The joys of climbing and walking that live forever in your memories!

The joys of climbing and Mountaineering.

These are experiences that never leaves your memory?

It is amazing the effect that Mountaineering can have in your life! Many climb / walk for a few years when they are young then get married have families or get injured and have to give it up! Many go back to it years later when there families hav grown up yet these early years are something else. Yet what an effect it can have  on our lives, I constantly meet folk who when they hear that I climb it seems to rekindle a flame that was dormant for many years. That was what happend yesterday when I visited the chiropodist in Elgin.

When you meet someone who climbed many years ago it is incredible how their memory of especially rock and winter climbs are. They can talk about routes so passionately about their companions the gear, the mountain , the route ,it’s history and even the climbing moves and the effect that the climb had on them and their companions after doing some great climbs.

They may have done the route or walk 50 years ago yet that day is so vivid. The  exposure, colour of the rock the fragility of theice they can remember so much in great detail. When they talk they still feel the fear and Adrenalin of the climb. The clarity is still there along with the detail when they talk so vividly about that climb or walk.

I spoke to a very famous climber recently who is struggling with Alzheimer’s he was in his 80’s and he and his family were really finding it hard going. Sadly this great man was struggling in the company we were in. He seemed so far out of the conservation and it upset me. Then we started talking about the mountains, climbing and walking the routes on the Ben and Glencoe and his eyes light up and what a chat we had! His memory was fantastic he remembered the date, every move, the weather, the companions and the joy of putting up a new route on these great hills. The change in him was amazing and he was alive again. He was enjoying the company and as only a climber will understand the feelings on a summit or route climbed . He was back to being a young fit man again and it was a wonderful few hours for us all. It made a great impression on me.

2017 Heavy Arran Aug

“Long after the other memories of the holiday in Arran have faded those of the day on the tops in the heart of the Island will remain – the heart of the Island, yes perhaps in the heart in more senses than one. “

 My Dad  Rev W H Whalley 

When your young and climbing every weekend and at your fittest it is an incredible feeling. As you get better learn from each experience it is amazing how your confidence grows. Climbing is about partnerships, friendship and being  in crazy situations and getting out of them. You think you are invincible and your youth and your fitness keeps you alive. It is about wild weather, long walk in, big climbs running on empty yet finding that inner strength and  then walk outs in dark and cold. The joy of  safe return the first tree seen or path you hit, that first cup of tea in the warmth and safety after an epic. The pub and meeting some of your heroes listening to the epics of the day this is climbing and companionship. Climbing is also about  about perfect summits, sunsets sunrises and views that go on for ever. It is about those who pioneered the climbs,the history, the books, the characters ,the tales and that you were a unique part even in a small way by climbing their routes.

It is about seeing the flowers in the Spring after a hard winter, the wildlife the hills in all seasons and years on these pictures in your mind will-stay with you forever.

It makes me so appreciative of all my years climbing and those who I met and still meet on my journey. I am so lucky I can chat about climbs and walks all over Scotland the UK and the Alps . I am privileged to have met so many great companions shared summits and climbs all over the world. At times their has been great joy and sadly sorrow in my life in Mountain Rescue yet I am still blessed with being fit enough to go to these wild places! I was ill a few years ago and still have a few snags but I am lucky to still get out and about and see the mountains every year in a new light. Every spring Summer is different the hills the rivers and trees look so much alive and being there even low down on the hills and wild places is spiritual!

I have huge memories of hill days when fit and strong early morning summits and great climbs on most corners of Scotland’s finest mountains. I climbed never to a great standard but what incredible memories and thanks to all those talented climbers who took me with them on some wild climbs.

You can never explain being on the great climbs on the Ben and other peaks. Alpine in length with all the seriousness of big mountains. Days on Skye the sea and the mountains unique as always no one about and ticking many of the classic routes or even wandering on new ground. The Islands are so special places to be and so many great days. The joys of climbing and Mountaineering. An experience that never leaves your memory?

It is amazing the effect that Mountaineering can have in your life! Many climb / walk for a few years then get married have families or get injured and have to give it up! Yet what an effect it has on our lives, I constantly meet folk who when they hear that I climb it seems to rekindle a flame that was dormant for many years.

When you meet someone who climbed many years ago it is incredible how their memory of especially rock and winter climbs are. They can talk about routes so passionately about their companions the gear, the mountain , the route ,it’s history and even the climbing moves and the effect after doing some great climbs.

They may have done the route or walk 25 years ago yet the day is so vivid. They still feel the Adrenalin of the climb it is still there when they talk so vividly about that climb or walk.

I spoke to a very famous climber recently who is struggling with Alzheimer’s he was in his 80’s and really finding it hard going. Sadly this great man was struggling in the company we were in.

Then we started talking about routes on the Ben and Glencoe his eyes light up and what a chat we had! His memory was fantastic he remembered every move the weather, the companion and the joy of putting up a new route on these great hills. The change in him was amazing he felt he was alive again. He was enjoying the company and as only a climber will understand the feelings of a summit or route climbed . He was back to being a young fit man again and it was a wonderful few hours for us all. It made a great impression on me.

When your young and climbing every weekend and at your fittest it is an incredible feeling.

It is the beauty and the sheer physical joy of  movement over rock, ice and snow. We do it for the feeling of our muscles working, our hearts beating, and our minds clearing every time we goo out.As you get better learn from each experience it is amazing how your confidence grows. Climbing is about partnerships,friendships being in crazy situations and getting out of them. You think you are invincible and your youth and fitness keep you alive. It is about wild weather, long walk in and walk outs in dark. Climbing is about perfect summits, sunsets sunrises and views that go on for ever. It is about those who pioneered the climbs, the books, the characters ,the history and that you were a unique part even in a small way by climbing their routes. It is about seeing the flowers in the Spring after a hard winter, the wildlife the hills in winter in Spring and all seasons and years on these pictures in your mind will-stay with you forever.

It makes me so appreciative of all my years climbing and I can chat about climbs and walks all over Scotland. I am lucky to have met so many great companions shared summits and climbs all over the world. At times their has been joy and sorrow yet I am still blessed with being fit enough to go to these wild places! I was ill a few years ago and still have a few snags but I am lucky to still get out and about and see the mountains every year in a new light.

Huge hill days when fit and strong early summits and great climbs on most corners of Scotland’s finest mountains. Never to a great standard but what incredible memories and thanks to all those talented climbers who took me with them.

 

You can never explain being on the great climbs on the Ben . Alpine in length with all the seriousness of an Alpine peak. Days on Skye the sea and the mountains unique no one about and ticking many of the classic routes or even wandering on new ground. The Islands are so special places to be and so many great days. These were wonderful days so when we bleather on about them hopefully it will give others the idea to go out and get the natural high of the mountains and wild places. How much do we owe those who pioneered these places and it is great to see the history of these climbs is not forgotten.

So spare a thought for those of us with these great memories and the true friendships made that last a lifetime! If you know someone who loved the mountains and wild places and is getting on  maybe a memory problem  maybe Alzheimer’s. Please take time to bring back some memories with them ! I am positive their are a lot of folk out there we could help.  We can I am sure you will learn so much from them ?

Comments as always welcome!

Wrote Patey: “To my mind the magic of a great route does not lie in its technical difficulty or even the excellence of its rock but in something less readily definable—atmosphere.”

Looking back on these wild, free days in the open .I realize that my happiest memories are in suntanned faces of my old companions.

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Books, Enviroment, Equipment, Expeditions - Alaska - Himalayas etc, Family, Friends, Health, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Recomended books and Guides, SAR, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Views Political?, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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