'hello, can I help you?!'; 'Hello, Can I Help You?'; 'HELLO, CAN I HELP YOU?!!'....I awoke with a sickly dread, believing that I was back in that terrible temp job, answering that phone over and over and over again.
This time I felt I was in with a chance – climbing the Matterhorn. The idea had been simmering in my thoughts for months, nay years now, like an itch waiting to be scratched. And it was all Hugon’s fault. He planted the notion during our first Scottish trip three years ago and every so often he would bring it up:
“Well Gerry, when are you going to climb the Matterhorn?”
Having flailed our way up one short pitch of VIII the day before - pulling on draws and sitting in our harnesses practically the whole way - we figured we’d done enough training to attempt the 3000 feet of alpine granite on the North Ridge of Piz Badile, so we went out and got totally arseholed.
New Year’s Day. A pleasant minus 14°C. We went through the usual panic of 12 trying to get breakfast over, with the fossen brothers (James and Peter) moaning away complaining of delays. As Damien put it “There’s no need for all this fossen, people rushing trying to get food into them, shit out of them and stress levels going through the roof” Last out that morning, James fossen brother. Couldn’t find the safe place where he put his Escort keys.