Last week I was tracing virtual walks on OS maps, the guides arrived and are promising. Today, still with the knee strapped, I’m following routes up rock faces, again in my mind. A few jolts to my memory of friends and climbs shared.
Going back 30 – 40 years I was climbing as often as possible – maybe 4 or 5 times each week. You are bound to become good and in my own world, I did. My regular climbing partners back then became my best friends, where are they now?
I’m not writing here of those who have faded into retirement, all great friends whom I still see.
But these three are missed the most, routes and companions come to mind in vivid detail.
Tony, the gentle giant from the Yorkshire coal mines, Off we went to California on an adventure of our lives only to find our English ropes too short for Tuolumne granite. Replenished we tackled some great climbs in Yosemite. RIP
Pete, the haunted personality, with a reach far further than mine. A Cornish holiday stands out and that ‘one more route’ on Gimmer Crag which had him in deep trouble back at home. RIP
Doreen, the elegant mover and faithful belayer and now deeply into suffering Alzheimer’s. I’ ve just managed a 100 hundred piece jigsaw with her today and that was far harder than her last route, Jean Jeanie.
I must fish out some old slides of these climbers and scan them. So many memories and tales to be told.
For a start a grainy shot, from my study wall, of the Ist ascent of Pinocchio at Craig y Longridge, Sept 1989, Doreen belaying.