The Climbing Blog - Introduction

Posted by Bob Hickish
Thursday 22nd January 2009

 

 My name is Bob Hickish and I'm 19 years old (though I look about 12). These days I tend to live out of a car more than anything else, but home is in the south west corner of the New Forest, quite close to Bournemouth. I first went climbing when I was about 13 to an indoor wall, and I was immediately hooked. But being a kid, I couldn't drive and neither of my parents were into climbing; so like most young climbers my first years where limited to 1 indoor evening a week and in the meantime trying to climb anything else. It was like that until I met my very good friend Theo Elmer when we were both 16, both climbing at the same level and both really keen; very quickly we became a firm partnership. You would have been hard pushed to find one of us without the other, whilst we served our rock apprenticeship on the crags of Portland and Swanage.

 

portland, trance mission

Climbing on Portland back in the day...      "Trance Mission" 7c Battleship

 

It was always on the cards for us to take a gap year after our A-levels and do a big road trip round Europe, so at the end of the summer of 2007 aged 18 me, Theo, and my girlfriend Tash all crammed into my small blue fiesta and set off to the continent. Our trip lasted 8 months to the day, taking in Mallorca, Rodellar, Siurana, Costa Blanca, El Chorro, Sella, Albarracin, Font, Buoux, Seynes and Gorges du Tarn.

 

 

 

Bouldering in Albarracin, here a classic font 7b.

 

For me the trip was pretty much one big highlight to my life, but if I had to pick out some special moments they would be;

  • Barmy days cruising round Mallorca with the music blaring, drying boots and chalkbags out of the windows.
  • Topping out on "Loskot and two smoking barrels" 8a+ after a ground up DWS ascent involving some bad falls into big seas and coughing up a lot of blood.
  • Sending "Me Lempina" 8a+ in El Chorro, one of the most impressive lines I've ever seen, a 35m super steep tufa wall with a crux dyno right at the end.

 

"Me  Lempina" 8a+ El Chorro

  • Making loads of new international friends in El Chorro, and then all meeting up in the evenings to make pizzas, mmmmmmmmm.
  • Redpointing my first 8b "El Oracarlo" in El Chorro, Theo deserves massive thanks for this, a 3 hour belay was required!!
  • My first 7c onsight "Ya Os Vale" in Siurana, maximum commitment was needed on this route as there is a dyno past a clip with risk of a ground skmming fall.
  • Leaving Buoux; the most painful place I've ever had the displeasure to climb!
  • Onsighting "Made in Mascun" 7c+ in Rodellar, definitely one of the most unusual routes I've ever done.
  • Sitting under the stars with Theo and Tash in sub zero temperatures playing some marathon games of cards.

 

  • head first dive mallorca

 

A head first dive from the top of Cala Barques, Mallorca. I ended up with quite a bruised forehead. 

 

This was my first ever big trip, and when I came home I realised it wasn't going to be the last...... 

 

(from L) Theo, Bob, and Tash on the road in Europe, winter 2007 - 2008

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Editor's Note:

PlanetFear is very pleased to welcome Bob Hickish to the small team of outstanding athletes currently blogging for us. Bob is one of Britain's most talented young climbers, yet has received little media attention until now. Keep up to date with all his latest adventures, projects, and hard sends on www.planetfear.com/bloggers

 

 

Read more blog entries by Bob Hickish

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