- 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 have been perfecting my coffee making skill after being inspired by Mr. Schulte (our patron) for the summer. Thought it looked very pretty although I prefer it black...yes pun intended!! I think the Bonne Maman jar adds a touch of class too!
So I’m back in England after spending a month in the Jura. I have come back empty handed, well empty handed in the respect that I didn’t climb Action Direct. I have come back feeling pretty bronzed after what felt like the most sun I’ve had in years. If you’re going to go on holiday to get spanked by a route you might as well top up your vitamin D at the same time. Also to compensate for my lack of climbing ability I’ve brought lots of very nice German beers back. Bring on the beer belly! The trip basically consisted of me flailing around on Action waiting for skin to heal and hoping for cooler temps. Between all that I tried very hard not to drink too much beer (weakness) and got my arse kicked by smit at mini golf! This seemed to make Smit very happy but I did manage to claw some self-respect back by becoming the overall shithead champion. Yes!
Now that I’m back its hard to know what to do next climbing wise, I certainly don’t fancy getting on anything hard. Maybe a trip to Pembroke this weekend is in order. It will be a good chance to catch up with some mates, hangout in the pub and do some nice trad plodding.
Contributed by: Ryan Pasquill
After 23 hours with no sleep we finally arrived at our home for the summer. 110 Mohawk drive, Boulder, Colorado! Jackie, Chris and Kevin our hosts, a thank you to tem. Too tired to be excited we went straight to bed and into a deep slumber!
The next day was van sorting day-insurance, emissions test and finally registration! All very boring! Another night early to bed but feeling less jet lagged. Tomorrow would be our first real test-driving to Rocky Mountain National Park on a Saturday and battling with the tourists (obviously as climbers we bypass the tourist status)!
The van at Bear Lake 'parking lot' (car park)!
For our first day we were mainly checking out a few areas in the ‘Park’ but not venturing too high! Equipped with a gallon of water to see us through dehydration, headaches and nausea we set off on the slog to Emerald Lake, 40 minutes later and a little short of breath we arrived at our destination. The walk was stunning-snow capped mountains, the smell of pine and sounds of the babbling brook our accompaniment.
Alvin, Simon or Theodore?!
In terms of climbing the day was a write off....well kind of. We tried a few things, lost a bit of skin and had a little success but the hardest day was done! The walk down was much easier and this morning I am starting to feel a little more normal.
Dream Lake (RMNP)
I didn’t climb at Malham much last year. I only had a few trips up there to briefly try Steve McCure’s 9a test piece Rainshadow, just to see if it might be possible for me in the future and what I might need to improve on to have a chance of redpointing it.
Having trained most of the winter with Rainshadow in mind I’ve been spending most of my climbing days this spring at Malham. My aim this spring was to spend around 10 days trying it and hopefully link from the belay of Raindogs to the top. This might not sound like a big deal but it’s probably a hard 8c link and it’s a good stepping stone to having the confidence to thinking I can redpoint the route. For me there’s no point trying it from the ground if I can’t do that link, and its good training doing the top section when I’m tried. This link incorporates the crux bulge above the belay of Raindogs, which for me not being much of a boulderer felt desperate to start with, and then the upper wall which is probably around 8a/+ with no rest in between. The crux is about 9 moves and around font 7C+, but it took me 8 days this year to link it! I know I don’t boulder much but all the boulder problems I’ve done at this grade have only taken me a maximum of 2-3 days to do. Some 7C+’s I’ve done in a day so it’s been tough struggling with this crux so much, also with the knowledge in the back of my mind that I’ve got to try and do it after climbing an 8a+ route! God this route’s hard! & it’s going to take me a while to do it, if I can do it at all. But I don’t mind spending a long time on such a good route. Adam Ondra’s comment after he’d done it was that it is one of the best routes he’d ever done! High praise indeed coming from someone who’s climbed so many routes all over the world. I actually managed to get 13 days on it this spring, mainly because everything else was so wet! I didn’t quite get the link I wanted but made progress everyday which helped my psyche massively.
There’s been a great scene up at Malham this year, even with the terrible weather in April, with loads of the hard routes getting tried by various people. One day I was there, there were people on redpoint on Cry Freedom (8b+/c), Bat route (8c), Unjustified (8b+) & Power Ranger (8b+), and then Jordan and me working Rainshadow. That’s almost every hard route at Malham with someone on it! A few years ago it would have been very rare to see any one of these routes with a person trying it, now it’s hard to know where to look to watch the action. It’s great to see so many people trying these hard routes now, and it just go to shows how much the sport climbing level in this country has improved over the last few years.
Over the next few weeks I seem to have loads of other climbing plans, like a long weekend trip to the Frankenjura with my sponsors Marmot and a few trad climbing trips, that mean I wont get back to Malham for a while. This isn’t too bad as I generally find Malham too hot in the summer to get good conditions on regularly, so Rainshadow will have to wait until September when it hopefully cools down a bit.
Contributed by: Neil Mawson
Summing up the last few months won’t take long really because not much has happened. The weather has been all over the place; hot humid days have mingled with rain, sleet and even snow and so I decided to take to the ‘great indoors’! My finger is eventually feeling better so it was time to recruit a little crimp strength. It is amazing how quickly this comes back if the strength has been there previously. A month or so after starting some dead hanging and campusing I feel back up to scratch, just in time for Colorado!
I have managed a few days on rock in these tumultuous times. A long awaited return to the Bowderstone was not quite as productive as I had hoped for. After a week of solid rain we ummed and ahhed about going but eventually decided to risk it and upon arrival I was shocked to find it in stellar condition! Sadly I was not; I hadn’t slept well the night before-note to self always park van on flat ground! However I managed to pull XXXX out of the bag; roofs are rare in this country and so all are worth climbing. This one is powerful to say the least, 16 feet covered in just 3 moves; sharp holds slightly detract from the quality but it is worth while none the less. Mina hadn’t visited the ‘stone’ before so it was fun to see her climb until she could barely lift her arms and Tom and Michelle were just as keen! A much needed face stuffing at the Horse and Farrier in Threlkeld finished the day off nicely.
XXXX at the Bowderstone. Photo Courtesy of Michelle Forrest.
My other day out occurred on the gritstone! Yes the grit in mid May! Again the rainy days seemed to have been endless but last Wednesday shocked us all with blue skies, sun and even a breeze or perhaps I should say a gale at times! Nick, John Welford and I decided to head to Burbage South. Here there is a superb circuit of problems from 6c-7c with the mid 7’s being especially good. Nick and John had done most of them before but I had only been on wet, miserable days and so had a lot of catching up to do! I did my best and by the end my skin reflected a typical day of gritstone thrashing. It had been nice to touch rock again, and do some technical classics before heading to Colorado where I am hoping for basic edge pulling!!
And that brings us to today, Tuesday 22nd May, summer seems to be arriving, the back door is open and a gentle breeze brings in the scent of washing and the warmth that our pasty complexions desire. Tomorrow Mina and I are off to Colorado for the summer; we both have the Vail World Cup round and then a good bit of time on the rock. Frantic, excitement is probably the best way to describe the scene at our house. Washing, packing, and all manner of necessary jobs (including blog writing) are taking place!
My goals for the summer are to enjoy myself, climb as well as I can and hopefully a little better too, not die from altitude sickness and to not come last in Vail. I don’t do competitions anymore due to not really enjoying them and being pretty rubbish too. I am not good under pressure; I tend to crack, get angry and therefore climb pretty badly. However Vail is not going to be like that; I have no expectations or goals (except not coming last) so I am going to go out and try to enjoy myself, after all its the taking part that counts....apparently!
Photo by Adam Long
For some reason I failed to mention that a month or so ago I climbed Johnny Dawes’s two amazing slabs; Angel Share and Jumping on a Beetle at Black Rocks.
These we originally climbed as routes and as they have no protection were given pretty high E grades. I wanted to climb these routes ground up with out breaking every bone in my body, so I padded it out- think I had about 8 pads in total.
I have tried to get onto the slab once or twice before but failed to do the hard weird mantle onto a chipped rail start. Some how this session (must have been all the one legged squats I have been doing!) I got up first go. I wasn’t really expecting this and was then faced with climbing Jumping on a Beetle. The first move is the hardest, which is a weird step through once you have trusted your foot you then just carefully climb up some gritty pebbles to the top.
I managed this first go today, so next up was Angel Share. There is literally nothing for your hands on this except a thin seam at the top that is hard to get anything from anyway. So this involved the same mantle start as Jumping and you just had to have an unbelievable amount of trust in feet and pad up the slab.
I think was one of my favourite slabs because you had to think so much about body positioning and weighting your feet correctly, which is what I love and am reasonably good at.
I took quite a few big falls from the top but eventually managed to scrabble my way over the very sloppy top out.
Next up is Velvet Silence the classic of the block…might have to wait till next winter now though.
Contributed by: Katy Whittaker
Andy, Val, and Jo headed out to Uster last week for a dealer services European meeting. Jenny was slightly dismayed at the lack of Swiss chocolate that was brought back!
Everytime I'm at the climbing wall I'm still always amazed to see people effortlessly hang off holds on fingerboards with one hand. They make it look really easy, so I think its really easy, go and have ago, fail miserably and can't even take my feet off the floor. some people can hold 1 pad edges longer then I can hold a blummin jug, its not normal!!!
Obvioulsy some of these people can climb substantially harder then me, but there are some who don't climb as hard at all and it really makes me think... flipping heck if I could do that I might be able to get up something myself.
So, at Christmas I gave myself the task of trying to hang the low middle rung of the beastmaker for 8 seconds with 1 (straight) arm. A really simple excercise and I gave myself until next Christmas to be able to to it. However at the beginning I couldn't even hold it for a quarter of a second, I could get more air time by just jumping. I had to have 8-10kilos of assitance to be able to hold it for just 5-8 seconds...then i'd fall off.
However a few days ago i had an absolute breakthrough, I managed to hold the edge for 5-6 seconds with no assistance, not big numbers compared to strong wads, but numbers nevertheless. I've no idea how it happened but I suddenly found myself hanging with the ability to even watch the clock as I was doing it...multitasking, oh yeh. It's not quite the 8 seconds yet, but its progression.
Contributed by: Pete Whittaker
Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody Review - Overview
The Atom LT Hoody is possibly the most versatile, comfortable, well loved, near perfect piece of alpine wear I've ever had the pleasure to use. Over the course of winter, ice climbing in Montana, Wyoming, Washington and the Canadian Rockies I NEVER left the car without this. The Atom LT is comparable to the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket - Men's as a lighter weight synthetic insulated jacket. I’ve owned a Patagonia Nano Puff pullover for a couple years and have loved it literally to pieces, but I find the Atom LT to be much better fitting, more breathable, and better looking to boot.
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Arcteryx B360 Review - Overview
This is by far the lightest and most streamlined of all the big wall harnesses we tested. In fact, it is so light that I use this harness a lot trad climbing and gym climbing. If you want a harness for long multi-pitch routes with the occasional big wall, this is the harness to get. And considering I hate hauling loads, and generally spend less than two nights on a wall, this is the wall harness I reach for most often. If you are hauling massive loads, or hanging around in your harness for many days, go with the Metolius Waldo that has beefier and cozier padding. The best value is still the Petzl Calidris, which is half the cost of the B360a.
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