Thursday, 28 April 2011

Pavey Ark

Above: Kat on The Bracken Clock

Today Kat and I went to Pavey for the first time. I am still getting over a torn back muscle, so easy routes are the order of things for a while. With a good number of 3 star classics here, there is no shortage of routes to go at. First up was The Bracken Clock E2 5a,5c,5b,4a*** (102m). This was a pretty good route, but a little on the easy side overall for the grade. A couple of big rp's or super light wild country wires would make the boldish start to the crux pitch safe. I linked the 2nd and 3rd pitch together as it makes sense to make a great pitch. After this route we descended East gully and then nipped up Rake wall End VS 4c***. This was quiet a disappointment as 3 start routes go. The main pitch was a bit average, so I hope the other 3 star routes are a bit better on this crag.

No doubt my back will be a bit sore tomorrow, but the road to recovery is a slow one.

Above: Kat on The Bracken Clock

Monday, 25 April 2011

Climbing Wall Award Courses

I will be running a number of CWA courses this year, starting with the dates below.

Training Dates:

7-8th May

28-29th May

25-26th June

2-3rd July


1st May

Training costs £150 (includes abseil module)

Assessment Costs £95 (includes Abseil module)

For more details please contact us.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Back Strain and New Kit

I managed to strain my back last Friday whilst on a rest day, so no more rest days for me, they're dangerous. It is recovering quite well, so I should be back in action next week. My spirits have been lifted with the arrival some Edelrid kit that is new for 2011.

First up are the Mission Quickdraw. I have actually been using these through the winter and have been impressed by the lightness and usability in that environment. Since being back on the rock, I have noticed a big difference on the harness in terms of weight. The quickdraw only weighs 59g and each crab only 25g making it the lightest in the world i believe by 0.5g. As you would expect there has been no compromise in strength either.

Below: Mission Quickdraw and HMS Strike

The HMS Strike is a light weight screwgate that only weighs 65g and still offers max strength. It has a slightly smaller form which makes it perfect for those longer routes where weight and clutter reduction are important.

Edelrid climbing shoes are still not that well known in the UK, but I have been using them now for over 2 years and really rate them. The latest addition to the performance range are the Typhoons which I was lucky enough to have 6 months ago. Designed as an aggressive shoe, these do deliver on steep ground, but I have also found they are awesome on slabs and walls as well. These will be my all rounder shoe. If i am heading away and can only really take one shoe not knowing exactly what I will be on, these win out. I have climbed 7c on limestone, E7 on grit and E5 on Schist in these so recommend them. The Tornado is the other shoe that came in the bag of tricks. This has been my fav shoe for trad and bouldering over the last 2 years. The new shoe has been tweaked slightly to improve it, so i am hoping it will continue to perform. Slightly less aggressive than the Typhoon, it is sensitive and accurate on small edges and smears.

Above: Tornado (left) and Typhoon (right)

Ropes new for 2011 that came were the Apus 7.8mm. These are the ultimate in light weight half ropes weighing just over 2kg per 50m. If you are after a set of ropes for big routes home or abroad I would recommend these or the Merlin 8mm's.

If you though that Edelrid only made ropes and a few other bits, click on the logo on the right and flick through the massive range of kit they have. You will be suprised.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Froggatt Slabs and Solos

Above: Tony contemplating the crux moves of 4 Pebble Slab E3 5c

I met up with a gang of folks today and made are way to Froggatt. The temp was due to be perfect for some slab action and my fingers are still a little tender, so I was well up for slabs. Dan and Elliot warmed up on 3 Pebble Slab HVS 5a and I followed. Tony was on form again and threw his usually sensible approach out the window and went for 4 Pebble Slab E3 5c* as his first route. He did a sterling job on this to tick his first E3 for a while. I was inspired and led it as well. Dan and Elliott completed the team ascent. Pete meanwhile was steadily picking his way up 3 Pebble Slab.

Below: Tony happy to get the top on 4 Pebble Slab

Above: Dan finishing the crux 4 Pebble Slab

A quick break from the slabs and I was keen for Oedipus E4 6b**, a bold solo with a hard move right at the top. I can't really claim the onsight having seen a video of Katy W doing it on UKC, but her beta was top draw. Things must have been going well because the route felt more like 5c today, but defo not 6b. The traverse off was the scariest part of the route. Young Elliot then flashed the route as well, but took man points away from his fine effort when he started winging about being rescued from the traverse off (the youth of today).

Above: Making the crux rock over on Artless E5 6b (check out how high that knee is)

All down safe and sound we moved to Long John's Slab Easy3 5c*** which Dan and Elliot both led. I was keen to tick the last of the E5 slab routes on Great Slab I had not done, so went for Artless E5 6b**. This again went pretty easily once I got my feet right, I had looked at this before but could not see how to do the starting rock over so walked away. Was very happy to get the onsight today having saved it. Another soft tick for the tech grade though a great bit of climbing. dan and Elliot both led Heartless Hare with the side runners to make a good E3 5c. I then soloed Brown's Eliminate E2 5b***, then Dan led it. I finished off up Armageddon E3 5c**.

Above: Easy moves at the top of Artless/Great Slab

I think Tony led Sundowner E2 5a* and Pete Sunset Slab HVS 4b*** as well.

An awesome day out. For everyone.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Rivelin Classics

Today I met up with Tony at Rivelin for my first visit there. As always I have a tick list when I go anywhere, but today I was only looking knock 2 off.

Tony started us off with a swift lead of the bold Better Late Than Never E1 5a*. Some good smeary moves make this not too hard to climb, but you need to keep your head together. I was keen to get straight on one of my routes for the day The Brush Off E4 5c***. This is a super bold slabby arete which looks from the ground like you can fiddle in some runners. How wrong I was. A single friend half way up was it, and the hardest move at the top. A first class grit route.

Above and Below: Getting to grips with The Brush Off

Tony was up again and led Fringe Benefit E1 5b**, another bold slab route. Feeling happy with myself I tried the onsight solo of Europe After Rain E4 6b. This John Allen technical wall climb was hard all the way to the top, which was very sloppy and dirty and ejected me quite dramatically. I missed the mats and took Tony down the hill with me, limping away with a bruised ankle. Better look next time with more mats and spotter me thinks. It then started to rain, but undeterred by a little wetness I set off up Auto da Fer E4 6a***, my second aim for the day. As I reached the top of the crack the arete had started to wet out a little, I pushed on slipping off the hard move. A bit frustrated, I got it second go.

Tony was on fire today and finished his run with solid ascents of Outsider E1 5b* and THe Original Route E2 5c*. An awesome day with loads to go back for.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Intro to Sea cliffs

Above: Kat following Pel

Today I was out with Kat and we went to Gogarth for the day. This was her first time climbing on a sea cliffs and the weather was perfect. I thought Castell Helen would be a great intro. A committing Abseil in, and good routes to climb out made this a quality day for Kat.

Below: Kat leading Rap

I led Pel VS 4c** first so Kat could get a feel for the place. We went straight back down so Kat could lead us up Rap VS 4c* and take us to lunch.

Above: Kat on Atlantis

After a quick bite to eat, Kat was keen to follow something a little harder, so I led Atlantis E1 5c*. It was a good end to a great day climbing with sea kayakers paddling by, Dolphins cruising past, seal's watching the climbers and the ever present seagulls.

Below: Kat on Atlantis

Friday, 8 April 2011

Early Riser

Above: Trick Arete V4 6b

I thought that cragging was out today as the electrician was doing some rewiring. To my delight they were quick and I was out the door by midday. It is limestone weather really with the warm temps, but as I was on my own grit was my best option. Earl crag is North facing and normally has a breeze running across it. Today was no different and conditions were great. Unfortunately after the winter, everything is a bit green and dirty. I was hoping to on sight Early Riser which is a smeary E5 6a ramp, but bottled it due to the filth. A rope was rigged quick and I gave it a bash without cleaning to see if my decision was a good one. It was! I was ejected from the crux smears at the top which were ming. After a good brush and 1 more quick toprope, I soloed it. It is not one I will rush back to do again as it is a GRIPPER! with the last move being the crux.

Above: Trick Arete

After a bite to eat I went and did a few problems had not done before Trick Arete, Hanging Groove and Kipper. These are all V4 which I flashed, but I had no luck on some of the harder problems i tried today.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Summer at Stoney

Above: Tony enjoying the traverse of Armaggedon

With the warm temps today and the wind blowing, we opted for another hit at Stoney. As I now seem to be felling good again I was pretty keen to have a look at some of the harder routes that Guido had pointed out. Dan was keen to tick a couple of classic E2's and Tony was happy to follow a few things to get some mileage in.

Dan led us up Solitude E1 5b as a warm up. He made short work of this, but was put off by the moving flake that appeared solid last week. Take care if you venture on to this one. We then moved to Windy Buttress where Dan cruised up Armageddon E2 5c***. This has a tricky start (one for the long man) followed by pleasent climbing in a fine position across the face of the buttress. I managed to get a couple of pics of Tony as I seconded to get a good shot.

Above: Finally reaching gear and a good rest

I then got kitted up and went for the bold and pumpy Wee Doris E4***. A bold bouldery start leads to a good rest and gear half way up the wall. More steep climbing takes you to the crux passing the roof onto the even steeper climbing up the headwall, truly outstanding climbing. The only down side is the grass top out when your pumped.

Below: Eying up the crux moves around the roof

Below: Working through the crux headwall

We finished off climbing Carl's Wark Crack E2 5c** which Dan had a crack at. Tired arms got the better of him today, but a fine effort was given. tony and I seconded to finish are arms off, all good training and all that, and we called it a day. We will definitely be back.

Below: Dan fighting with Carl's Wark Crag

Sunday, 3 April 2011

First Day Back On The Grit

Above: Working through the crux of Barry King Size sit down start

I am starting to feel like I have turned the corner and some strength is returning. So after checking the weather, Ben and I agreed to meet at Crookrise as we both had done very little there. The weather was good for most of the day, except for one heavy shower, but the rock was dry again in 20 mins.

We started by warming up on the Sole HVS 5b***, which was an excellent route. Bouldery start, then straight forward to the top. The temp was a little hard work with the wind causing cold hands. We persevered and walked over to the Hovis area with the view of ticking some more 3 star classics. This is when the rain hit. As we hid from the rain we met a couple of folks bouldering, and it turned out the problem they were trying was the only thing to stay dry. It made sense to have a go at the Problem, Barry Kingsize sit start V7 whilst other things dried off. I was pretty chuffed when I managed to send it 3 go, role on the season. Ben got pretty close to the stand up version V6, but the last move is a bit hard and committing. We then did Crease Direct and I soloed Hovis direct which took way to many goes, I need to open my eyes and use all the holds sooner next time. Ben then did a sterling job leading The Shelf E2 5b***. It was hard going with cold hands, but Ben made short work of it. We finished off with a quick send of Diet Pepsi, which was a bit tricky for the grade.

Above: The last hard move
Below: Topping out on Hovis

Above: Ben on the Sole

A great day out with some good ticks to boot.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

April Fools at Stoney

Above: Warming up on Mani

I met up with Tony, Ian, Guido and Jim in Hathersage yesterday morning hoping to get out and do something as I am still feeling weak from the virus that hit last week. I copied Guido's report from the Yorkclimbers blog, here is what he had to say.

'Yes we fell for it hook, line and sinker the BBC predicted sunshine as another squall of rain splattered the windows of the Outside café we ordered a second cup of coffee and huddled round the table.I hate to say this but there was only really 2 places to go to on a day like this & as none of us had brought sports ropes sadly we headed for Stoney.

As usual despite the wet roads Stoney was dry as a bone and in perfect condition. It was both Adam and Ian’s first time here so all was not lost really as we parked amid the caving group mini buses and trucked up the well worn track.
Now Adam has been ill recently so he was weak as a kitten in fact he was almost as weak as the rest of us. I pointed out the many desperate classics as we wandered up to our regular warm up route Padme, Hvs 5a, followed by Mani E1 5b, Solitude E1 5b.

Below: Climbing Solitude, a neglected route but well worth the effort.

Above: Jim on the crux of St Peter

Jim then led St Peter E1 5b which was a bit of a grudge match as he had failed on it last summer, Adam then finished off on the superb Dead Banana Crack E1 5c.'

Below: Doing the Crux of Dead Banana Crack

Above: Cruising up the easy crack of Dead Banana Crack

I had heard all sorts of tales of Stoney polish and horror stories which had put me off going there. Having been, I will definitely be back. Some of the classic harder lines look amazing, and there is nowhere near as much polish as Malham (I didn't see my reflection once).