Saturday, 30 November 2013

Spain 2013

Amazing place to climb.  Chulilla.
Amazing day at Suirana
Beautiful day at Montsant.
Donald loving the Tufas on this 7a
Donald enjoying the climbing at Siurana
Murdoch climbing 7c+ at Chulilla.  I seconded it but fell off before I got to the top.

Murdoch verses 8a!

Donald front and back footing on tufas

A brilliant way to exit the crag.  Hard work after a full days climbing.
Bright lights of Barcelona
Not only did we do a lot of climbing, we also got to know the inside of our wee hire car pretty well.  Donald and I were keen to get to a few different places rather than stay at one place.  Our first port of call was meeting up with Murdoch in Chulilla.  This place is absolutely amazing.  Even to go for a walk through the gorge is pretty breath taking.  Steep techy wall climbing is the style here but we also found some really cool Tufa's to climb.  Next stop was Margalef.  I love this place, it suits my style I think, quite steep but really good pockets.  From here we went to Siurana and finally onto Montsant before heading back to Margalef.  12 days we climbed for with no rest day.  Our final day we couldn't climb any more so went to Barcelona for some Chaos and shopping!  A brilliant holiday.  I'm exhausted but ready for some winter climbing!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Leg stretch

Final day with John today and were were in the Lakes District.  Today was a beasting day!  We were to get lots of milage over the hill before getting back to the Kendal Film Festival to watch the world Premiere of Distilled!  We sett off from Langdale at 9am, over  Great Knott, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike, Ill Crag, Broad Crag and finished on Scafell Pike.  We returned via Angle tarn.  I had to navigate all the way over the tops as the clag was in heavy and we had a quick march out along the Cumbrian Way but we still made it too the film with time for showers!  A brilliant day and brilliant finale to a great couple of weeks with John.. He's fit and ready for his next challenge.  Aconcagua!

Thursday, 14 November 2013


Final day for John and I on the Grit and we hit Laurencefield Quarry for a handful of routes before we headed north.  Another great wee crag, somewhat improved with the Autumn colours and strong sunlight.  Again we climbed the classics of the crag up to HVS before we called it a day and headed North.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Beautiful day on the grit
Today was John's second day on the grit and an agreement was made that we wouold go to a crag neither of us have been too.  I have always wanted to go to Froggatt and if fitted in perfectly with the weather.  South facing and not too exposed to the cold wind.  We worked from the right of the crag as it was first in the sun, too the left, climbing classics and nice lines along the way.  Green Gut, Sunset Slab and Tody's Wall were all highlights.  Perfect grit stone climbing conditions and nice and socialable day at the crag. 

John cruising up Green Gut

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


John loving the friction climbing
Today was our first day at the Peak and it started with a blue sky morning in Sheffield. When we arrived at Stanage there was a wee bit of cloud but that cleared pretty quickly to leave a clear cold crisp day. We had a great time climbing some of the classics with doing minimal walking. Friction in these conditions is fantastic, John had never climbed on the grit and was picking it up pretty well. We worked our way from right to left and climbed Crack and Corner (HVD 4b), Manchester Buttress (HS 4b), Gargoyle Buttress (VS 4b), Black Hawk Hell Crack (S 4a), Flying Buttress (HVD) and Queersville (HVS 5a). A brilliant day at Stanage, can't with for more tomorrow.

Slapping over the top

Perfect day on the grit

Monday, 11 November 2013

Snowdon via the fun route

Look happy!
Today was always going to be a mountain day but we definitely didn't have any choice. I think it stopped raining for about 5 minutes today! Nonetheless, it was a brilliant day. We parked up at Pen y Pass and traversed into Llanberis Pass, navigated our was over the top of Dinas Mot and up to the base of The Parson's Nose (D) on Clogwyn y Ddysgl. This great scramble was brilliant in the wet, greasy in places and made the tricky bits....well....even trickier! Some power screams echoed around the cwm now and again! We continued up the Arete to join the main ridge which led up onto the summit of Snowdon. This was the first time I have been on this summit and never saw another person...pretty unsurprisingly to be honest! Despite being soaked to the skin and with a 3 hour drive ahead we opted for a little more than walking down the Miners track. We headed SE and then NE down a nice wee scramble at about grade 1 which led u eventually to the Miners track for a brisk walk back to the car. A 7 hour round trip, a quick change then a drive over to the Peak district for 3 days rock climbing!

How this weather really made us feel!

Sunday, 10 November 2013


Today was wall to wall sunshine so John and I opted for somewhere with brilliant climbing and south facing. Tremadog was the obvious choice. John has climbed here in the Past and was keen to get back here for two reasons, the climbing is ace and the walk-in is even better (sub 3 minutes). After a wee shopping trip in Llanberis we rocked up at Tremadog and climbed Christmas Curry (S), then onto One Step in the Clouds (VS) and finished off on Meshach (HVS) just as the sun disappeared. We were then blessed with having a coffee with Eric from the cafe, we chatted away, talking about base jumping and we shared our Eiger North Face good to talk to such a legend who is showing no signs of slowing down! A brilliant day

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Ogwen link up

Top of Tryfan
Cneifon ArĂȘte
Today was our first day in Wales and unfortunately it wasn't wall to wall sunshine. The odd shower made its appearance so we made the most of it and had a link up day of some of Ogwen's finest scrambles. We covered lots of ground as John hasn't been into Ogwen and he really wanted a big day. So our 8 hours saw us cover North West Face Route (Grade 2) onto the Idwal Staircase Continuation (Grade 2), then over and up The Cneifon ArĂȘte (grade 3/Diff) then down the False Gribin Ridge and up to Glyder Fach via The Chasm (Grade 3)...(not for people who drink a lot of beer!)...oh and don't try and do it with your rucksack on, its not easy! From there we descended Bristly Ridge (Grade 1) and then up and over Tryfan. Back to the car just as it got dark. Perfect.

The Chasm

Cantilever stone

Friday, 8 November 2013

Pinnacle Ridge

Today John and I were in the Lake District to break up the journey to Wales. A mountain day was on the cards so we headed down Ullswater Lake to Patterdale and walked up to Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday Crag which is a great wee scramble. From the summit we continued round to Fairfield and made our way back to the car. A good 7 hour day before our drive down to North Wales. John and I were both in agreement that the Lakes (where I grew up) are lovely, interesting and has fantastic climbing....but its just not Scotland!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Indoor day

After yesterdays big day on the hill, John was keen for some technique coaching and an arm stretch in the climbing wall. As John hasn't climbed anything vertical for awhile, he was keen to see how quickly he would get pumped and in turn will see how his fitness has changed. First off we spent 3 hours (its not what you know, its who you know!) in the ice wall, fine tuning John's technique and we also had a go on the competition routes that were left up after the weekend. After lunch we went through and did some coaching on the rock walls, we identified John's weaknesses and did some exercises to turn them into strengths. After this we hit the dry tooling, something John hasn't done much of. Its great to see how well he's coming along. Last season he climbed two grade V's on consecutive days...maybe grade VI this winter...?

Monday, 4 November 2013

Ring of Steall

Today I am back out with John and I will be for the next 14 days.  The aim of our time is to get fit both on the hill and on the crags as John has been away for a wee while.  Today we kicked off with a leg stretch around the classic Ring of Steall.  We did this last year and is one of John's favourite rounds as it provides fantastic views over Loch Leven, where John grew up.  We did it in reverse today, starting from Steall falls and finishing at lower falls which gave the legs a good workout.  There was a reasonable amount of snow around, but we didn't need crampons on at any pint.  The turf was still very soft, rocks were still loose and we never really reach a freezing level.  It was good to get out and blow away the cobwebs for John and also get a feel for what the conditions are like.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Dry Tooling Competition

As expected it was a brilliant weekend of climbing and good laughs.  It turns out I wasn't as weak as a kitten and just missed out on a place in the finals.  Out of 150 possible points, I scored 137, a little behind some of the strong men of winter climbing such as Greg Boswell, Andy Turner and others.  The finals created a very exciting and tense atmosphere with the winners being decided on the times they reached the top.  The whole event raised around £2000 for CAC which is fantastic and it was great to see many enthusiasts and amateurs alike enjoying themselves.  A huge praise and thanks goes to the Ice Factor team and route setters; Kev, Connor, Joe and James who did a brilliant job of making the event run so smoothly.
Simon's talk on winter climbing was very inspiring and left most of us planning our next winter day out!  Following this was the party, we obviously all sat down very quietly sipping a nice glass of wine......yeah right! ;)  Looking forward to next year!