It hasn't been for a want to. I realise that I am in a very privileged position to receive the gear I do. Don't get me wrong, this privilege doesn't go unnoticed by fellow outdoor gear enthusiasts. However, there is some work and time that has to go into reviewing and recently I haven't been able to set aside the time to sit down and put finger to keyboard.
This doesn't mean that I haven't been out doing stuff, obviously it hasn't been as much as I would have liked but I have snatched some opportunities where I could. Whether it was at the climbing wall or a short evening trail run, I've been outside as much as I could.
There was a high point, quite literally, when I went to Switzerland with Steve and Tosh. We met Steve and Menna out there. There were a couple of objectives between the two pairs of teams. Menna had a much greater challenge of continuing to grow a real life human, so she supported from the sidelines.
Due to the amount of snow on the Eiger, Steve D and I's North Face dream was dashed this year. As we stood at the foot of the Austrian Route (The North Pillar) at around 1800M's and looked up the awesome face the mountain gave us its response: Avalanche! The Eiger spat at us! We could do nothing else but nod, give the huge beast the respect it deserves, turn and head back to Grindelwald to make new plans.
With a bit of investigation from Tosh and Steve W and a chat with one of the local guides the only option available was the Mönch via the south east ridge. Once we were up at the Mönchsjoch hut Steve D had to bow out of the attempt due to feeling a bit under the weather.
Steve W and Tosh kindly let me gatecrash their attempt, so the three of us set off to the summit. Tosh caught most of the route on his GoPro.
Other than that there has been a couple of evenings at the crag and a few short outings, including a weekend in the Lakes which greasy rock and rain meant any topping out slipped away.
Photo: Steve Dunne
So there's been some action going on but nothing that has transferred on to the pages of My Outdoors. Why have I been missing I hear you ask? Well most of you probably aren't but there's probably a few of the aforementioned PR companies and brands that are wondering why the gear they sent out hasn't filled these webpages.
Beyond getting outdoors here and there the main reason is "life". Unfortunately outdoor reviewing isn't too lucrative! So I have a job to fund the outdoor traveling and that also, well mainly, pays the bills. Then there's family, they want to see me from time to time. On top of that I've changed jobs and got a puppy. The new job means I'm based more at home meaning they see me more often. This means I should be able to sneak away unnoticed to the hills. The puppy, well he's shaping up to be a good mountain hound. He's got a little bit more growing to do, next spring he'll be bagging a few Munro's.
So what's going to happen next? Priority is to get through my reviews, so keep an eye out. In between that I'll be getting ready for winter. Everybody keep their fingers crossed for snow!
I want to thank PR companies and brands for their patience. Included in that I want to thank the Managing Editor, Dave, and the rest of the My Outdoors team.
Photo: Alan McIntosh
It feels good to be back. See you on the hill!