|This move was the scene of many a slip-up|
|So very close|
|Me looking very pleased on the podium (on the left...)|
Next on my summer itinerary was possibly one of the most memorable trips in my life, and certainly the best non-climbing experience I've ever had. The organisation Operation Wallacea is a conservation charity, which has opened up several projects across the world. Me and a few others from my college went on an expedition to Romania, to study the ecology in Transylvania, which is unique in Europe (and before you ask, we saw no vampires). Incredible scenery, amazing wildlife, interesting culture (I'm running out of superlatives here!) all added up to make this a brilliant experience, but what really made this trip what it was, were the people. Not only were there the scientists and organisers from Britain, but also translators and guides from Romania, as well as another school group from America. Everyone got on really well, the different cultures in the group overlapped really nicely and everyone seemed to have a great time. I suppose what it made me realise is that I don't necessarily have to be out climbing to have a great time - what's more important is the people I'm with.
The second day climbing was a short half day at a crag called Tournoux, where everything was polished and sandbaggy. This is where I truly realised how out of shape I was. After warming up I barely scraped myself up a 6c, and then attempted a 7a a few routes to the right. I can honestly say I have rarely put quite so much effort and determination into a single sport route, but it was all to no avail as I pumped out a few metres from the chains. I fell off extremely frustrated with myself, and sulked for the next half an hour, before realising I'd have to alter my ambitions for the trip more than slightly. The next day was no more successful, although possibly even more frustrating, falling off above the last bolt at the end of an epic onsight attempt of a long, pumpy, technical 7b - the kind I would have cruised up just a few months ago. Again, I couldn't understand how all that effort, all that energy, could all come to nothing, and once more I lowered off extremely disappointed.
|An unsuccessful attempt on a 7b|
|Already pumped out of my mind on|
|It's like Millstone... With BOLTS!|