Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Woodhouse Soloing

As christmas approaches I limited to the odd bit of bouldering in between family duties, and with just over a week before my pilgrimage north for 3 months this is only fair.

Above: Entering the crux of Nervous Shakedown (Steeper than the pic suggests and a shame the colours are rubbish).

I had to be quite dedicated today and ab the routes first to brush the snow off them. Luckily, it is so cold that the rock was dry underneath. The first route I soloed was Minotaur E3 6a (only 5c really), which is the only route I had not climbed at Woodhouse. I then did Interface E2 6a. This has quite a tricky boulder problem start, then 5c to the top. To finish I did a few laps on Nervous Shakedown E4/5 6b**. This is the hardest of the routes at Woodhouse, but short at only 8m, so packed in. I had never soloed this before, so got rid of the rope and whipped up this one more time to finish. A cool couple of hours.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Ben Nevis Weekend

This weekend I have been running a Ben Nevis Walking course for Maximum Adventure. Saturday we headed up on to Aonach Mor to cover some skills and get the guys prepered for the Ben on Sunday. The snow conditions were perfect for practising step kick, cramponing and sliding around. We added in skills as we journied around to the Nid with the veiw of heading up onto the top. Unfortunately after covering loads of skills and getting halfway up the Nid Ridge Mike's crampon fell apart. I could not fix it there and then, so we headed down and back round to the station to review the day. Timings worked out ok in the end.

Yesterday We walked up the Ben in stunning weather (not the Norm), to bask in the sun and take in the veiws.

Both days we came across areas of wind slab, but saturdays was more concerning as it was on the scoured aspects. There were pocket collected in dips and drainage features due to cross loading. This should be kept in mind when out and about over the coming week.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Above: Charlotte Rampling V5

After checking the weather for the next coulpe of days in Scotland, I decided to delay heading up until tomorrow and spend a bit more time with the wife. This gave me the chance to go to the Bridestones for an hour or so this afternoon before coffee and cake in Hebden Bridge.

Above: falling from top move of Pointless

There was 1 problem I had teied before on a warmish day this year that I got close to, but struggled to use a poor smear for the crux last move. Today howevet, the temp was perfect. After a quick warm up, I got straight on it and came off the last move. Another go and close again, but the smear was a bit damp. A quick brush, another go, and sent. Pointless V8, Result! A few more problems and we went for coffee quite content with a good hours work.

Below: Approaching last last couple of hard moves

Below: Latching the Top!!

Monday, 13 December 2010

BLGC Staff Training

Today I have been working with staff at Bolton Lads and Girls Club on the climbing wall. The training was site specific so the can teach leading to those club members that are ready to the next step. It was quite a full day. looking at a wide range on methods to teach Clipping, Belaying, taking falls and the risks that come with this. The day was mostly practical, but some time was dedicated to procedures and risk assessments as well. A worth while day.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Irish Winter

Had a report from Ireland about the early winter action. Thanks Colm.

Hi Adam, Hope alls well with you. Been drooling over the Welsh pics on the blog this morning..they look fantastic!!

Luckily, i've been fairly quiet in the last week so have gotten out a couple of times with some lads from Cork (unfortunately Dave was stuck in Dublin with bad roads and lots of work!).

Last wednesday we took a trip to the Comeraghs in the Southeast...a very small range of hills but with four amazing coums (corries). There has been very little climbing recorded in winter here and there are literally hundreds of lines to be done so we were hoping to put up a new route or two. Unfortunately when we got to our objective (a 400m gully in one of the coums -looks about a IV ish) after much faffing about we realised it was too late so we took an easier and shorter line close by. It was probably a III overall as there were a few mixed bits on it. Nice day out but we were a bit disappointed we didnt get the gully done. I think i need about two weeks off!!

On sunday i went with the same lads to climb the Lick on Corran Tuathail (The Reeks- South West). I did this with Dave last year - its a 350/400m G III snow/ice route on the NE face and its a brilliant day out. We started late but made progress quickly and topped out at sunset with some amazing views... On tuesday, the lads took me to a crag they found last year called the Ice Monster. Its in the Comeraghs aswell (Southeast). A beautiful, wide icefall with we reckon about at least ten good routes from GIII to infinity! We found the ice was a wee bit thin on a couple of the lines we were hoping to do, so we climbed a line that the lads put up in January that had well formed ice the whole way up. A lovely GIII two-pitcher with loads of variety. Had some fun abseiling down the crag after looking at possible lines....great day and not another person in sight! The possibilities here are endless once we get the conditions. There has been reports from Donegal too of amazing conditions and again not a soul in sight. Unfortunately we're due a thaw in the next couple of days so that'll probably wipe a lot of it out but another cold spell forecast next week so hopefully that'll do the trick. I have myself primed to take a few days off if its good next week and Dave is champing at the bit to get down so hopefully we'll have some more sport and a bit more news for you then...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

More Welsh Classics

Above: Catrin leading Pitch 1

Matt and I walked in to look at a route in Ogwen that is not in that often, but unfortunately it was not quite there. So we walked out and drove up the road to go into Idwal. As we walked in with our coffees, the psyche was a little low. After a bit of debate about what to do and looking at things that were thin, Catrin and Niaomi turned up having climbed the Ramp. We decided on a social ascent of South Gully. This is very stepped out, but still offers good climbing. a quick ascent and out for tea and medals.
Below: Matt on Pitch 2

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Welsh Cold Climbs Classic

Above: Me pitch 1 and Below Matt following

Today Matt and I walked into the Black Ladders with a few ideas in mind as usual. We were both a bit tired after yesterday's running about, so we opted for the easier option of Western Gully*** V/VI, 6 (there is still a little debate). This climbs the 300m+ gully up the middle of the crag. We soloed up the first 150m of easy ground to reach the first of the hard pitches. Grade 3 in the old guide (for snow and ice), but a good IV, 5 in the new which is about right. We then climbed the direct out of the cave which gave a fantastic pitch of technical 6 climbing, with some strenuous chimneying. The crux slab on the 3rd pitch was pretty straight forward tech 6 balancy climbing with a tuff exit to easy ground. One more grade 4 pitch took us to a long slog up easy ground to finish. A stunning veiw at the top and we meet up with friends who had climbed Gallipoli for the walk out. There are plenty of routes to go at up there.

Above and Below: Matt on pitch 2

Below: Me on pitch 3
Below: Matt on the final graded pitch

Bel.ow: Dave, Matt, Jon, Sally and Me.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Classic Welsh Ice

Above: Me leading pitch 1

Today Matt and I walked up to Craid Y Rhaeadr to vae a look at Central Icefall Direct VI, 6***. This massive Icefall links 2 impressive pillers up the centre of the 100m wall. Having never climbed a winter routes in Wales, I was mega psyched to tick this one and be the first ones up. I led off up the first steep grade 5.5 pitch, which offered sustained climbing for 30m. Matt then dispatched the second pitch swiftly. This 35m grade 6 pitch offered some outstanding steep climbing up the central piller in an outstanding position. The crux of the route today was the final piller/icicle. This gave some extremely steep climbing, which was overhanging to start and very pumpy. Although there were good placements to be had, The way it had formed made it very hard for the feet. Thankfully, this only lasted for around 4m. A truely amazing route. Another team was starting as we came back down.

Above and Below: Matt Leading pitch 2

Below: Me following pitch 2

Above: Me on pitch 3

We walked out and headed for Ogwen hoping to find the Devil's Appendix in. Despite the massive amount of ice around, it still had not touched down. With every route having teams on it, we headed for the Sting. Graded IV/V in the old guide, Baggy suggested that it could be worth VI,6. It does not come in that often, but was looking pretty fat as we walked up, with a team picking their way up it. After hanging around the bottom for a while and armed with Mark Walker's suggested grade of VI, Matt started off. The ice was a bit brittle and shandleery (if that's a word or even spent right), steep and quite sustained. We both thought that it was well worth VI, 6.

A great day, 2 routes in 2 valleys.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Lancashire Ice Take 2

Above: Short fall on Green's Clough forming well. I managed to climb the right hand side onto the icicle today.

Having a bit of free time today, and having had to cancel climbing tomorrow with Martin in the lakes, I was keen to check out a few more places locally to see if there where any other nice bits of ice to climb. I went back to Ratten Clough which I climbed on Monday to see how the lower fall was coming along. This is still a while away, but could form if the weather continues for another week or so. There were 5 teams on the top fall of Ratten clough when I walked up. This is now fatter and more solid than Monday, and is taking screws from those that would prefer to lead it (as the teams today). I quickly nipped up this and walked across the moor to the top fall of Green's Clough marked on the map. Unfortunatley, this stream is a bit more sheltered and not freezing as quickly. Also, the upper falls are more like boulder problems in hieght. There where the odd climbable bits, but another week or so is needed to freeze properly. The lower falls in this clough are the better ones. I was also rewarded for my efforts today with a surprisingly nice ice curtain on one of the sides of the Clough. This had formed from icicles combining down a seepage line out of the ground. It was about 6m ish high and vertical for 2/3 of its length. I think it would take protection on the left hand line I climbed up the wider section. The right hand side was very narrow, but could be protected by the odd screw or Bulldog. Both lines around Grade IV,5 ish (this is a guess, my grading is rubbish).

Above: 6m Ice Curtain, Good climbing but scary exits.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Lancashire Ice and a Returned Camera

Above: Lancs Ice

Last night Campbell received a phone call from a friend to say that he had seen some pics of him on Bowfell. This could only mean he had found my camera, Result!!!!!!! A massive thanks to Mark Scales.

On the way home from my meeting in Kendal, I stopped off to check out a small fall in between Burnley and Todmorden that comes in very quickly. A freind had been up and soloed it yesterday, so all I had to do was find it. Luckily it is easy to spot. 35 mins car to car and 10+m of ice at around grade 2. A pleasent run to stretch the legs after yesterday.

Below are some pics of Campbell on the Big Groove yesterday.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Lakeland Winter

Above: Pitch 1 Into the Groove

I was out today with Campbell in Langdale. We walked in to have a look at the crags on Bowfell, as I had my sights set on something spicy. After a bit of a detour in the clag (to busy chatting and no knowledge of the area and a reluctance to take out the map), we finally found are way to the buttresses. Time had escaped us a little and we could not see any of the buttresses other than the one we were standing under. So we just opted for an easier option on the crag we where at. I started up In to the Groove VI,7 on Traverse Crag, which had a tricky, boldish first pitch with some good climbing. the second pitch was the crux and had a very bold committing start, with no gear and a very bad landing. This is my first day out this season, so traversed into the adjacent route, which in fairness looked better. This gave me the 50m crux pitch of Big Groove V,6, which had some steep climbing with good gear. All in this gave to good tech 6 pitches to make a consistent route. We were soon at the top and back down to solo Buttress Gully II before walking back to the car. Unfortunately I left my camera on the traverse path on the way down, so all my pictures are lost. Although the weather cleared and we had a good day in the end, It has put a fair bit of snow day in Kendal since we got back at 5pm, and there is a surprising amount of ice about in some of the becks.

Above: Pitch 1 Into the Groove
Below: Pitch 2 the Big groove

Friday, 26 November 2010

Ben Nevis Antics

Matt and Kieth are on a rest day today after a couple of days on the Ben. Wednesday saw them try a spicy number, which they got very close to succeeding on, but retreated as the weather took it's toll. Yesterday was much more productive. They climbed Tower Face of the Comb VI,6***, which Matt raved about on the phone this morning. Conditions are suffering a little with the dry weather and blackening a bit.

Andy Turner and Tony Stone were also up on the Comb, putting in a sterling effort to try and repeat Dave Macleod's Don't Die of Ignorance. They will need to make another visit, but you can read more on Andy's Blog

Tony said that they had driven to Glen coe today, but it was looking a bit black from the road so they didn't bother.

Matt and Kieth have headed to the North West today, so hopefully an update tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Caley Bouldering

I met Tony at Caley today for a spot of bouldering. The cold, dry day gave some excellent conditions and my psyche was high. We warmed up in the playground, before heading to low pebble wall. This was a little green and damp, so we moved on to a boulder I had not been to before. As conditions were so good, I ticked the whole boulder quickly, including a nice V6 and a very generously graded V9. Tony sent a couple of trcky problems as well before we where on the move again. We found another boulder that was new to us both, and again helped be perfect conditions I managed to tick the boulder. The highlights were a V7 second go and an onsight of a awesome V8, which suited me perfectly. After a couple no problems to cool down, it was a stunning day out and we went home with pleasently sore finger tips.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Fallout Corner

Matt and Kieth have been out again today in the gorms. After waking up this morning to pea shop, they opted for the easy option of the corries again, this time Lochain. Conditions are extremely heavy up there, they chose Fallout Corner as it had already been cleaned. They had a great day on this classic VI'7, which is pretty straight forward for the grade. Other teams (Andy Turner and Kenny Grant) climbed Bulgy VII,7 and Deep Throat V,6 which were also under heavy rime. Fine efforts.

NICAS Seminar

Today I attended the NICAS Seminar at MCC. This was a good chance to see how the scheme has progressed in it's first 3 years and see where they hope to take it. As well as a presentation on the scheme, Martin Chester from PYB gave a talk about the coaching process which was very interesting and well delivered.

After lunch we had some workshops that we had chosen to attend beforehand. These were quite informative as well. Overall, it was a very good day, well worth attending.

Monday, 22 November 2010

White Magic

After the wash out with the weather last week that stop Matt and I heading North, he and Keith have looked out with the forecast this week. Their onslaught for the week has started with a visit to the Northern Corries today. Lots of snow, useful ice and much clearing saw them make short work of Magic Crack VII,7. I did this route 4 years or so ago by the original finish. The new guides describe the route following the summer line throughout. Matt said he thought the newer version added a bit more spice and a slightly harder pitch, but truely awesome climbing. I might have to do it again. I can't wait to hear what they do tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Cold Limestone

I met Elliot at Trowbarrow for a few routes today. Although it was dry, it was a bit on the cold side for me. Despite this, we managed a selection of the classic 3 star routes. There are still a good number of routes I want to do here, but maybe I need to wait for better weather.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Woodhouse Scar

After waking up to blue skies this morning, we descided to have a look at Almscliff. Unfortunatley, after driving through clear weather we entered thick cloud just as we approached the crag. Coffee and cake later, the crag was still wet, so we headed back to Woodhouse. A few easy problems to warm up, and I led one of the 2 routes I have left to do there. Pinch is graded E3 6a, but has not seen many ascents. As the guidebook is being re done at the moment, I have been giving feedback on the routes and problems to help out. Matt and I thought that it was very serious, but not as hard, so worth E4 5c. We finished the day with more bouldering, which salvaged something from the week that was meant to be spent winter climbing.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Wet Brimham

Matt and I went to Brimham today feeling optimistic of dry rock. Unfortunately it was all a bit damp or wet. We climbed Minion's Way, an overhanging hand crack that leads to an easy layback corner above. despite the wet in the upper section this was ok. I then led Desperation Crack, start at the same time as the rain did. This was mostly dry until the upper offwidth. This took a lot of effort on wet, green and lichanous rock. Despite all that, it was awesome, but my cloths now ned a good wash.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Stanage Bouldering

Above: Does Pebble Arete

Yesterday Emma and I met up with Penny and Does in Hathersage. After a brew, we decided to head up to the plantation boulders to take in a bit of sun. We warmed up on the Pebble Arete problem, before attemting Deliverence. This is the first time I have had a proper go on this, and got pretty close getting my fingers on the top, but not enough to hold it. We then icked a couple of the V5's on the Pebble, before moving on. As the light started to fade we went of to have a go on Satin. I was hoping to get the flash but messed up my hand position, it went next go and is on the easy side for V6. I got a quick go on the Cresent Slab, but my fingers had had enough.
Below: Does on Pebble Arete

Above: Satin

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Stanage Soloing Day

Above: Tony on Pebble Arete

Above: Not To Be Taken Away

Today I went down to Stanage and meet up with a crew from We went up into the plantation and did a bit of bouldering and soloing around to get warmed. Dan and I had already done all the problems on the Lone boulder when the rest turned up. So we got stuck into a couple of HVS's and E1's. Most desided to follow one of the bouldering circuits in the new guide, whilt Dan and I fancied a few routes. After climbing a couple of negleted routes, we went back to classics we had never done before. We both dispatched Not to be Taken Away, which was amazing. 1 tricky move to pull on, then a romp to the top. Although now given highball V4, it has a route feel. I then did Archangel. At E3 5b, this is the easiest of the classic 3 aretes at Stanage and an absolute joy to climb. After this I am keen to try the other 2. We left here and went toward the Count area and did a batch of things. The highlights for me were Shock Horror Slab E2 6b and DIY E3 6a. We finished the day by meeting up with everyone else and bouldering a few gems before another lap of NTBTA to end a great day.
Below: Cresent Arete
Below: Tony on Cresent Arete Right Hand

27 routes and problems. Not a bad day.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

2 Crags in 1 Day

Above: Elliot on The Rack, Pex Hill

I met up with the Elliot's today to go to Pex Hill. Having never been there before I had a big list of things to do. This made it worse when we got there and it was minging and wet. We found a few things that were dry, so gave them a lash. We all soloed the Rack E1 5a**. This was Young Elliot's first E1. I then Onsight soloed Master Race E5 6b. Old Elliot had a go, but it was a little too tricky.

Below: Elliot spotting an unwelcome ledge that looms above the crux of Master Race, Pex Hill

Below: Renaissance, Egerton

After bailing from Pex, we ended up at Egerton Quarry just outside of Bolton. I wanted to do Renaissance E5 6a***. I tried the onsight, but struggled to commit as the holds were filthy. After getting the peg clipped I managed to pull up and clear the holds to the peg. This at least meant I could do the crux onsight. I lowered off and started again, and it was really straight forward this time, the climbing was excellent. Elliot then finished the day with a nice HVS.

Above: Elliot on Gallows Pole, Egerton

Saturday, 6 November 2010

CWA Assessment

Today I have been running a CWA Assessment at Huddersfield wall for Beth, Elliot and Paul. It was a long day and the guys felt like they had been put through their paces. A good effort by everyone.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Learning the Ropes

I have spent the past 2 days in the peak with Izzi, who wanted to build on her leading experience. Yesterday, we went to Stanage. It dried out as the day went on, but was pretty cold. Izzi started off leading Grotto Slab. This gave me the chance to check out her gear and belay management. It was clear she had the knowledge, but was not using it as effectively as she could be. After a short ropework session, Izzi led us up Black Hawk Traverse Left in good style. We then climbed Hollybush Crack. This gave Izzi a challenge, with climbing she was not that used to. We finished the day with a couple of routes on Mantleshelf buttress before the light faded.

Today we went to a dry, but windy Froggatt. This gave Izzi the opportunity to try some things she wanted to improve on. After leading Nursery Slab and Slab Recess, Izzi took on the arkward crack of Trapeze. We then spent the rest of the day inbetween showers working on some skills that help the new gritstone climber relax (Jamming and Smearing). The rain took over and ended the day, but a good 2 days have been had. Hopefully izzi will but her consolidated skills to good use.

Friday, 29 October 2010

SPA Assessment

Thursday and Friday were spent in the Peak working on an SPA Ass. with Dan McKinley. There were 8 candidates in total, and a mixed forecast. The first day was spent at Froggatt covering the various aspects of personal climbing. Conditions wre great and everyone cruised their routes and delt with any problems that popped up.

Yesterday was all about group work. We started at Burbage North and went through warmng up and a bit of weaselling, before moving on to the ropes. In the afternoon we moved to Lawrancefield. here the candidates had to work with a group of young people from Leeds and run a good, progressive session. Again the weather turned out good, which helped evryone enjoy the 2 days.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Yesterday I made my first visit to Brimham. Luckily this was with Dan, John and Elliott, so we had folks that knew their way around. We did some excellent boulder problems to warm up, before getting on some routes. Dan led The Black Chipper E2 5b***, which is quite out there at the grade. I then Soloed Rotifer E3 6a** onsight. I then led Pathos E3 6a**, which is a bit soft for 6a, but great climbing. We had come for Left Wall E5 6a***, which Dan had been working and I was hoping to flash. Dan made short work of his first E5 styling to the top. I then went and thought the climbing was amazing. It is on the easy side of the grade, well protected, so a good one to do as your first.

To rap up my day I made a quick onsight of Acme Wall E3 6a***. Only 1 hard move but in a good position.
Acme Wall:

Friday, 22 October 2010

Cold Climbs

I met up with Mhairi and Neil at Malham yesterday. The cold wind does not help me perform to my best, but I had a good day never the less. I came pretty close to ticking Wasted Youth 7b on my second go, only needing to do 1 more move to reach the jugs on the tufas. We just chilled out after that, doing a few laps of Consenting Adults 7a before we bailed.

Today I went to the wall with John and Ali. We had a great session leaving us all pretty battered. Hopefully after a weekend rest the weather might improve for next week.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Wet Wilton

Today was the last day of elliott and Paul's trad course, unfortunately the weather was horrible. We spent a few hours in the morning indoors going over some of the rigging from the previous days, before going back outside. Despite the weather, we managed a little cllimbing and went through some more rigging practise before throwing in the towel. The lads said they had a lot to take away from the last few days and enjoyed themselves despite the weather.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Intro to Trad Leading

The last 2 days have been spent working with Elliott and Paul in the Wilton quarries. Yesterday was spent looking at placing runners, builing belays and leading on a toprope. Today the guys made the leap to leading with me alongside. Between them, they managed a range of VDiffs. At the end of the day we rigged an abseil to show how we could retrieve some stuck gear, and also went over rigging a bottom ropes. It is the final day tomorrow, so more leading and a few new bits thrown in.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Back to Craggin'

After working, moving house and being a bit ill I have not been able to get out climbing much in the last few weeks. Elliott came over for a couple of days to take advantage of the good weather, so on Sunday we went to Heptonstall. It was Elliott's first visit, so we ticked off a few classics in the main quarry before climbing a few on the right hand outcrop. 14 routes down and a little tired, we headed home. I was not firing on all cilinders and definately feeling weaker than I have been all year.

Yesterday we went to Armscliff. Again this is a first for Elliott, and he took full advantage of this ticking the 4 3 star HVS's and Z climb eliminate. My day was less productive. The cold wind was a bit too much for me, and after cruising the crux start of Wall of Horrors I had to stop when I could no longer feel my hands, Too Cold! Gutted about blowing the routes I decided to boulder instead. The highlight being a quick send of Pebble Wall with John's better beta.

The message of the last couple of days was I need to go bouldering a get stronger.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Striding Edge

Yesterday was the best weather day of the week, so we made the drive to Helvellyn. With only one heavy shower early in the day, it proved to be a good choice. The ridge offered the right level of challenge for the group and there were some excellent veiws to boot. After lunch on the top, we descended Swirl Edge. A few members of the group followed me over the next little peak on the horseshoe before we met the others on the way down. A great end to the week.