Sunday, July 25, 2010
A double shot of Jones'in for ya: Mike and Dave are two friends of mine who, as you've probably guessed are identical twins. A pair of Welsh car whisperers and drink builders, I've had the pleasure of pouring booze alongside them on a number of occasions, and technically I should be able to make a pretty good coffee being that Dave taught me and he officially makes the best cappuccino in the UK. This photo is from Daves girl's birthday party, a 1920's themed throw down where the boys ran the bar, and all of their friends had to resort to calling them "Jones" for the first time in years from being unable to tell the difference between brothers. We all felt a bit bad about this, until I showed them the photo and they both struggled to pick themselves out too.
Usual surf/travel content will start to reappear as of next week all being well; Posting from overseas has meant short and sweets but once I've developed the films from my current mission (6 rolls and counting so far) I'll start to drip feed a few shots onto here. As for now though, I'm loading my boardbag into the back of my friends truck and going camping in the desert for the next week looking for surf. It's 40 degrees celcius outside right now, and the ocean feels like a cup of tea. Pretty darn hot.
Monday, July 19, 2010
This is massive. Whilst the rest of us climbed up to the jump point and quickly wished we hadn't, my friend Brett Grieff of Ocean Beach, San Diego scrambled around the top of the waterfall a bit until he figured he was at about the right height:
"I used to do this off Sunset Cliffs back home all the time"
Bullshit. I'm calling he spent his youth being trained up as a high-diver or gymnast, because whilst the rest of us muttered a few choice unrepeateables and leapt, winding up the widows the whole way down before splashing awkwardly and with zero style, young Brett executed possibly THE most graceful and poised backflip that I've ever seen. And then just to prove that it wasn't a fluke he went and did it a few more times while I took some photos.
Brett's a little over six feet tall, and taking into consideration my wide angle lens warping the perspective a bit I'd conservatively estimate that this is a solid 18 meter high cliff next to the waterfall. Like I said, this is massive.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Winter seems like it was a long time ago now; far enough away to look back on without feeling the bone chilling baltic cold that characterised those few months for a lot of us.
But a couple of my friends LOVE the cold. They spend the winter watching the thermometer drop until it's been below zero for a good couple of weeks, and then they run off to the mountains of Scotland, Wales and the Alps to go climb frozen waterwalls, ski-tour, and get some mountaineering done.
During the other 9 months of the year, Simon Carley-Smith and Matt Wheadon run a coasteering/climbing/ocean kayaking/coastal safari business in North Cornwall (www.cornishrocktors.com), introducing people to the unspoilt beauty of the coastline that we live on. They work damn hard and then take the winter to go and do the things that they love, namely climb big mountains. Both of them usually have a little waterproof camera strapped to themselves on these adventures and I love looking through their images when they get back in the spring. This winter Matt spent a whole heap of time in North Wales and Scotland. For a few days in Scotland he and his climbing partner decided that walking to and from the truck every day was wasting a few hours of valuable climbing time, so they camped at the base of a mountain and built half an igloo behind and around their tent to block the arctic wind. They climbed some beautiful big blue frozen waterfalls, abseiling back down in the dark. Si was back and forth to the Alps a lot this winter and these are his photos above. He had to abort a couple of attempts to summit Mont Blanc due to poor conditions and the avalanche risk, but it doesn't look like he had a bad time despite that. The ice climbing photo at the bottom is his friend/climbing partner Patrique on a route up a frozen waterfall called "The Tears of Chaos". What a great name! The ski-touring shots, from the top down are Si on the Mer du Glace looking back at the Glacier du Geant which they'd just descended, and his friend Rupert half way down the stunning Glacier du Geant.
I love the fact that while most other people are cranking up the heating, complaining and waiting impatiently for summer to roll around again, there are others who embrace the winter and revel in the conditions. There's no doubt that mountains are a beautiful environment to immerse yourself in, and the trips that Matt and Si do really accentuate that fact.
Now that it's summer our garage is full of boxes of crampons, ice axes and complicated looking mountaineering equipment all stored away, but when we're back in the cold grip of winter I'm hoping that they might drag me along on one of their trips so that I can stand at the bottom looking up and taking some photos. I'm trying not to think about the cold for now though.
P.S. An Tor Orth An Mor may well be off radar for the next couple of weeks whilst I hit the road in search of some warm waves. I'll do my best to update as and when I can. Fingers crossed I'll bring back some good shots though, so keep 'em peeled.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
It's the book that launched a million road trips.
Kerouac's train of thought tale of criss-crossing North America and Mexico was his effort to "explain everything to everybody" by way of skid row stories, hopping freight trains, jazz, pot and stolen cars in a definition of the beat movement that he inadvertantly found himself the poster boy of.
It's a good reminder that sometimes the best thing that you could possibly do is just GO. No direction or aim to speak of, just the wind at your back and an inquisitive mind. It'll get you a long way. That and a smile. Placing the journey over the destination, if there even is a destination, and just see what the hell happens out there along the way. The places you end up, the people you meet. Be open to the things that happen, the things that would be a stick in the spokes if you were rolling with deadlines and itineraries to keep but now instead become the opportunities and the gateways to the things that you'll actually remember. Hit and hope.
"Fifty years after the novel's publication (fifty three now), the book continues to inspire and awe those who pick it up for the first time. For those who are seasoned readers of Kerouac, the book serves as a signpost to the past, marking a transition, a rite of passage when they first realised that there is a world out there beyond their hometowns where starlight shimmers in the desert heat and the wind blows lonesome snow drifts across mountain passes like cold, unfeeling fingers."
Paul Maher Jnr
Hit the road and see what happens soometime. I'll see you out there.