My world climbing trip recap

Well, it's true. I am back in Australia and back in my own house. In the end, it was 11 months on the road.

Climbing destinations included: Kalymnos (Greece), Geyikbayiri, Olympos (Turkey), Boulder, Rifle, Maple Canyon, Ten Sleep Canyon (all USA), Rodellar, Margalef, Arboli, Riglos (all Spain), Vietnam, Hong Kong, Yangshuo (China), & Railay (Thailand).

Usually, my trips away are pretty short and sweet, so it's go go go the whole time and collapse when you get back home. This was quite different. You were really living in the locations, sometimes months at a time. It was great for getting a deeper understanding of the people and culture.

We were lucky with the weather in two respects. Firstly, I'd planned the crags and the best seasons really well, so were we at each place at the right time and experienced almost no rain the whole year. Secondly, the weather in Oz in 2010 sucked bigtime so it was great we weren't here!

I climbed quite a lot. Well over 600 pitches according to my notes. I didn't climb as hard as I might have at home. I guess this is to be expected for a few reasons. Home is familiar territory; you tend to do best where you've had the most practise. At home, you're usually forced to rest (sitting at a desk). On a trip like that, it's hard to discipline yourself to rest enough in order to recover and be able to really climb hard. Often I'd just think "well, I could have a rest day or just dial the difficulty down a couple of notches and onsight a stack of things" and that thinking often won out, especially in areas I hadn't climbed at much (kid in a candy store).

On the plus side though, my onsighting improved a lot (a number of personal bests) which I think is aided by simply climbing heaps on lots of different rock types. There were times during the year where I felt not particularly strong, but virtually 'unpumpable'. I can tell you that is a rare and amazing feeling I've not really had before in 16 years of climbing. I think that I can't really achieve this state with my usual weekend warrior routine, and only by climbing big days on difficult routes for 4-6 days a week, week in, week out. Not really an option if you have a regular life.

I don't have a standout favourite area. Everywhere had it's own charms. If I had to pick a new local crag it might be Rifle, or maybe Yangshuo. Kalymnos was brilliant as always. I feel right at home there and am looking forward to going back.

But for now, a return to normality. Work, training, dinner with friends, local crags, raking leaves, fiddling about in the shed, and all the things that being at home entails. And dreaming. Dreaming of the next trip. Won't be too long I suspect.