Thursday, 31 December 2009

That time of year again!

Manhattan beach on Christmas day
(sorry about the big dirty mark in the middle of the photo, my little Fuji has a big piece of dirt under the lens, which I can not remove and am quite annoyed about!)

Well for those that know me well enough you will be aware that I am not the greatest fan of Christmas, so it will be no big surprise to hear that I am pleased it has passed for another 360ish days. That being said I had a very pleasant day here in the US of A, although I did feel a bit like I was gatecrashing someone else's party. However, my hosts were incredibly kind and the day passed without any fuss or hassle. Just the way I like it.

My friends were all very kind to me and posted me a Christmas parcel that included amongst other things some Santa deely boppers, rudolph earrings, snowman socks and 3 pairs of Crimbo pants. The picture at the bottom of the post is proof that at some point during the 25th I was briefly in the Christmas spirit :o)

It is now almost the dawning of yet another new year, I have at this moment in time about 23 hours until 2010. Every year I am amazed at where the time passes and how quickly it can slip through your hands without you ever really noticing. The start of a new year always makes me think too much about my life, the people in my life and the people not in my life anymore. This can be good but often gets me a little upset. This year I think will be no exception as all my friends are so far away, but I will not dwell on this long as I don't like being sad and what ever I do to celebrate I will enjoy it and make sure that I make it a memorable one.

I promise I will raise a glass to toast to the health and happiness to all the people that I love the most in this world. I am not going to mention names, you know who you are and what you mean to me. xxx

Anyway enough of the sentimental waffling, heres hoping 2010 is good to us all. Enjoy.

A truly awful picture of me trying to look festive

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Fat hand and a cankle

Fat hand

I successfully made it back, to what now seems to have become my second home in LA and am hanging out over Christmas with my good friend Wes and his family.

Here are a few picture of my recent injuries. My thumb is getting better every day but still looks quite swollen and is turning purple. My ankle is also lacking in definition and changing colour but it is my heel that is giving most discomfort still. I have been icing on a regular basis which is helping but as usual I am very impatient and want them to heal immediately.

I am extremely grateful to have somewhere comfortable and warm to recuperate. I feel a lot of laying on the couch watching movies may be the best form of medicine in this instance.

You can see the bruise coming through nicely

Where has my bone gone?

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Ibuprofen to the rescue

Well it has been an odd couple of weeks here in Bishop, California. The first week was good and I checked out the climbing areas and some good problems, then as previously mentioned a snow storm rolled into town and covered the place in a massive amount of snow in 24 hours.

Since Monday much of the climbing has been out of bounds due to either snow stopping you getting to the boulders, snow on top of the boulders or melt water dripping off the boulders. Fun! This however did not stop me from climbing as much as I possibly could. What was stopping me as of last Tuesday was cracking my heel off the ground when I fell off the top of a problem. Luckily no damage other than a very bruised heel. Good thing there was a lot of snow to ice it in. I did finish the problem the 2nd go after I fell, but after that it kind of ended my day.

Wednesday I hobbled along back to the Happy boulders and played on some low ball and easy stuff. Thursday I again struggled on and played on a long pockety traverse which quickly shredded my skin and rendered me useless for the rest of the day, so sat in the sun for a while and chatted to another loner climber chick. Thursday was also the day I was starting to feel a little sorry for myself as once again I was not managing to achieve the goals that I had set for myself on this part of the trip. In order to cheer my self up I called Emma for a chat, this did cheer me up for a while, but then just made me miss her all the more, especially her great spotting skills.

Anyway, after a few sulky moments I pulled myself together, looked around me and thanked my lucky stars that I am privileged enough to do this trip and see amazing places and meet great people.

Friday I took a day off as my heel seemed to be very sore for some reason so drove to the ski resort of Mammoth, where I took the cable car to the top of the mountain. It looks an amazing place if you are into skiing or snowboarding, huge wide slopes that go forever. I was tempted but not willing to test my insurance to it's full potential just yet!

Today, I overcame my temptation to leave early as my foot felt much better after an icing and hot springs session the previous evening. I headed out with Lynne (other loner climbing chick) for a last day of climbing and just going for the total skin wreck day as all I have to do is drive tomorrow. I did wreck my skin and had fun doing it, but what I did not bargain for is falling awkwardly again and landing in an odd position on my left thumb. Extremely sore, again glad of snow still on ground for immediate icing purposes. End of day! As I sit here now in the cafe it is starting to feel better and the swelling is going down thankfully. I reckon it will be sore for a few days though. Ibuprofen to the rescue once again.

So, have I enjoyed my time here in Bishop? Hell yeah, but I have had my arse well and truly kicked. Will I come back? I really hope so, more unfinished business, but the next time I will bring and army of good spotters.
P.S Mum don't worry xx

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Snow days

Well, the storm that was forecast hit the Owens Valley yesterday. I sat in the Black Sheep coffee shop for most of the day and watched the snow fall and fall and fall. At least 6 inches fell in the town of Bishop alone. After staying in town for dinner and getting a short lesson on how to drive an automatic in the snow, we eventually headed back to the Pit in the early evening to find my tent blending in very well with the surroundings.

Tent in disguise

Tent in the morning

This morning everywhere was just covered, but thankfully the sun has come out and the snow is melting fast, hopefully I will be able to climb tomorrow if it stays out all day. So another day just hanging out in the town taking a few photos and drinking coffee and chatting to the few people that are still here. Later going to head up to the hot springs for a float around in some lovely toasty mineral water.


Ice at the Buttermilks

There are many reasons why you should not climb with a hangover. The photo above is proof. I did this after our Rock and Roost night in Joe's when I slid down a huge slab. Slightly annoying as these were brand new when I got here.

Heavenlypath V1

Saturday, 12 December 2009


I have been in Bishop, California now since last Monday evening. I had a bit of a mare trying to get my hire car for this trip, as the very cheap company that I had booked on line then tried to charge me $900 dollars for insurance, which was just ridiculous. So I told them I no longer wanted the car and then got another through Enterprise. I eventually arrived here in the evening rather than during the day, but all was good, as I met up with some friends that I had met in Joe's and stayed the first night in an apartment. The next day I pitched my tent in The Pit (BLM camp site) and was ready to roll. I have managed to climb for 3 days and have had a little taster of The Sad, The Happy and The Buttermilk boulder areas. The problems I have seen so far are amazing. The rock is a mixture of Granite and volcanic rock and is amazing to climb on. My skin has even been holding up so far. I have a feeling though that I may not climb as hard as I want to yet again. I have done a few of the easier lines, but my goal of doing a V5 or a V6 seems like it might not be possible. It is snowing really heavy today, but once the weather clears I am going to try my hardest to maybe project a couple of problems and hopefully send something cool. My days are limited though as I am only here till the 20th Dec so this may not be possible for me. We will see and keep fingers crossed, it gets a little frustrating after a while, but I will persevere and try and perfect my technique which I know is letting me down much of the time.
I will try and post some photos soon.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Manhattan Beach

This area is quite posh too.

Since being in LA I have not done very much apart from enjoy the warmth, comfort and home cooking of my amazingly welcoming hosts. I have visited the beach a few times though as there is a great fruit smoothie shop and I like to go and get my fill of sea watching (slightly different to Crovie, but good none the less) and the life guards are quite pretty to watch too! Sometimes I often think I might fake a drowning just so I can be rescued, but I dislike the water so much that even the lure of a Baywatch hunk is just not enough, so I will content myself with watching and pretending that they are running in slow motion towards me...

It has been a very welcome respite from the camping, but I am leaving the warmth of Southern California on Monday for a 2 week trip to Bishop which is about 6 hours North near the ski area of Mammoth. When I booked my hire car I stupidly failed to read the 10 day forecast for the weather and it would seem that the weather is due to change to rain on Monday, so I am hoping that it will not be like that for the whole fortnight I am there. Fingers crossed. I think I will also need to borrow a warm blanket as it looks fairly chilly at night. Oh well I am sure it is good for the soul or something. Will keep you posted.

Birds on a wire


Beach volleyball

Flotsam or jetsam


Surf dude

Jonathan Livingstone I presume?

Manhattan beach

All photographs by Caroline Harvey