Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crikey! SURPRISE!!!!

Thanks to everyone who gave us he surprise of our lives with a proper jump-out-stylee surprise party before our move to France!!!

It was great to see family and friends as we'd completely run out of time to organise a send off ourselves. We couldn't have set up Alpine Highs without family and close friends helping us along the way, so THANKS A MILLION!!

We managed to get a lack luster climb in at the MK wall on the Sunday arvo - a good send off and fun even though we were all knackered...





Thursday, October 20, 2011

Roc D'Enfer

Post from the Mountain Spaces blog for you viewing pleasure, twas a goodun'

One of the best ridge walks I've ever done, not quite as sharp as Crib Goch leading up to Snowdown in Wales but more exposed in parts and much higher altitude. The summit of the Roc D'Enfer stands at 2243m with great views into Switzerland and over to Les Dents Blanche and Mont Blanc. We did the loop from Graydon round to the col de Foron although in hindsight I would do it the other way round next time making some of the more exposed scrambles an ascent rather than an a slightly tricky descent.

It's always hard to judge when a walk is an infamous as the Roc D'Enfer for claiming several lives over the past few years but the warning signs are well justified. Going well prepared with plenty of time, taking a map, making sure someone knows your route and the the weather forecast is nothing but clear skies with no wind is as much as you can do. The rest is walking confidently within you limits and not being afraid of turning back if you are either unsure of the route or not confident in your ability.

Having said that the reward was an exhilarating walk/scramble along one of the best ridge lines I've ever been too!

DSCN1559 (Large)

DSCN1567 (Large)

DSCN1565 (Large)

DSCN1564 (Large)

DSCN1561 (Large)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Alpine Highs

Well, its been a long time in coming, but, Steffi and I are dragging Monty and the mog off to France! We have followed in Chris and Kate's footsteps and are setting up our own catered ski chalet company, offering a little bit of luxury for those skiing in Morzine, Avoriaz and the Portes du Soleil this winter and beyond!

We have got an amazing new build chalet on the fringes of Morzine, in a superb location to come and relax, ski and generally have fun! The main chalet offers 12 people catered ski breaks, relaxing in an open plan living area with open fire and access to our sauna, enjoying the family en suite and double balconied double bedrooms. Those who wish to self cater or want to enjoy their own space in a smaller group, have a stunning modern apartment in which to relax!

We've been working really hard on this and can't wait to get going, with only three weeks now before we make the move! check us out here at

The chalet is just having its last lick of paint and finisheing touches, so more photos will come very soon. We are now in full decamp mode, packing up our house in the UK and making last minute adjustments to the menu. You will leave fatter!!!

The rear of the chalet as it was in August.

The apartment. Superb finish.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Its all about the eyes. On it or not?








I never got round to finishing my post on Daryl and my Snowdonia outing. All you need to know was that after our epic ride, we had a snooze then hit the trad climbing in glorious evening sun. Pics speak 1000 words. Enjoy, as the next day it was WET and WINDY and Daryl did a sterling job leading a sketchy multi pitch trad route on ..... near llyn Idwal. Forgotten. So wet we didn't even get the camera out. Driving rain.






Sunday, August 21, 2011

Me and the bros ride Chatel!

Not much to say really. I was on it that day. Yeah right!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Alpine Highs, well almost...

Way back in June, Daryl and I snuck west for one of our signature 'stack it high, enjoy it cheap' weekends. We've not been back to Snowdon together since our little accident there and it was time to go back with a bang and tick off one the 'must do's' of mountain biking. Finter, who has been climbing loads recently, also wanted to redpoint the whole country, so the climbing bags were added to the bike kit and camping gear.

We'd settled on camping at Llyn Gwynant, where neither of us had stayed before. The main reason behind this was that it allowed us to do a mother of a loop from the campsite, up to Pen Y Pass and then down to the Llanberis pass where the sloggin would begin.

Clear and crisp night.

Having arrived just after midnight, we were up and out by 5:30 the next morning, shivering in the frost (yes frost - it had even snowed higher up!). Campsite completely dead except for the early morning wee wee crowd, its a nice feeling, knowing you are getting the jump on everyone and you'll have the views and mountain to yourself fro a bit.

Llyn Gwynant.

We stopped on the way to Pen Y Pass as the view of our objective was bathed in beautiful light and the stillness was incredible.


We were able to spot our fall spot from here and it was nice to be back in much better conditions.



We set off soon after and started the climb up to Pen Y Pass, before the great free wheel down past all the classic climbing that nestles deep in the Llanberis pass and soon found the start of the LLanberis pass, our chosen climb.

This was when we realised that our early start wouldn't yeild an empty mountain as we passed probably 50 people coming down in dribs and drabs, doing the three peaks challenge! Many surprised at the sight of the bikes and lots of happy encouragement as they paced the last of their steps on the last mountain.

It was on the up that the weather started to close in and we entered the rain and fog.




Jackets on, and a quick look at the scenery before the real climbing starts. We had done a bit of pushing through difficult sections, but now it really started to get going. There were some sections where all you could do was push or carry the bike and we were both cursing the up. We like going down!

Anyway. We made it and it was a slag. I was happy.

Basically, I was delirious and needed a twix.

We headed to the cafe. WAHT!? I hear you cry, Yes, dry and warm and full of cake and coffee, it was. Bloody lovely. Shame about the window all down one size, it could have been a white wall, but it hit the spot in there and I can remember the old cafe from a trip when I was a teenager, and it is definitely nicer!!

Fuelled on stuff, we headed back out into the cold, damp, fog. The fog made the top half of the descent interesting as it was quite thick, but within a few minutes we'd broken out of it and we were starting to run flat out. The Ranger path proved to be a very good choice!

The downhill went in an absolute blurrrrrr! I have to say, we were pretty pleased with our ride and hit everything flat out and on site with the exception of two sections that were definitely unrideable unless you are called Gee or Peaty.

The scenery was awesome and we stopped for a few quick shots en route.

The view of our route up from the Ranger path.


The bad part was we rode some of the most demanding stuff and were having such a good time, didn't stop to shoot it!


DAV_2968 (1)
Classic. With I'd shot it a fraction earlier, but this sums up the route down...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Via F*^$%ing-hell-eratta but not so much II

New routes in St Jean, not as scary as the other one near Annecy but well worth doing especially as they're at the bottom of the road. May take the scary thing back after I do the harder on next time. Carrying a little holiday weight does however add to the danger factor.

The new routes are open in St Jean D'Aulps just 10 mins drive from the centre of Morzine. I've posted climbing pics on our blog before but this was the first outing for the new via routes.

There are two new routes, the Elephants Head and the Elephants Eye Graded French ED and D+

Details of both routes on on the Topo guide available from the tourist office in the village.

The walk in from the road in to Bas Thex is easy to miss with a tiny sign on the right of the road about 50m from the car park at the Abbey Cemetery. It's about a 15min walk in through the woods and the two routes depart from the same spot.

There are two points apart from the start and finish where you can swap between the two routes if one is proving too hard or too easy.

There not the longest of routes but combined with the amount of climbing available on the face lower down the rock it's definitely worth checking out.

Once we've conquered the harder Elephants eye I'll get some more pictures up, hopefully with the sun shinning as well!

DSCN1466 (Large) DSCN1464 (Large) DSCN1497 (Large)

DSCN1493 (Large) DSCN1479 (Large) DSCN1481 (Large)

Topo guides for the sport climbing are available from the Tabac in the village opposite Bar Le National

Mountain Spaces
Catered and Self Catered Chalets and Apartments

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Woburn chest cam.

First time on the bike in nearly a month. Went for an xc loop to wake my lungs up, then ended up doing a few downhill runs with my xc wheels and lid on, for extra danger.

Cam a bit low, but keeping Charlie honest on his session!

More Mountain Biking Videos

Congrats Gavin and Jen!

Well done everyone, my liver is now properly done. Amazing time in France and great to see the two of you married at last! Hope you are enjoying a well earned break in Bali and relaxing...

All our love. The IBFC massive and associates!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Found out what the clunking sound was...

Weds night, we were piling into some reasonably sized doubles and I had the same issues I had the week before - I though DU bushings. No. Main pivot bearing case had cracked and the bearing popped out! I'm now bikeless again...

Man o man. I'm feeling the pinch a bit on the busy front and the Trek Remedy is loosing out big time. I have a full set of bolts and most bearings and I am genuinely wondering whether to get the frame resprayed...

Rode/dug/felt sorry for myself today at Woburn, with Tam. I was on his 24" with serious headset play. ;)

Other people did cool stuff:






Monday, June 13, 2011

Bang for your Buck!

Absolutely knackered today after a real onslaught weekend in Wales. Here's a teaser...

DAV_2968 (1)
Snowdon Ranger track...

Dorset Climbing

Daryl also said he would post on his Dorset climbing...


Daryl and Itzi did a mini epic. No internet means no post yet, but I look forward to one!

Here they are at the nudist beach...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Skye-bit late!!

Hear me now!

Awesome trip up to Isle of Skye with Itzi for a week of TGO!

Epic drive saw me getting all excited so up at crack of dawn on the first morning and a walk/scramble up the North West Ridge of Bruach na Frithe. Beautiful sunny day and a nice grade 1 scramble allowed Itzi to find her mountaineers feet and meant I got up on the Cuillin Ridge-can't wait to do the whole thing now!!

Climbers on the Bastier Tooth-Cuillin Ridge

Itzi in tourist mode on the way back down!

Second day and I was still full of beans so we set off on the mountain bikes to see MacCloeds Maidens. I thought it would be a long walk, hence the bikes but it turned out to be a bit too rocky and uphill in parts so we shelved the bikes halfway through-not much chance of getting nicked round these parts. Which meant they were up the top ready to roll for the downhill-quality!

Itzi checking out the view

After all that exertion the sun was still beaming hard so we went to the Coral beach, which was amazing-white with clear water. Shame it was bloomin freezing! Oh and Itzi fell over and cut her knee-on the beach of all places!


Nice bit of pub dinner at the Stein Inn and whiskey back at the cottage sorted that one out!

Next day we thought we'd take it steadier so we got on Seamus' boat from Elgol to Loch Coruisk via a load of seals chilling on rocks. The Loch was absolutely amazing and wet my appetite even more for the ridge proper. Also a great view of Dubh's Ridge which is definately on the ticklist


Next day off to the Quirang-again amazing and then the business in the afternoon.....


The Old Man of Storr had been beckoning since I saw it on earthed 4. Almost ran up to the top with my bike I was so excited. Got a bit nervy as a few of the stepped rocks looked quite big coming up, but got on with it and it was amazing. one of the best 5 minute downhill runs I have done bar none. definately worth doing and possible straight from the main road!


After all that excitement all that was left was to have a relaxing rain day-which is what we got! So a brief walk in the rain up to The Fairy pools and then a tour of the Talisker distillery rounded it off nicely!!