This year’s Himalayan trip will be with Victor Saunders. It will be the first time we have climbed together since we did the Golden Pillar of Spantik in 1987. It will be a great re-union.
‘Are you going to be training together?’ asked the nice people at Berghaus. Well, we don’t really do ‘training’ but we do enjoy activity in general. And that led to an out-of-the-comfort-zone experience in the world of mountain biking.
Photo: Very dangerous this ‘training’ business
The event was in the Peak District and involved visiting as many check points as possible in a three hour period. I proudly arrived on my new bike while Vic, who now lives in France, managed to borrow a rather small one. My bike has 29 inch wheels which MTB friends had told me is very good. ‘They just roll over the rocks…’ What they hadn’t mentioned is that you fall further when the inevitable happens.
We breathed heavily searching for checkpoints. I fell, Victor fell (less distance – smaller wheels) and we spent a long time pushing our bikes up hills. My mud caked caving clothing and Victor’s heavyweight goretex jacket sat uncomfortably with the body hugging attire of the speedy lycra-clad biking masters that passed us by.
Photo: Back at base camp after our last Himalayan climb together. Golden Pillar of Spantik (Pakistan) in 1987
But we were not last. And before our three hours were up we were making this year’s key mountaineering decision in front of a nice pub log fire.
India was the decision. An unclimbed 1,000m face awaits our attention in September.
And having slept on it another mountain biking event could be good too.