Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Comb Gully

Whilst I've been stuck down South making the most of the wet weather by using a boat,  Elliot has been on the Ben for the last couple of days.   He climbed Gardyloo Gully yesterday and today Comb Gully.  Conditions aren't perfect, but there are things to do.  Take care.
Comb Gully today 

Monday, 2 November 2015

New Routes

Since being back I have managed a quick hit a Woodhouse, where I added yet another 7c link which is probably only of interest to me and a small group of locals.

Woodhouse action

Today I went back to Reddyshore Scout to have a look at the other new lines that had been pointed out to me. Joined by Elliot, we set about cleaning up one each. I brushed and sussed out my line, before then leading it. Elliot couldn't pull on the starting holds, so saved his energy for the other route. I graded the route for the on sight, which would have a serious feel to it, especially at the start. Because of this I gave it E5 6a* Tattersall's Lament Direct.

Through the hard climbing on Tattersall's 

Doing the crux

We then got stuck into Elliot's line. He showed me what he was thinking, then I had a bash on a toprope. It had a weird crux, but I managed to work out a way at the second time of asking. Elliot then tried for the lead, but fell a couple of times on the crux. I went next and got it first go on the lead. A tricky little number, with some good climbing in it. I've called it Bitter Sweet E5 6b*, again grading for the on sight. Unfortunately Elliot didn't get the send, but it would go super quick if he returns. A good day, with a few things still to go I'm told.

Mid crux on Bitter Sweet 

Friday, 23 October 2015

Bolton Boy's School Spanish Climbing Trip

It was that time again, the Bolton Boy's School Spain trip. We had a psyched bunch of lads who all had some big goals, so the pressure was on to provide good venues and good coaching. We started off at Sierra de toix in the afternoon on the day of arrival. The aim was to get moving well on easy routes, but that said, half the team dispatched a nippy 6b. Day 2 took us to Salem. A venue that definitely did not offer holiday ticks, but short routes high in the grade. Despite this the lads did extremely well. Barney redpointed his first 6a+, Adam flashed a steely 6b, then a bouldery 6c and Anosh ticked off a good selection of routes. I managed to bag a few routes too, the best was a 7a+ that was high in the grade. Especially when putting the draws in. Day 3 was a hot one at Alcalali. This was a great crag, with a real mixture of routes. Once they got warmed up, they rattled through a load of routes. Nearly everyone flashed a 3 star 6a+, and half a good 6b. Ryan is the newest of the climbers, but managed a real selection of 5 and 5+'s. I flashed a great 3 star 6c+ before dropping the flash of a 7b+. It went second go at least. Day 4 we headed into the mountains to Forada to escape the poor local weather. This was an amazing crag with a big selection and variety of routes. Despite being tired, everyone did extremely well. Ryan climbed his first 6a, Anosh was on fire and ended a long day flashing 6b. I flashed a top 50 7a and got a really hard 7b second go. Defo a venue I want to go back to. After a rest day due to bad weather, Day 6 took us to Bellus. I think this is an outstanding crag, and we went to a different sector to last year. Again everyone excelled. Ryan climbed another 6a and a 6a+, but was showing real signs of tiredness now. Aston again climbed really well, flashing routes up to 6b+. Adam did his usual and cruised pretty much anything in the 6b/+ range. I climbed yet aother bouldery 7b second go. We escaped the sun and moved around to the north side later on. the aim was to find a project for the final and day. Here Adam made a super quick redpoint of a steep and sustained 3 star 6c. Day 7 was back to Bellus to send projects. We all warmed up then got stuck into it. Ryan Flashed a super 3 star 5/+, as did a very tired Barney. Anosh quick despatched the 3 star 6b, he'd bolt to bolted the previous day. Aston on sighted the hard top 50 6a/+ and Adam made another super quick redpoint, this time of the tricky 3 star 6c+. I rounded my week off climbing Warlock 7c+. A great trip for everyone.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Busy Times, NGB's and F.A.

It has been pretty busy lately, as the year seems to have been. The usual route setting has been interspersed with some white water kayak work for Bolton School. This has been a nice change in a weird way. This weekend I have been back on the NGB train, with a CWA Training Course. The candidate were very strong, which made for a great course. We had more time to focus on the coaching aspects of the award as there personal experience was good. All seemed to go away from the weekend full of ideas and understanding. Yesterday I ran an SPA refresher day for Martin. We managed to shoehorn in a massive amount in the time we had, and he goes away with a lot to work on to get ready for assessment. The aim of the day was simplifying what he had been shown previously, and giving him a methodical approach. Today I got a morning to myself to go climbing. I had been tipped off about some new lines locally and one that still had a point of aid. After trying to get a partner and failing, I decided to just go and check it out on my own. The plan was to work it out and then try and squeeze in a quick hit to lead it this week. After abbing the line and cleaning a few holds here and there looking at how it might go, I flashed it whilst belaying myself. Happy with this I set about checking the gear out. After climbing it clean 6 times in a row, whilst faffing with gear and belaying myself. My patience failed and possibly ego got involved, and I decided to solo the route. All went well, thankfully and War Dance at Reddyshore Scout received it's first free ascent at E5 6b**. A cool route with some good climbing. I have other bits of work this week before heading to Spain to work at the end of the week. Hopefully the sun will help me shake the throat virus that still clinging on.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Catch Up and Houdini Direct

Is has been pretty busy since I last posted.  The usual route setting and NGB work continues, as well as the Bolton School days starting again.

Bolton School have had a few good days out.  A good trip up to Eskdale Gorge in pretty high levels made a great day for the lads.  We have had a few days out sport climbing too, in preparation for our trip to Spain in October.  The lads have started well, ticking a range of routes at different parts of Giggleswick South from 5+-6b.  With a few weeks left. they are all psyched to get the best out of there trip and do a bit of training.

Bolton lads leading well

Over the last 2 years or so I have been struggling with Houdini Direct font 7c+ at Woodhouse.  I have been close so many times, just never being able to find that finish line.  When I went today, I was not expecting much after a session in the wall yesterday.  I warmed up at home on my finger board so I could get straight on it and just work some links.  The first couple of goes felt good, solid sections climbed.  Then I decided to see how I faired, and started to panic a bit as I held the lip and got my heel on. I managed to finish the next crux section up the arĂȘte, Psyched!!!!!!  Maybe it was the lack of expectation that help today, or simply one of those lucky days.  Either way, it's definitely not one than I'll be running laps on like I do on the Clingen Face.

Let hope this is the start of some good climbing after a pretty rubbish year really.

Houdini Direct from Adam Hughes on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Busy Busy

The theme of the year seems to be continuing.  Busy with everything and not really anytime to climb for myself.

The last few weeks have been taken over with SPA Assessments and Trainings in the Peak. A CWA Aessessment and route setting.  Throw in there childcare and moving house and you have a severe take up of time.  That said, I have managed to grab a bit of time locally bouldering to tick over, as well as the odd short session in the wall around work.

Fingers crossed, It will be a better August.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Bit of Bouldering

I had a chance on Sunday to grab a couple of hours bouldering at Woodhouse.  Although local,it was nice to do some climbing for myself, as time has been very limited lately.

I surprised myself, with quick repeats of the majority of 7b+'s at the crag.  The steep stuff was definitely a weaker area, but it will hopefully come back quick once work and family commitments ease.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

ML Assessment

This week I was back in the Lake for an ML Assessment.   I was doing the expedition section, which is 3 days with a night navigation. We had a couple of dig days out,  which tested the candidates.  A mixed day and night for one cost them the award, but I'm sure that they will come back strong on their re assessment.  They weather was quite mixed and helped add to the assessment.  Overall, it was a good few days.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

George Watson's Climbing Week

This week I have been in the Lakes with George Watson's College for their summer climbing trip.  I met them on Monday in Eskdale where we were staying and got stuck straight in.  We went climbing and bouldering in the Diamond Area of the Fisherground.  This worked really well after their long drive.

Tuesday meant we didn't have to drive,as we walked to Hare Crag.  This Granite Crag offered a great range of routes from VD to E3 for the kids to get stuck into.  The style of climbing was a bit different from what they have been used to, but they adapted well.

We headed to the coast on Wednesday to escape the heat.  St Bee's proved to be a good choice.  Again the group climbed many routes to 6a, as well as ticking some nice boulder problems.
Enjoying a nice day by the coast 

St. Bee's action 

On Thursday we went over to the Duddon Valley and climbed at Wallow Barrow.   Here we did a mixture of single and multi pitch routes up to VS 4c.  A great venue with the whole crag to ourselves.

As they had to head off early, we went back to the Diamond Area and ticked off the last of the amenable problems they had left.  It was a great way to finish the trip and see how much their footwork had improved during the week.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Work, Work

It's been a busy period lately, with a CWA Training last weekend, Route Setting and this week a multi pitch climbing trip with Bolton School in Wales.

Anosh on sighting his first 6a

The Bolton Trip went really well, with the weather playing ball allowing us to get lots of climbing done.  As we travelled down on Monday, we decided to stop at Castle Inn Quarry and do some sports climbing.  All the lads did really well leading a load of routes up to 6a.  I took advantage when the chilled out and had lunch to back a few routes.  All the 6c's on the main face are top quality here, so I did these again.
Andy cruising

Tuesday was spent in the Pass in the baking sun.  We all climbed a few routes on Wastad, some of which challenged the lads.  I did Ribstone Crack VS 4c/5s, Skylon HS and Shadow Wall VS 4c with my guys.  Ribstone Crack proving to be the real challenge.  After tea at Pete's Eats, we went up to BUS Stop Quarry and did a few of the sports routes there.  It was a full day of climbing.
Luke leading in Bus Stop

Yesterday we went up to Little Tryfan.  It was a great day and the lads learnt to lead.  They managed to do 2 routes before it started to spit mid afternoon.  Steve and Luke banged out loads of routes to give Luke as much mileage as possible.  I think the lads managed around 25 pitches of climbing over the 3 days, a fine effort.

Andy on his first trad lead

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Catch Up

It's been a bit busy of late, but I have managed to do a little in between work etc.  I had a quick hit at the Party Block/Jobseekers Buttress last Thursday, climbing a range of cool problems.  This newly revamped boulder has an easy approach and a mix of quality blocs in the V5toV11 range.  I ticked a few of them from V3 to V8, but was getting sore and tired by the time I left.

Last weekend was the 8a Agency and Beyond Hope Team meet up at the Lad Stones.  Despite the long slog in high winds and chilly weather, folks were in good spirits and getting stuck in.  Some good tick were had for everyone, and I was particularly happy to climb a few Problems from 7a to 7b.  I am still far from back to my best, but feel like most things have healed and are on the way up.

Today I have been in the Lakes doing a site visit to Eskdale gorge.   Thankfully the better weather made it a slightly warmer experience than it could have been.

Monday, 1 June 2015

SPA Assessment

I was running an SPA Assessment over the weekend for Mckinlay Mountaineering in the Peaks.  Nice weather for grit on Saturday took us to Burbage North.  This has been a great spot for these courses lately.  A number of folks have been caught out not checking blocks and boulders, as a fair bit moves around here.  This assessment group however, were on it.  All led a couple of routes at or above the standard.  One straight up and the other a traverse to demonstrate the different judgement needed to look after a second.  The wall session threw up a couple of weak areas in the afternoon/evening.
Hal fiddling in gear at Burbage North

Yesterday was spent looking at the rigging and group management aspects of the syllabus.  Lawrencefield and Millstone proved 2 good venues to challenge the candidates to make good decisions to meet the groups needs.

The Lads rigging at the top of Hell's Bells area Millstone

Overall, good performances by everyone.  Unfortunately, an unforgiveable error at the wall cost one a deferral.  But it should be a quick and easy re assessment.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

SPA Training

I was back in the Peak District for an SPA Training course this weekend. A large course of 7 candidates, made for a great weekend. Lots of discussions and sharing of ideas.

An interesting first day at Burbage North for personal climbing, before heading to the Foundry to course the climbing wall side of the award.

The group day was done a Lawrencefield roadside bay.  Again a good day, with lots covered and shared.

I look forward to seeing folks back for assessment.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Back to Work

It's been a frustrating month after a bad bike crash, which has meant no climbing or work for me.  So it was a good feeling to go bouldering to Burbage South for a couple of hours on Friday. I'd never Bouldered here before, so picked of lots of easy stuff and tried some trickier things to see how the body had recovered.   I managed a nice range of problems up to 7a+, so the the signs are good that things are recovering well.
Sending the Sheep

On Saturday I volunteered my services to guide Gerard, Andy and Matt around the course for the 10 in 10 in 10 for Napal challenge.  They did really well and completed the course in a respectable 7 hour 25 mins.  So far the event etc. Has raise over £10,000 and you can still donate.

Yesterday I was at Heptonstall with Suzy and David looking at how to rig bottom ropes.  The weather help off and gave us a great day out.   Both seemed to take a lot on board, so just need to get out and practice.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Work, Wilton, Work, Bolts and More Work

A very full week started with some route setting at ROKT on Tuesday.  A half day re setting the Summit room was a welcome rest from the 21m Lead wall.

On Wednesday I had some coaching work in the afternoon in Bolton.  I decided to head over early and head to Wilton 4 to finish off a route I tried last time, but was dirty.  I was glad to get there so early, as the weather soon started to turn.  My commitment was rewarded with solo ascents of White Horse E4 6b and Teacher's Crack E4 6c*.  Teacher's being a seemingly rare repeat.  As the weather crapped out, the coaching session with Bolton Boys School was redirected to Climb Rochdale.  this worked really well, as we did a focused session of steep group.  The lads did really well working through a set of moves they don't normally use.
The EB Baroud crag sac getting a run out

On Thursday I went back to Troller's Gill to finish off Tinderbox 7c+.  After warming up I climbed through the new crux, only to pull another big hold off.  I then spent time seeing if I could still do it that way, before binning it,  Looking around, I found a way to the right using what was left of the original flake.  This gave some awesome climbing and I managed to do the route this way.  What would have been a day tick in it's original condition, turned out to be a proper challenge of perseverance for me.

Over the weekend I have been running an SPA Training course in the Peaks.  Dry and sunny weather made this a pleasant weekend that the candidates have taken a lot from.  I hope to see them back at the end of the summer for an Assessment.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Busy Week

It has been a busy week.  I finished setting the lead wall at ROKT and managed to get a bit of bouldering at Almscliff yesterday with the family. 

Almscliff was more productive than I thought it would be. I ticked of a few classics I hadn't done for a while, and also put the Keel 7c to bed.  I found this as hard as ever, but managed to get my toe and heel to stick.  On the only other time I'd tried the problem, this was the thing that stopped me ticking it.  Rose got involved with some cheeky slabs that would be challenging for someone her size.  She definitely has the Hughes rockover climbing genes.  We met Dan up there so I did a quick couple of route to E4 with him before heading home.

The keel

Rose sending large

Today I went sports climbing for the first time this year with Ben to Trollers Gill.  After yesterday I was pretty tired. So after warming up, I thought I'd swing around on Tinderbox 7c+. It was coming together well, but the original crux is no longer then hard bit. The lose of a crucial flake means a new harder crux comes straight after the original one. Once sussed, I managed all the moves, but could only lead it in 2 today. Much higher in the grade now, but hopefully it will go next visit.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Scarlet Fever

After waking up to a damp day, I scrawled through the guidebook looking for a crag that faced the right way, was sheltered and not too far to drive so the journey would not be wasted.  I came up with Mytholm Steeps.

There were a couple of things to go at, but they needed a good brush and a little time for the few damp bits to dry.  Whilst cleaning I noticed the potential for a line on the wall to the left.  That was dry, so I cleaned it up and had a play whilst I was waiting.  The climbing was excellent, but what little protection there might be seemed poor. After toproping the route a few times, I decided it was to go for the solo.  I had a pad with me which at least partly cushioned the boulder below the first crux at 5m.  More good technical climbing followed to reach the final crux move to the top. An exciting dynamic pop to a flat jug.  From there the route followed Nick the Grip to the top.

Into the first crux, point of no return 
That gave the F.A. of Scarlet Fever E7 6b*
25m. A little eliminate, in that it climbs the wall between The Rift and Nick the Grip without using either arete. Climb the right side of the wall on positive flat holds. At the you would then move onto the arete, make a long move left to a good edge and get established on it. Climb straight up the left side of the wall with some cunning mid way. Holds then lead left to the second crux, a wild move to the top. Finish up Nick the Grip. micro cams may be place in poor/hollow sounding rock at approx half way. A good belayer may keep you off the ground if they hold.
The line
Once I'd finished with Scarlet Fever, I got to Flash Edge of Extinction E2 5b * * and Nick the Grip E4 5c *. A great day after the weather this morning.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Back To Basics

The classic Sheriff 
I had a couple of hours at Woodhouse this morning to try and get back in the swing of rock climbing.  It's fair to say I have lost a lot of strength over the winter for the steep stuff.  However, the not so steep seems fine.  I rattled off a few classics, along with a handful of the 7b+'s first go.  Hopefully the strength will come back quick with a few focused sessions.

Big moves across Angelface 
Finishing off the Roof Eliminate 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Watson's Winter Climbing Weekend

I wrapped up my official working season with stunning weather in the Cairngorm for the George Watson College Winter Weekend.  This year we opted to take full advantage of the weather and just go climbing.

I was climbing with Vicky, Adam and Richard, with the aim to do 2 routes on the Saturday if possible.  We climbed a really varied Central Gully Left Hand II.  It had cool thin iced slabs low down, snow in the middle and a great little ice pitch at the top,  After a bite to eat on the top, we nipped back down and climbed Goat Track Gully II in excellent condition.

Vicky getting grips with the thin starting pitches

Richard enjoying the ice at the top

Goat Track Gully

Spiral in great nick

Vicky having fun

Adam loving it

Yesterday we strolled in and climbed Spiral Gully II.  I offered the direct finish alternative, but was quickly shot down.  We topped out in sunshine again and ate some food.  Tired legs and bodies won out, and we walked back down via 1141m for coffee and cake.  Another great day on the hill in good company.  A real fitting way to round off a busy season back and forth.

Friday, 13 March 2015

CIC Hut Week

Despite the poor weather forecast for the week, it has been a very productive course, with muchos sendarge!!  Andy and Alex were hoping to tick off a number of routes between grade IV and VI if conditions allowed. We had the plan to keep an open mind and to work around the forecast to give ourselves the best chance of success.

Sunday started pretty well.  We walked in mid morning and dropped off our kit at the hut.  A quick turn around took us up into Observatory Gully, where we climbed Hadrian's Wall Direct V, 5***.  Not a bad start.  

The forecast for Monday was poor, but a small window early morning gave the chance to do something before it hit.  The first of a few 4 am wake ups, got us out early and up an excellent Two Step Corner V, 5 *** and back to the hut before the weather peaked.
Alex approaching the first belay on hero ice

Spindrift getting worse with the weather moving in

A great forecast for Tuesday took us back up to Number 3 Gully Buttress and up the classic Gargoyle Wall VI, 6 ***.  A first grade VI for both and in outstanding icy condition, made it a bold proposition.  Every pitch delivered in quality and value, making it a great experience.  We climbed Rien ne vu Plus V, 5  on the way back to the hut to top off a Stunning day.
Andy enjoying quality Ben Nevis Icy mixed

Starting up an extremely icy Gargoyle Cracks

Andy looking glad to be near the belay

Alex fully engaged

More super icy and bold climbing on the top chimney

Wednesday required another 4am wake up.  We were rewarded with outstanding conditions and a glorious morning on Vade Mecum V, 5 ***.  This is and excellent climb and not often in, so a real steal on the day.
Andy cruising up pitch 1 of Vade Mecum

Alex staying relaxed on the very steep crux of Vade Mecum

After another 4am wake up on Thursday, the gamble didn't pay off.  Blown out by the really strong winds as we tried to approach a route,  we had to concede.  Patience and commitment won through though as we nipped out at 16:15 and did Italian Right Hand IV, 4***.  This felt like a real victory after the mornings efforts.
When the weathers bad, BAKE!! Blair kindly bringing supplies on his was to SAIS Forecasting 
A close second to the climbing this week
Today we climbed Point 5 V, 5***, which was not in the best conditions for the leader.  Poor ice and crud made it a serious outing. The amazing weather helped make up for it though.  After a bit of food and drink in the sunshine on the summit, we nipped down Number 3 Gully and climbed Winter Cascade IV, 5*.  This was in excellent condition, with some great steep ice to finish off a great weeks climbing.
one of the rare sections with good ice on Point 5 today

Alex through the Narrows
Andy enjoying the Point 5 experience

Through the Rogue Pitch and on the glory

Stunning ice on a fat Winter Cascade

Stunning views on top

Alex romping down No.3

A stunning end to a challenging, but great week.

Once I get back to a computer, I'll add some pictures.   Big thanks to Andy and Alex for there efforts to make this such a great week.