10 Things To Replace A Chamonix Climbing Season: Anna Wells In Lockdown

Like so many other people around the world, the Covid-19 outbreak has had a huge impact on our lives.

After a brilliant winter season in Chamonix, during which we both qualified as International Mountain Leaders, we sadly had to return home early after losing our jobs transfer driving. Our first few months of European trekking work has already been cancelled, and we just need to 'wait and see' for the rest of the summer. 


1) Finding work and things to do

We have now applied to various jobs back home (such as fruit-picking and delivery driving!), and in the meantime we are staying busy and productive having loads of fun around the house!


2)  Core and balance exercises

For the first time ever, we decided to try out 'Acroyoga'! Its a super fun way to practice core and balance, and there are loads of free resources on the internet to get started. It got much easier with practice, so don't give up if it feels impossible at first!


3) Making crochet monkeys

Up until now my crochet skills were limited to hats but, as you can see, I have nearly finished my first monkey (pending one right arm)! I learned from videos on youtube and there are lots of crochet patterns available on Etsy. Sitting in front of the fire crocheting is an idyllic activity I always imagined doing but never quite prioritised the time for!


4) Climbing staircase VKs

Physical activity is big passion for me and I love setting myself challenges. Here I decided to do a 'Vertical Kilometre', which worked out as 329 laps of the stairs! I like to make a week-by-week list of goals to keep motivated. Maybe a 3 Peaks challenge one day... or Everest?!


5) Banagramming - banan-nah? Banan-yeah!

We love playing bananagrams! Its a great little bite-size chunk of mental stimulation. We have also been playing lots of chess, which is a great way to interact with isolated friends and family via game apps.


6) Maintaining climbing fitness

As two super-keen climbers, we are very sad to be without any rock faces or training venues and there isn't really anywhere we can hang a fingerboard here. However, it's still possible to stay in good shape with lots of pull-ups, push-ups and other exercises.


7) Strengthening weaker muscle groups

It's also a good chance to work on antagonistic muscle groups and do lots of physio to restore some balance so that we can come back stronger!


8) Home study courses

Beyond the intellectual stimulation provided by bananagrams, we have both decided to take online courses to learn something new. I have been really enjoying learning Python programming. There are loads of heavily discounted courses at udemy.com and hundreds of free modules via the Open University. The hardest part is choosing what to study!


9) Gardening

I've never really focused much on the garden, usually preferring to run away to big open mountains! Now I am learning to appreciate the immediate space around home and I am amazed by how relaxing, refreshing and therapeutic it can be to spend a couple of hours digging up weeds!


10) Drawing and painting

Finally, its been fun to explore some creativity. As a kid I used to love drawing and sadly that fell out of my priorities as I grew up. It's been so much fun to rediscover a love for drawing and painting. I always dreamed that I might one day write a children's book about the mountains - maybe now is the time!

Follow Anna on Instagram at @annawells89 - if only to find out how the crochet monkey is progressing, if nothing else!

By Anna Wells