Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Autumn Round-up

Rockfall on El Cap

Yesterday a huge rock fall occurred on the south east face of El Capitan. Amazingly, as its currently 'big wall', season, nobody was harmed.
Routes were being climbed at the time, but fortunately these routes were not in the firing line. If anyone was heading over to the East Buttress it would have been fatal!
Climbers are advised to STAY AWAY from this area, as further rockfall looks likely.

Dali's Hole access issues - Progress

Progress has at long last been made on securing access to Dali's Hole at Dinorwig Slate Quarries.
After months of access issues and conflicts with the land owners First Hydro, positive steps have been made to secure access for climbers. First Hydro have  now agreed in principle to a BMC proposal for the BMC to manage the climbing at Dali's Hole area.

Read more here at the BMC's website: http://www.thebmc.co.uk/News.aspx?id=3962

Action Direct - Another Repeat

The latest climber to repeat probably the most sought after F9a in the world is Polish, Adam Pustelnik.
He becomes the 3rd Polish climber to climb at this grade, and in what better way than by climbing 'Action'.

1. Wolfgang Güllich, Germany (1991) - First ascent
2. Alexander Adler, Germany (1995)
3. Iker Pou, Spain (2000)
4. Dave Graham, USA (2001)
5. Christian Bindhammer, Germany (2003)
6. Richard Simpson, UK (2005)
7. Dai Koyamada, Japan (2005)
8. Markus Bock, Germany (2005)
9. Kilian Fischhuber, Austria (2006)
10. Adam Ondra, Czech Republic (2008)
11. Patxi Usobiaga, Spain (2008)
12. Gabriele Moroni, Italy (2010)
13. Jan Hojer, Germany (2010)
14. Adam Pustelnik, Poland (2010)

 More here : http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=37632

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Winter thought's & Fresh snow in the highlands.

It is only a dusting mind, but enough to encourage the psyche a little more....

Last week a small sprinkling fell on the Ben Nevis plateau, and more recently some deposits over on the Cairngorm plateau. Friday/Saturday brought the first snow to the Northern corries, which to most folk becomes the first Scottish winter climbing venue of the season.
The highlands are forecasted to receive some frosts in the Glen's, but with freezing levels generally above the summits, the axes shouldn't be wielded just yet.....

With thoughts turning towards the winter climbing season, both in the highlands and hopefully in the Lakes/Snowdonia again, the race continues to try and get my injured foot strong enough, and myself fit enough to have another fantastic season.

So the rehab continues, its a slow process......

Some photos from last season...

                                            Spot the climber....   Devils Pasteure, Cwm Idwal

Getting a screw in on the brilliant first pitch to Central Gully, Black Ladders

The striking ridge of Crib Goch in full winter glory

James Thacker getting stuck in on the technical first pitch of Flake Route Right Hand, Church Door Buttress

                                Dan pulling up the steep first pitch of Devils Cellar, Cwm Idwal

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Round up....

Well, quite a bit appears to have happened recently, both in the UK and overseas.
Here is a brief round up of the some of the latest goings on.

1. Dave Macleod & Tim Emmett find success on their, 'Great Climb' project which was broadcast live on BBC2 Scotland last Saturday.
The duo named the super hard route, 'Unusual suspects' which tackles the huge overhang of Sron Uladail on the Isle of Harris, the overhang apparently is the largest in the UK!
The edited version of the, 'Great Climb' can be seen here on the BBC iplayer until Sept 4th.
Also visit Dave Macleods blog for his thoughts and photos.

2. Dani Andrada's 5.15b sit-start extension to Alí Hulk in the Alí Baba cave in Rodellar, Spain, has been repeated by  Norwegian climber Magnus Midtbö.
The route gets a grade of 9b and with only a handful of sport routes grade, its a huge achievement and a big tick in the sport climbing world.

Here is an awesome video of Dani Andrada climbing Ali-Hulk 9b

3. Oh Eun-Sun, the first women to climb all 14, 8000m peaks has been stripped of her title due to unreliable evidence. The title will now be handed to Spanish climber Edurne Pasaban, 37, who scaled the last of the 14 peaks over 8,000 meters barely three weeks after Miss Oh claimed to have completed the list.
The pair received a substantial amount of media attention during the, 'race' to claim the title, I imagine these latest findings will certainly add to that!

4. A new Gouter Refuge on Mont Blanc is in planning and due to be built by 2012.
The new structure is to be built 200m further south than the existing building, and is set to have a 3 times larger surface area. Also 'guests' will be treated to a single mattress, rather than sharing, which is the norm in the majority of alpine refuges.
The Gouter hut is perched high on the Gouter ridge, the most popular way up Mont Blanc, and is obviously vastly popular, if the new hut will change the, 'general' feeling to a night's stay at the Gouter hut is another question!

                                                   Artists impression of the new Gouter hut

5. It looks like the weather over in the Alps, or more precisely, Chamonix, continues to be very unstable this year. It seems that huge amounts of snow continue to be deposited, and the weather in general is pretty hard to predict.
Here is a round-up of the latest going's on from the Chamonix valley:

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Well, its still only a fortnight since I broke my foot, (calcaneus) and the improvement is huge.
The first few days after it happened I was pretty immobile, and my foot resembled something seen on the end of an elephants leg. Now is a different story, the swelling has almost gone and I have progressed to just using a single crutch.  I would have thought it will be a few weeks yet until I can walk, and a few more again until i am back climbing.
Just hope its in time for the start of the winter season! I am sure I will soon get my fitness back with them walk in's!
Given the period of time I have had of work injured, and being sat on my arse, I have kept my sanity & avoided day time TV in the only way possible....
Digging out the winter guidebooks!
Yep, a few pages have been folded over and certain routes bookmarked, all in anticipation.
After visiting the brilliant Church Door Buttress on Bidean nam Bian earlier in the year with James Thacker, I am kean to get on the interesting West Chimney  & also Deep Cut Chimney on Coire nam Beith.

With myself aiming towards goals for the winter, (hopefuly!) here's a video showing some climbing at the highest level that the highlands have right now...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


Azazel is the story of 4 friends who go to Pakistan to put up a new route on the Trango Pulpit, a 6000m peak. They spent 20 days on the wall and it’s a great story of friendship. Featuring, Yann Mimet, Martial Dumas, Sam Beaugey and Jean-Yves Fredriksen.
Make time to give this a watch, pretty inspiring stuff!!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Chamonix 2010

Our plans for Chamonix this year really didn't turn out. Mostly due to some very unsettled weather last week.
The first 2 days brought us constant rain in the valley, which fell as snow above 3500m. The rest of the week was very unsettled, with lots of cloud and high wind.
Route choice proved to be quite difficult also. Most of the ice/mixed routes were left in poor condition with recent high temperatures and blistering sun, and after the snow last week, the high rock routes were left buried.
With this in mind we got on a couple of routes in the Aiguille Rouge, spent a day bouldering in the valley and managed one high mountain route, the Midi-Plan Ridge.

With a seldom fine day forcasted, we headed up the Aiguille du Midi on the first car and beat the crowds out of the ice tunnel, down the descent ramp and onto the classic Midi- Plan ridge.

The morning was pristine but already becoming very hot. We made good time on the ridge and soon passed the narrow snow ridges and up the couloir and up to the Rognon du Plan. A couple of abseils and we were soon down on the Col Sup du Plan. A French guide was hot on our heels as we climbed the final section up onto the Plan rock summit, via a couple of final hard moves with the ledges being iced.
Once on the summit we rapped of back down to the col and made the decision to return to the Midi rather than down to the Requin hut. With the heat, it was the best decision not to tackle the Envers du Plan Glacier.
Back over the col we ascended the fixed rope, then had the long steep plod back to the Midi, again making good time where most teams slow, with no one behind us for 45 mins.
As soon as we headed down, the clouds began to engulf the Midi, where there was a team on the Frendo, which looks pretty icy up around the Rognon.

Over in the Aiguille Rouge we climbed a fantastic route, ' Crakoukass'.  A fantastic 7 pitch route which is becoming a bit of a classic seeing a lot of traffic. We thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining route, which had many different aspects including climbing up one monolith needle to another, then taking a, 'le cheval', belay on the top. The crux was climbing from the arete onto the side wall of the larger arete which leans back slightly with 100ft of air beneath the feet!
We also climbed the last few pitches of, 'La Somone' instead of walking up to Le Brevent. We climbed these moving together, 'alpine style', bit of practice!

So no Fendo spur, Forbes Arete or Jager couloir, and finally to top a week that didn't end up as planned, a broken ankle, courtesy of yours truly & the Frison Roche!!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Underwater base jump

Check out this amazing video which i first viewed via Adayak's blog.

What a fantastic piece of filming and editing, not to mention the action itself!!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Wheel Of Life - 3rd Ascent - Ethan Pringle

According to his 8a.nu logbook Ethan Pringle has made the 3rd ascent of Dai Koyamada’s Wheel Of Life at the Hollow Mountain Cave in the Grampians, Australia. Given V16 after the FA, Pringle registered it as a 5.14d route climb which makes sense since the problem is a massively long 60+ move linkup of several problems in the V9-V12 range.
This ascent is all the more impresive as Ethan  ha s just recovered from a serious shoulder injury sustained in February 2009 at ABS Nationals where Pringle dynoed on Men's Finals Problem #4 and blew out his shoulder. He endured surgery three months later.

A talking point however, is Pringle's use of a kneepad. He used the pad to make 3 knee bars he found on the route, less painful.
Read Ethan's WOL interview here:  http://www.climbing.com/news/hotflashes/ithe_wheel_of_lifei_sees_third_ascent_by_pringle/

Chris Webb-Parsons making the 2nd ascent of the Wheel Of Life

Sunday, 27 June 2010

World's End....

Popped down to World's End this morning with Dan for a quick route or two, leaving enough time to get back for the football this afternoon, but lets not mention that!
Having climbed on most of the other Clywd limestone crags, we decided to visit World's End as we had yet climbed there. We headed for the upper tier, as according to the guide this has the most sound rock, (were talking limestone here!).
We found most of the upper tier good but STEEP!, with many of the routes having awkward bulges to overcome.
We got a couple of easier routes in, and then both got well and truly spanked on the HVS testpiece, 'Intensity'. Intensity was, in its time, the hardest route in the valley which houses the band of limestone crags, and defiantly high in the grade for HVS 5a.
I vow to return with a couple of hexes on the harness, which i think may be adequate to protect to the bulge at mid height which neither me or Dan would commit to.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Old Man of Stoer - Video

Here's a short video from our recent trip to Stoer, complete with fulmar sick!.....

The video's quality may be poor if watching this evening, as its still being processed.


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Old Man of Stoer- A brief visit.....

A very quick 25hr round trip from Manchester to Stoer and back again, (950 miles!!) paid off today for Dan, Kev & I, as we made an ascent of the fantastic Old Man of Stoer sea stack.
We, of course had to choose the uber classic, 'Original route' VS 5a. Not the most difficult of route on the stack, nor the easiest, this classic line could not be avoided!
On arrival at the Old Man, it was apparent that a tyrolean was already in place, complete with bolt!!! which i believe was recently placed by a group of slackliners from the U.S. This, obviously and rightly so, has created a fair bit of fuss, but thats another story! Read more here, http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=410368

The pre placed tyrolean fortunately saved us making the swim over the channel, and we were able to make a quick start on the route.
We climbed the route as a team of 3 in the standard 4 pitches, and good conditions, although pretty chilly, made for a quick ascent which took around  2 hours.

All that was left was a brilliant hanging absail to complete the route.
The photo below was taken mid absail!!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Dyneema Vs Nylon - Drop Test Video.......

A very interesting article and video from DMM is currently under hot debate on UKC, http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=412666. The video below shows the results of a series of drop tests using an 80kg dead weight, roughly the same as an average male, on both dyneema and nylon slings.
Dyneema and nylon are the two most common materials used to manufacture slings and quickdraws, and with both having different properties, the test make for some interesting if not scary findings!!

Heres the link to the video:

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Dream Of White Horses

Wen Zawn is considered the jewel in Gogarths crown, and Wen Zawn is home to the uber classic and most saught after, 'Dream Of White Horses'.
For those that dont know, Gogarths striking sea cliffs are host to some of North Wales's finest climbs, which are set in an amazing situation.
Me and Dan decided yesterday morning that we would make the drive over to Holyhead and  see what, 'Dream Of White Horses', is all about, and yep, its pretty damn good!!

At HVS, 'Dream', obviously gets the grade due to its most serious nature,  and rightly so. Firstly your greeted by the absail to begin the route down into the atmospheric Wen Zawn, and with 'Dream' being one of the easier lines, if you cant climb that, you pretty much stuck, you cant climb out!

After absailing into the route, and setting up for me to lead first, something i read the other day on the web popped into my head. A chap who had gone to climb 'Dream', 8 times before without any luck, finally getting it done on his 9th go!! One of the times his partner refused to even make the absail down, thats how intimidating it can be!!

With the seals watching from the zawn, off we went......

The route was fantastic, as good as the hype, and with nice holds just where you want them,  minimal seepage & good weather we got it done in just over 2 hours.
After climbing the route, its easy to see why it is reccomended that both partners are compatent HVS climbers, any fall would be pretty serious, more often than not it would also result in a big pendulum!
A fall on the final pitch, where the rock dissapears beneath your feet, leaving 200ft of air between you and the bottom of the rocky zawn, doesnt bear thinking about!

There were a few teams climbing in Wen Zawn today, a team followed us on 'Dream', and there was also a team on 'Concrete Chimney'.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Latest round - up...

Action Direct sees another repeat

 Last week Gabriele Moroni made first Italian ascent of Action Direct 9a, the route freed by Wolfgang Güllich in 1991 and which still today represents an important test for sport climbing.

Moroni's ascent is now the twelth of Action Direct, and his name is now firmly on the list with some of the worlds greatest sport climbers.

12 ascents in 20 years, says it all!!


Dream Guides Everest update

The DG team has been at base camp now for a few days and recently had the, 'puja', a ceremony to bless the expedition with safety and success.

Check out the DG blog for updates http://dream-guides.blogspot.com/

BMC Leading Ladder final

This coming Saturday see's the final of thr BMC's Leading Ladder. The final is to be held at the Leeds climbing wall and results will be posted asap.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Dusting off the rock shoes on Dinas Mot

After the long winter season and the recent glorious weather, it was time to put away the axes for another year and dig out the rock shoes. We headed over to Dinas Mot in the Llanberis pass for some good, medium graded multi-pitching,  just whats needed to get back into the swing of things.

With the uber classics, 'The Cracks' & 'Direct Route' on the wishlist, we made the short walk in, (missed those over the winter!), and were first at the crag, which today was much quiter than i would have expected.

Dan got to work on The Cracks, and ran pitches 1 and 2 together, pitch 3 was mine and i headed from under the overhanging corner, up and right to be greated by a fantastic but grueling looking corner slab crack. This was the 3rd pitch of, 'Lorraine', it ties up with The Cracks above the corner, but looked that interesting and obvious, i  had to begin onwards and upwards. After a 20 minute wrestle, with very few features other than the hand sized crack in a corner i arrived at the next belay. Dan took the next pitch which involved a tricky exposed move, and i then had the honours for the last pitch and the much known about last couple of moves which have seen many people struggle to say the least, fortunatley being tall i could reach the top of the crack and didnt find it too tricky.

Next up was the 3 star, 'Direct Route'. I took the first 2 pitches which i ran together, leaving the most amazing long traverse of The Nose of Dinas Mot. Eveyone who climbs this route MUST do the same, it really does create an amazing pitch of climbing, Dan had the next 2 pitches including the final corner which was the crux and which also was tricky to start. Dan dispatched the last pitch in good time and again is a fantastic pitch and is always interesting.

A great days climbing and another fine day, lets hope it continues......

Monday, 12 April 2010

Piolet d'Or 2010

The Piolets d'or 2010 were won by Denis Urubko and Boris Dedechko for their route on Cho Oyu and by Jed Brown, Kyle Dempster and Bruce Normand for their route up Xuelian West.

Kazakhs Denis Urubko and Boris Dedeshko last year opened up a new route on the South East Face of Cho Oyu  (Nepalese side).  The route is 2600m and Urubko became the fifteenth man to have successfully climbed all fourteen 8000ers, and the ninth person to do it without oxygen. At 36 years of age, the Kazakh has taken nine years to accomplish this feat.

Other winners were Jed Brown and Kyle Dempster along with Scotsman Bruce Normand completed the North face of the Xuelian West (Chinese Tien Shan). This climb is long, complicated and technically difficult. The summit had never been climbed. This new route has been named, 'The Great White Jade Heist' and is 2650m long and is graded, ice 5, rock 5, M6.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Petzl team in Scotland

With being unable to get upto the highlands at the weekend due to work commitments, i have had to make do with watching this inspiring video of the Petzl teams climbing trip to the highlands last year.
Featuring the footage of Ueli Steck climbing Andy Turners 'Secret'!

Scottish Icetrip - English from Petzl-sport on Vimeo.

Monday, 22 March 2010

West Highlands Outlook

With the aim of heading up to the highlands this weekend, all eyes are on the fickle Scottish weather, particularly where the freezing level is sitting after the recent thaw.
Well, throughout the coming week the freezing level is set to be quite erratic, pretty much heading up and down on alternate days up until Saturday. This will help climbing conditions, as the existing snow and ice will be subjected to further freeze/thaw cycles, just as long as the thaw's arn't too great.
Saturday and Sunday are set to cool down, with the freezing level predicted to sit at around the 1000m mark on Sat and the 800m mark on Sunday.

Look here for further info:

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

8 times for Kenton Cool?

Kenton Cool and Dream Guides will be flying out to Kathmandu at the end of the month where Kenton will be guiding Everest and hopefuly breaking his own record and making the summit for a record 8th time!

Read more here:

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Ondra - Golpe de Estado - 9b

Yesterday Adam Ondra repeated Golpe de Estado - 9b, his hardest route to date.
The route was first climbed by Chris Sharma back in 2008 but had not yet seen a repeat, well not until Ondra turned up.