Self Belief is Everything

All words and pictures copyright Alastair Rose 2011

Monday, December 22, 2008

One country, lots of systems

It feels hard to write about chinese sport climbing back in Scotland fully ensconsed in a family christmas but here goes. I finished work in Hong kong drank too many beers and ate too much food before hopping the border north into china. I jumped on a sleeper bus and was soon standing in the main street of Yangshou. It was 4 am. I wondered up and down the street in the dark until a kind fellow on a motor bike agreed to drive me closer to where i wanted to be for a mere 20rmb (2 pounds). Everything was closed. At this point I decided to sleep on a bridge in west street (where the climbers hang out) till dawn. This turned out to be pretty cold as i had forgotten to bring any trousers but it seemed the logical solution. That day after agreeing with myself (around 7 am just before the sun rose) that it would be a bad idea to do any climbing having not really slept i promptly went climbing. The first day was a bit of a shock as I was not really ready for the redpoint/projecting sport climbing mentality but i dragged myself up some beautiful climbs. The rest of my 9 days saw me teaming up with a variety of climbers including eben farnworth (who some of you should know). Eben and I went and climbed some good old fashioned trad and even managed to claim a first ascent of a big unclimbed (and obvious) crack line (2 pitch 5.10a (HVS 5a) Chinese Very Severe) Trad limestone in Yangshou is definitely more of an adventurous experience than an aesthetic one though it is a lot of fun to trundle massive blocks to scare the nearby sport climbers. Unfortunately the drill we hauled for the belays ran out of juice after one bolt but at least it backed up my belay that was crumbling everytime i shifted body position...... Essentially it was great to be out in a beautiful place, eat cheap food and escape hong kong. I am now back in scotland enjoying the family life. Trad Climbing ? (racked up and ready to go)

Why do i always have to lead these pitches? the final big wide crack.

Its a hard life but someone has to do it. The Li(?) river at sunset with some of the many towers

The first belay ledge with an excess of gear.

Drilling my first ever bolt with ebens shady chinese drill
Eben climbing above my high quailty belay.... you can see the quality of the rock below and to the right of the blue piece of gear...

No. It really is a hard life

Access, Yangshou style

Eben cruising up the 5.10b cracks of the birdman

Friday, December 5, 2008

One silent clap

"they respond to one silent clap" the teacher told my colleague as he stood in front of some very noisy children. Adam looked at the teacher blankly and he said it again. "they respond to one silent clap.." Adam took a moment and then said slowly "one silent clap?" the students instantly all clapped put their fingers to their lips and all said "shhhh" before standing in silence staring at adam. Adam smiled. Last week was with singapore international school and my last week of work for a long time. Actually it was only a three day program in hong kong with one day of prep, a quick program and one last chance for me to make some money. The season has as ever flown by with me spending the first week desperately playing catch up, remembering hong kong and what happens where. Since then its been go go go, the usual for hong kong and Asia pacific adventure. Most programs this season have been in hong with my one small program on the tibetan plateau and even some corporate work (the pirates!!) for APA's sister company Paradigm consultants international. Having only taken a few days off in the last couple of months I am now looking forward to some time to relax and head to china on monday to go climbing in yangshou. After that it will be back to Scotland for christmas with the family followed by Hogmanay with my friends. Hopefully see some of you at various points. The photos are from the prep day for the last program with an evenings climbing at tung lungs "technical wall" followed by some program photosGeordie belaying in the dusk as the waves crash behind."Bon and Geordie "just one more climb!!!" actually 2 more for geordie as he had to go get the quick draws back off the route i couldnt get up! (fighting in the dark with 4 head torches on him)DT takes a swing off the top of "small roof" with emma belaying A student coming across the tyrolean at dead mans cove with the waves crashing below
Bon makes breakfast before the students turn up on day 1

Friday, November 28, 2008

Selling my soul

So it has been an extremely busy couple of weeks, first of all a ten day trip to the tibetan plateau with some AYP (hong kongs Duke of Edinburgh Scheme) Students where we summited the mighty Mt Yika (4300m) followed by a week dressed as a pirate (First mate ginger beard) on the bounty in Victoria harbour. All this then another week with some young hong kong people. The pictures should tell a better story....Kai proving that there is some climbing in hong kongThe wonderful reception at our first hotel in china (luckily the students didnt stay here)Andrew outside the Naxi guesthouse in tiger leaping gorge (our acclimatization hike)Jade dragon snow mountainStorm rolling through the gorge Our guides and horse taking a smoke break at 4300mTibetan monastery in Shangri-laHaving a meal in shangri la with our guides.Inside a nomad hut for the night at 3700m
At least they're trying!
Ginger beard

Capturing the taihitian dancers (do you think these girls have practiced posing

an unusual view of central hong kong

Jade dragon panorama

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Sea??

So for some my blog may seem to be misnamed as there really hasn't been much sea action recently. That was until I was informed that I was going to help rig a safety system for going aloft on the "bounty" (the replica used in the film). That was of course after my crazy week in the luk wu gorge in the eastern new territories. All in all Asia pacific Adventure is as ever keeping me on my toes as the rigging of the safety sytem quickly became organising a staff day on the ship and that meant learning the rigging. The bounty is a fully rigged ship which means she has 3 masts with square sails plus staysails (jibs to the dinghy sailors out there) and a mizzen. Luckily for me she only currently flies 11 sails but unluckily the bigger of the square sails can have up to 12 lines to control them (braces, clewlines, buntlines, leechlines, tacks, sheets etc). A day and a half after first seeing the ship I was trying to explain tall ship sailing to 20 of the APA staff. There was definitely some confusion as the permanent crew dont speak english and my cantonese sailing terminology stops at "li seng" (pull rope). Anyway heres some photos of the sea at last, with more to come as I have a whole week on the Bounty in November.

Yung shue wan as the sun sets (this is taken from the village where i am currently living (the ferry pier is on the right side))

Bani and B help a student on the traverse in the Gorge.

One of the groups arrive back at camp by dragon boat after a day in the gorgeLamma island from the south end. Far left is the power station, yung shue wan is beyond that while the buildings on the left of the picture are Aberdeen (south side of HK island)Geordie on a fast learning curve - first time on a tall ship and rigging safety lines all over the place. (taken on the fore course yard)Another bit of wisdom from the Hong Kong ferry service"So if you just pull this one..." Trying to work out whats what (its a fore topsail buntline) (Courtesy of Becca)Becca teaches Captain Lau (in the grey boiler suit) how to sail.Victoria Harbour evening light.

Geordie, Alex and Piak taking in the views of the harbour from the main mast crows nest

Thats all for now, another busy week ahead with a 5 day program in Hong kong then some planning for a trip to Lijang and the Tibetan plateau......

Friday, October 10, 2008

City living and other things

One week at home after three years was not enough, but great to see family and a small piece of scotland. Now back in Hong Kong till christmas time with hopefully a couple of side trips into china.

I was sitting on the MTR (the tube) yesterday morning and caught the old woman next to me trying not to let me see her staring at me. It was early, I was tired but also intrigued. Finally I thought I had worked out what she was staring at. I leaned across and said in my best chinese accent "mao mo"(body hair), she stared at me in shock and then burst out laughing. I then tryed explaining that it was hot(being hairy) but my cantonese failed me. Coming back to hong kong has been pretty crazy, the mad bustle of the city to the lush green of the new territorries. I find I can remember bits of cantonese which helps a little. We have just finished the staff induction week which was long and not too easy for me, fighting to remember hong kong and to swap companies. Now I have a day off chilling in Yung shue wan the village i am living in on Lamma island, a haven of no cars away from the bustle of the city just a half hour ferry ride away.

Food in hong kong is always interesting, the choice of paying a bit more for something that should be recognizable or for blindly ordering in a cheaper place. The variety of food is staggering and I am finding it hard on my walk through the village in the morning not to at least pick something up. Really this is my first time as a proper commuter and even the little things like actually making coffee myself instead of buying it on the way is throwing me.

Life is as ever completely interesting. Some photos------- (more adventurous ones to follow to keep up to the usual standard)

The Family (me, mum, dad, kate and kees) on our picnic/hike before kate and kees flew home.Mum, Kate, Dad, Baxter and Alfie.A Cloudy and dark dawn over Victoria harbour (looking towards the island) on my first day back in Hong Kong
Smoggy dawn.
Waiting for the bus - another long day of staff training.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nobody tells me to "have a nice day" here

So......... Finally back in Scotland 3 years and one week since I left. I'm not really sure what has changed but its easy to see whats different. Dad has been re-introducing me to scottish food with a trip to the pub for a pint and a toastie (grilled cheese for you americans) on the way home from the airport and pie and beans for lunch today.

I flew back from the USA yesterday, subjected to two of the worst films ever made (drill bit taylor and maid of honour) on the plane. As ever my time in America was amazing especialy the people and thier kindness. Emma and I drove from Bend oregon down to los angeles hitting some beautiful places to climb and hike along the way before picking up a hire car for the way back up. We ended up back in bend chilling out, climbing and mountain biking. I feel lucky in that having now been up and down the west coast of the states it seems that I have ended up in the best part (of the pacific coast). The real question now is whether i will make it back there next year.

Below - some photos of the road trip

Welcome to America (pronounced murca if you want to sound authentic)

Me in the back of the van
The campsite the night before we climbed the SW face of Cathedral peak (seen in the background)

The Matthes Crest - the cuillin ridge of the high sierras? (thats a scottish climbing joke!)
Mount Hubris (otherwise known as "the ogre" - you can see his face) in castle crags national park. We climbed up through the left eye to the right hand summit.
The campsite at boulder creek lakes in the trinity alps
The van being "bear proofed" below cathedral peak.

Emma (bottom of the pic) on the Matthes crest

Emma doing the awkward step across on cosmic wall (mt hubris)