Tocllaraju sits in the Ishinca valley and it’s West Face is the first major feature you see entering base camp. Standing tall, proud, clean and utterly beautiful it begs to be climbed. Hence, the decision to turn around at the bottom of the face was devastating for me. The full reasoning for my decision however, would not become clear to me until I had almost descended the valley.
Confidence doesn’t come naturally for most of us. Often it is our anxiety that holds us back. By understanding the mechanisms behind how these emotions develop we can help tip the odds in favour of building confidence. The story of my friend and climbing partner Andrew Banks is a great example of this.
In the spirit of the Vertical Year ethos of chasing dreams, my partner in life, Bec Perkins shares her story and experience. How do you talk about this dream with your partner or family if it means you are contemplating moving away? How do you know if your partner is going to support you or panic at the idea and potentially give you an ultimatum? How do you do the ‘long distance relationship thing’ or even talk about that as an option?
Death and the mountains are inextricably linked. As climbers we expose ourselves to fear, anxiety and sometimes the very real possibility of death more so than the average Joe. I am resolute in my belief on the benefits of doing that, however I don’t think this makes us immune to mental illness. It is not a cure and we cannot fall asleep at the wheel. Hayden’s death is evidence of that.