Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Winter is Here, Just!

After a big thaw yesterday, overnight snow and a drop in temperature made climbing possible in the Northern Corries today.

In Coire an Lochain Matt and Keith climbed Fallout Corner VI,7, whilst Tim and Mark climbed Third Man V,6 and Third Man V,6.  James Thacker was in Sneachda climbing Stirling Bomber V,7.  He commented on his blog that there were teams on the Genie V,7 and Fingers Ridge IV,4.  Care should be taken as the cracks where verglassed in places.

Follow James at

Burbage West

I met up with Tony and Tina at Burbage today for a spot of bouldering.  We started off at the Bridge area to warm up on a range of easy problems to V4.  The wind was not too strong, but it was pretty chilly.  Next up, we went over to West Burbage.  Neither of us had been here before and there were some good looking problems to go at.

setting up for the crux on Scooter

Enjoying the jug at the top

Tony showing his flexibility on the crux of Scooter
First up was a nice little arete called Scooter V4, which had a brilliant foot to hand rockover to reach the top.  Go West V3 was then flashed by me and should also have been by Tony.  He manned up next go and cruised it.  Whilst Tony recovered from his burst of man power, I tried The Nose V6.  I slipped off the crux first go, but thankfully sent it on the second.  Tony then flashed Crow Man V2 and also the harder left hand version V3.  I got stuck into Jason's Mono Problem V6/7 (depends on the guidebook).  It took me a few goes to stick the finish hold which seemed to be the crux of the problem.  I was really keen to try West Side Story V8/9, which is a super technical wall climb.  The crux is setting your feet to pop to the break, but the all the climbing leading up to this is british 6b, so hard.  I got into the crux a couple of times, but only spending 10-15 minutes on the problem was not enough.  Next visit will be to do this problem and take advantage of this quick session.

Getting involved with West Side Story
About to try and set up for the crux move
Getting tired, we moved back to the Bridge area.  Here Tony cruised a V2 arete and I did the V5 version.  I also managed Mermaid V6, which although only short, packed a punch.  To finish everything off we went and climbed Banana Finger V2/3.  Neither of us had done this for about 10 years, so it was nice to get on it again.
Tony on Banana Finger
A big thanks to Tina for the pics.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Recovering from Man Flu

I have been suffering with Man Flu since Tuesday, so a light boulder at Widdop with Elliot and Beth seemed like just the thing to kick the body into action.

Beth sending a classic little arete

We did a range of problems up to V5, but there was a big of a damp feel to some of them.  Hopefully the body will be back to full working order by midweek.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

New Edelrid Kit for 2012

Over the last few years Edelrid have really branched out with the kit they produce.  Along with the high quality ropes, their harnesses, rock shoes, helmets and hardware have won industry awards.  The latest development have been in the massive re design of the ice axes and the all new rucksacks.

Top: Edelrid Riot                     Below: Edelrid Rage
 The Riot is a well designed and balanced tool.  It has been designed with leashless climbing in mind, using an ergonomically formed grip and removable hand rest that also offers good protection to the knuckles.  It weighs 610g and you can also add the small weight seen on the Rage to the head to improve performance on ice.

The Rage is another well made tool for those steep ice and hard modern mix routes.  The pick angle can be changed to suit your needs, the aggressive shaft give excellent clearance and the ergonomic handle makes them easy to wield.  These to have the removable weight option to improve performance on steep ice.

These are 2 excellent addition to the ice axe market and will be availbale to buy from Feb 2012.

Left: Helix 25                   Right: Mirage 35
The Helix is the Ultra light rucksack for day trips or fast and light ascents.  It has a removable plate, waist belt and lid to make it even lighter and smaller.

The Mirage comes in either 25 or 35 litres and is made from a highly durable ballistic nylon.  It also has a removable back plate, waist band and lid.  The side compression system has been designed to make attaching skis etc. simple.  The 35 litre model has an extra 10 litre of capacity if needed which the floating hood copes with easily.

For more info on Edelrid products click on the Edelrid logo in the side bar.

Monday, 21 November 2011

An Easy Day

Today I had an easy day at Heptonstall with Elliot and Beth.  The body was in need of a rest, so I spent the day following Elliot up some classics.  We started on Main Line VS 4c**, which is a great little slabby/wall climb that looks pretty blank from below, but provides lots of good edges.  Elliot decided to get straight on a Thin Red Line E2 5b***.  He had been shut down on this on his only other visit to the quarry, but is a much improved climber these days.  This was demonstrated as he cruised the route.  I nipped up Fairy Steps HS 4b*** next to keep the routes flowing.  Elliot then led Brown Sugar E2 5c** which is a little trickier then TRL with a good crux going through the roof on a jam.  Again Elliot dispatched the route in good style.  We wrapped the day up with Bull's Crack HVS 5a***.  This is awesome for the grade and only really gets the 3 stars if you climb the chimney instead of finishing at the ledge, which is the trend.  Both Elliot and Beth enjoyed the full 3 star experience.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mytholm Steeps and West Vale

Elliot entering the crux section
Elliot and I continued the bouldering theme today by going to Mytholm Steeps.  As the name suggests, the climbing here is on the steep side.  Defo not my style!  We milled around a bit on a few moves here and there to warm up, before getting stuck into the Wickerman V5/6 (the grade is variable depending on who you speak to).  I would say it is similar in grade to the Green Traverse, so font 6c+ would describe it best IMO.  This is a great problem, with the crux of the traverse section being right near the end.  Elliot and I are very different heights, so had a very different sequence for the crux.  With this dispatched we turned our sights to some of the other classics, but got spanked.  What a difference is makes when it's not playing to your strengths.

Loving the big holds
A cheeky toe hook making the sloper feel like a jug
We decided to head to West Vale to massage the ego a little, being vertical and crimpy.  I showed Elliot a few of the classics, which he cruised.  Our attention then turned to the steep high arete which makes up the end of the Scot is Bent wall.  Climbed on it's right hand side, it's given V6 6b+.  This was not too bad, just rquired a bit of commitment.  Both quite happy with our day we decided to save some skin for tomorrow.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Ron's Crack II

Elliot, Nic and I went to Crookrise for a boulder and the odd solo.  Conditions were less than perfect, with damp pockets causing the most frustration.

We all sent Cease Direct V3 and then a few variations on the slab to warm up.  A lot of time was the spent on the Fly V8.  We all managed to get to the pebbles on the slab proper, but using them was not that easy.  Hovis Super Direct V5 was the next problem to cause frustration.  A damp pocket made the crux move really hard to do, another condition dependent problem.  So Elliot soloed Hovis E1 5c***.  We decided to have a go on Ron's Crack II E3 6b** (or V6/7 very highball).  I was gutted to blow the onsight when I didn't get the finger lock in perfect, then bottled it when it started to slip.  No mistake next go, and I have the bruises and skin lose to prove it.  Elliot had commitment issues as it pretty high, so we moved down to Diet Pepsi V4.  My skin had given up, so I was on spotting duty.  This is pretty nippy for the grade, but Elliot managed to send it after a bit of work.  Nic and Elliot finish off sending a range of the problems on End slab.

I need a day off to grow some more skin, but hopefully will get out on Sunday.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Brownstones and Bleeding Tips

It's that time of year when it can be too chilly for routes for me, so bouldering is the best option.  As I am rubbish at bouldering, it takes a bit of effort to get psyched for it.  After a good afternoon on Monday at the Brownstones, I was keen to go back to do some of the tricky problems as they suit my style.

A quick warm up on the Nexus wall, and it was time to do a bit of pulling to get the fingers working.  Some crimpy easy problems and I was good to go.  First I did a couple of the Unjust Eliminates, Unjustice V6 6b* and Unpinched V7 6b/c*, then flashed the Nexus Dyno V4*.  Next up was Pigwill Sit Start V6 6b**, quite a good problem and it set me up nicely to get on Hank's Wall V6 6b***.  This was the first time I had tried this fresh, and what a difference it made.  3 attempts was all it took, not as hard as it seemed at the end of the day on Monday.  Conditions were excellent and I seemed to be on form, so I went to check out Groundhog V6 6b***.  I fluffed the onsight on the last move rushing to finish, but made not mistake on next go.  Seeming to be on a role, I thought I would try the Groundhog Sit Start V8 6c.  This adds a couple of pretty hard moves to join the original.  Pulling on was the crux, then it was not too bad after that.  I had to crimp very hard to hold the small crimps through the normal crux and split a tip whilst sending it.  It was not major, but enough to end play for today.

Fingers crossed it will be ok for tomorrow.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Wilton and the Brownstones

Today I finally managed to get out climbing after being confined to the wall last week.  I traveled over to Bolton to meet Elliot and we decided to have a look at Wilton 1.  Elliot very kindly offered to give the Hacker E4 6b** a brush for me a he had headpointed it earlier this year and want to get the onsight.  He had commented at the time that is was not that pumpy with that in mind I thought I would just start on that.  A boulder around to warm up a little whist Elliot brushed should be enough.

I was quickly through the bold crux at the bottom and reminded even quicker that me and cold winds don't get on to well.  The climbing was pretty straight forward, but steeper than it looked.  Add all the time it takes to work out and place gear onsight, then it becomes a pumpy route in the cold.  Luckily the angle eases at 2/3 height and the cold pump was manageable.  I could not feel the hows I was using through the top section, but thankfully it was mostly on my feet.  A good route none the less.

We moved over to Wilton 3 where Elliot led a damp and dirty Grader E3 5c***.  The conditions did not effect the climb until the crux and top out that had suffered from mud running down it.  Elliot had done the route before and was grateful at the top to have the runner ready before taking on the mud.  A sterling lead today.  I followed and had the same problem by the crux, with no feeling in my hands and just pulling through, hoping for the best.

Crimping Hard

Getting involved and pulling hard on the poor holds on Ridiculous Eliminate

We decided to ditch routes and go bouldering at the Brownstones.  I had been here once before and ticked a lot of the classics. But had a hard time on a couple of the tricky problem.  After sending a range of problems up to V5, we had a crack at Ridiculous Eliminate V8 6c/font 7b**.  This is a short, but hard few moves on some very small, poor, slopey crimps.  After a few failed attempts I managed to work out the right foot sequence to make the holds usable.  This made the world of difference and I sent it next go.  Well Happy!  We finished off try Hank's Wall V7 6c***, which is nails and not one to try at the end of the day.

Elliot trying hard on Hank's Wall

Sunday, 13 November 2011

CWA Training

After spending a few days climbing indoors due to bad weather this week, I was back inside again over the weekend running a CWA Training.  Day 1 was at the Leeds Wall where we covered all aspects of personal climbing and coaching.  Day 2 took us to Harrogate Climbing Centre to look at all the group aspects of the award and the Abseil module.  All the candidates commented that they took a lot from the 2 days and will hopefully be back for assessment early next year.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Slip 'n' Slide

Today I was free as Em has been on nights and sleeping during the day.  After the last few weeks efforts, taking a couple of days off has left me feeling rested and ready to go again.  I only had 2 more of the 3 star routes to do at Crookrise, Small Brown E4 6b*** and Slip n Slide E6 6a***, so that was the aim of the day.

Conditions where great, but it was warming up in the sun as I walked in.  Wanting to take full advantage off the cold I went straight to Slip n Slide.  This is an extremely bold solo, with a very poor landing that can't be padded out very well.  With this in mind, I decided to abseil down and see where to place the mat to protect the crux as best as I could.  This also gave me the chance to see what I was going to at the top of the ramp.  It all looked quite straight forward, so I got on it and went for the flash.  Very balancy padding led to the crux at the end of the ramp.  If only I was 6 ft, I could reach the hold without making the holdless rockover.  It took quite a bit of composing myself to make the move.  It is not that hard, V3 as a boulder problem.  But the situation really makes you earn all the E points.  After that move you have holds and can sprint to the top.

Small Brown was up next.  I wanted to flash Massive Attack E5 6b** as well, so abseil that which meant I got a look at both.  This was useful and showed me where the mat would be best placed.  Small Brown went very easily and it soft for the grade, but has nice moves.  Massive Attack goes where Small Brown should have, and follows the arete all the way top the top.  This has all the best climbing of Small Brown and more, awesome!

It was warming up by now and the crag was getting a bit busy! Surprisingly.  So I decided to head back and spend some time with Em as she would be up soon.  On the way back to the car I climbed Ron's Crack 1 V6*** and the V5 arete to the right.  Both nice problems and a good way to wrap things up.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Bridies Bouldering

Neil on Charlotte Rampling

Neil and Mhairi had to head back North today, so a short drive and mid afternoon finish meant the Bridestones was perfect.  It had dried out nicely after the rain last nigh and this morning, with only a few things wet.  We warmed up around the brother and sister area, before heading over to small smart wall.  Here The Villain V2 was flashed with ease, and the majority of the problem up to V5 sent with minimum fuss.  The tour continued over to the Obscene Cleft boulder, where Black Cheek V4 and the start to the Cleft V6 where flashed.  The day was rounded off with Neil getting Horror Arete V5 second go, after slapping the top on his 1st.

Mhairi on Black Cheek

Neil cruising Horror Arete

A good few hours spent in good company.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Hawkcliffe and Stanage

Neil and Mhairi has come down from Scotland for a few days, so I have been trying to show them some good route that I have down lately, and thought they could flash.  As Hawkcliffe was on their way, we met there at midday hoping it would be dry after the rain on Monday.  We found Emerald Buttress dry enough and climbed Woodland Ecology E5 6a**.  Neil flashed the route, but was nursing a hang over.  This took its toll on Mhairi's psyche a little and she backed off the route.  The Prow area was a bit damp, so we went to Eldwick for Neil to try and flash The Elevator E5/6 b/c**.  Neil had hurt his finger before coming down and this was too painful on the crux.  Whilst we where there I did the route again so Mhairi could take a couple of pics for me.

Setting up to move into the crux

Catching the Dyno

Today we went to Stanage hoping to take a few classics.  Starting at the lone boulder to get a the feet working, then over to Cresent Arete to get into the arete mode.  Feeling pretty psyched I got on White Wand E5 6a***.  I have been wanting to do this for almost 10 years, but really wanted to cruise it on sight when I did.  The crux was quite nippy for 6a, and the route was a little damp, but it was amazing!  I'm so glad I waited

Engaged on White Wand

High above the pads 
Nearly at the gear
Mhairi then cruised Tower Face HVS 5a* and I onsight soloed Four Star E5 6b**.  We then decided to boulder, cruising a range of problems on the pebble up to V5.  Neil the show us the way on the Green Traverse V6, which I was psyched to then flash.  Mhairi started to make good progress on it but, a break from climbing to do her ML has taken it toll on her a little.  Neil then did the V7 6c* mantel that comes up from the crux crimp on the traverse.  We finished off sending a batch off problems on the Business boulder.

A great day.