'For all of my happy times, my sad times, Gable's been there'
Sylvia, Great Gable
From the time Sylvia’s first husband brought her a pair of hiking boots as a wedding present, Sylvia has felt a deep attachment to Great Gable. Climbing Great Gable has given Sylvia many highs in her life, none more so than after her recovery from lymphoma. During her treatment, she had thought of Gable, and how she'd love to climb it once more. Alongside her brother Robert, Sylvia undertook a remarkable walk back up the mountain she loves.
It started with a wedding present
Sylvia: 'People say, "why do you rock climb?"
It’s quite frightening, but when you get to the top, you’ve achieved something and that’s what you feel like when you get to the top of Gable.
My first husband bought me a pair of climbing boots as a wedding present. I didn’t see the mountains until we moved into our flat. There was this wonderful mountain, Great Gable.
Nothing else struck me the way Gable did.
When you come down, you don’t even notice your feet touching the ground, because you’re on a high. I think it’s magic, I think it really is.
I mean it may sound silly to somebody else, but I, I feel that it’s mine. I allow people to go on it, but it’s really my mountain. It’s been my one constant thing since 1959. All the happy times and sad times Gable’s been there.
And in November, I was diagnosed with lymphoma. Well, I couldn’t believe it. When you’re bedridden, and you’re used to a very active life, I was pretty down. I would open the window, stick my head out, to see if I can see Gable.
It’s six weeks since my last chemo.'
" I said to my brother Robert, "I’m desperate to get on Gable again." Today I’m very happy - tomorrow I will walk on Gable! "
Aiming for the gate
'I can’t remember how many times we did it, but '69 was when we started.
If I can get to the bridge, then I can assess whether I can get up to the gate. And I’d love to get to the gate. I’m hoping to get as far along that path as my body will allow.
We’ll go over the finishing line together.
Hooray! Welcome to Great Gable. Never thought I’d do it, never thought I’d do it. I really didn’t think I’d be able to get to the gate.'
Robert, Sylvia's brother: 'I did piggy back you the last bit. Sorry Sylvia.'
Sylvia: 'I’ll ignore that.'
Robert: 'It’s like Sylvia has certain memories and you’ve gotta grab it. Today will never come back, you know.'