19th January 2018

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

Robin Willmott RobinWillmott Expedition Guide

...and what an incredible step it was! We have just completed our first amazing adventure, ice climbing in the spectacular Vall de Boí in the heart of the Spanish Pyrenees. The trip involved three days on the mountain starting with an introduction to winter mountaineering, rope work and safety in a fantastic quarry venue with accessible ice and space to learn crucial mountaineering skills. The team demonstrated brilliant natural skill. On the second day, they experienced a longer journey on the mountain, a multi pitch route with some tough vertical sections and a challenging gully descent. The conditions were tough, an icy northerly battered our faces on the walk in, but the team persevered admirably and as the weather improved everyone enjoyed the brilliant view across Estany de Cavallers. Back at the apartment that night we devoured our team dinner, with faces still flushed from the sun and wind, aching legs and arms but a wonderful sense of achievement. On the last day we returned to the quarry to tackle some more challenging water ice routes. The skills acquired over the last couple of days were really put to the test. Everyone on the team far out-performed their expectations; they pushed hard, they gave everything, they committed themselves to enjoying the experience and the result was remarkable. On our final evening last night, after a beautiful mushroom risotto, we joked and laughed and celebrated our success; the good bits, the hard bits, the funny bits, the slips (and occasional falls). But mostly, we celebrated each other’s brilliant company over the last four days. Eight new friends enjoying a wonderful shared experience together. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect beginning to inversion’s long journey ahead.

We were very lucky to be joined by an unbelievably positive group of people; thank you Jordan, Freddie, Piotr and Stef. You were fantastic. Jordan smashed his first roped climb on a tricky dry tool route which would have challenged even experienced climbers. Freddie stretched himself on ice and really supported the team with his experience and sunny disposition. Fuelled by local sausage, Piotr worked tirelessly not only to climb hard but also to get the perfect angle for some amazing photos. Stef’s commitment and determination was brilliant, she nailed some really tough routes and refused to give up when others would have thrown in the towel. The team were led by the indomitable Simon Edwards MIC and his partner Kate was on hand with supplies of honey and a welcome smile at the end of a hard day.

Thank you all. We can’t wait for our next amazing adventure together.

Venga!! Vámanos!!