Feckin' Trekkin'

Matt and Krista's Awesome Travel Blog

Month: July 2009

July ’09 Training Summary

Oh yes, folks. It’s my turn to write up this month’s training progress. I get the ability to award the “stars”! Let’s get started, shall we?

I think it is safe to say that we kicked our training up a notch. Climbing became a main focus for the both of us. Matt delved into his new road bike and set a goal of 300km for the month. Crazy Brit. As of today, July 31, 2009, he is at 295km. The day isn’t over! With the 5km to be completed on this start to a long weekend he will have reached his goal. A virtual *high five* is in order.

I decided to have some fun and attended weight training classes and got into some cardio/core training. I thought it would be a nice change. Needless to say my thighs were in copious amounts of pain the following days, but it was a great change from climbing walls. To top it all off, I had the pleasure of training Matt one evening. I subjected him to a whack load of lunges, squats, core exercises and running activities. Matt survived. I took some pleasure in administering the pain.

With all this said and with keeping all activities up to date, I am awarding myself 5 amazing stars.

Matt will be awarded 5 stars and an honorary high five for his road bike efforts. Well done!

Next month is a big one! Tougher challenges are being brought to the table and our first experience of climbing several peaks is up and coming! I can’’t wait to put Matt into a crevasse!


  • 295km on the bike, including road rides of 35km, 50km, 13km, 25km and 35km (the last two on the same day).
  • Trekking – 10km
  • Climbing – Thurs 2nd (2 1/4 hrs), Mon 6th (2 1/2 hrs), Thurs 14th (2 hrs), Tue 21st (2 hrs)
  • Can do 29 push-ups in 2 mins on 14th. Can do 35 by 25th.
  • 2 1/2 hours canoeing
  • 10km running
  • Soccer session and puddle jumping
  • 1hr core training session with Krista

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  • Trekking 10km
  • Climbing – Thurs 2nd (2 1/4 hrs), Mon 6th (2 1/2 hrs), Thurs 14th (2 hrs), Tue 21st (2 hrs)
  • Workout session with Maya
  • 2 1/2 hours canoeing
  • 1hr 20 min – Intervals, circuits and core training session with Brad
  • Soccer session and puddle jumping
  • 1hr core training session

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Quotations 2

In climbing to the summit you are overwhelmed by a deep sense of joy and thankfulness which lasts a lifetime, and the experience changes you completely. The man who had been to the mountains is never the same again; he becomes conscious of his smallness and loneliness in the universe.
Major H.P.S. Ahluwalia

There is something about these mountains that you can’t describe or pass on. You have to experience it and let their might and power just soak into your soul. Sometimes it pays just to put the camera down and let your senses do the feeling. When you do you whole body just seems to relax but at the same time there is an inner strength.
Bill Forrester

Adventure is simply physical and emotional discomfort recollected in tranquility
Tim Cahill

The greatest pleasure in life is doing the things people say we cannot do.
Walter Bagehot

There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.
Ernest Hemingway

Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live. Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom. Only a person who risks is free. The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; and the realist adjusts the sails.
William Arthur Ward

Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.
Robert Service (1874-1958)

The best climber is the one having the most fun.
Alex Lowe

Such ventures required a more hairbreadth creativity: a finer balance between hazard and endurance; talent and vision; a willingness to accept that control may only be an illusion, that success is determined not by the summit, but by the means alone  and that at times your survival, may be the only reward.  On experimenting with styles and technical routes on Everest. The most minimalist form of 8000-meter alpine style night-naked climbing , in which mind and body listen to a new voice, follow a new rhythm (away from) the known paths… without rules or routines to rely on … (where) the only advice comes from deep inside the self… (and) the mountaineer is creative, not merely a participant in sport.
Voytek Kurtyka

If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?
T.S. Eliot

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Aristotle 384 BC-322 BC

It is life near the bone where it is sweetest.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Calgary Teaser Trip

Krista and I are going to be in Alberta next month, doing an introductory mountaineering course. Obviously we’re both really excited about it, as it will be our first big outdoor adventure together. Hence being in Calgary on business this week is rather like torture. I’m only an hour away from the mountains, and yet I’m stuck in a high-rise office block. If it was a little less hazy outside I’d be able to see the Rockies from here. Instead I’m having to make do with staring longingly out of the window, and doing a bit of urban exploration – mostly checking out the local outdoor stores.

My two most interesting finds so far were the actual clothes worn by an Everest summiteer (which, after a bit of research, I think belonged to Calgary resident Jamie Clarke) in the Out There store, and a massive Yamnuska display in MEC (Yamnuska are the people we’re doing our course with next month). I took a couple of pics of MEC (inside and out) so Krista could see what she was missing out on. I’m so cruel. 😉

Peaks I’d Like To Bag

Cascade Mountain, New York, USA – Located in NY State, this is a simple 4,098 foot peak that is the most commonly climbed of the Adirondacks. The real appeal for me is that it rises 1940 vertical feet in only 2.4 miles, so it’s great training. Plus it’s an easy long-weekend trip for us that we could combine with some backcountry camping.

Snowdon, Wales – My “home summit”. It’s only 3,560 feet above sea level, and I’ve climbed it perviously in 2009, but I’d really like to do it again with Krista (in better weather). It would be great to be able to see England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales from the same spot, but knowing what Welsh weather is like it may take a few visits before you get a clear enough day.

Sgurr Dearg and the Inaccessible Pinnacle, Isle of Skye, Scotland – I saw a TV show (“Munro – Mountain Man” on BBC4 in the UK) that featured a bunch of the Scottish high peaks and this one really grabbed my attention. As with most UK peaks, it’s only just over 3,000 feet (3,235 in fact) but it’s the toughest of the Munros and the only one that requires a graded rock climb (albeit an easy one).

Mt. Elbrus, Russia – Highest point in Europe, and one of the Seven Summits. Being born in Europe this makes it the number one goal on my home continent. Despite being technically fairly straightforward, it is statistically one of the most deadly mountains on the planet so it shouldn’t be underestimated.

Alpamayo, Peru –  An utterly beautiful peak, and by all accounts is technically challenging to climb. The hike to the base of the mountain is also purported to be one of the finest alpine routes there is. This one’s going to take some planning and a lot of training though.

Mount Whitney, California – I’ve never been to the west coast, and a visit to the Sierra Nevada sounds like a good excuse. A spring attempt with snow shoes and crampons, maybe camping above 10,000′ (which I’ve never done before), really appeals. On paper at least 😉

Mount Washington, New Hampshire – Renowned for its bad weather. I grew up in England so I’m used to cool, damp, windy weather. Hence Washington strikes me as my sort of mountain – basically what I’m used to but a LOAD worse. It’s essentially a strenuous day hike, but the severe weather throws in the sort of extra unpredictable challenge that I like.



Climbing Progress

Fri 26th June – 2 hours – Beginner’s lesson 5.4s and 5.5s, 30 feet max.

Sun 28th June – 2 1/2 hours – Belay check. Matt completed a 60 foot 5.6 and a smaller 5.7, and attempted a 5.8. Krista did the 40 foot “ladder”, completed a 5.6 and got 3/4 of the way up the BIG 5.6 ladder.

Tues 30th June – Matt got a tax rebate and went to buy his own harness and shoes.

Thurs 2nd July – 2 1/4 hours. Krista did the BIG ladder, a 60 foot 5.6 and attempted a 5.7. Matt successfully broke in his new shoes, almost completed the 5.7 that’s been bugging him (over the “doorway”), completed another 5.7, and attempted a 5.8. Had a go at a 5.9 too but didn’t get far. 60 feet no longer holds any (much?) fear for either of us.

Mon 6th July – 2 1/2 hours. Krista nailed the other 60 foot 5.6 on the 2nd attempt, finished a 5.7 and attempted the nasty “doorway” 5.7. Matt finally beat the “doorway” 5.7, climbed a 60 foot 5.6 and fooled around on a couple of 5.8s and 5.9s. Didn’t complete any of them but climbed a lot more smoothly.

Tues 14th July – 2 hours. Tough night, and it was really busy. 3 x 5.6 for Krista, 2 attempts at a 5.7. 2 x 5.6 for Matt, 1.5 x 5.7, most of the way up the unclassified red route in the yellow tower and a decent attempt at the 5.8 over the door in the yellow tower (which is my new project).

Tues 21st July – 2 hours with Matt & Inga, and Matt & Lillian. Routes are definitely harder than before. Matt got 2/3 of the way up the 5.8 over the door in the yellow tower (progress!), then fooled around on 5.6, 5.7 and 5.8s. Completed the 5.7 the other side of the doorway (just). Krista completed the 60 foot 5.6 twice, then tried a number of 5.7 climbs only to get stuck or gracefully fall off and almost hit Matt’s head with her backside.

[Summer Break]

[Toe Break]

[Rockies Break]

Thurs 3rd Sept – 2 hours. Signed up at Climbing Academy. Matt spent most of his time trying to master the tricky 5.8 with the big overhangs. Did it once untidily, then had 3 or 4 more goes at doing it with more grace but kept running out of grunt.

Tues 15th Sept – 2 hours. Matt did the 5.8 over the archway (it’s easier now), but the top section was a bit tricky), and got a fair portion of the way up a couple of trickier 5.7s. Climbed quite nicely, but definitely lacking in strength/endurance. Krista was up and down the high 5.6 like a rat up a drainpipe. Had a good stab at some tricky 5.7s but lacked the required reach!

Fri 27th Nov – 2 1/2 hours. Matt climbed with Dave Thornton for a change. Have only climbed once recently Climbed a big 5.8 in 3 attempts.Had a couple of stabs at a 5.9 and a 5.10a, but didn’t finish them. Climbed surprisingly well considering haven’t climbed much.

Mon 30th Nov – 2 1/2 hours at the Academy. Krista got back in the swing of things with a variety of 5.6s and a good stab at a tough 5.7. Matt climbed a 5.9 with a big overhang and a couple of 5.8s. The easy gradings seemed hard and the harder grading seemed easy, if that makes any sense.

June ’09 Training Summary

June is the first month we’ve been doing any proper structured training, so I thought we ought to record what we’ve done.


This month I’ve really enjoyed getting out and about. The weather’s been good, I’ve just bought a new bike, and I’m coming off the back of running my first marathon so I’m feeling pretty upbeat. Totals for the month are:-

  • 105km cycling
  • 40km hiking
  • 15km running
  • 1 session of volleyball
  • 2 sessions of indoor climbing
  • 2 nights spent under canvas (yes that qualifies as training)
  • Absolutely zero stretching, weight training or exercises for my dodgy shoulder (boo!)

I think that’s a pretty decent showing, so I’m awarding myself 3 and half stars out of 5. It’s kinda cheating really, as none of it’s really felt like training. I guess that’s the point though – if it’s fun, it won’t feel like hard work.

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Krista’s been really slack with writing up her training summary, so I’m doing it for her.

  • Successfully got back on a bike and rode it to work
  • 40km hiking
  • 2 sessions of indoor climbing
  • 2 nights spent under canvas (yes that qualifies as training)

Despite getting a decent amount of training in, she’s been too lazy to write up her own summary so she really only deserves 3 stars at best. However, after appeal, I’ve upgraded her to 3 and a half.

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The Great TTC Expedition Part 3

Happy Canada Day! To celebrate Canada’s 142nd birthday (and a day off) we decided to continue our TTC trek! Our goal this time around was to start off at Union station go up to Eglinton and, depending on how we felt, continue onto Lawrence.

We kicked it off at 12:37pm after a nice subway ride to our starting point with a bunch of kids hyped up on sugar. We figured this part of the trek may be a little more challenging as we had warmer weather, ranging from 22-24 degrees accompanied by a high humidex, little cloud cover and more people on the street to dodge due to Canada Day events.

The part of Yonge Street that we trekked is quite a popular stretch which made for some fun times! Ranging from getting a hug by the Information booth guy, Matt and an orange pylon, getting hooked up with a Canadian flag and witnessing hordes of people stretched down Yonge Street to get into the Mandarin restaurant for a free buffet, which made me feel sick just seeing the people lined up and made Matt decide to cross the street as we couldn’t get around the crowd.

We hit up Eglinton station and after a brief discussion and a photo we pushed it a little further and continued onto Lawrence. At the time I was feeling like a human salt lick but felt like we were exceeding the expectation of this portion of the trek which gave me an extra boost of energy. 20 minutes or so later we made it.

We completed 10.2 km in 2 hours and 55 minutes. Total height gain was roughly 100m. We decided to have some fun with our photos this time around as you can see as well. Great times! This trek was sweaty, fun and challenging. Matt completed this portion with a heavy pack. 20lbs to be exact.  Kudos! A great way (although some may think we are slightly nuts) to spend a day off.

Coming up next… the completion of the Yonge-University-Spadina line as well as the Sheppard line all in one go.

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