Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Another Day at the Scar

I picked up Huw this morning and we went to Woodhouse to blow the xmas cobwebs away.  It was a nice surprise to not be climbing as bad as expected.  We did a handful of V5 and V6's, with my highlight being a V7 I had not done before.  There were also a batch of routes soloed up to E4 6b.  There was a big team out from ROKT, with one of the young lads leading his first E1 today.  Good day all round.

No pics, sorry.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A Bit of Rock

Picking my way up Nervous Shakedown E4 6b**

I got back out on rock for the first time in 3 weeks, so was not sure how I was going to get on.  Elliot and Beth joined me at Woodhouse Scar, which was surprisingly bone dry.  We did a variety of boulder problems up to V5 and routes up to E4.

Making the crux move

Entering the crux moves of Piton Crack V5/E2 6b***
Only 1 more tricky move
 A pretty good afternoon, and nice to redo some problems and routes I have not been on for a while.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Time to Pull the Finger Out

Trying to get pumped

After my less than satisfactory onsight attempt of Traversty at the weekend, I feel that the only way to avoid it happening again is to actually do some winter specific training.  I'm finding that despite being fit for rock climbing, handing onto my axes on steep ground is a different game.  With this in mind, I went over to John's to do a bit of axe work on his wall and get rid of some of the weekend's stiffness.  We had a good few hours once we had set some circuits, creating a good 45 move link up.  It's obvious that if I spent as much time training as I do avoiding it, I would probably do a little better sooner, rather than later.  I was feeling paranoid and opted for a helmet, which worked out well as John took a couple of blows to his as the odd hold bedded in.

John powering on

Sunday, 18 December 2011


After yesterday, we were keen to go and have a look at Traversty VIII,8*** on Clogwyn Du today after Andy's comments that the route was well worth it.  The crag was quite busy with teams on El Machno VI,7****, Blenderhead VII,8*** and Piller Chimney V***.

Trying hard in the wind on pitch 1

Matt crushing the crux pitch
The conditions were very wintry today, with a lot of rime and ice about making it tricky to see some of the small foothold and hooks.  That said, it was my lead and fancied the crux first pitch,  It is fair to say that I did not climb as efficiently as I could have and got a little pumped placing the gear.  I struggled to spot the crucial foothold quickly which boosted the pump.  I climbed back to the belay for a rest and re-group and tried again. The rest had not been long enough, and I failed in the crux.  I managed to get back on and was almost through the crux when the axe I was matching ripped and sent me flying into space.  After a lot of wasted energy trying to get back on, I retreated to the belay and offered Matt the pitch.  He was not sure at first, but then all the training he has been putting in showed as he made quick work of the pitch.  A fine lead.

Getting stuck into the offwidth second pitch
The second pitch was no gift, climbing a steep and awkward offwidth the was worth VI, 6 in it's own right.  A short, but still surprising final pitch saw up happy at the top.

Happy to be past the offwidth on Pitch 2

All smiles after another great day
It has been a pretty good weekend, but the forecast does not look good for tomorrow with the temperature set the rise and rain come in as well.

A short bit of video showing the windy nature of the day.

Matt & Adam - Traversty from Andy Turner on Vimeo.
Andy Turner and Baggy were out today and did a couple of new route, check Andy's and Baggy's blogs for more info.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Siberian Kitten

Matt and I headed  up to Craig Dafydd today with the hopes of trying a new route that Matt had spotted earlier in the week. The takes a direct route up the crag taking in some good grooves, crack and overlaps.  We settled on V,7, as the route felt a little harder and thinner than Gargoyle Wall on Ben Nevis, but the protection is pretty good.
Pitch 1. 4.Starting at the base of Helmand Province you climb up some turfy grooves onto a ledge, step right to a leftwards slanting turfy crack - climb that and continue to the base of the obvious crack. (40m)
Pitch 2. 7. Climbs the obvious crack to a ledge (possible belay) and then continue up a shallow chimney over the overhang to a ledge and block belays. (25m)
Pitch 3. 5. Climb the left on the 2 obvious grooves until a tricky step can be made across into the right groove (a bit bold), follow this groove until a step can be made around the arete  onto a ledge and then climb the short steep groove to an awkward finish - belay well back. (30m)

Top section of pitch 2
We called the route Siberian Kitten - with a nod to Greg Boswell. Pete Macpherson and Guy Roberston's route Siberian Tiger.

Matt on the crack of Pitch 2

Adam heading into the second groove of Pitch 3.

The turf was in pretty good shape mostly after an obvious change in the weather from yesterday, with a good dusting of fresh snow.

Andy Turner was out with Calum Muskett and climbed Traversty VIII, 8 on Clogwyn Du.  A good first route of the season for Andy.  Check out his blog for pics andf more details, http://andyturnerclimbing.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Boswell at it again!!

Young Mr Boswell has been at it again earlier in the week with Pete McPherson and Guy Robertson in Coire an Lochain producing Siberian Tiger IX,10.  If you have not seen this already, click on the link on the right and read his awesome account of their day.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

CIC Attacked by the Wind

I have been speaking to Greg Boswell who has been up on the Ben for the last few days with James Dunn and Will Sim.  They made the FWA of the Direct Finish to Knuckleduster VIII,9, which is a fine effort.  The bigger news was that the roof was blown off the CIC Hut by the massive winds.  Greg and others tried to walk out, but were storm bound till yesterday. Got to love the British weather.

Hopefully Greg will get the chance to update his blog and fill in more detail.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Lakeland Winter

Winter in the Lakes is always a bit hit and miss, but has been a bit more hit over the last few years.  I have done very little, so was keen to try and take advantage of the improved weather today.  Elliot has never winter climbed before, but had to be back for work at 6pm in Bolton, so a couple of route on Cambridge Crag, Bowfell were just the ticket.

We started off climbing with Left Hand Route IV,5 which was pretty average.  The layback crack at the start of pitch 1 was quite cool though.  The monsoon weather had not stripped as much snow as I thought it would have, and the extra that was put down today has left the crags looking pretty good.  The turf was not frozen everywhere, but hopefully it should firm up over the next couple of days.

Starting up Professor

Enjoying the up upper fault
We then climbed Professer V,5/6.  It felt quite nippy for 5, but I think it would be easier with a bit of ice.  The climbing was pretty good on the long first pitch.  Steep technical bulge followed by a good shallow chimney feature.  Worth doing if you want a quick route.

Lets hope that the conditions continue.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Carn Etchachan

Matt and Keith were back over on Carn Etchachan today to make the best of the weather before it craps out.  They climbed the classic Guillotine V,6 and Nom de Plume VI,7 to wrap up a fantastic day.  James Thacker was also over there today, so check out his blog for more info.

The weather is due to change tomorrow with increasing winds, before the temperature and hurricane force winds on Thursday.  The lads are hoping to get a quick route in Sneachda tomorrow before they head back to Wales of Thursday.

Winter Continues up North

Yesterday Matt and Keith climbed the Stical Face V,6*** on the Shelter Stone.  Matt commented that conditions are still tricky, with the ice still causing problems with good protection.  Other teams were out in the corries climbing the Message, Pot of Gold and Droidless to name a few.

Check out Mark Chadwick's and James Thacker's blogs for more pics and info.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Winter Weekend in the Gorms

After suffering with FOMO all week as Matt, Keith and a few others have been taking advantage of the conditions up North, I was psyched when John said he was up for a weekend hit.  After the long drive up, with a stop off in Edinburgh overnight, early start and no breakfast, we arrived in Sneachda at a reasonable time on Saturday..

The wind was not quite as bad as forecast, but the only shelter was to be found on the Fiacaill.  This was also the whitest buttress in the corrie.  As always I had a few things in mind as we walked in, but they were either black or blocked by folks waiting to get on the route that it used to start.  Rather than wait around, we opted to   do Stirling Bomber V,7***.  This is a great way to get back into the whole winter climbing mode, with some good moves, physical, but never too hard.  There was a lot of snow and ice on the route, but the gear was pretty clear.  I had climbed this route back into 2005 and it was as good as I remembered.  John really enjoyed himself, with a big smile all the way up.  We were down off the route by 12:20 and decided to head down and get some breakfast.  There where loads of teams on the Seam IV,4/5*** and a team on Fingers Ridge IV,4***.

Getting in the width

John getting stuck in
Working through the crux

Today we wanted another short day so we could get back down to Leeds in good time.  The Mess of Pottage was looking ok, so we opted for The Melting Pot V,7***.  There is a mass of verglass covering the crag which is making the climbing quite bold.  A number of teams backed off routes because of this.  The ice of our route made the climbing a little easier, although bold making feel more VI,6 as the guide suggests for these conditions.  There were a lot more teams out today on all the usual routes.  Top tip at the moment is to drop the grade a little whilst the cracks are so iced.

John finishing Pitch 1 of The Melting Pot

Greg Boswell has had 3 very good days on the Ben, check his blog for details.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Coire an Lochain

Matt and Keith made another trip into Lochain today and climbed Hookers Corner VI,6/7  and Overseer Direct V,6.  When I spoke to Matt he said that there was a lot of rime build up and the cracks are very icy.  All routes need a careful and measured approach in these conditions.

Tim and Mark made the walk to Carn Etchachan and climbed the classic Equinox VI,6.  James Thacker climbed the Hoarmaster V,6 and there were teams on Central Crack Route IV,5 and Third Man IV/V,6.