My night had been a lurid maelstrom of technicolour possibilities; dreams of wibbling on a busy route; being stuck with no option to go back; an exposed move at the top of The Ladder; falling, being inverted by the weight of my rucksack, pulled out of my climbing harness, plummeting head first …
I felt jaded on the way to Cortina d’Ampezzo over the dramatic Lagazuoi pass. The scenic drive was somewhat overshadowed by a growing sense of my impending doom. As soon as we parked and I got out of the car to look up at our challenge for the day – Via Ferrata Michielli Albino Strobel; 1000m (3000-ft) straight up the sheer, rock wall of Punta Fiames – I felt sick.
It took 15 minutes for the ‘plane to circle and climb to 12,000ft, during which I became more and more nervous. I was the only first-timer and, although I fully trusted Max, to whom I was firmly strapped (in the doggy position) when they shouted “12,000ft. Doors OPEN!” I thought “You’re all MAD!” Continue reading “The Two-Mile High Club”→
I opened the curtains on to a bright, sunny day. I watched a lone paraglider spiral slowly down through the perfect blue sky.
It was Christmas morning and I was alone. In a motel room in Queenstown, New Zealand.
“It’s just another day!” I had assured Sue, my travelling companion, convinced that it wouldn’t trouble me at all. Her boyfriend had flown out to join her for Christmas. Mine hadn’t. He was far too busy. Far to important. Traits that would ultimately clinch his place among the ranks of the X-Men!