A few years ago Nigel was successfully treated for cancer. For his whole life, he has enjoyed climbing and walking in mountains all the way around the world. Chatting with him is fascinating. Every now and then there's a comment such as "when I was in the Western Cwm on Everest..." or "this is what it was like on Denali" or "when we were aid climbing at Malham we used sack cloth for leg loops to go with our harness belts". Nigel has done a lot of climbing, is incredibly experienced and was determined that a period of illness was not going to stop him.
He was successfully treated for cancer but the treatment itself has left him with some pretty awkward and long lasting side effects. He had to have another bit of surgery this year to help manage these and today's rock climbing in Glen Nevis was an exploration of what is possible for him now. The crags at Poldubh are perfect for this, with dozens of brilliant routes at all grades, easily accessible from the road. We made a tentative start to see what worked and what didn't work; thankfully climbing in a regular sit harness and abseiling like normal were fine. So, we ended up doing a whole selection of multipitch climbs of Difficult and Very Difficult on beautiful dry grippy rock, totalling 15 pitches before the rain came in at 4pm.
Movement on rock outside in the natural environment, taking on challenges and leaving your day to day stresses for a few hours, are such restorative things for us all to do. The more I do, the more I understand this. In addition, it so rewarding for me to be able to help people carry on engaging in these things, despite anything else they are going through in their lives. In fact, it's easy to see that going climbing is even more important because of things they are going through in their lives.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.