Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Spring is here

Finally spring has come! Its been a long wait, but yes it is finally here.

It’s been a cracking last month or so out in the Peak District with blue skies, warm sun and dry rock. What more could you ask for! Its been awesome and I managed to pass a little milestone in my climbing yesterday, which was ticking all the '50 Best' Gritstone routes in the East of the Peak district in the Rockfax guide which was also my first guidebook I ever bought. Its a fantastic list of routes of all grades ranging from Diff all the way up to E8 on all the gritstone cliffs in the eastern peak.

I climbed my first one Croton Oil (HVS) up at Rivelin back in 2005 which was also in fact my first trad lead and then over the years tried to tick off the rest of them not knowing how many I can get done. Finally yesterday we did Goliaths groove at Stanage and then shot over to Cratcliffe to do the two pitch Extreme rock tick Requiem (E3). It was an awesome end to the day topping out the final headwall in glorious sunshine over looking the wonderful Peak district feeling really proud to have climbed them all. I've found that having a list such as this is really important and keeps you focussed on your climbing ambitions. So thanks Rockfax!

Other than that, I've been heading west side with a couple of days up at Wimberry and Ravenstones with local boy Mike Hutton showing me around. After a fair amount of cleaning managed some classic lines such as Over the Moors (E5) and True Grit (E3) at Ravenstones, then over at Wimberry: Double take (E6), Wimberry Overhang (E6) and the incredible line of Appointment with Fear (E7). Looking forward to more visits up here!

Also took part in a Boreal photoshoot up in Yorkshire the other day with Jordan, Naiomi and Andi Turner. Showing some of the great climbing shoes that Boreal have got out this year.

Last week I was down in North Wales doing my Mountain Leader (ML) training up in the hills of Snowdonia. Was awesome to be back in such a wild place leaning some news skills for taking people out in the mountains.

Then lastly wrote a Destination article for UKClimbing about the stunning climbing in Waterval Boven that we experienced last summer. Go check it out and get yourself out there for one amazing adventure. http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=7240

'50 of the Best' ticked! 

Constipation (E4) at Stanage (photo Mike Hutton)

The Dangler (E2) at Stanage 

Ed enjoying Pacific Ocean wall (E6) at Stanage

Managed this tough cookie White Lines (E7) at Curbar. 

Curving arĂȘte (E5) Black Rocks 

Curving arĂȘte 

Wimberry Overhand (E6) at Wimberry (photo Mike hutton)

Ravenstones walk-in (photo Mike hutton)

Over the Moors (E5) at Ravenstones (photo Mike hutton)

Double Take (E6) at Wimberry (photo Mike Hutton)

True Grit (E3) at Ravenstones (photo Mike Hutton)

Appointment with Fear (E7) at Wimberry

Eyeing up the 'bolt' on Appointment

Boc no Buttress (E4) at Stanage (photo Mike Hutton)

Skinless Wonder (E6) at Stanage (photo Mike Hutton)

Nectar (E4!!) at Stanage

Ed celebrating after a successful ascent of Gaia (E8) at Black Rocks 

Ravenstones reservoir 

Wimberry crag! Mega

Boreal photo shoot up in Yorkshire. Jordan showing the way. 

Pacific Ocean wall (E6) at Stanage (photo Mike Hutton)

Last day of the Nantlle ridge in Snowdonia

Stunning weather in North Wales

Nantlle ridge

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Grit, Sandstone and Scottish Mixed

Its been an interesting last month, climbing classic gritsone arete's, old school offwidths, tehnical sandstone walls and mixed scottish routes.

The last 10 days I've spent up north with my first visit to the quiet county of Northumberland. This is a place I've always been keen to visit and finally got round to going. Its a beautiful area of rolling hills, forests, very few people and stunning sandstone cliffs. 
We checked out 3 of the main cliffs in the area Bowden Doors, Back Bowden and Kyloe in the woods each one with its own unique style.

Bowden doors is the archetypal sandstone crag in the area with great routes and bouldering of all grades. Here we did a bit of the bouldering and some of the classic trad routes up the amazing wave featured wall including The Wave (E5 6a) and The Mantra (E3 6a).

Back Bowden is a hidden away cliffs in a quiet valley with some quality lines on great sandstone. Managed the classic line of The Tube (E4 5c), the steep Lost Cause (E4 6b) and the bold On the Rocks (E7 6c). The latter taking a spicy fall on!

And finally Kyloe, which is a bouldering venue tucked away in a huge forest. Here we managed some great problems.

Narcissus (E6 6b) at Froggat edge

Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy V7 Kyloe in the Woods

On the Rocks (E7 6c) Back Bowden

Kyloe bouldering

Born Lippy V11, Bowden Doors
Kyloe classic

Sentinal crack (E3 5c) at Chatsworth crag

'Use your feet, like your hands' crux of Sentinal

And here's the latest footage! 

And if you missed this check out My feature on Epic TV recently!

After three days in the County I made my way up further north and into Scotland with an organised week with PYB of winter climbing in Glencoe and the Cairngorms. Winter climbing is something I’ve been extremely keen to get into this last year or so and get a load of experience in, so there was no better place to start. I had not been to Scotland in nearly 10 years and it was great to be back to such a beautiful and wild place.

As I arrived I realised there had been a large dump of snow and so knew it was going to be a good week of proper Scottish winter climbing.

The instructor and friend from North Wales days Dave Evans was absolutely brilliant, knowing everything there is to know about winter climbing and the Scottish mountains. 
During the week we climbed 3 classic mixed routes: Scabbard Chimney V, 6 (Glencoe), Pot of Gold V, 6 and The Genie V, 6 (both Cairngorms) all in full winter conditions and on the last day due to poor weather a first experience in Drytooling on the slate quarries in Dunkeld leading some climbs up to M5. It was a week of much watching and learning from the master and am truly inspired to get a lot more done.   

Happy after our ascent of Scabbard Chimney V, 6 in Glen coe

Dave descending snow tracks

Pot of Gold V, 6 belay in Cairngorms 

The Genie V, 6 first pitch in Cairngorms

Northern Corries in Cairngorms

Perfect Winter conditions

Cairngorms walk out

Drytooling in Dunkeld slate guarry

Monday, 16 February 2015

Winter sessions

Well its been a cold few weeks in the Peak district with a fair amount of snow. Unlike last year where we didnt really get any, this winter has produced quite a bit.
More the conditions for skiing or winter climbing but we have managed to get a few things done, which has been nice if a little chilly!

First up was a day hit up to Yorkshire to the north facing Earl crag. Top of the list was the stunning line of Desert Island Arete (E6 6c).
This involves a tricky boulder to start at around V5, then you got some big breaks and good gear and a final crux off some small crimps to big horn. Its absolute belter of route and just managed to keep the fingers warm enough to both send.
The other route was Early Riser (E5 6a) up a beautiful ramp feature. This involved some unusual smeary climbing with the crux off a one finger mono to the top. Not a place to dither around.
Also had a quick play on Mind Bomb, one to return too next time.

Desert Island Arete 

Early Riser

Here's a quick video of the day!

Last weekend I was over at the Roaches and managed to do The Thin Air (E5 6a) up the Piece of Mind slab on the right hand side. Quite a sketchy slab climb involving a high rockover move and an exciting top out. A true classic of the roaches.

Piece of Mind slab

Beautiful winters day over looking Hen cloud

No one else about!

And finally, managed to get round to doing The Crypt Trip (E6 6b) up at High Neb at Stanage. A classic 80's route involving some pretty tough, very reachy moves between breaks. Awesome stuff!

And here's an edit of some highlights over the last year.
Enjoy x