Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

TGO Challenge 2010 – A Route is Vetted

An idyllic wild camp by the River Enrick on 14 May 2007

There’s little news from Canada today, other than to report that Dr James R Eyamie found time to sort out a minor dental problem, the appointment for which was timed to prevent any meaningful skiing.

Anyway, a day’s rest is no bad thing, I’m sure many of you will agree, though I’m not sure I’d want all my free days dictated by a dentist’s timetable.

Thank you Dr Eyamie, you were most efficient.

The Vetter’s Comments

TGO Challengers have been known to shudder at the thought of receiving their vetter’s comments, which are unerringly helpful in my experience, but have exposed my very limited knowledge of the uplands of Scotland, not to mention some embarrassment at my misplacement of certain well known features.

So I was pleased to read in my vetter’s initial response to my route; such comments as:

‘I envy you if this is your first visit to this wonderful group of hills’

‘you’ll be surprised at how relatively easy the next two Corbetts may seem’

‘you’ll find yourself on much more amenable hills today’

and I especially like this one:

‘this is a splendid and well planned route’


Then I spotted a few more worrying phrases, such as:

‘this is a hugely demanding day, with massive switchbacks over rough country and no paths whatsoever’

‘the ups and downs will be relentless’

‘more rough ground’

‘you’ll find the path rising from the ruin is of limited assistance’

‘a fair bit of rough country today’….’rather a heathery bogtrot’


‘you have a fair degree of ascent today, so it seems a shame that you won’t have any hills to add to your tally’  …he goes on to suggest an extra hill…

My vetter has left my planned route virtually unscathed and without comment.  He has discarded it in favour of my FWA (Fine Weather Alternative) of which he seems to approve.  ‘What’s wrong with an ambitious route’ he suggests, going on to encourage the addition of several further summits to the 22* already planned. 

I think I have a vetter with masochistic tendencies.  I’m told it runs in their genes, and without exception my vetters have always pointed out extra summits that I ‘might like to’ or ‘really ought to’ or ‘can’t miss’ visiting.  It’s just that this year’s route, with its 350km (220 miles) and 17000 metres of ascent is already somewhat tougher than earlier efforts.

I’ll see how it pans out.  I’m not revising my plans as a result of the vetting process, but I am now better prepared for what’s in store.  I’ll be loaded up with nearly 15 kilos of mostly ancient and heavyweight kit as usual, including the 30 year old condensation free Phoenix Phreerunner tent pictured above on the 2007 Challenge, my first.  I’m still waiting for someone to produce a lighter, modern version of this breathable single skin tent.  In the meantime I’ll soldier on with the old two kilo bundle, but surely (and I know I’ve gone on about this before) – it can’t be rocket science to produce something similar 30 years on, or do people just love to have condensation?

Or maybe it does need some Rocket Science?

*PS My real target is 10 summits, being a realistic compromise…


Alan Sloman said...

"…he goes on to suggest an extra hill…
They are like that aren't they, these vetters. Sounds a bit like JD? Or perhaps Ian?

I well remember a comment from him on one of my routes that went "Last time I went over that Corbett I was seriously lost"

Looking forward to seeing your route - sounds like a fascinating amble.

Phreerunner said...

I've never had JD as a vetter, Alan. Ian may have enjoyed vetting this route, but it wasn't him either....
I'll be making a few minor adjustments and putting it on a web page at 1:250000 in due course.
Trouble is, I feel exhausted just looking at it.

Louise said...

Funny thing, whether or not we get on the Challenge this year, I am soooo looking forward to all the write ups! Hours spent on so many different virtual hikes. Should be good!
word: actually, too rude sounding to repeat!

John J said...

Like Alan, I suspected Ian.

A splendid and well planned route eh? I would be well chuffed to receive such an accolade from a vetter - although without the sting(s) in the tail!

My vetters judgement is due imminently.

Martin Rye said...

Nice walk you have planned there. Also nice tent. If it is not broke don't fix it.