Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Dreamer

 (Written 11/01/2008 - first published by Climber magazine around the same time.)

Hands that look like they’ve been through a blender before being run over with a hydraulic sander until they no longer resemble hands but a bloody, skinless, wounded animal growing from the end of your comical Popeye forearms.

Arms that are so weak you struggle to lift the sleeping bag from your road-kill corpse of a body in this horribly bright morning before prising yourself from the incredibly uncomfortable camp mat that was about as much use as an extra set of eyebrows.

Legs are feeling full of lead with concrete hairs growing from scratch, bruised and shredded skin, while what feels like steal boots encase the swollen pancakes of what you used to call feet which clumsily manoeuvre you into a standing position.

Head flopping and lulling like a helpless infant and spine so far hunched you can almost kiss your knees; you roll from the relative warmth generated by the body heat of fellow masochists and stumble forth, towards the bright light hoping for some kind of relief.

“Ahhhhh… sweet relief… these bushes never had such a treat.”

Stumbling and mumbling back to the tent you find frozen, life giving, headache relieving, tasty, H2O and bacon wrapped so tightly in tin foil it could be considered a maximum security rasher penitentiary.

You whack that stove on full blast, more useful for warming your “hands” than for cooking that stringy, slimy, pig meat on which nourishment will be procured for the rest of the day, and witness the emergence of zombies from the same hole you crept from a few minutes before.

Following at least six pints of coffee and enough cereal bars to feed a sizeable portion of the fellow residents also calling this neglected field a campsite, you are finally ready… 

“Hell YES! I’m getting that traverse sorted today! There’s no stopping me…”

A miracle mish-mash of pain-killers and other orally consumed confectionary goods has brought about a transformation… a climbing machine capable of feeling no pain has emerged from what seemed an irreparable victim of over-doing it.

“But what about the gapping hole in the middle of your finger as well as the three days of fatigue, not to mention the chalk shortage thanks to our unrelenting consumption of every last molecule of white gold?” wonders a friend stood beside you still chomping down on the chow.

“Tape my man! Accept no substitutes… and who needs chalk in these conditions, it’s so cold I will freeze to the holds leaving friction of little concern to me… conditions are perfect!”

With that, you’re off on another crusade to conquer that ever illusive boulder problem on that beautiful bit of granite in this astonishing countryside.

You don’t have a care in the world and life couldn’t be sweeter… ignoring the ever unpredictable weather.

Then… the end of your trip dawns, real-life swamps over your existence, and climbing is snatched whenever a spare opportunity presents itself.

At least there are always the dreams of the next trip…