- Climbing - Dan Varian
- Climbing - David Mason
- Climbing - Katy Whittaker
- Climbing - Mina Leslie-Wujastyk
- Climbing - Ned Feehally
- Climbing - Neil Mawson
- Climbing - Pete Whittaker
- Climbing - Ryan Pasquill
- Climbing - Steve McClure
- Climbing - Tom Randall
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I stayed at my best friends house up in Edinburgh last night and when I woke I noticed that his flatmate had framed his first ever pair of climbing boots! Psyched!
An insight into one of my personal favourites in the Fall 2011 range.
The idea of going to Rockland’s this summer had been batted about for over a year and after eventually booking our flights in April I allowed myself to start getting excited. You don’t have to be a climber to look at the landscape of Rockland’s and be left speechless, but it does add to the excitement! The amount of rock there really is incredible; orange sandstone boulders and cliff faces as far as the eye can see.
The Amphitheatre, 8a.
Photo: Jon Butters
A big group of us were staying in a large farmhouse at Travellers Rest; you could walk to the closest climbing area from our house and the furthest area was 20 minutes drive. The walk-ins however tended to be a bit more of a slog, on average between 20-40 minutes; it did mean that you were thoroughly warm by the time you got to the boulders and feeling ‘fit as fiddle’ by the time we left Africa.
The area itself is quite sparsely populated but during the summer months is taken over by boulderers and botanists. The locals definitely seem to prefer the boulderers!!
We arrived on July 5th and were immediately greeted by 30° heat and unfortunately this stayed for the majority of the month. Great for rest day tanning sessions that were needed far too often after the destruction of skin on hot, sweaty rock! With August came a little more rain and some colder temperatures that allowed for an increase in dispatching.
The climbing style in Rockland’s is quite gymnastic; it tends to be big moves between fairly good holds requiring lots of power, tension and compression. In theory this should have suited my climbing style quite well but perhaps I was a little under prepared in terms of training and maybe a little over confident. Needless to say the first few weeks were not a success...added to the heat and big holes in my skin, I was not a happy bunny!! I decided to just stick to doing as much climbing as possible and, if weather and strength allowed, try some harder things nearer the end of the trip.
Broadside arete, 7b.
Photo: Jon Butters
This seemed to work and I started to enjoy the climbing much more; my confidence improved, bringing with it some good ticks. I never really went back to trying the harder things; I was enjoying doing as much as I could far too much.
I had also decided that I definitely wanted to return in better shape for the harder climbs like Sky and Amandala.
It’s funny how mental climbing is; as soon as things start going well you get on a role and everything is perfect but with failure comes the cycle of misery and however much you flog yourself nothing seems to come of it. I suppose that is what really makes the difference between the best and the rest as they say; yes genetics and strength, technique and fitness help but at the end of the day it’s all in the mind.
I had an amazing time in Africa and learnt a lot that will hopefully aid me in the future. I remembered that I love climbing as much and as often as I can when I visit a new area. Near the end of the trip I climbed for a few hours each day for 7 or 8 days in a row and felt better by the end of it than ever. I also learnt that not completing a hard problem can also be rewarding, the process of enjoying the climbing every time you go is as important as the actual send. The last and probably the most important thing in terms of pushing my personal climbing is that I don’t think I have ever put enough time into one climb, therefore I think I am capable of climbing much harder than I have ever climbed before and this feels very liberating. You read about people putting 10, 12, 20 or 100 days into a project, I have never put more than 5 or 6 and even they will have involved very short sessions or ones in awful conditions. Fingers crossed I can build up the mental strength and afford the petrol to put the time into something that is really hard for me!!!
Leap of Faith, 8a.
Photo: Nick Brown
I have digressed from Rockland’s; the place is amazing- beautiful scenery, great climbing and you can do it all in shorts and t-shirts which is always a bonus. June and August appear to be better months than July (a shame it’s in the middle of them) but we could just have been unlucky. It would be too much to describe individual problems and the feeling about climbing them so below is a list of what I managed to get to the top of.
The one thing I will describe is the feeling of not climbing the Vice. I hate the idea of having an antithesis in climbing and describing a problem as such but if that exists then the Vice is my antithesis. A power endurance problem based around compression with a million different options for beta, definitely not something I thrive at but it is one of the best climbs I have ever seen and getting shut down on it was fun! After the first session I had done the moves and thought I had my beta figured out, this changed on the second and third session, eventually settling with the most basic and powerful beta shown to me on my fourth session by Joey Kinder. So the previous sessions wasted and with time running out I managed two more sessions on it, coming dangerously close 5 times the day before we had to leave. One more session and it would have been mine. All the thoughts of... if I hadn’t wasted sessions trying duff beta or why didn’t I try it earlier passed through my mind but in reality I loved every minute of it and yes a story book ending would have been nice but it wasn’t to be. This boulder really did teach me that I can climb much harder than I ever have; I didn’t do it but I am not sure why as it didn’t feel hard, I could jump back on straight after falling off and finish it easily. Next time and there definitely will be a next time....
The Vice, 8b.
Photo: Jon Butters
Tea with Elmarie 8a+
In Between Dreams 8a+
Black Shadow 8a+
The hatchling 8a
Green Mamba 8a
Out of Balance 8a (flash)
Black Velvet 8a
Leap of Faith 8a
The Amphitheatre 8a
Au Bord de l’eau 8a
Macho King 7c+ (flash)
No late tenders 7c+
Pinotage 7c+ (flash)
Splash of Red 7c+
Hole in One 7c+
Black Mango Chutney 7c+ (flash)
The shark 7c+
Stretched and Pressed 7c+
Ron, Ron et Caramel 7c+
Red Piano 7c
Kingdom in the Sky 7c (flash)
Last Day in Paradise 7c (flash)
Tomorrow I’ll be Gone 7c
Little Wing 7c
Time Out 7c
Winnie 7c (flash)
Contributed by: David Mason
pic - dreadnaught in 1999
A certain Climbing wall cancelled me last minute leaving me out of pocket but richer in terms of time. The place to be at the moment in the Peak is The Cornice. It is completely dry, and misses any sunshine so is in great condition. Over the last month it’s been all action down the dale! I had a week free to sample the delights.
Kristian Clemmow is the dude down there. Responsible for much cleaning and bolting and many new routes. He has upped the overall quality of the crag! His routes have seen a load of attention. ‘Brick Top’, at 8b, is a burly monster, all good holds but far apart. This one was tough for me! Then ‘32’, a bouldery 8b+ that has seen some epic attempts and thought solid for the grade with a Font 7c+ crux! I got to within a move on-sight, which might just have been one of my best performances ever, but never mind. It went next go.
‘Dreadnaught’ has seen some attention. I made the first ascent of this 8c about 13 years ago and it’s still holding out for a second ascent. Apparently holds had come off, but for those interested, all the ones I used are still there, so the challenge stands!
Kristian can spy a good line. And the route ‘K3’ looks like it should just keep traversing leftwards where it inevitably heads on upwards, like routes generally do. So Kris set about linking between neighbouring routes to join the start of ‘K3’ to the end of ‘Powerplant’ to give ‘K5’ (K5 is higher than K3). It looked awesome. I pumped my arms to the max on the flash of this 8b, but it looked like this diagonal line should go further, in fact why not all the way? So yesterday I climbed the first moves of ‘K3’ into the last move of ‘Bored of The Lies’. A mega endurance route with a considerable amount of new climbing, this is not a link up of existing lines. ‘K2’ because it’s the highest ‘K’. 8b+ probably, maybe harder. But don’t try it on a busy day……..
Some mountain info
K2 is 8611 2nd
K5 is now known as Gasherbrum I (8068 11th).
K3 is addressed as Broad Peak (8047 12th)
K4 is called Gasherbrum II (8035 13th).
Contributed by: Steve McClure
Dan had been over there a bit recently and always came back raving about another new boulder or highball. It has been years since I was last there so it was nice to go back and see how weak I was as a child.
After a session of bouldering (it stays dry in the rain, amazing!) and picking blackberrys (there are a lot) I returned with more pads and spotters to try Dan’s new highball 8a, Wildchild. This starts up Warchild, an old 7c boulder but rather than dropping off at the break it pushes on to the top via a massive pull on a trouser filling 4 finger pebble.
I spent a while floundering on the bottom before finally getting through to the upper boulder problem. This was a bit of an adventure. After a few big falls (one missing the pads, ouch) I started to figure out a new sequence. Dan’s original did an awesome cross through from the pebble to a dish (as seen in the linked photo), which felt all weird and not something I dared commit to ground up. My sequence took a more direct approach, pulling down like a mad man on the dubious pebble. Possibly slightly easier, definitely quite harrowing. After a pause to catch my breath and quell the leg shakes i was up on top, fighting through the undergrowth. Its good to start getting back into the highball spirit after a summer of pulling on plastic.
Contributed by: Ned Feehally
The Season is a 22-web episode TV series following five athletes through the course of a single season.
Episide 1 will premiere here on arcteryx.com September 6th. - http://www.theseasontv.com/
After the storm.....Danny Hart came out as 2011 World Champion.
After a year of amazing performances, his time finally came to take one more step up the box, into first place.
Champery is infamous for its insanely steep and technical terrain, always made worse by the clockwork rain pattern that seems to shroud the event each time. Riding it in the dry is a challenge for the worlds best, but in the wet, it's a whole'nother story.
Danny Hart has been using Five Ten's for his 2011 campaign and has been smashing it all year long. People knew he had the speed and potential, but no-one realised it would mature so quickly.
Some amazing podium finishes on the world cup circuit, set him on the right tracks coming into Champery. Reknowned for his wild, loose cannon riding style, everyone had him down as the wildcard winner.
Everyone from photographers, to videographers, riders and fans alike, looked on in awe all week as he put on a 'whip fest' , getting sideways and looking on fire, building for Sunday.
Come roughly 5 o'clock on Sunday. The young man from Redcar, stood in the start gate, un-phased by the steep river and muddy carnage that layed in front of him. He took lines no-one else even dared look at, literally flying down the hill on another level. He crossed the line a ridiculous 11 seconds up. A gap un-heard of since Sam Hill burst onto the scene some years ago.
20 years old. World Champion.
Check out some of the amazing coverage in the following links:
If you want to ride like Danny, he used Cyclones on his 2011 World Champs campaign: