- 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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One of the things I like about starting a new year is that you can draw a line under anything from the previous year. Even if I’ve spent forever working on something in one year, I always feel like a fresh start is made on a route/problem once January comes round. Maybe it’s my way of convincing myself I’m not stuck on a plateau?!
Last year I made the decision to commit to two FA projects on grit – one really, really hard and the other as something that was my anti-style. I wanted to do this as I’ve had a tendency in the past to climb things that were either relatively quite easy (under sport grade 8a on trad) or that suited me in climbing style. Both projects seemed to progress at an equally boring rate and just before Christmas I decided to take a break from both and go do The Zone at Curbar just to get my head out of it all and get something done.
Photo: headpointing The Zone, E9 6c (image courtesy of Mike Hutton)
This January’s mix of snow, rain and generally terrible climbing conditions has kind of been a mixed blessing for my “anti-style” project at Shining Cliff. The direct start project to Geckoblaster is almost always dry and also conveniently on the way to work at The Climbing Station in Loughborough. The direct moves into Geckoblaster partly follow Jon Fullwood’s boulder problem “Moo Cow” which is about the most perplexing Font 7a+ you’re going to find on grit! Weird, contorted, tiny crimps, everything facing the wrong way….. All I can say, is thank goodness Jon could give me the beta!
Photo: Intricate and brilliant climbing on Moo Cow (photo, James Blay)
Once I’d finally worked out what the hell I was doing on the bottom section, it was a case of linking the whole thing together, which involves some really powerful climbing with big moves, very unlike most grit routes. Whilst everyone else was moaning about the snow and wet crags I knew that Shining Cliff would be my only hope and sure enough on the wettest miserable day last week, the project was perfect. As I’d dragged a few belayers/spotters out over recent months, I felt like I couldn’t do it again, so I ended up soloing the line (there is an RP2 on the top headwall for sensible people). Unusually for me, the ascent felt harder than expected, even though I was in a committed mindset. I have to confess, I didn’t have as much a margin as I’d hoped for.
Photo: getting a little more committed on My Kai (Photo, James Blay)
After finally completing the route, my mind immediately wondered back to The Zone and how I’d felt on that route – after all, this was my most recent reference point and a “break” from project stagnation. The Zone had felt something like 7c+ and fairly dangerous, whereas My Kai was more like a hard 8a and just as dangerous. It had also taken perhaps 4 times as long to do!
Sat there thinking about it, I could feel myself getting dragged in the “grade relativity” argument and that’s something I’ve tried to stay away from over the years. After a couple of minutes thinking about it, I went for my gut feeling of E8 6c as sometimes you can’t apply science and logic to grit. Maybe that’s why we all love it so much?
Contributed by: Tom Randall
The 5.10 Brits (Ryan Pasquill, James Mchaffie and Mina Leslie - Wujastyk) have been out in Siurana and already after just a week have a impressive tick list between them.
Ryan completed his first F9a yesterday, Jungle Speed. This is what he had to say about the ascent:
“I’m not sure about the grade but it definitely suited me. If I’d had my wits about me I’d have climbed it quicker.” He added: “It probably wouldn’t get 9a in Britain but as I’m on holiday I’ll take the tick. The moves are harder than on Evolution but then that is longer.” (taken from the DMM website)
Mina has tied in again after a few months of bouldering and has made a quick ascent of La cara que no miente, F8a+ (photo below: Calum Muskett)
Mina also flashed her first F8a, Memorias de una Sepia (photo below: Calum Muskett)
Ryan has another 8 weeks out in Spain, 2 of them with James ... so watch this space!
By now you have probably seen or heard about CAC (climbers against cancer). Tom Randall has already blogged about it on here and it’s spreading pretty fast on Facebook. I just wanted to say a few words quick words about the man behind it all John Ellison.
John is a total legend and a good friend. I first met him many moons ago at Boulder UK in Blackburn. He took his daughter Charlotte there and we would all climb together and shout encouragement at each other. It didn’t take long for us to become friends. Hanging around John is always entertaining and fun. I don’t mind humouring him by laughing at his jokes, it’s hard not to when you see him looking at you with his cheeky smile nudging you and saying ’ey… ey’. To be fair his jokes are sometimes funny J. I have John (disco dad) to credit for teaching me some cool moves on the dance floor. There’s never a dull moment when John is about and it’s always great to have him around on a night out. If I mention John to my dad he won’t know which John I’m talking about until I say ‘you know, jolly John’.
Johns attitude towards life has always been inspiring and when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer just over a year ago his reaction didn’t surprise me too much. He decided to fight back by thinking of a way to raise money and to help others in the fight against cancer. John has already given a lot of his time to others by helping out on the comp scene at local, national and international level. He has already raised close to £20,000 and with CAC he hopes to raise much more. John has invested a lot of time and energy into this project despite his illness and I think it’s a brilliant idea and really hope it goes big. Read his story here. All we have to do is buy a T-shirt (or a few) and spread the word. www.cac.org
Contributed by: Ryan Pasquill
2013 UK AND IRELAND BANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL WORLD TOUR RETURNS
25 January - 5 April 2013
(Vancouver, BC) ARC’TERYX Equipment is proud to present the Banff Mountain Film Festival – the world’s most extraordinary collection of adventure, action sports and environmental films in its largest UK tour to date, which now extends to Irish shores. Audiences are set to experience greater adrenaline levels, higher intensity and feel more inspired than any other year.
Following sold-out shows seen by more than 10,000 people across the UK last year, the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is returning in early 2013 with 35 screenings planned across the UK and Ireland with an expected audience figure of over 16,000. The World Tour travels the globe every year visiting more than 390 communities and over 35 different countries, underlining the worldwide popularity of this mind-blowing festival and the action sports it represents.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is produced by The Banff Centre, based in the Canadian Rockies, and features award-winning films and audience favourites from over 300 films entered in the annual festival. This year’s festival was held between 27 October and 4 November 2012 and featured an extraordinary range of films.
Arc’teryx are proud to sponsor the event for the first time; “The birthplace of many of our technologies and developments has come from the Vertical world. We build high-end technical products for climbers, mountaineers, skiers and snowboarders and the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is a great fit. World class films from the environment and the people we design for,” commented Jo Salamon, Communications Manager at Arc’teryx.
A selection of the most exhilarating and provocative films from the festival will hit the road this winter and be showcased in theatres across the UK and Ireland. Highlights include:
Crossing the Ice – Two Australians set off across the ice to be the first adventurers to walk from the coastline of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again, unsupported. This epic expedition is an immensely emotional and physical struggle for the duo and concludes with an incredibly surprising and deeply moving twist.
WideBoyz - American off-width crack climbing has spawned a counter-culture of rough and tumble characters who aren’t afraid to bleed their way up a route. Two proper British lads, Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker, crossed the Atlantic to test themselves on some of the gnarliest wide cracks in the US, including the first ascent of the world’s hardest off-width known as Century Crack. Their stunning success shocked both themselves and the American climbing world.
The UK and Ireland Tour is so much more than a film night (albeit with incredible films). The events are festive, social evenings where outdoor adventure lovers from all backgrounds (and ages) come together to celebrate mountain culture through inspirational short films. Audiences also have a chance to win some great prizes.
UK and Ireland 2013 Tour dates are as follows:
- 25 January Forum Theatre, Malvern
- 26 January The Hall Venue Cymru, Llandudno
- 30 January Mitchell Library Theatre, Glasgow
- 31 January Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
- 1 February The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
- 2 February The Playhouse, Whitley Bay/Newcastle
- 6 - 7 February The Carriageworks, Leeds
- 8 February Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
- 9 February The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham
- 13 February Gelbunkian Theatre, Canterbury
- 15 February Komedia, Bath
- 16 February Lighthouse Theatre, Poole
- 21 February- 1 March Union Chapel, London
- 2 March The Plaza, Stockport
- 7 March The Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl/Bridgend
- 8 March The Ffwrnes, Llanelli
- 9 March Corn Exchange, Brighton
- 14 March Dorking Halls, Dorking
- 15 March Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford
- 16 March Plaza Cinema, Liverpool
- 21 March City Hall, Salisbury
- 22 March Corn Exchange, Exeter
- 23 March Victoria Rooms, Bristol
- 5 April Hall for Cornwall, Truro
- Tour dates and locations for Ireland will be confirmed shortly.
For Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour tickets and information go to www.Banff-uk.com.
A funny old year.
I managed to get a few bits done abroad but not as much in the UK as i would have liked. I'll let the pictures do the talking:
(photo Jon Butters)
Looking confused on La Boule (Cresciano) - I wanted to do this ever since watching Stone Love
(Photo Jon Butters)
Confessions (Cresciano) - The crux is doing the splits between 2 heels. Yes please!
(Photo Jon Butters)
Freak Brothers (Chironico) - A world class bit of rock
(Photo Jon Butters)
Reve de Mario (Cresciano) - What a move
(Photo Dave Mason)
Elm Street (Millstone) - A cool highball, although it would have been better if it was a bit drier! Wasn't going to not do it after carrying all those pads in.
Innsbruck World Cup Final - Check out that huge jug! Quality to make a final but it was hard and i didn't do a single problem.
Munich World Cup - There's always a heel. Here the Brits are busy ruining some hard moves with the use of techy cheat tactics.
(Photo - Jon Fullwood)
Kinder is a great summer venue, remote and breezy with a beautiful view. Bit of a walk tho. Really pleased with this new problem "rimming rodger". It's genuinely easier to campus this move than to keep your feet on. Winner.
(Photo Nick Brown)
Mecca (raven tor) - This years UK route season was a bit dissapointing. I did 1 whole route. Yay.
(Photo - Ben Herndon)
Margalef - what an amazing place. I ended up heading there on a bit of a whim, totally unprepared. The weather wasn't great (rain) and i managed very little but its such an incredible place and i am dead keen to head back there and fall off some more jugs again.
(Photo - Dan Varian)
Preparation H (Hepburn) - Possibly Britain's best bit of rock. Absolutely class climbing on a beautiful boulder in the woods. Better than many font classics.
(Photo - Dan Varian)
Preperation H's "easier" next door neighbour is way harder but just as good. The Govenor is one of the best slabs i have ever done.
(Photo - Jon Butters)
I went back to Switzerland for The Dagger. I got pretty close on the first trip but was punching way above my weight. After a bit of training i went back and finished it off.
Contributed by: Ned Feehally