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I'm getting a bit fed up with this virus business - we had to forego  this year's Alpine trip and of course cragging has been difficult.

I'd really like to get a few more classics done, even tick a few more (carefully chosen) E1s, but how much longer realistically have I got? I'll be 67 in April...

2
 Timmd 04 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

You have a decade or more still to go. 

Believe this, and it will be so. 

Unless you get hit by a bus.

Edit: Maybe sort out some weights and other things to keep generally strong?

PMA

Post edited at 22:14
1
 flatlandrich76 04 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

A Bit?? You're ahead of the field then, most people seem to be rather more than 'a bit' fed up with it. 

Maybe try to look at it a bit more positively. 1)You've almost made it to 67, that's more than a lot of people will reach. 2)It means you had 66 years without this bloody virus. 3) If you're climbing E1's you're climbing better than many people much younger than yourself, including me!! 

 Timmd 04 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I read something in New Scientist, about how 2 twins could share the same genetics, and that how they thought about ageing could make the difference between them over their lifetimes, with the less optimistic/more pessimistic one ageing more by a certain year. From that I've taken 'be as optimistic as possible' to be the key thing.

While only 40, I'm currently working on getting 'as fit as I think I am', which is a nice way of having a carrot just ahead for me to chase.

Edit: Interestingly enough, in another article I read that the better people think a certain amount of exercise is doing them, the more benefit they tend to have. It seems like the way the mind and body interrelate is a little bit odd, and rather powerful.

I'm sure there's a point at which one enters self deception or denial, but the benefits of being more optimistic could seem to be worth the risk given the less appealing alternative, if one has 'a measured amount of denial' - as it were.

It strikes me you're experienced enough to not go to the Alps while unfit, so that's alright...

Post edited at 22:29
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Hopefully the late spring/early summer will see you out and about again. 

In reply to Timmd:

It's funny you should mention the Alps. When we there in 2018 there's no way I was fit; when we did the Forbes arete, getting down in poor weather and having a 22 hour day, we felt immortal... What was that all about?

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I'll be 67 in April...

Tha's nobbut a bairn. 

 freeflyer 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> It's funny you should mention the Alps. When we there in 2018 there's no way I was fit; when we did the Forbes arete, getting down in poor weather and having a 22 hour day, we felt immortal... What was that all about?

Indeed. Brits get paranoid about the Alps. But Europeans learn there! It's all a mindset and a bit of support/preparation.

In reply to freeflyer:

I think there's some truth in that. When I first went to the Alps we were definitely of the mindset 'here be dragons...'  I think that was quite counter-productive and debilitating.

 Jim Lancs 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

>. . .  When I first went to the Alps we were definitely of the mindset 'here be dragons. . .'  I think that was quite counter-productive and debilitating.

That was very true. There was a weird combination in the early 70s of British superiority whilst at the same time, being over awed by the place. We could see the continentals doing better than us, but couldn't bring ourselves to learn anything from them.  By the 80s that had all changed and 'when in Rome' was our mantra, right down to wearing blue britches.

 Offwidth 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Jim Lancs:

A lot of people died in their first alpine seasons back then. Dragon caution was arguably wise. Even after then risks were still high... the only climbing deaths in the twenty plus years in my Uni club (from 1990) were alpine. Whymper knew this from the start of the UK obsession:

“Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.”

1
 wercat 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I gave up worrying about age the day I walked up Skiddaw and met a party of three on the top who were celebrating one of the party's 80th birthday (that day).   I walked down with them and at one point all four of us were running down the fellside with the 80 year old shouting out with enjoyment.

what you do on a particular day depends on how old you feel on that day

Post edited at 10:37
 stp 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I seem to remember reading that you can keep getting stronger until you're 80 though gains will probably be slower the older you are.

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I'm sure you know this, but you really can't know how long you have left, or how long you'll be able to keep doing the things you want to. Quite a few people manage to continue climbing, and climbing pretty well, long after your age - but, also, lots don't.

I'm 44 and, following a recent major health scare, wondering how long I have left and what I'll be able to keep doing - it may well be quite a while and quite a lot, but there's also a significant risk that it won't be long at all.

It's often said that age is just a number, and there's some truth in that, but many of the things that tend to come with age are not.

There will always be lots more you'd like to have done, so don't worry about not finishing it all. Get out there and do what you can, when you can. It'll all be over soon enough, just make the most of it! (Lockdown and other circumstances permitting.)

In reply to skog:

'but you really can't know how long you have left, ' You're right of course; but I suppose I was looking for encouraging replies such as 'I'm 70/80/90 and last week I romped up the Quarryman' sort of thing...  I mean, Pete Poz of this parish is DEFINITELY older than me but he just .... hillwalks nowadays (shudder). 

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Sorry!

I was hoping that my last paragraph was sort of encouraging.

I'm a fan of the "we're all doomed anyway, you might as well just get on with enjoying the ride" school of philosphy.

In reply to skog:

> Sorry!

> I was hoping that my last paragraph was sort of encouraging.

> I'm a fan of the "we're all doomed anyway, you might as well just get on with enjoying the ride" school of philosphy.

Have you thought of a name change ...Private Frazer...😉

In reply to Shaun mcmurrough:

What makes you think that isn't my name? ;-)

 flatlandrich76 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> 'but you really can't know how long you have left, ' You're right of course; but I suppose I was looking for encouraging replies such as 'I'm 70/80/90 and last week I romped up the Quarryman' sort of thing... 

Again, look at it positively. There's probably lots of younger guys seeing you out climbing thinking 'Sh!t, look at that guy go, I hope I can still climb like him when I'm his age.' (or even get that good in the first place.) 

If that does't work maybe take some inspiration from this 90's movie!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMUZWEKJGJU&

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

>  I mean, Pete Poz of this parish is DEFINITELY older than me but he just .... hillwalks nowadays (shudder). 

Wrong! I was leading VS till the lockdown and 6a+ at the Wall. I've never been allowed out as much as you. I'll be back! 

 Rob Parsons 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> ... but how much longer realistically have I got? I'll be 67 in April...

Yer f*cked.

NEXT!

In reply to Offwidth:

> A lot of people died in their first alpine seasons back then. Dragon caution was arguably wise. 

In those days people were cautious about dragons, whereas now many people simply avoid them by just going rock climbing or doing routes that can be done in a day from the telepherique with an abseil descent and little commitment.

 Arcturus 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Ok Rob here’s some encouragement. I’m about 10 years older than you. On a good day and on the right route I can still just about manage E1 . On the wrong route I’d be well gripped. I can still manage a long day-tour with a few hours skinning but last season I was finding that really testing my resolve and I’m definitely leaning towards lift -served off piste skiing now. I’m very lucky to have no obvious health problems as many of my friends are either suffering or dead already. Like you I’m really p’d off about this virus as I’m very conscious about how much time there is left to get on and enjoy life. Just verging on waffle now so I’ll shut up 😊.

 Timmd 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> It's funny you should mention the Alps. When we there in 2018 there's no way I was fit; when we did the Forbes arete, getting down in poor weather and having a 22 hour day, we felt immortal... What was that all about?

It's a nice feeling, to have an adventure and to get through it. If that was only 2 years ago, it probably means you'll be fine when you go back again.

I remember going up Wetherlam(sp) in the Lake District in the decent snow of 2010/11, and realizing how much of a difference fitness can make on how ably one can think, when it got to the end of the day and we were tired and it was getting dark, I had the sense that if something had happened we were probably at our limits thinking/endurance wise. I'm currently building up a road/cycle cross bike with disc brakes, and plan to 'cycle-in' the year over the next couple of months towards being fitter for when it's possible to do more outdoor wise. I've a lot of learning I'd like to do, to do with navigating and getting more hill experience, to move beyond just tagging along with more experienced people like my Dad and family friends who've led Duke Of Edinburgh gold awards and similar. 

Post edited at 15:11
 Mark Bannan 05 Jan 2021
In reply to flatlandrich76:

> ... including me!! 

And me!

 JefB 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I'm getting a bit fed up with this virus business - we had to forego  this year's Alpine trip and of course cragging has been difficult.

> I'd really like to get a few more classics done, even tick a few more (carefully chosen) E1s, but how much longer realistically have I got? I'll be 67 in April...

You have my sympathy. I am 65 and keep getting injuries which frustrates attempts to get out and to get fit. It’s uncanny how good winters seem to combine with injury or COVID. Currently out with a prolapsed disc!

 Philb1950 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Don’t agree with that mindset. On our first visit to the Alps in 1975, away for a month, we managed N. Face Cima Grand, Cassin on Piz Badile and 38 route on Eiger. It’s attitude and the unwavering  arrogance of youth. Plus a bit of luck! On our first visit to Cham. (2 years later, no money!) my potholing partner for his first alpine climb did the Walker. Quite a few other people I know had similar baptisms. Shit gear, no experience, definitely  no training courses, as no one could have afforded that. Just went and did it.

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Agree with Timmd-you should have 10 years at least. if you think you cant, you wont-use it or loose it!

 Billhook 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

If you keep yourself hill fit then you have more than a few years left.

I'm 71 this year and I've done 3 Coast To Coasts in the last 4 years leading for a tour company.I can't say I found it particularly tiring or difficult.  I managed a 30km X-country trip over the Scottish Monadhliaths  last year.   

But my own inspiration comes from a Cree/Ojibwa indian I met twice, a some  years ago on the Missainabi River in Northern Ontario.  A life long hunter.  He spent his entire life paddling/canoeing up and down the river which contains some hard rapids and tough portages.  He was a nice gentle  man and quietly spoken.  Every year he paddle over a hundred miles of river in summer and at the start of the freeze up.  He could paddle all day and carry more kit than anyone else in the group on long and hard portages.  His name was Fred Negan.  He was around 83 when I last met him and still going strong.  He was still paddling and portaging before he died just before his 90th birthday a couple of years ago..

So just keep going.

Post edited at 19:49
 ian caton 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Get a fingerboard, get a plan. You might blow your mind. 

 Wink 05 Jan 2021
In reply to ian caton:

Fought the dragons '68 to 73, slayed a few, then played rugby for years occasionally, getting griped with my pal Smiler, RIP. Started up again in 2019, then Covid hit, so built a wall on the gable end. Determined now to go as hard as I can until I'm 80, at least! And maybe, get a trip back to Cham and the Dollies for a few easy classics - happy days.

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Roy Thomas and Phil Thomas (not related - both residents of South Wales) are both going strong at 70, you have years to go. Just don’t fall on any of Roy’s home made gear!

 petemeads 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Hard to say how long any of us has got - my last quality day on Froggatt was at your age. My partner was your age. We climbed VS, HVS, E0 and E1 (although the biggest struggle was on a Hard Severe, of course). I'm still here at 70, Laurence had a massive heart attack and died just over a year ago. We just have to make the best of the time we have remaining (Laurence certainly did), I expect to be able to get up E1 for the next 5 years but without indoor bouldering the arms are pretty feeble at present...

 Sean Kelly 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Nearly pushing 73, I'm still getting up the odd E2/3 but regular training at the wall helps. As does having a dog (Springer). You have to walk the dog whatever the weather, about two to two & a half hours a day. And then I look at all others a similar age to myself and think I'm  not doing that bad. It's important that I mostly lead on climbs when I can, but I must admit to have had more falls in recent years, mostly because of holds breaking.

So to answer your original point, well my training has been somewhat disrupted this last year, but luckily I can pinch the odd good day in the winter down here in the SW. Then there is always Dartmoor for a good ramble, although a bitter easterly wind did reduce the pleasure somewhat last Saturday. It certainly helps to stay positive. Obviously not so easy if you are miles from good walking & climbing. Who would live in London?

I must admit to a certain jealously looking at photos of recent winter days out in Scotland & the Lakes. Wish I was still living in Nant Peris with big hills on my doorstep. Hopefully as the weather improves and gets warmer, and most get the jab  good days like ahead! 

In reply to petemeads:

I could do with a quality day or two! Supposed to be moving to the Lakes in the next month or two, and the new Lakes guide is inspirational, I'll have worn it out before I get there!

On a separate note - your photos of Syrett on Wall of Horrors are fantastic, how come they haven't had a wider audience? 

In reply to Arcturus:

Hi Arcturus - that's a great reply, I'd settle for being as active as you are in 10 years time! 

 ian caton 06 Jan 2021
In reply to petemeads:

Runs in my mind that Rob Matheson led Ten Years After (e5), hodge close, at 70. His own route obviously, but probably changed quite a bit in the interim. 

 WVRox 06 Jan 2021
In reply to ian caton:

Hi Ian, how's it going?!

Musing on this topic,  and thinking how we compare recording ascents with the way the running world is structured  - ie by age band as well as gender.

Wondering  - what is the hardest route led by age? Not repeats, as in your example, but first led. Has anyone over 60 led say Right Wall, having not led it before? Lord? 

What's the hardest trad lead by a 60, 65, 70 75 yr old?

Steve 

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Those pictures by Pete Meads are not of John Syrett.

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I hope this is the sort of answer you were looking for...

I'm 107 and soloed The Quarryman yesterday. Had to chip verglas off the first pitch with my fingernails. Climbing just gets better the older you get. (Sex is a different story, though.)

 Trangia 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Well next month I will be 77 I have had a few medical problems over the last decade ranging from prostate cancer resulting in a radical prostatectomy, kidney stones requiring surgery to remove them ( without any doubt the two most painful episodes I have ever experienced in my life prior to the surgery) and eye sight problems - retinal surgery and a cataract. Prior to that I had never been in hospital, so you are getting to the age when things are likely to start to happening to your health.

Notwithstanding that I pulled through all of them and was able to carry on climbing, the main thing I had noticed though, is that my strength began to drop off, and I started getting more frequent injuries like pulling muscles. To compensate for this I began to ease down in my grades. I had been leading at about VS/HVS with the occasional E1, so I eased back to leading more in the region of V Diff/Severe. Anything harder I felt more comfortable seconding than leading mainly driven by a feeling that I didn't have the confidence that my strength wouldn't give out when I was committed on a difficult move.

The year before last I began to climb less and less, and was doing more mountain walking particularly enjoying the challenges of navigation, and at 75 I began to seriously think about giving up climbing and concentrate more on walking, more hill walking than mountaineering. The biggest problem was eyesight which made descending increasingly slow, as it was becoming difficult to focus properly on my feet particularly in rain and poor visibility, so I have been doing more and more country walking, again enjoying exploring and navigation.

I haven't climbed since the Pandemic arrived and this really spurred me into making the decision to stop climbing altogether, and last summer I made the difficult decision to get rid of my climbing gear. It wasn't an easy decision from an emotional point of view, but I have been realistic, and I am looking forward to many more years of walking, including non technical hill walking. In this regard I have already booked a holiday in the Austrian Tyrol for the summer when, hopefully, the restrictions imposed by the virus will be behind us.

The other great love of my life, from a sporting point of view, was skiing and I was competent skier of black runs until again it was my eyesight which let me down. I never managed to find goggles which didn't mist up when worn over glasses, and that was a sport which I reluctantly gave up about 5 years ago.

Obviously everyone is different, and ages at a different rate, but my advice to you would be carry on climbing as long as you feel comfortable and fit with it. Lots of illnesses and set backs can be overcome, but start lowering your sights and concentrate on things you enjoy, which you can do. I did get into doing via ferratas a couple of years ago, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and my VF kit is the only bit of "climbing gear" along with a few krabs and slings that I have retained!

Good luck

 Al Randall 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I was on sighting 7a and E4 at 70 years old.  Injury followed by illness put paid to that rather than age.

I hope that helps.

Al

Post edited at 14:38
In reply to John Stainforth:

Quite right John, but they are wrongly described in the Footless Crow interview with Allan Austin, so I wasn't being a complete idiot. (And the bloke had dark curly hair as well.)

Your photo remains the unique historical record!

In reply to Al Randall:

Funnily enough it doesn't, that much

 AJM 06 Jan 2021
In reply to WVRox:

Not trad, but mid to high 8s (14a or 14b) sport for people in their low-mid 60s

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/119646681/514b-at-age-64

 HB1 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I'd really like to get a few more classics done, even tick a few more (carefully chosen) E1s, but how much longer realistically have I got? I'll be 67 in April...

        . . . I was leading HVS/E1 at your age. I have to say it's gone a bit downhill since then - I've  succombed to the advantages of the quarries. The pandemic hasn't helped of course. I've not climbed indoors since February (a great help to the older climber - a bit of the old buzz without the worry)  but still managed a few local days out. I do try to keep fit. I have my regimens. I'm a bit obsessive. I talked to a young lad when I was traversing Windgather quarry last summer - he asked when I'd started climbing, and when I said "in the sixties" he was gobsmacked - couldn't believe I was SO old (and still climbing well - I know that place well) but impressed, oh yes!!

Injuries don't help momentum of course - in the last few years I've had a shoulder break, back break, and a hip replacement. I've just had to knuckle down to exercises to compensate - I'll be 74 this year - I was out wild-hillrunning  for a couple of hours yesterday - fantastic. I'm sure we'll all be able to climb whenever and where-ever we want to soon. Think FIT!

 jcw 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Nil desperandum. Now I am 87 and have lost my left eye and my right is wonky I’ve been making a list of Last Times.

My last major climb en amateur was when I used my over 60s pass to do with Julian Cox Eole Danza per Noi TD+ which we did from the hut and back to Chamonix the same day.

After that I started taking a guide for a fortnight each year starting with François Damilano, with whom at 62, I did my last major Alpine route, the Pillier Damilano TD+ on the Tacul. My last climb with him was aged 70 on a full 14 pitch monstrosity, half  6a or 6b on Mont Charvalon. In 2002 I started climbing with a Canadian Guide, 100 pitches of 5.8-510b in 13 days at Squamish. My final season with him was in the Dolomites aged 78, including a full length Ciavazes route and the Thumb on the Fünfingerspitz. I was also regularly going out with Alex McDonald and his mate Harry Woodward  a rope of 242+ climbing on multi pitch routes in the Cham Aiguilles and the Aosta Valley

I had climbed with Simon Richardson in Scotland every year for a quarter of a centurary (Old Man of Stoer at 75) and finally had to give up at 80. My last F6a was behind Alex Renshaw the previous year and in 1981 I was led up Gillercombe Buttress by Christopher Brown, the square route of my age. My last Vallée Blanche was at 82. I was still doing multiple off piste routes at the Grands Montets until recently and have only had to stop because of my eyesight.

The essential is to keep fit, ever harder as one ages: what matters is pacing oneself and doing a bit regularly. There is also a silly idea on UKC that it is not on to take a guide. But if you want to continue climbing hard as you age, you need to go out with someone  experienced who will push you to the limits safely. I know several big Alpine climbers who have done just that.

In reply to jcw:

Hats off to you sir!

In reply to Pete Pozman:

That's us told! Chapeau!

 Wink 06 Jan 2021
In reply to jcw:

"Chapeau" indeed, you've set the bar jcw, I'm reaching for my very old Mont Blanc guide books. Time to shed a few pounds during lockdown and get properly fit again. Thanks for the inspiration. 

 Martin Hore 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Hi Rob

Sounds like you're following me closely up the years. I was 70 in November. I led my last couple of E1's two years ago when I was 67. The following year I led 20 HVS's but didn't manage any E1's. This year (!) just one HVS and a few VS's, but if it had been a normal year I'm confident I'd have done more. Will I lead E1 again? Possibly yes, possibly no. But my experience over these recent years has meant I'm not too bothered. As long as it's sensibly challenging and I'm enjoying it then that's great.

I'd like to say I'm not setting myself targets, but that's not quite true. I have a little "semi-target" to complete all of Classic Rock post 70. I'm not going to set a schedule, but just take the opportunity to fit them in when I'm in the right area and see how it goes. I might get to explore rather more of Scotland than I have to date.....

Martin

 jcw 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Wink:

Thanks Wink, that coming from you is praise indeed. As too others. But there is also an element of luck, good fortune call it what you will. Whatever, never give up until nature forces you. 

 ian caton 07 Jan 2021
In reply to WVRox:

Hi Steve. Enjoying things?

I think trad fades faster than sport just because you need to be able to see to place fiddly small gear.

Runs in my mind that Angela soper led RW at 60 but could be easily wrong.

See you sometime post lockdown. Happy New year. 

 petemeads 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Hi Rob, thanks for the photo compliments and for putting me on to Footless Crow blog - more reading to while away lockdown!  Chris Hunter (Jimmy to us) was a very good climber from Corby, of all places, who had never been to Scotland but was broad Scots. We met at the ironstone/gritstone crag of Slawston bridge where somewhat later a young Johnny Dawes would train. The photos were taken during a week in Yorkshire being escorted by Chris Addy, I got to take Chris's picture because I bottled the hard move on my attempt...

 webbo 07 Jan 2021
In reply to petemeads:

I have a vague memory that I might have been there that day or at times when you and Chris were on your tour.

 Cameron3298 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Timmd:

Careful on that road bro trying to be as fit as I think I am has led to small bits of kit being brought to work, they where not amused

 johncook 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I am 71 and still managing to tick the odd E2 and sport 6c. You are too old when you start thinking you are too old. (I still think I am 15 but my body tends to argue with my brain a lot!)


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