Big Wall Suffer Fest!

Location: Mavericks, Ulvetanna Base Camp, S 71 49.146′, E 008 21.867′
Temperature: 5 deg C, clear, high level clouds, Sunny, 5 knots.
Date – 13/1/13

So the major Hauling session to get most of the kit up to the ridge turned out to be a 12hour turn around. A Long day! The guys came back to ABC looking really smashed…think they needed their day off. I was in Base Camp at the time backing up data, blogging and doing charging etc. Just about to pack up and leave on my 2 hour mission to ABC when I got a radio call for some last minute items that I needed to collect. It took me near 2 hours to collect and find everything and rummage through everyone’s dirty clothing bags…but eventually got there.

I eventually arrived at the “Rock” as it is known (Just below the main hill to get to ABC) with a sledge weighing in around 100kg, the trip was a nightmare as I only had 1 pulk and it was so full it kept falling over on every minor bend in the path combined with the gradually increasing run up of the hill. I was met by all the boys who came down to help carry everything up to ABC. (Nice little welcoming party.) Al & I where chatting away (he seemed loads happier and positive than he had been the last week or so) and then he dropped the news on me. Seems like the plan had changed slightly and that they were all going up, Chris was being kidnapped. Which means I am going to be on my own for the next 10 days.

In some ways, it’s going to be a lonely, but in many ways I am glad Chris is going up to help, not only will it make filming a whole load easier as now we have 2 complete climbing teams, but mostly it was going to help for the return trip, as even with the new easier route down the mountain fixed in place, it was still going to be a complete Epic for just Al and Jas to deal with on their own (I can now see why Al seemed way happier, massive weight off his shoulders!).

Before going to sleep that night in ABC, we all enjoyed another amazing evening of Meat Meat and more Meat….mmmm There is always excitement in the air when Stanley works his magic on the stove, but last night was different, the Meat “Happiness” was being combined by the next day’s excitement/ Anxiety/ scariness/ anticipation…. Yes you guessed it. The next day was when everyone moves up “Blast OFF time” Continuing with this epic expedition. Stanley murmuring and chatting to himself, psyching himself up.  Jason singing out loud “Big Wall Suffer fest, BIG WALL SUFFER FEST!” in a kind of war chant, while holding his hands out staring at them, almost in a kind of appreciation of the painful swollen hands which he was about to experience. Al, was preparing his climbing harness and attaching all his camera and lenses pouches among his climbing apparel. Chris was kind of in limbo, still sorting general camp things out but still trying to get into climbing mode (being in a mindset of reading and chilling out for 10 days and then being thrown into 10 days of scariness can be somewhat of a shock).

Leo was of course the only actual person getting things ready for the trip, dashing back and forth, sorting kit out and almost lost in his own thoughts which the occasional shout out “everyone packed their Spork, Yeah?” or “who’s got the whiskey?”. Bed time was around 23h00 instead of the planned 21h00 but who cares when you munching on delicious steaks and Boere Wors.


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  • Andrew Street-Hoskins

    Another great post; please keep them coming. Good luck with the big push on up.

  • Year 4 Windermere School

    Just adding latest fantastic pics to wall in classroom. Children are amazed at the scale and describe you as the ant brigade! Hope you’re going to be ok for your 10 day solo David-a journey in itself. Class really enjoying your blogs and getting so much out of the experience. We’ve had snow too so sledging and igloo building have been fun. Take care everyone. Katie and year 4

  • Nigel Williams

    Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons.
    Science is used to raise money for the expeditions,
    but you really climb for the hell of it.
    – Edmund Hillary
    This is so true of you lot.
    keep blogging.

    Nigel Williams (Westfield Community School)

  • Trevor d

    more manpower sounds a good move.Bet Chris is torn between excitement and apprehension.You guys made the N W News sounded like Leo was speaking from next door.Keep up the good work guys I’ m looking forward to the film already.take care

  • Silje

    It’s great fun to follow you guys on the blog. I’d love to do something like this and it’s inspiring to watch your progress and how you deal with the problems that are popping up as you go. Thank you for sharing!

  • Sarah Walton

    Hi, we have thoroughly enjoyed reading your recent blogs. Your adventure, although difficult, sounds so very exciting! Congratulations on getting to the half way point. We are also glad that Chris will be joining the climbing team as we assume this will make it safer and easier for the descent. However, we do feel sorry for David left to man base camp alone. Keep up the blog and we will keep you company.
    The children in year 6 at Westfield have been working hard on their topic, learning all about Antarctica, whilst following your progress. We have written and recorded some weather forecasts comparing the weather in Wigan to Antarctica. One student, Daniel, has used a piece of software at home to create a video animation of you all climbing Ulvetanna. If you would like to see these, please go to our website.
    Good luck for the remaining climb, especially the next 10 days on the wall.

    Sarah Walton (Teacher) and all of Y6 at Westfield.

  • Linda

    Hi Everyone loving the blog keep up the good work Dave. I can picture you all happy sad scared elated hope all goes well in the next 10days Linda (Jason’s mum)

  • keiran webster

    hello leo houlding i have research all about you i think it is very interesting for what you are doing such as exploring the world and climbing.

    What inspired you to become a climber and and adventures person?

  • callum

    Good luck! We hope you do it and we hope you come to my school Matthew Moss in Rochdale; when you get back and keep up the blog so i can keep up to date!

  • Kyran Wright From MMHS

    Go leo! Keep Up The Good Work
    From Kyran At Matthew Moss High School

  • Gaz Fellows

    Just realised what a monster of a wall that is !
    Come on lads you got this 😉
    Teeaamm Leooo !!

  • brandon maycock

    you can do this leo please make it to the top

  • Megan Gough

    Hello leo & team hope your enjoying your time on the wall leo and i hope everything goes well glad to hear that you have not got long now until your eaching the summit of Ulvetanna GOOD LUCK

    Megan Gough Westfeild Community School 😀