James Messer , a Borders Legend !!
Many years ago as a fledgling Ice climber I was lucky enough to get a chance to climb with James Messer. He was a talented all-round climber and already an experienced veteran of the Ice , with many Alpine ascents including Mont Blanc and far further afield with attempts on Mount McKinley in Alaska and many many more. At first I was a little intimidated but I was the talented technical rock climber who wanted to climb ice , he was the experienced veteran and we soon struck up a climbing partnership that had us climbing some very beautiful and testing winter routes all over ….. His tenacity was unlimited , he would attack scary leads with no fear , he would haul himself up some of the most horrible looking loose and unprotected pitches you ever saw !! I was the delicate technical climber who danced his way lightly up the ice using rock climbing technique and exceptional balance , we were the two extremes of climbing but we respected each others abilities and favoured leads on who was most suited , he was the man who taught me winter navigation , how to judge snow and Ice conditions , safety procedures but most of all he inspired me to go where I would never have gone if he hadn’t been on the other end of the rope … He was Mountain Rescue , brave and determined , I respected the hell out of him …that respect has only strengthened over the years and we have grown to be very good friends.
In a cruel twist of fate , high on Ben Ulaidh in the Scottish Highlands , we were involved in a serious accident , an avalanche crashed over us on a large Ice fall , James was hit , I was lucky , I managed to get to him and we escaped the Icefall before it collapsed , many difficult hours later he was eventually whisked away unconscious to hospital , his girlfriend pregnant at the time with his son Mark , who he later named after me .. Ive never been so proud …. James had suffered a severe blow , he had a collapsed lung which has never fully recovered , making what he is doing now even more remarkable , serious nerve damage occurred and he lost the use of his left side and spent a long time recovering in hospital , yet not once did I ever see him falter ,every hospital visit I would see him smiling on our arrival , if he had dark moments he did not burden anyone else , he has become a perfect father , he still teaches the Mountain Rescue and now he is a talented photographer , still travelling to the places he loves , not to climb , but to photograph its beauty .. JPM Photography…. although he still takes on the occasional mountain when the mood takes him.
On Friday in Think Fitness Gym he will attempt to “step” the height of Everest and K2 together in one push , 57,284 feet in total , hoping to finish within 24 hours and I will be there to support him through the night , our history is deep and I’m very proud to be there for him through what will probably be the hardest stage , I will be running a treadmill marathon alongside him hoping to make it a little easier as someone else joins him in toil , ……. I cannot convey the respect I have for him in words , not much brings a tear to my eye but this dude really is something else !! He has chosen the MacMillan Nurses charity for both personal reasons and because it really is an amazing and deserving charity !!
Read about him here and consider even donating a couple of pounds if you can , lets get behind him and inspire him all the way to the finish !!!! ……………………..