On climbing tall things and looking down.

It's an absolute rule that whenever I go anywhere, I climb something. Usually, it's a mountain with a panoramic view, but when I can't be picky, it's whatever the highest place is. There's something about climbing tall things and looking down that is hugely rewarding. Long story short, I LOVE mountains.

Les Arcs, January 2017

I'm not sure quite when the fascination with high places began, but when I was looking back through my pictures to find examples of things I have climbed, I realised that every single holiday or place I've been to in recent years has involved at least one hike. Just how I like it!
I thought I'd write a bit about my love for mountains before I head out to California, Morocco and later on Nepal this year. I'm visiting a friend in California and our plan is to do a roadtrip to Yosemite as I previously  mentioned so I'm sure there will be plenty of chances to climb something! But one plan that I do have established... I am climbing Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa at 4,167 meters. I've been to morocco before and did some chilled sand dune climbing (and falling/sliding down) but Toubkal is going to be a bit more of a challenge!

Exploring Legzira, Morocco. October 2015

Image result for atlas prestige imlil
Not a bad balcony view! Photo by Atlas Prestige Hotel, where we are staying before and after climbing Toubkal.


I'll be doing it with my family as part of our holiday, and I'm so excited! Dad and I finally booked the last parts of the trip yesterday and I'm really looking forward to it, just based on the view from our hotel before and after the climb!
We will be climbing the mountain over two days, possibly three depending on the route we decide to take and factors like the weather etc. We've hired a guide, which I really think will enhance our experience, they will also be cooking for us 3 meals a day, introducing us to locals and bringing their donkey along for the ride to carry everything (I'm low-key very excited about the donkey).
It'll be the tallest mountain I've ever climbed, 400 meters taller than Fuji, but I imagine it will be much easier as we are ascending much more slowly, and doing it during the day rather than in the freezing cold of the night.
I love that I have had the chance to climb so many things! Here are some photos from previous adventures I've had up mountains.

First up is of course, my beloved Mount Fuji. I've written about it quite a lot on my Instagram, so go check it out for all the small things! In the meantime, here's a picture of three very smiley travellers, before we realised how unprepared we were! It looks soooo small in this picture, but we were prepared for this because we watched Abroad in Japan's hilarious video about climbing Fuji. In hindsight we should have learned from his experiences and not climbed all through the night, but we figured if he could do it, so could we!

Very blurry picture of myself, Clay and Sofia, whom I met at EF language school in Tokyo 1 week before the trip! We have stayed in contact even though we are from the UK, the US, and Mexico. July 2015

Doesn't look very ominous does it...

The spectaular view from the top, which I missed the majority of as I fell asleep.

Getting to the top was such an achievement, I hadn't even considered how long it would take us to get down! 5 hours on no sleep was quite the undertaking but thank goodness the weather was so good.

 Next, Mount Tsukuba which I climbed last summer with my friend who I travelled Japan with. It was so warm which made a change to cold mountain climbing but it was so sticky, as the climb up was covered by overhanging trees. The actual walk was mostly steps, but these were actually tree roots so we had to watch our footing the whole way. I hopped from root to root and then go too tired and waited for the others to catch me up! As the whole way was sheltered by trees, we couldn't see what we had to look forward to until we got right to the top and we were surprised by quite how far we had climbed. Climbing this mountain marked the end of our trip to Japan and what a good way it was to go out. It also made me feel much less fidgety about having to sit on a plane for a tonne of hours home having thoroughly stretched our legs!

The view from the top of Mount Tsukuba, an easy 877m 2 hr climb. It was an incredibly sticky climb, but the view and the breeze at the top made it very worthwhile!

A very happy me at the top of Mount Tsukuba. May 2015

 In terms of hikes, this next place is sort of cheating...as I neither climbed up or walked down! However the views skiing for the week in Les Arcs were breathtaking nonetheless hence they make the list of my favourite mountains. We were lucky to have beautiful sunshine most of the days which made for great skiing, suntans and clear views. (Also meant we could stay later at apres before skiing down...)

Not sure it counts as a hike as I had skis on... and got the lift up... but the views were breathtaking! Les Arcs, January, 2017

Les Arcs, January 2017

A mountain that means a lot to our family is Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. Our family have all climbed this mountain, including my Granny when she was a teenager so it's somewhat a right of passage! Our very extended family have a great big old house on the beach in Anglesey so I have great memories of all going to the house and playing in the waves whatever the weather. I took these pictures on our latest family trip in April of this year, with all of the family for my Granny's 80th birthday. Even the American cousins came over, and we all climbed the mountain together. There was even a proposal on the way down from my cousin!!! So we are all looking forward to the wedding next year. My Dad, ever the Bear Grylls, pulled the 'It doesn't hurt to be prepared' card on all of us, and made us carry coats for when we got to the top. He even said himself that we hadn't needed them but we had all spoken too soon! I went from wearing a vest top to hat, glasses, jacket and coat very quickly as the clouds descended on us. It was freezing at the top and I was glad for my coat...but I won't give Dad the satisfaction!

The beautiful views on the way up Snowdon. April 2017

The weather changed fast. We lost sight of the top quickly but persevered to the top.
In good spirits despite the cold wet weather with my cousin at the top. 

 Last but not least, the beautiful Arthur's Seat, which erupts from the middle of Edinburgh. Not every city can boast a volcano! Edinburgh really does have everything, and I know I'll miss it a lot next year. That said, I'm sure I can find myself a mountain to climb whilst I'm in Japan.

I've probably climbed Arthur's seat 20 times. Everyone that comes to visit gets taken and it's so much nicer than going to the gym if the weather is nice!

In terms of the future, I've got my eyes firmly set on climbing one of the mountains in the Himalayas if the weather permits on my trip to Nepal in September. At the moment, the plan is to climb to Annapurna Base Camp, which is the most dangerous mountain in the world! If I have time, I'd love to do the Annapurna Sancturary trek which takes 8 days, If not, I'll do Poon Hill (yes that really is its' name) or another in the range. I'd love to get to a base camp though.

For the rest... I have no plans yet but I want to do Kilimanjaro in the near future. I know I'm fit enough, it's just how long it takes to avoid altitude sickness, as I don't really want to experience that again! In the perfect world, I'd climb Everest too, but it costs about £20,000, so I'll have that as a dream for a while.

If you've made it to the bottom, 1) congratulations, and 2) have you ever climbed one of the mountains I've mentioned? Check out my Instagram over the summer for more updates on climbing tall things, and looking down.


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