Find switching from aid to free very gripping, as invariably the hand holds are loose (foot holds are good though!), and each time there is a huge checklist of things to do so as not to start free climbing, only to find I'm still clipped in to the last bit of gear. Not wearing rock boots at too cold, so climbing in Sportiva Trangos, which are good on this kind of thing (fingers crossed I don't come across any slabs).
Have fixed two 9mm statics up to pitch 3, and need to haul tomorrow up to pitch 5, although doing so feels like a big commitment, as I'm sure more bad weather is on the way. Being on the ground is so much more civilised, and rapping my ropes and getting back to my bivy (climbing kit off, into sleeping bag, book and tea and chocolate) was almost worth it in itself. Maybe I should just go camping more often!
A Kit Kat bar costs 60p. Were these words worth as much?
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Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.Follow @ Instagram