “the assumption, either by one’s self or others, that despite a person’s emotional pain or difficult situation, they should only have a positive mindset or positive vibes”.Personally, I’d throw this into the word bin, along with all the other toxic words and ideas that are… toxic, another one being “narcissistic personality disorder”, which tends to go like this: “I met this guy and he was really...

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Fundamental image Dark-Half  | Feb 14, 21


This list of nine divisive principles, principles I believe do NOT belong in a functioning multicultural and multi-ethnic society, is a good test of one’s moral compass and barring at the moment, and can be used as a digital time capsule (see below). See which ones you agree and disagree with (test it on your kids):(1) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;(2) the [nation] is fundamentally racist or sexist;(3) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;(4) an individual should...

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