Wednesday, 29 September 2010

High Spy and Catbells

Above: escaping the rain.

The weather was not very good today, so we opted to work out of the hostel. We headed towards Seatoller then up onto the ridge via the old slate quarry. Just as we hit the ridge the rain started. It continued all the way over High Spy and onto Catbells. This said, it was still a good day out and the students enjoyed themselves (unless they lied).

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Sharp Edge

I am working for Leeds Met Uni this week running a few hill days. Today I had a small group and an ok forecast so we headed to Blencathra. They took control of the day from the off and navigated us to the base of the ridge. We then picked are way up, what turned out to be a quite greasy experience which everyone coped with really well. A bit of poor vis nav took us to the summit and a bothy bag lunch stop, before walking back down to the bus. A great start to the weeks walking.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Stanage Unpopular End

Above: Terrazza Crack

Dan, Tony and I went doown to Stanage today, wanting to avoid the crowds we went to High Neb/Marble Wall areas. I had not been to this end before, so took advantage of the fact we walked past High Neb Buttress and made a cheeky solo ascent as the others carried on. I caught them up on Right Hand Tower HVS 5a***, which is pretty good value. I then Led Slap 'n' Spittle E3/4 6a* (depends on the guidebook). This is a pretty good route with some interesting climbing up the arete. I would say that it is more like E3 5c, but not soft at that grade.

Above & Below: Me on Slap 'n' Spittle

Above: Dan attempting Slap 'n' Spittle

Above & Below: Dan on Orang-outang

Tony then led Terrazza Crack HVS 5a*** which is very stiff at the grade I thought. Dan then battled his way up Orang-outang E2 5c***, another stiff tick. I had a go on Harvest, but could not get established in the crack over the roof so retreated to save the onsight for future visits. We then went to the Blurter HVS 5b*** which Tony made short work of. I then led Wolf Solent E4 5c**. I did the direct start as well, which is no harder than the normal start. The crux however was very hard for 5c I felt. The route was very dirty and I was cleaning a lot as I went, but the climbing would still have been hard for the grade. Very bold and quite serious. We rapped the day up with a team ascent of Quietus E2 5c*** which is truely outstanding.

Below: Me getting involved with Wolf Solent

Below: Dan on Quietus

With the general concensus that the grade on the routes we did felt quite stiff, it's no wonder this is the unpopular end.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Scrambling Weekend

I have been out in Ogwen with Alisa and Jane this weekend looking at using a rope to protect scrambles. Despite the weather, we had an excellent and productive couple of days.

Saturday we took on the East Ridge of Y Garn. The easy lower ridge gave us the opportunity to look at the skills to they would need for the upper ridge. Taking our time, the ladies got to grips with direct belays and the odd traditional belay as well as placing and removing runners. They made short work of the ridge up to the last steep section, where Alisa did a great job leading to the top as the rain came in. A brilliant first day and a lot to take into Sunday.

Today we did a combination of The North West Face Route and the Staircase Continuation in Idwall. Despite the horrible weather, the ladies made short work of this scramble. We added a few extra learning points in today as they showed they had taken everything on board from yesterday. A massive well done!!

Friday, 17 September 2010


Today I met up with Smithy at LPT for a bit of sport climbing somewhere different. The conditions on the rock were perfect, but the bitter wind made it hard to stay warm. After a couple of routes to warm up, I had a shot on the crag classic 7c I've Been a Bad Bad Boy. I flashed through the crux and up to the traverse and had a break, then did the next section into the groove first go, and then up to the top. It was looking good, the climbing was excellent and bang on for the grade, so I was hopeful. Unfortunately, the cold was a bit too much for me and that was as good as it got today.

I left the crag early, as I was meeting Matt in the pass for an evening session to prepare for his Guides Induction on Sunday. Ian met us there as well and Matt did a sterling job of leading us up a few classics I had not been on for a good few years. In a couple of hours we knocked off S.S. Special, Hangover and Wind, not to bad for a damp evening on the Grochan.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Sticky Wicket

I met Elliott at Kilnsey today. He wanted an early start so we were climbing by 10am, which didn't agree with me today. The crag was suffering with quite a bit of seepage, but there was still enough to go at. The route I normally warm up on was wet, so I opted to bolt to bolt Sticky Wicket. Having been mostly trad climbing over the last couple of months, this steepish 7b was a bit of a struggle. Elliott led a couple of the easier routes when they dried out. I finished on Sidekick, which is pretty steelly for 7a+. I was a bit tied for the onsight and blew it on the last hard move before the easy ground, Gutted.

The crag will need a few days to dry out, if it will at all now.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Welsh 3000's

Over the weekend I have been working for Maximum Adventure with a group walking the Welsh 3000's. I joined the group and Mike for the last 2 days of the 3 they were doing as there is a little scramling to do.

Saturday took us over Elidir Fawr, Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach and finally Tryfan. We were pretty lucky with the weather. It only drizzled in the morning and cleared in the afternoon giving us some good veiws from the Glyders and Tryfan.

Yesterday was the shortest of the 3, but covered the most demanding terrain for the clients. We walked up to and across Crib Goch to the top of Garnedd Ugain. From there it was a easy stroll to the summit of Snowdon and their final peak. After a quick coffee and cake we walked down via the Pyg track. Good weather made this a great day for everyone and a awesome way to finish the course.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Superdirectissima

I went to Kilnsey with Dan today for a bit of sport and trad action. We did the usual laps on the 6b warm up, before Dan led Abracadevera E3 5c*. This is a neglected route that goes up the corner right of Direct Flight, then crosses that route to finish up the arete. Loosish in places, it has a adventurous feel about it which adds to it appeal. I then got on the Superdirectissima E5 6b**. This has a pumpy V4 boulder problem start, then easier, but still sustained and technical climbing above. Then upper section has a long run out (I tried all sorts, but nothing would go in), which makes it exciting on the top moves to the lower off bolts. These moves were extremely dirty, and after over 10 mins trying to clean the holds and touching the crab at the top I took a 12m+ lob. Pretty wild!!. After finally clipping a lower off, it was obvious someone before me had traversed off left into the 7a+ to finish before the tricky finishing moves, can't believe they never cleaned the top for me. An awesome route all the same.

We then had a burn on Ground Effect, which is an underated 7b as the climbing is outstanding. To rap up the day I seconded Blair up Central Wall E4 6a***, which is just as good each time I climb it. A brilliant day.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


Mhairi and I went to Malham today, hoping that yeaterday had not tired us out too much. We warmed up on Rose Coronary before trying something new. Mhairi tried Sychopants 7a. She is trying to improve her onsighting at the moment. This route has a hard crux section, which took a bit more working out that she had in the tank today. A bit of rest and it went very quickly. I tried to onsight A Career With Prospects E5 6a*, one of the catwalks trad routes. This was pretty hard and I had to battle to the last move, and with the jug in sight one move away I fell off (well pumped). It went second go and the climbing was brilliant. I was pretty tired, so had a quick run up Brooklyn Girls, then took the draws out of Yosemite Wall, all good training though.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Goon Show

I met up with a few folk at Blue Scar today and warmed up on the E1 on the left wall. On the way down I replaced the thread on the Goon Show E4 6a*. I then gave this a bash, but few off the crux when my foot popped off a dirty smear (excuses I know). After a quick brush, i lowered off and pulled the ropes and got back on. I should have rested a bit, but fought to finish the meat off the routes and chilled out at a well earned rest. Easy ground to the top and another Blue Scar classic and one I would reccomend. I then led Blue Sister E3 5c**, which has an awesome crux section on the upper wall. We then went over to the right wall and did a batch of 6b's. Mhairi made an impressive onsight of Pillar Talk 7a**. Another great day at Blue.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Armscliff Trad Intro

I met Deb at Armscliff today for a trad intro climbing course I was running for The Leeds Wall. The day was aimed at having a go at climbing outside, whilst learning about the process that we go through when trad climbing. We climbed a range of routes from Diff to MVS 4b, the highlights Square Chimney Whiskey Crack MVS 4b*** and Bird's Nest Crask HS 4b***. We finished the session with Deb placing runners around the base of the crag in preperation for his next course next week.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Millstone Bonanza

Dan, John and I went to Millstone today, which was the first time for me. As always I had a few things I wanted to have a look at. Dan led us up the super classic North West Road HVS 5a as a warm up' which is an outstanding route. I then took on the challenge of onsighting Snivling Shits E5 6a. This is pretty bold, with the only runner after the crux and 12m up. I was climbing well and picking my way up the last hard move (8m up) when the edge on my shoe desided it was worn out and parted company with everything. As this was my only point of contact, Groung Ahoy!!! Luckily Dan was on it with the matt and softened the fall. I brushed myself off, fix my shoe and did the route without incident, Awesome!

Above: Snivling Shits

John then made short work of Dexterity HVS/E1 5b (depends on the guide). Perfect jams and a stiff upper section.

Below: John on Dexterity

It was Dan's lead, but the sun had started to come around into the quarry. I leapt into action and stole infront of Dan (he said it was ok) and Soloed Edge Lane E5 5c. The climbing was out of this world, never hard, but super serious it you dropped it high up. Happy with my day, Dan racked up for Great West Road. He did really well on the quite physical and pumpy E2 5b first pitch. The top pitch is another bold arete that goes at E3 5b. I was on my game today, so led that pitch, which is very serious in places.
Below: Getting involved with Edge Lane

To wrap the day off I made a quick send of Technical Master which went 3rd go. A truely amazing day and I can't wait to come back and try some cracks.