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Clips from the Finnmark Plateau

Clips from the Finnmark Plateau

Last week I returned from a successful Finnmark plateau crossing. This is my third time on the plateau and it was a little different as this year I was guiding a team across from West to East along with Liv Engholm.

We took a new route from my previous expeditions, one which took us well into the heart of the remote, barren plateau.

Guiding was an incredible experience and I can’t tell you how great it was to see the team grow and get familiar with the Arctic environment.

I’d love to get my thoughts down on here properly and all the great challenges there were which I will indeed do soon.

I managed to get some of my immediate thoughts on camera and a random collection is below…. Yes, it was pretty chilly!!

Finding Enjoyment

Finding Enjoyment

Sorry for the radio silence. After Tajikistan I felt the need to simply enjoy everything life had to give without writing it down and sharing it in long form. I still plan on telling the Tajikistan story - maybe some more time needs to go by. It wasn't like it was especially personally traumatic or anything, more that it gave me a new appreciation of my life due to the close edge we got to in that country. 

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What I wanted to write on here is the change in training and mindset I've had over the last six months since returning.

After returning from Tajik the priority was about fun and living life to the full. Of course I already felt I didn't do too badly at this prior last summer but I always felt I had more to give within myself and that I could be a better person in many ways - I needed a focus and this seemed a positive one to have. 

Fun was on the agenda. 

I took the pressure of needing to 'get fitter faster' off my mind with that fear of what would happen if I didn't and this changed everything. 

I started having fun with my training again. 

I had a new gym that proved empty of other people - perfect. I moved house, still in the big city but with the beauty of a large park with rolling hills (kind of) on my door step. This park created more than great hill running routes and fresh greenery, it provided me with imagination and childlike curiosity again.

Well, in my talks I like to ask the audience 'when was the last time you climbed a tree?' As a kid I was forever climbing trees, no questions asked and this kept me happy and naturally fit among the other things. I realised when I was asking these strangers, I was being a bit of a hypocrite! When was the last time I climbed a tree?! I couldn't remember! 

So as I was switching up my regular work outs and keeping it consistent, I decided that when I was home in the countryside for Christmas, I'd put the old rope back on the old wilting willow tree and attempt to climb to the top. This was something I had not done in many years. It was something that was a key part of me growing up but when I realised I had lost it years ago, I was in denial to try to learn again with the fear of failure looming over me. 

Christmas break came and I knew that in my mind it was time - I was thinking in dramatic phrases like this! 

The rope was looped onto the tree, I took off my shoes and scurried to the top in my amazement. I was me again! I can't tell you how pleased and proud I was of myself! I even called over my parents to watch (something we all used to do as kids - 'Come watch me') they weren't too impressed and I think my mum even said 'Well I've seen you do it so many times over the years, it doesn't seem so new!' Well it was new to me once again and I was thrilled. 

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I was thrilled!

After this little moment I bought a climbing rope for my London place and now I head to the park on the weekends with it in a backpack to climb up and down purely for the fun of it. Climb like nobodies watching! The rope even joined me for a weekend in Wales! 

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My point is, because I've enjoyed climbing, running and gymming again, I've naturally pushed myself and found my true self again, even getting all proud and unable to hide my excitement. I get to set achievable goals just because I want to. (My next one is climb the rope with arms only). 

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Tajikistan might have been a wake up call to enjoy these little things like climbing ropes and trees and for that I am thankful for it. I feel ready for this Arctic expedition in 2 weeks time (heading back to the chilly Finnsmarkvidda plateau!) and for the expeditions after that and after that... Let's do this!



Mont Blanc.

With it’s easy accessibility and zero permit fees, it’s an easy climb right?

Well it has some surprises.

Being a relatively seasoned mountaineer (no pro but no novice either) I went there with no big qualms. Thousands climb the peak every year and it’s tremendously popular with those with  no mountain experience due to the amount of guides that haul them up the peak.

Tim and I went to the Alps with training at altitude being the focus rather than a Mont Blanc summit. It would be our last training excursion before this year’s mega expedition; Tajikistan, and a Mont Blanc summit would simply be a bonus.

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The countdown is on once again.

This is all getting a little familiar; The weekends away months before, the early bedtimes, the ordering copious amounts of food, antibiotics, altitude meds, paying the enormous insurance fees, Spot tracker and Sat Phone subscriptions... Just less than one month to go until I jet off to Tajikistan for quite the adventure. (Don't worry if you haven't heard of Tajikistan before, most haven't. It's next to China, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan). 

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April isn't far away at all. April marks the time where I set off to join the World's Highest Dinner Party on Everest. Sounds bonkers, right? Well, that's because it is, but it's all for an amazing cause and some serious money is being raised for it.

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