On Belay With ... Abigail Forsyth

Posted by Jeremy Windsor on Nov 08, 2018

Welcome to "On Belay With..."! This is a series of short interviews with all sorts of folks involved in mountain medicine. If you'd like to take part please get in touch!

Dr Abigail Forsyth on the Aonach Eagach ridge

Dr Abigail Forsyth is a Clinical Fellow in Anaesthetics, Critical Care and Mountain Medicine at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.  As part of the post, Abbi will start the Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM) in December. 

1 What was the last mountain you climbed?

Ben Hope in the far north of Scotland.

2 What does the perfect mountain day consist of?

I was told on my Mountain Leader Training that you couldn’t count a day as perfect unless you had witnessed a brocken spectre. Sadly, I’ve never witnessed one so by that definition have never had a perfect day! I’ve had some that have come pretty close though.

3 What's been your worst mountain mishap?

There’s been a few, not all of which I’m willing to share in public! But all related to either an underestimation of severity or an overestimation of ability! At worst its required a bit of swallowed pride and a good story for pub afterwards.

4 What's been your best mountain day?

Toubkal Refuge with the summit in the background

As an expedition leader with Outlook Expeditions I was tasked with getting 17 children and 4 teaches to the top of Toubkal, Morocco’s highest mountain at over 4000 meters, most of which had never left inner city Sunderland, let alone step foot into the hills. Although not the easiest day I’ve ever had in the mountains, for sense of satisfaction at the end it can’t be beaten.

5 What mountain changed your life?

Moel Siabod was the first mountain I ever climbed whilst on a training expedition for my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award whilst at school. It all stems from there

6 What's been your best bit of mountain kit?

My Rab Vapour-rise jacket. I’ve been through a few different editions of this jacket now and it is my go to jacket, no matter the time of year.

Climbing Salamander Gully on Beinn An Dothaidh

7 What makes a great climbing partner? Has anyone come close?

I am the occasional wuss whilst out climbing so someone that can ignore that and tell me to get on with the job in hand is perfect. My boyfriend, Tom, comes pretty close in that regard.

8 What's been your biggest mountain disappointment?

I find climbing in the alps to be quite a fickle experience weather wise and have always come home disappointed that we didn’t achieve everything we planned. Maybe its time to adjust my expectations!

9 What is your "dream" mountain objective?

I don’t have a defined list of objectives, just the ambition to travel to new places and have fun along the way.

Abigail on Kilimanjaro!

10 Give us a mountain "tip"!

Living in Norfolk, where I’ve been based for the last eight years, is not very conducive to regular days out on the hill. Hence the new job and a move to the Peak District!

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