Friday, 20 December 2013

Work and Play

A busy week or so again with route setting, staff training a bit of bouldering thrown in.  I managed to escape Calderdale and get to Almscliff with Rose in tow.  Conditions were not great and Rose not having her best day, meant a slightly less productive day than hoped for.  I did manage to tick Underhand font 7b+, but failed on all other tricky objectives.    A batch of problems I had not done before got sent, so not a total loss.

Today I had a quick hit to the ever faithful Woodhouse and managed a few new links etc.  Interfacing Angel Reverse font 7c, Interface Boulder Problem Hell Start font 7b+ and Angel's Crossing Super Extention font 7c.  Probably only of interest to the usual Woodhouse faithful,  but some good additions to the face for when not much else is in.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


The kind folks at Hotaches sent me over a copy of their new film Distilled. This film follows Andy Cave around the Ben whilst he chats about how he started climbing and where it's taken him. Over the years, Hotaches have produced a number of quality films, with the best having an almost documentary feel about them. After all, that's how they kicked off with E11. The footage is excellent and is keeps you visually entertained as Andy chats away. That's not to say that Andy is not worth listening to. For all those interested in the lives of our top alpinists and climbers. but bored of the usual 'sent that shit Man!!!' climbing film, this is the one for you.
'Distilled' Trailer from Hot Aches Productions on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Busy Extended Weekend

A busy few days started on Friday with some setting at Rochdale and updating some of their training and paperwork.

Over the weekend I ran an SPA Training in the Peak and somehow managed to stay dry.  It was a small course, but the guys made it a really good weekend with lots of good questions and discussions.

Yesterday wrapped up a busy few days with a mammoth setting stint at Rochdale.  A small but efficient team stripped the whole upstairs and re set 100 problems ready for their Tri Boulder Comp tonight.  We then climbed all the problems, which left everyone feeling pretty tired.  I definitely feel like I had the ultimate training session.

Hopefully it will be a quiet week, with a little climbing in there somewhere.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Scout Hut Crag

I made a visit to Scout Hut Crag today, which is another local venue I have failed to visit in the past.  My previous laziness to find these venues is now paying off on the days I only have mornings free.

The crag is quite course and has no polish, which was a real treat So I went on an onsighting mission.  I started off soloing a few of the easier routes like Moon Dance HVS 5a*, Coppice Moon HVS 5c* before stepping up to Arenaceous E2 5c, Loogabarooga E3 6a*** , Slippery People E2 6b* and High Noon E3 5c.  Now fully warmed up I made quick onsight solos of Needle of Dreams E4 6b*** and Strone Road E4 6b*, both great routes/highballs.

Setting up for the crux on Needle of Dreams

slopey holds on Strone Road
I then turn my attention to some of the boulder problems, ticking off all I did onsight as well.  The best ticks being The Golden Fleece font 7a*** and Hanging Block Traverse font 7a+.  a really good 2 hours spent.

Just approaching the end of Hanging Block Traverse

scout hut solos from Adam Hughes on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Catch Up and New Bouldering Venue, Hopefully!

It has been a busy week or so.  On Friday I was down in Sheffield visiting friends and snook out to Higgar Tor for a quick boulder and solo around.  I had a great few hours onsighting the Rasp E2 5b*** and repeating Witness the Gritness font 7a+, before moving over to look at Shit font 7b+.  Here I managed to tick most of the easier problems, the best being anonsight of Quintessential Higgarisms font 7a and quickly sending Hemline font 7a+.  I dropped the second last ove of Shit too many times, and ran out of steam.  One to come back to.  The morning was ruined by the fact that some **** had smashed 2 of my car windows for nothing.  A home made hat and old belay jacket out the boot.

Over the weekend I ran a CWA Training course based out of ROKT and The Leeds Wall.  A large course with 10 candidates meant a lot of info sharing and discussion.  This helped make it a great weekend.

Yesterday Ed and made another visit to our new find.  Ed has a sore ankle, so I quickly cleaned and sent 10 more problems.  It is looking like it could be a nice little venue with lots of problems in the low 6's.
A nice font 6b/+ problem at the first area cleaned

The last area cleaned

Good problems of mixed length

A good font 5/+ arete

Video showing a collection of problems so far.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A New Venue in Calderdale?

ZI've spent a couple mornings and afternoon out with Ed and our kids looking at random bit of rock that don't amount to much.  This time however, there seems enough to warrant exploding the climbing.

We had an hour or so yesterday cleaning and climbing a couple of the problems,  but the best was a bit to high and steep to reach.  So we returned again this morning equipped to reach the awkward spots.

A nice slab at font 6a/+ and an Arete to the right at font 4.  The main attraction at this spot is the leaning pinnacle with aretes either side and cool groove feature upnthe middle.  The Left Arete and groove give a great problem,  Toddler Taming font 6b/+ ish, with the Right Arete giving Rose's Arete 6a/+. Around the other side of this Arete is a cool problem which uses the left and right aretes to climb the wall at font 5+.

There are a lot more small buttresses to clean up with some good looking lines on, so hopefully enough to draw people to visit.  I don't imagine that there will be anything too hard, with the bulk of the problems coming in, in the mid 6's.  Watch this space.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Boldness Through Ignorance

Friday was cold and dry, so I took a walk into Cow's Mouth Quarry to give the shoulder a run out, and maybe have a quick look at Boldness Through Ignorance E8 6c** (since it lost its peg).  The shoulder was feeling ok as I warmed up on some easy routes , then a quick nip up Daytona Wall E5 6a***.  I had never done the direct, so threw my pad down and got stuck in.  A tricky bouldery start takes you into the normal route at it's crux.  This is then finished straight up by a 6b crux, to give a more sustained route of E5/6 6b***.

I then turned my attention to Boldness and abseiled to brush checking it out as I went.  Feeling brave, I went for the flash, dropping it at bulge on the monos.  Not wanting to take a big fall again, I dropped a rope down and quickly worked the tricky section.  After a good rest, I soloed the route.  The hard moves right at the top felt pretty good, but intense.  Psyched to get the ticked, but will need to go back and get some pics.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Busy Busy

The last week or so has been pretty busy, and the computer packing up has not helped the admin side.  I ran a navigation/GPS course last Tuesday in the Calder valley which work3d very well. Short walks bringing us back to base to do the data input side of things, meant we could make tweaks here and there.

On Thursday I was at Climb Rochdale setting for the BMC leading ladder.  A busy day, but a good range of routes set by the team, and a mixof styles too.

Saturday was the start of an SPA Assessment.  However, I woke at 5:30, so decided to head to the Peak early and grab a route.  The intended target of Green Death was wet again, so I opted for the flash of Great Arete E5 5c***.  After a quick ab inspection and feel of the crux holds, I soloed the route.  A terrifying start, but soon really enjoyable climbing.  The weekend assessment went well, with the weather working out well for each days emphasis.   A solid performance by many, meant 7 of 8 passed.

A slight shoulder strain has meant I have been keepi g busy trying to catch up on admin as well as a couple of meetings. Fingers crossed I can make up for it next week.

Monday, 11 November 2013

SPA Training

Over the weekend I ran an SPA Training I in the peak district. We had the best of the weather on Saturday at Stanage for the personal climbing section of the award before heading to the wall to cover the indoor aspect of the syllabus.   All the candidates demonstrated a solid climbing performance leading outside on routes up to HVS 5b and inside to 6b.

On Sunday we visited both lawrancefield and Millstone for the group section of the syllabus.   The two venues highlight so good working difference at SPA venues.

A good course made by strong candidates.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Visitors to Calderdale

Jono sending Radium Arete V3

Today Dan and Jono made a trip over to Woodhouse to see what I've been harping on about.  Hopefully they have not been disappointed.

I got there a bit earlier and warmed up to try and tick Mango 7c**.  I had drop the problem on the last move on Monday, so was hoping to get it sent quick.  Instead I was frustrated with one move in the crack that I thought I had sorted.  Rather than use up all my energy, I moved on when Dan and Jono arrived.

Keep rocking

They got stuck into some nice problems on Cave buttress to warm up, both sending well.  Ed and Phoebe made a cameo for a quick hit, but had to bail.  We then moved to the far end of the crag and Dan flashed Interface Boulder problem start V7/font 7a+ and Jono sent it soon after.  I showed the way on a couple of the other trickier problems, but skin and strength were a little to thin after what had been climbed so far.  So we moved back along the crag sending easy classics.  Dan put in some good moves to flash Piton Crack V5/font 6c.  Then we warmed down on more easy classics.

Dan on Piton Crack

A great session with problems from V2/font 5 to V8/9/font 7b+, which I think everyone enjoyed

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Crag That Keeps Giving

Using an intense power gurn to make the crux slap

With the sun out and the wind strong, I made a bid for Woodhouse early this morning.  Most things were wet as expected, but the perma dry eliminates face was dry.  As I warmed up, the sun hit the crag and the together with the wind, it worked it's magic.  In between problems, I happily watched the face dry, and suddenly realised an obvious link up that would give a great problem.  Angel Face font 7b+ is a great none eliminate problem in it's own right, as is the Interface problem start font 7a+.  Together they would make a long sustained problem, creating a crux separate from the ones within each individual problem.  This new crux is a massive bunched slap from the slot to the flake which makes the starting holds of the Interface Problem.  A further couple of powerful moves are required to move into the problem proper, before climbing that problem in full.  This has given Interfacing Angel font 7c**.

I was chilling out to recover to get a vid, when the heavens opened again and soaked the Interface problem.  So, I'll have to return for that when the weather improves again.

Back today (Thursday) to repeat it for the vid.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Welsh Slate and a Woodhouse Cracker

Smithy cruising the Dervish
It has been a real poor week weather wise, but there have been windows on dryness.  Whilst down in Llanberis visiting friends, I managed to grab a couple of hours on Thursday in Vivian with Smithy.  I had only been here once before and climbed Comes the Dervish E3 5c***, so was glad to come back and try and tick off another route.  Smithy led the Dervish and I followed hoping to warm up and get a feel for slate climbing again.  Feeling good, I jumped on Flashdance E5 6a***.  This is bold, but steady, and I found myself stepping into the Dervish after 10 mins climbing.  I was pretty psyched with this, having no real knowledge of the route and there being no chalk on it.  It felt like a proper outing across the face.

Pulling hard on Cracker Jack
  Today after a 30+ miler on the bike, I found myself surprisingly free.  I nipped over to Woodhouse to see how Cracker Jack V10/font 7c+ felt.  After climbing all the problems on Cave buttress, I got stuck in.  It is another eliminate based around the Sheriff which eliminates pretty much all the holds above the roof, leaving a couple of slopers and the arete.  Life the Sheriff-less, which I had done.  It came down to getting my heel on and keeping it on long enough to move my hands and adjust it.  After losing more skin off my ankle, I finally managed to get my heel to stick long enough to adjust and finish.  An awesome end to a surprising week of climbing.


Vid to come

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Agent Orange

Despite the bad weather, as Rose slept this afternoon I watch the sun come out and a good wind dry the walls and roads nicely.  Knowing Heptonstall a little too well, I quickly nipped down the road to grab a quick flash of Agent Orange E6 6a**, and the second ascent.  It was more of a theoretical flash, as I had done all but 4/5 moves before, having climbed the other routes it takes advantage of.  This said, it is still a balancy and bold undertaking.

The crag was drier than expected overall.  with most routes climbable.  A good sign that there ground is not too sodden yet.

Monday, 21 October 2013

A Busy Weekend

With the weather turning foul midweek, I was happy to be inside on Saturday delivering a CWA Assessment at the Leeds Wall.  The 3 candidates were all very strong, putting on a good performance throughout the day to pass comfortably.

Sunday took me down to the Peak to run the second day of a SPA Training course.  The weather had been horrible on the Saturday, but we we got lucky with a dry day.  We got stuck into all the group related rigging and management at Lawrencefield roadside, before moving over to Millstone in the afternoon.  A busy day with lots for the candidates to take away.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Shadowline 2nd Ascent

Picking a way up Shadowline

I managed to get out early this morning before the rain and take advantage of cool conditions to grab the second ascent of Shadowline E6 6b at Heptonstall.  The route climbs the arete of Cream on it's right hand side to meet it high up, then finish as the same way.  It was all a bit greasy after yesterdays rain and the this mornings mist, so I abseiled and brushed the route.  It looked like the hard climbing was in the middle, but when I went for the flash, it turned out to be lower down.  I took a couple of falls before twigging I needed to turn my right hand around.  Once I did this it was in the bag.  A few tricky moves through the middle, but not that bad.
Still a few more techy moves to do

This is a good addition by Matt Troilett, who has also added o more direct version on Cream at E6 6a that I hope to get done asap..

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Wet and Mingin' SPA Assessment and a A Spot of Bouldering

Nick Embracing the ming!
Over the weekend I ran an SPA Assessment in the Peak.  Despite the horrible wet and windy weather, all the candidates got stuck in.  We found some shelter at Froggatt on Saturday morning to do a few routes and personal abseil, before moving inside to look at other aspects of the assessment.  Sunday was slightly better weather wise, and Lawrancefield roadside bay even had a couple of dry routes.  All the candidates worked hard again through the weather, before moving over to Millstone to rap things up.

Latching the crux reach
Today I have managed to find a bit of dry rock at the crag which is often the savior for me, Woodhouse.  I was with Rose, so as she dug around and tried to scrabble over everything I warmed up on the Clingen face.  I'm still miles away from fully fit, but things are heading in the right direction.  I managed Angel's Crossing Extention font 7b+, which has a crimpy hold that was just to much for me when I was last there.  The move off it was move dynamic than it should me, as I still can't pull fully on crimps like that.  All positive though, and not too tired after my 50 mile bike ride in the ming yesterday.

Finishing off!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Finger Therapy

I managed to grab a quick hours bouldering today, so the only choice was Woodhouse.  This does work in my favor as I know all the problems so well, I can focus on the things that will help me get strong again.  After warming up on classics like Radium Arete, I got stuck into the tricky problems on the Angel Face.

Two weeks ago I could not hold the slot which makes up the crux of most of the harder problems without pain.  Today was a different story.  After putting a bit of time into routes and problems, I was feeling stronger than expected.  It was a real pleasure to climb Angel Face, Angel Face Roof Eliminate and Angel Face Reverse all font 7b+.  They all felt much harder than before, but it is real progress to be able to do these again.  I still can't crimp properly, but my open hand strength is improving as an added bonus.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Work Work!

Yesterday I was climbing with Izzi.  She has done a variety of courses over the last couple of years in the summer and winter, but through illness has not been out in over a year.  We went to Heptonstall first and climbed 7 routes up to VS, before mooching over to Woodhouse for a more focused sesion on movement.  Considering Izzi's layoff, she did fantastic.

Izzi working hard on weight transfer

Friday, 4 October 2013

Wild and Windy on Aberdeen Sea Cliff

The Steep prow at Longhaven
On Wednesday I managed to sneak a day climbing with Neil on quite possibly the only dry rock available to us.  We not only had forecast rain to avoid, but massive seas smashing against the crags.  Neil picked out Longhaven, North of Aberdeen after consulting some local mates.  It was a good choice, despite the easiest warm up (E2 5c?) being out due to dampness when we got there.  We climbed on Munich Buttress, which is a cool looking prow of rock high above sea level.  There was a fair bit of spray around, as well as sea foam, but we were sheltered enough.

Neil swinging around the arete on Monkey Puzzle

Not wanting to overdo it straight off with my finger in less than perfect conditions, Neil cruised up Monkey Puzzle E3 5c**.  This looked like a steep imposing line, but turned out to be a pleasurable balancy route up the cool left arete.  It had been cold belaying. so I was not overly warmed up and offered Neil to lead again.  He then turned his sights on African Face E5 6b*, which is a very good eliminate up the steep face between Monkey Puzzle and The American Route E2.  Before long he was involved in the crux which was rumoured to be a massive dyno/slap.  Neil hung in there valiantly, but could not commit to the move.  After belaying for some time, I was no more warmed up.  Even so, I took advantage of Neil's gear and climbed to his high point.  On first encounter the move felt committing, but doable, other than my fingers were very cold.  I decided to reverse and warm then up and messed that up and fell off like a complete tool.  This gave me the chance to pull up and brush the holds which were pretty chalky and greasy after Neil had been on them for about half an hour.  This made the world of difference and allowed me to warm my fingers up enough to commit to pull on them.  Despite being weak at the moment, the recovering finger held up well, and the wild slap/dyno fell to a bit of good old fashioned pulling and static grab.  Having forgot to take any rack, I then had to pull some up, before finishing off.  A really nice route, but all about one move, with the rest being around 5b/c.
Neil starting up African Face

Time had run away, and it was a long drive back to Arbroath. So we headed home happy to have climbed some cool routes on a wild day.

Happy with 2 routes stood on top of the Platforn getting battered by the wind

Friday, 27 September 2013

Getting Motivated

I have found it hard to get motivated to climb again, knowing I'm going to be back to square one.  Over the last 3 months, I have managed to dip in and out of climbing to try and maintain some fitness and strength, but it was inevitable that I would lose loads of each.

So, this week I been the first o which I am having to suck it up! and start struggling.  Monday saw Ed and I at Widdop for  the first daddy daycare bouldering session.  Things when pretty well considering we had 2 toddlers to look after as well as trying to cram some climbing in.  A range of problems up to V6 got sent, so a good day.

I managed a 45 min hit at Woodhouse with Rose in toe, which proved pretty hopeful.  I did around 15 problems, which included a handful of V6/7's and a quick send of the Sheriff V8/9.  Everything felt harder than it should, but reassuring that I could still whale up some things.

Today I have had a good morning session at Heptonstall to see how I would fair on routes.  I did surprisingly better than expected on the fitness front, but have definitely lost a lot of strength and power endurance.  Quick ascents of Thin Red Line E2 5b*** and Brown Sugar E2 5c** left me feeling warmed up and positive. So I fired up Demerera E4 6a** which felt ok, but I was not pulling through as easily I remember being able to.  After a break I did Hard Line E5 6b**.  I fell off the crux once and lowered off, then did it next go.  This felt easy when I flashed it at the start of the year, but quite powerful today highlighting were I have lost the most.  I tried to wrap things up with a stylish ascent of Step in the light green E6 6b***, but was powered out.  I went through the crux ok, only to fall onto the peg shortly after.  Dogging my way to the top with hands opening on every move, I felt quite happy with my morning.  I was not pumped, just out of beans.  Nothing a bit of bouldering won't fix.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Busy Week

Since the 3 peaks it's been a busy, but bitty week.  I ran an in house training course to teach leading at Wigan Youth Zone at the start of the week, worked an event at Calderdale College for Freshers week and then ran a CWA assessment at the weekend.  This all wedged in bentween Man Flu and looking after Rose.  The finger is healing up nicely and now just needs the psyche to return to get fit and strong again in time for the start of the grit season.  Which might even start early if the cooler temps continue.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Yesterday I met up with Ginny and Millie to guide them around the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in a good time.  In recent years we have completed the National 3 Peaks in 21 hrs and the Welsh 15 Peaks, so this should be ok.  Despite the hills not being that high, the distance is still significant at just under 25 miles.

We had good walking weather, dry and cool.  This meant we got a bit of a romp on and stormed around in 9 hrs 5 mins.  I blame the 20 min lunch stop for not breaking the 9 hr barrier.  Regardless, a fine effort by the ladies who were good company the whole way around.  They left trying to decide what would be next, and with winter approaching, who knows.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Catch Up

I have been a big lazy with blogging, so will lump it all into a quick one now.  Over the bank holiday weekend I ran an SPA training in the Peak.  The 4 candidates made it a great course despite the poor weather on the first morning.  Even so, they all led a route in the rain and rigged a personal abseil, before heading to the wall in the afternoon.  Better weather on Sunday made for a more pleasant day Lawrancefiled and Millstone to cover all the group management part of the syllabus.

Monday saw me back at Millstone and Lawrancefield for an SPA re-assessment.  Theo coped well with the 1 to 1 pressure and passed well.

As my finger is recovering, I managed to get in around 30 routes and problems after work on Sunday.  I had a quick boulder yesterday doing problems and routes I've done before.  I was really happy to climb some tricky problems up to font 7b+, but surprised in what areas I was struggling.  Whilst injured I have managed to keep reasonably strong and many styles seem ok still.  However, some problems just seemed nails when they are not graded all that hard.  A funny old game, with lots to get working on, Again!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Straight Outta Clackeaton

Jams means easy on the injured finger climbing My God Rides a Skateboard

It was back to Honley today with Dan and Huw to try and get some better pics and see how the new text works for the crag.  Dan and Huw warmed up with quick ascents of Triple Bad Acid Test E2 5c** and did the direct My God Rides A Skateboard E4 5c**, which I had climbed before.  Dan and Huw then both made short work of it.  We all then led The Dog's Biscuits E4 5c***, which is alway good fun.  Dan very kindly offered to clean Straight Outta Clackeaton E5 6b**, Which I was very happy to Flash.  Dan put a good effort in, but got stuck committing to the crux which feels a bit bold.

Huw powering up the hand crack of The Dog's Biscuits

Dan through the crux and cruising to the top

Loving the steep crack
Pulling hard on straight Outta Clackeaton
A quick hit, but well worth it.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

CWA Training

Over the weekend I ran a busy CWA Training course with 11 candidates.  The first day was all about personal climbing and coaching which was based at The Leeds Wall.  For the second day, we visited ROKT in Brighouse to look at all the group work aspects of the award and do the abseil module.  This proved an interesting venue for the training.  On first impressions you think it will be a very difficult venue to work in, but once you get to know the layout there is always somewhere to meet your groups needs.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Working Around A Recovering Finger

Yesterday I managed to get a few routes climbed in between the showers.  I was down in the Peak visiting friends, so trawled the guide looking for quick hit routes that would be finger friendly.  That meant aretes and slabs.

I had recently worked in the roadside bay at Lawrencefield and finally found out what a couple of the aretes were called and graded.  These seemed like good options to start on.  First up was Brain Cells in Collision E3 5c*.  After abseiling down and brushing (which I was glad I did), I flashed the route.  A good exposed few moves around the arete make for a cool route.  The Next arete was The Last Day of Freedom E4 6a, a nice little route, all open handed on the side that mattered.  I was happy to flash this as well.  A massive shower hit, so I went home for lunch.

After a couple of hours of dry windy weather, I ran out to Froggatt to bag a couple more routes.  I climbed Indoor Fisherman E4 6a**, which I toproped clean first go, then soloed.  The guide marks this as open handed/slopey, but it was quite edgy until the very top section.  This was evident from the ground and I didn't want to start up with a recovering hand and get over committed.  I'm glad I did this, as it was right at the limit of what my finger could take at the moment.  I changed climbing style for the final route and headpointed Hairy Heart E6 6a* on the Great Slab.  Climbed on sight on a rope, then soloed, a total gripper!!!!  I wish I had manned up and on sighted it, but nevermind.  A good route though, and one more E6 on this slab to do, then the harder ones.

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Dog's Biscuits

It has been a month since I tore a pulley in my right hand, and it has been healing steadily.  I have been itching to climb, but don't want to over do things and re injure myself.  With that in mind, Ben and I headed to Honley Quarry near Huddersfield.  The main wall here is an impressively stee[ affair.  This is home to a steep hand crack called The Dog's Biscuits E4 5c**, and should not be very fingery.  The route is only 15m, but overhangs 3m so should be a pumpy number.  It is however a neglected venue, so a good bit of cleaning was required.  I had climbed a couple of routes here before, so I pointed Ben at those and I got stuck into brushing The Dog's.  After about an hour, the routes were ready.  I was happy to quickly flash the route with little trouble, and Ben swiftly followed suit.  He then made short work of one of the other routes I had done here, My God Rides a Skateboard E4 5c**.

Ben on the steep The Dog's Biscuits

Ben happy with his day having a moderate hangover, and me happy with a hand that performed pretty well, we bailed before it all got a little too hot.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

NGB Weekend and Some Window Cleaning

Over the weekend I ran an SPA Assessment in the Peak.  A big congratulations to Lyndon, Lee, Nick and Tim who all put in a good performance to pass.  Good weather on the first day meant some nice routes got led, and despite overnight rain.  Dry weather on day 2 made for a less stressful affair.  Good news all round really.

Yesterday I was hanging off some high rises in Leeds cleaning a whole lot of windows.  Nice weather for the most part made it a pleasant day with some good tunes to keep me ticking over.  I will be back there tomorrow to finish off.

Monday, 22 July 2013

SPA Training

Over the weekend I ran an SPA Training course in the Peak.  It was an excellent course, with good input from a strong group of candidates.  The first day was spent at Stanage to cover the personal climbing aspects of the syllabus, before heading to the wall late afternoon/evening to cover using climbing walls and introducing some of the group work skills.

Day 2 was all about the group aspect of the syllabus.  We went to Lawerance Field and Millstone, which worked well as they are quite different venues with regards rigging.  A good weekend, with a lot of info shared.

I even managed a few easy routes after three weeks rest for my injured finger pulley.  It now time to work on strengthening it, with loads of easy routes etc.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Work and a Finger Injury

I have had a busy week, which started on Sunday when I ran the second day of an SPA training in the Peak.  A full day where we visited Lawrancefield and Milestone to cover all the group aspects of the award.

North Boulder, Honister Pass
Monday was the first day of the George Watson's College summer rock week in the Lakes.  As the weather was due to be mixed, it was key to make the most of each day.  We managed to climb 11 routes in Dalt Quarry in the afternoon when they arrived.  A great starting venue for half a day, with short technical routes on slate.  As the evening was good, we had a pretty full bouldering session on the Honister Pass boulders.  Problems were set from VB-V5 by the kids, and I managed to sneak in a few problems for myself, with a cheeky V6 flash being the best.
Chris pulling hard on the V5 Eliminate
Tuesday was totally Ming, so we ended up having a full day at Kendal Wall.  This was based around doing routes, and everyone managed to last well throughout the day.

The weather had improved massively for Wednesday, so we headed to Upper Swirl Crag on the West flanks of Helvellyn.  This turned out to be a good crag in an awesome setting, with Thirlmere in the background.  Here we climbed 10 routes ranging from HS-E3 on good rock, with varied climbing.  To make the most of the good weather, we had another evening hit on the Honister boulders which went well.

Unfortunately, Thursday was wet to start.  A left helmet at the wall meant it was not too bad to return for a morning boulder session, with the view to head out in the afternoon.  This worked well for everyone, except me.  I was taking it easy and warmed up well, but unfortunately tore a pulley on the last move of a 7b circuit.  Totally gutted, as it will probably cost me all my main goals for the year, but I am trying to focus on healing and staying as fit as possible.  Who knows, things might heal quicker than expected.  We did make it out to Badger Rock in Kentmere, for a quick afternoon boulder, before fish & chips and a movie in Ambleside.

Hamish sending a nippy V2
Gemma cruising
Friday took us all to the Bowderstone (gutted!!!) for a morning session before they made the journey back to Edinburgh.  Despite the hard nature of the problems here, most managed the V3 traverse and another easier problem.  Euan pulled it out the bag on his last shot to send a tricky V4.
Alan bringing out the Gun Show on the V3 Traverse
A nice way to wrap up a good, fully packed week.  Bring on Yorkshire again next year!

Thursday, 27 June 2013


I only had this morning free and was hoping to head to Heptonstall to try and flash Vertical Speed.  Unfortunately, no one was free to climb, so I had to make do with a Woodhouse hit.  The temperature was nice when I arrived at 7:30, and conditions much better than on Sunday when I had an hour there with Ben.

I opted to do Ian's Roof again to get a video, and just enjoy it in cooler conditions.  It is a great problem, but no easier than Ian's Roof in my opinion.

As the Traverse joins Ian's Roof

Feeling pretty good, I walked over to the sheriff block to see how the Sheriff-less 7c felt.  Hard would be the answer, but much better than any other time I have tried it.  I found a better sequence for me today to get into and use the pocket in the face, but the start is always my weak area.  My core is a little stronger for the recent steep problems I've done.  Which meant I could do the start for the first time ever.  Psyched by this, it was game on, as I had finished the problem from the lip in the past, but could never start.  After falling from the last couple of moves a few times, and shredding my ankle, I final sent it.  A good eliminate, but not one my ankles will be rushing back to repeat.

Almost there
No pain, No glory! Or some rubbish like that!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

3 Star Classics at Wilton

I met Elliot at Wilton 1 today with grand plans, but the bird restrictions are still in place meant we had to tweak are planned routes for the day.  As I was there a little before Elliot, I returned the favor for his route cleaning efforts over the years, and brushed Loopy E4 6a***.  It was very dirty, and I unfortunately needed to try some of the moves to workout what to clean.  That said, it was good that I did, otherwise the wrong holds would have sandbagged Elliot.  After a quick warm up traversing around and soloing some easy routes. Elliot got stuck in.  He had a bit of a fight, and despite getting pumped battled through for the on sight.  I quickly dispatched the route on his gear, which was really enjoyable.  One 6a move after you clip the pegs, leads to steady climbing and the top.

I chilled out whilst Elliot flashed the Max E3 5c***, again working hard.  Having got his first pump of the day out of the way, it was much easier to manage this time round.  Taking advantage of now knowing the start of Loopy, I opted for the longest route on the buttress Clean Sweep E5 6a***.  At 28m this is quite pumpy.  It takes in the hardest climbing on Loopy, then traverses the finger break across the overhanging wall to join Wombat, and finish up that.  Half way across the traverse, I started to feel tired, but it seemed to plateau and I could keep on trucking.  Thankfully the traverse was not technical, which meant I could move quickly into Wombat.  The climbing to the top was excellent, and made for an awesome route.

Elliot returned the cleaning favor, brushing Sleepwalk E4 6a***.  This was another great route, with no hard climbing.  6a+/b climbing, but bold with very fiddly gear in the top half.  Falling off would not be a good idea going for the break.  Elliot then wrapped the day up flashing the route as well.

Tony and Ian turned up after us a went on a  sending mission, climbing Cameo E1 5a***, Spider Crack HVS 5a* and Ann E1 5b* before we left.  They were heading over the road to Wilton 3 for move routes, so it will be good to hear what they did.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Ian's Traverse

Rose and I had an early hit at Woodhouse today to take advantage of a cooler start this morning.  I was keen to do Ian's Roof 7c again and get a video, as well as try Ian's Traverse 7b+/c.  Despite a recent hold breaking off the roof, it did not effect the climbing for me.  I quickly dispatched the roof and got some good video, then turned my attention to the traverse.  This traverses the lip to join Ian's Roof before all it's hard climbing, then finishes as for that problem.  There is quite a bit of new climbing in the short section, and I got through it quickly to join Ian's Roof.  Feeling quite good I kept on truckin', just to see how I would go.  I was super psyched to send the problem, but I suppose all the hard work had already been done with my time on Ian's Roof.

 We made a quick exit and made it to toddler group just in time for toast and a cup of tea, happy days!  I'm sure we will be there again soon.  As Houdini Direct 7c+ looks nails and Rose just like digging around in the mud!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

New Route In Dingy Lancs Quarry, and Some Pits Cranking!

Yesterday I went to Cross Stones Quarry to have a look at an arete that needed straightening out.  I would have to say this is a poor quarry, and if I had known what it as like before getting there, I wouldn't have bothered.  That said, The couple of routes I did were not terrible.  I on sighted Broken Lance E1 5b**, the abseiled at checked the upper arete of this that had been missed out originally.  It looked pretty straight forwards, so I soloed that to give Broken Lance Direct E3 5b*.  As I was here I on sighted Bean Stalk E1 5b**, which had some good climbing on it.

Today after a change in plans, I met Elliot at Running Hill Pits.  I had a list of 3 routes to tick off.  So was pretty happy that it was cool in the shade.  We soloed around to warm up, the most noticeable on sight was Pipe Inspector E3 5c, which we both climbed.  We both then gave our chosen routes a brush.  Mine Adrenaline Run E6 6a* may not have been climbed since the late 90's, and was very dirty.  Elliot's Sagittarius Flake E4/5 6b*** was not too bad.
Mid Crux

Almost there


I pre placed a couple of wires high up.  These would have been ok to place on lead, But it seemed easier than cleaning for too long.  I was psyched to then flash the route, with one scare as my heel popped off the arete as I caught the hold of the arete with my hand.  Elliot had tried SF on a toprope a while ago and got shut down.  He made short work of it today though.

Elliot pulling hard

Elliot then had a go on Adrenaline Run, but could not do the start of the hard climbing.  After taking a few falls he sacked it off, and kindly brush Surgical Spirit E6 6b* for me to try and on sight.  This climbs the wall between Yorick's Crack and Adrenaline Run.  I managed to on sight it, JUST!  it was quite fierce to the point it joined Yorick's at 2/3 height.  The last route on my list was Yorick's Crack E6 6c**, but I could not do the crux moves low down.  I managed not to fall off, so the on sight is still a possibility at least.

We the moved into the first quarry, where Elliot tried to on sight Calamity Crack E4 6a***.  He put in a fine effort, but fell off the last move of the crux.  Whilst he recovered I did a quick lead up it, having not climbed it in a while.  It was so nice to climb it again.  Tired arms making it feel a little harder than it is.  Elliot then dispatched the route next go.

Happy and tired, we bailed just as the day was starting to heat up.  A good session again in the pits!

A short vid..

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Father's Day Sendage

Rose and I managed to get out to Woodhouse today for a spot of bouldering.  I was keen to get on Ian's Roof font 7c**, as I had put in a session previously.  It had rained unexpectedly this morning, so the hour I spent was hard work, but some good links were made.  I had manged it in sections the last time I tried it, but the crux move had never felt good and I could not climb through it.  Paul had popped over on his way back to the car and gave a few helpful hints about heel hooks, which made a big difference.  We had other things to do, so bailed.
Mid crux, the holds are not as good as the look!

I managed to return this afternoon to take advantage of better conditions.  A few tweaks of heel placements and a different pair of shoes and I quickly did it in 2 overlapping halves.  Fired up by this I gave it a few real good efforts, but dropped it twice, missing the pocket to join Houdini.  After a good rest, I gave it all I had and only just hit the pocket.  Unwilling to give in, I pulled a bit harder than I thought I could and finished the problem.  Super Psyched!! But with a forearm and Bicep strain for my trouble.  Hopefully it will clear up in a couple of days, it doesn't feel to serious.