Wednesday, 13 May 2015

the Ubik

At February half-term I headed to Fontainebleau for a week which was great fun, even though we had rather rough weather (two and a half days out of a week isn't great). I was keen to try a few tricky blocs but the fickle conditions cut short our opportunities to try hard and we seemed to struggle to get going. I did manage to nail Ubik 8a+ at Les Mammoths which was great and I felt the sit start may have come together if the rain hadn't of stopped time! Ubik is a great problem; bullet rock, high, dynamic, a big pinch and a campus finish, so good. Blacky has put some footage on Vimeo, check it out.
In between Font and Easter hols I hammered the Cave and made good progress on my project, then it was off to Switzerland for two weeks with a big team from the Shire. We seemed to climb everyday as the weather was glorious and mainly hung out at Chironico as there was lots for everyone and we couldn't really be bothered driving to Magic Wood. The last time I climbed in Chironico was nearly tens years ago, so it was great to get stuck in.
Although I had a couple of brief sessions on a couple of tough problems, I focused on trying to climb things quickly. At the end of our stay I felt like I'd really acquainted myself with the area and knocked off a good crop of 8a's. It was great to climb in such a beautiful place and hang out with the crew.
Since Easter I've taken some time off from climbing, but over the last few weeks I have been back on the case by training consistently and I've even bought a new harness...we'll see if I actually use it! :-)

Saturday, 31 January 2015

An Unexpected Journey

It's been a while since my last post and I feel like over the autumn/winter I've really got my focus back on climbing and training, work has been going well and I feel more motivated than I have been for years. At the back end of the summer I managed to open a cool project in the Churnet on the Spellbound Block which links the lip traverse (a little fragile, so go gentle!) into the fridge-hug prow...'Toil and Trouble' 8a+?...think Ned repeated the stand, maybe 7c for this and very good. Really pleased that the new guide is on its way, such a lot of hard work from John Coefield and of course, the main man Stu Brooks.

Most of the autumn has been taken up with rekindling my relationship with Parisella's Cave, over the last few years our relationship been on and off...more off than on, but the constant nagging of life-time projects has dragged me back. 'The Cave' is a harsh mistress, you've gotta be really motivated to make the two and half hour pilgrimage from the Shire for dust, polish, goat shit and seepage but the climbing never fails to drag me up a level...I'm all in at the moment and not stopping till it's done.

In between Orme hits and training, Ceri and I had a week in Fontainebleau for October half-term. Although it started a bit damp, the weathered faired up and we climbed every day. We had a lovely gite and I managed a good crop of new 7c blocs and checked out some projects for my February half-term mission with Blacky.

Christmas involved yet more training at the Depot/Boulder UK, finger boarding and Cave sessions. No over-indulgence...eyes on the prize! Ceri had a great day in Wales, when we were over for New Year, and dispatched 'Elephantitus' 7a in Nant Gwynant. I was so pleased for her as she really wanted to do it and it meant a lot.

2015 has started really well, although the weather has been snowy at times we've tried hard to get outside and train consistently. Last weekend I went down to the Peak with Dan and we met up with Ben and James Noble. Dan was really keen for Voyager 8b at Burbage North after trying it the previous weekend. Although it was bitter and we had to wait out a hail/snow shower, conditions were great and after a quick warm up it was time to try hard.

I last tried Voyager in 2006? (before the sit was done) with Steve and it felt really hard. My 'experience' made me leave it and it was only Dan's unflagging enthusiasm that got me involved again. This time however the moves felt tricky but possible, and after a few measured tries I did it first red-point...I think! To be honest it was a little surreal and more than unexpected. Usually projects on grit take seasons but I was really pleased to come away having done it...however, this has now opened another 'can of worms' for which I'm keen to go back.

It's been over ten years now that I have received shoes from Scarpa as part of their sponsored team and I have really valued their help and support over the years (particularly Steve Roberts at the Mountain Boot Company). I can only reiterate that Scarpa consistently produce quality products (the Instinct VS's are mega) and have always been more than professional. I am really grateful for this.


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Keep on keepin' on...

Since returning from our travels in March it has been a little quiet on the climbing front. Work has been a little up in the air over the last few months and this has coincided with a drop in training/climbing motivation...not surprising after such a good trip and I suppose it's hard to be motivated all the time. Over the last month or so I've started to get involved again, training a little at the Depot and getting outside on rock. In June/July I started to fell run a little more consistently but this has now took a back seat as I can't seem to maintain a regular ten or more miles as well as climb. Some recommendations from the last few months: the Hatch links 8a in Parisella's, Three Squirrels 7c+ Caley, Razor 7c Crookrise...brilliant, Special K 7c Crafnant...Nodder's problems are always quality, Cave Problem sit 7c Raven Tor, Witness the Churnetness 8a and Spellbound 7a+ Churnet, Silicon Slave 7c+ Virtual Crag...heard mixed reports but a good choice in the heat!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

U.S.A pics

Acid Wash v10 Bishop
Kill On Sight v12 Bishop
Gasperini v12 Bishop
Midnight Lightning v8 Yosemite
Shadow Warrior v12 Yosemite
The Fountainhead v9 Red Rocks
The Pit and the Pendulum v12 Red Rocks

U.S.A and onward...

Since my last post at the end of January when we landed back in Bishop, we have been travelling and climbing constantly which has been great, but I have now drawn breath slightly as I'm back in 'Blighty' in the drizzle! As temps increased in Bishop and good reports of the bouldering in Red Rocks, we decided to head over via 'Death Valley' which was an amazing drive and a great experience. Red Rocks was really good; excellent boulders, interesting rock and pleasant camping. We climbed mainly at the Kraft, Gateway and Black Velvet Canyons and I managed to dispatch loads of great blocs from v8 to v12. I would certainly have another short two weeks here enroute to elsewhere as the climbing, rock quality and venue are great. After two weeks in Red Rocks we decided to head back over to Bishop to finish up our trip. Although in the first week the temps were ok in Vegas, in the second they were starting to get a little ridiculous and it was time to head off. After two days of straight desert highway we arrived back in Bishop and were psyched for some cool breeze and relaxation at the Druid Stones. I managed to 'crush' the Gasperini v12 and Ceri got dangerously close to climbing her first v7. After two months of climbing, pad carrying and sometimes 'epic' walk-ins we were knackered...but really happy with our trip and the hotel we stayed at in L.A felt like a well deserved luxury before we flew back to the U.K. Getting back at the end of Feb was a bit of a shock to say the least, Ceri went back to work but I had arranged to go to Fontainebleau for a few weeks with Tom, Elle and Dylan and this had seemed like a good plan back in October and although I had a lovely week with 'Team Walker', I was a little spent and the warm weather didn't really help, so I decided to head back to the Shire. Our trip was excellent and well worth the decisions we had to take in order to make it happen. You always come back with projects and plans to return and this time was no different. I was really happy with the climbing that we managed and felt chuffed that I had got at least one v12 done in all of the areas we visited. Work restarts at the end of April, so I have some time now for bouldering in the U.K...funny how a trip away gets you psyched for things on your own doorstep! Some choice ticks... Midnight Lightning v8 Yosemite, Monkey Bar Direct v8 Red Rocks, Wall to Wall Carpet v9 Yosemite, The Force v9 Yosemite, Americana Exotica v9 Red Rocks, The Fountain Head v9 Red Rocks, Acid Wash v10 Bishop, Across the Tracks v10 Yosemite, Thriller v10 Yosemite, 6 Degrees v10 Yosemite, Scare Tactics v10 Red Rocks, Vigilante v10 Red Rocks, Stanley Steamer v11 Yosemite, Standing Kill Order v11 Bishop, Stick It v11 Yosemite, Shadow Warrior v12 Yosemite, Kill on Sight v12 Bishop, Lethal Design v12 Red Rocks, The Pit and the Pendulum v12 Red Rocks, The Gasperini v12 Bishop.

Thursday, 30 January 2014


Ceri and I flew out to L.A at the end of December to start our two month trip in the U.S. Picking up our van and heading out to Bishop was great, we'd had a rest over Christmas and recovered from a busy few months getting things together and so we were mad keen to get stuck in. The first couple of weeks we toured about taking in the main areas and getting on lots of projects. The temps were a little warm to say the least but I managed a few v10s and got some idea what was possible or not! The forecast for Yosemite looked too good to miss, so we took a punt and drove around to the north through some great scenery. Arriving in Yosemite started as a mixed bag, I tried the Dominator on the first day and wrecked my knee a little trying to rock over the 'hard' move, then it rained and we wondered if it was a good plan driving the five plus hours. Luckily we bumped into Irish Si Moore in the cafe, it was great to catch up and he assured us the weather would be good. Over the next couple of weeks the weather played was mint, almost cheating. I started over and finished a long-term dream of Midnight Lightning v8 (the most famous boulder problem in the world?),fought hard on Shadow Warrior v12, Across the Tracks v10, Stanley Steamer v11 (ss to Wall to Wall Carpet v9). I had a 'magic' day at Camp 4 climbing Thriller v10 (the 'best' problem in the world?...maybe), The Force v9 and Stick It of the best climbing days of my life. I finished with 6 Degrees v10 which was excellent but The Dominator was so close but 'the move' was time. We've just arrived back in Bishop to very warm temps, but with a little shade and decent holds I nailed Kill On Sight v12 at the Tablelands and am keen for more. It rained/snowed today so we are resting and waiting for the granite to cool...

Sunday, 24 November 2013


At the end of September I'd sussed the moves on Bulbhaul 8b at Almscliff and was keen to give it a go, more as a way to train for a problem in the States rather than as an end in itself. The Keel boulder kicks my arse; strung out and core intensive all the way, any previous success on this block had been hard earned so I felt I had nothing to lose. The poor weather in October forced me indoors and I feel like I've trained in a structured way for the first time ever. Lots of core punishment, no rest and trying to keep up with Turnip and Dr P at the Depot were the key. Getting back on the problem a couple of weeks ago I surprized myself by getting to and falling on the last move, then the nerves kicked in as I knew it was on. Last weekend I fell at the same point and thoughts of going backwards soon materialised. Yesterday, I luckily scraped up it by the 'skin of my teeth', thanks to sheer will power and Ceri screaming encouragement. Feeling rather beaten up today as man-flu has finally struck, probably as pay back for going under 9 stone! Respect to Tom Peckitt for opening Bulbhaul, it's a great piece of involved and frustrating climbing. Gonna give 'the Cliff' a rest for a while!