Tuesday, 28 December 2010

New Tools

Ive treated myself to some new tools.....

New Black Diamond Fusions

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Early Winter ticks

With all the Early snowfall and freezing conditions I couldn't pass on the opportunity to get a few early routes in before Christmas. Myself and Phil headed to North wales this weekend to see what were on offer. We arrived Late Thursday night and parked up in the Ogwen car park, the temperature was way below freezing and we were both in for a very uncomfortable night, even though I was in my down bag with full base layers on I still found myself shivering for most of the night, when we awoke early morning there was a thick layer of ice on the inside of the car window which made it very hard for me to get out from my sleeping bag. Eventually we got up, got the kit ready and headed up the hill towards the devils kitchen area, The walk in was great with the mountains looking so beautiful, I was amazed at how much Ice was formed on the routes, even the devils appendix was not far off being climbable, we headed up to look how the screen (IV) was forming, it looked great so we decided to try it. we geared up and I set on up the first pitch, the climbing wasn't that hard, the ice was pretty fat on this pitch and I managed to get a couple of 22cm screws in, I arrived at the first belay which had a good sized ledge, placed a couple of anchors and belayed Phil on up, By this time another party had arrived and the foot of the climb. Anyway Phil decided he wanted to lead the next crux pitch, brave considering he hadn't led on Ice before, The ice was pretty steep and very brittle, it was hard to find a placement for the axe without all the ice just breaking away, but he managed to make his way up the pitch in great style and bagging is first grade IV ice lead.. after setting up a belay I headed on up, The climbing was pretty straight forward and quite enjoyable, I passed on up past Phil and lead on up the final groove pitch to top out at the top of the route. Overall a very enjoyable route and a great first lead for Phil. after looking at a few other routes and finding some guy half bleeding to death we decided to head on back down. on the way back down we decided to shoot up Idwal stream (II/III). There are only really too good pitches on this which if confident can be soloed pretty easy... a good climb tho and I am glad we decided to do it.. we headed back on down to the car both tired and very wet. sleeping in the car with nowhere to dry our kit out we decided to spend the night in swallow falls to have the pleasure of the drying room. The next morning arrive and the weather seemed pretty settled, it wasn't that cold out which was pretty worrying but we were heading up to Clogwyn Du which is quite high up so fingers crossed. After the long walk in we arrived at the foot of the crag, luckily someone had kindly cut steps all the way up from the car park so is wasn't to tiring. We decided to head up into Left hand Branch (V), the crux pitch looked pretty fin on ice and more of a mixed line, we pushed on up a fairly easy gully to the foot of the difficulties. I set on up the mixed line, the climbing wasn't the hardest but seemed very short on gear placements, eventually I managed to find a nice flake to place a sling over, I carried on up with the climbing becoming a little more difficult. there was allot of powder snow about which was making it hard work, I eventually managed to mantle onto this slopey ledge for a breather before attempting the traverse out right to safety. the original route does go up left but lack of ice meant this was off limits for today and we would join on to the top half of right hand direct (III). I made my way across the ledge and mange to reach easier ground...phew. pretty scary that but an amazing feeling to of lead it... I set up a good belay and shouted down for Phil to come on up. James and Steve had arrived behind us now and were also going to attempt the route. Phil pushed on up behind me, after a few F**ks and S**ts he popped round onto easier ground, we then both moved on up to join the Que on right hand direct. Waiting in the Que for a short while we had the chance to watch some impressive climbing from some guys out left an a very steep mixed route.. (Could have been Rob). We eventually got going and finished on up the route. we all topped out safely including James and Steve, after a short bite to eat we headed back down to the car park where we bumped into Rob, He had been attempting some grade 9 that had only had three ascents...(Nuts). after a little chat we got changed and started our long journey home. Overall and amazing couple of days climbing and hopefully the start of a great winter season. I must go back soon and attempt to finish the direct line on left hand branch.

Me on Pitch 1 of the Screen IV
Phil on Pitch 1 of the Screen IV
Phil on pitch 2 of the screen IV

Idwel Stream (II/III)
Idwel Stream (II/III)

Phil Happy after leading his first grade IV ice route

Phil exiting the difficulties on left hand branch (V)
The line we climbed on Clogwyn Du

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Good and bad day at hedbury

Today produced some good ticks for all involved..The weather wasn't the best but we still headed out and it had its results. Myself, Phil and Stuart Headed to Hedbury for a days sport climbing.
We did the usual warm up thing climbing easy graded routes, I then wanted to try this route called "Of mice to men" it was only graded at 6b but I have seen allot of people struggling on the crux section, I started up the route and apart from a little balancy point it wasn't that hard, I was happy to clip the lower off a get the onsight, next up stuart decided to try a route called "sureshot" He had been on the route before but hadnt got it clean, he seemed to maneged the first section pretty easy heading on up into the layback crack, he tried clip from a low position causing him to get pumped very quick, after a few screams and nervy moments he manged to get the clip, but had to rest as still to pumped, after resting he moved on up and cleaned the rest of the route.
I was up next and decided to give it a go as well, I didn't find the first section hard at all, I got to the roof before the layback corner and couldn't seem to find a comfortable position to clip from, I kept trying but was getting to pumped and had to rest, I had a quick look around and found a bomber hold under the roof, I finished the rest of the route and clipped the lower offs, the route isn't technical at all, its on of those routes that is overhanging all the way up with no rest and no let offs so you do get pretty pumped on it.
After a little rest myself and Stuart both managed to lead the route clean and get the tick, I was pretty happy with this..

Layback crack on "Sureshot"

Phil was up next, he had been working this route called " It cant be Denied" 7b, he had a little play on it to work the crux section out and then went for the redpoint. He climbed very smoothly and didn't seem to have any problems at all, the crux section looked flipping nails from the floor but he seemed to know what he was doing and after a sequence of moves he moved out of the crux and up to clip the lower offs, pretty impressive stuff overall. We then went on to climb "jumping the gun" 6b and let Stuart have a go at "Bob Ceroc" 6c, I have onsighted this route before and didn't think it was that hard, just had a very balancy crux section. Anyway Stuart set off up the roue with me belaying, he moved on up just past the third clip, he was holding onto an undercut just before the rest ledge, all of a sudden the hold snapped causing him to pop off, a rock probably the size of a child's hand came down the face and smashed me in the chin just below my lip, at first i was a little dazed but the blood was instant, i was thinking this must be bad with this much blood, but fortunately it wasn't that bad, It had caused a small deep cut to my chin, Phil took over at belaying while I got myself cleaned up, Stuart finished off up the route. Myself and Phil both managed to climb the route again clean, I still don't believe the route is 6c, I would give it 6b maybe 6b+ for the short. Phil and Stuart decided to climb one more route before heading home, I didn't bother had had a headache by this time plus I had already done the route on a previous visit to the crag.

Overall a great days climbing with great company....shame about the new scar to my chin tho.

"Sureshot" 6c

"It Cant be denied" 7b

Crux of " It cant be Denied" 7b

Phil on "Jumping the Gun" 6b

The Damage from falling rock

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Winter training starts...

With winter on the horizon and a proposed trip to Kandersteg in Febuary Ive decided its time to start training with the tools, with the tides being good Myself, Scott and Will decided to head down to Saltdean on Wednesday evening for a spot of chalk bouldering, Rob was down there with some other guys that I haven't met before but they all seemed pretty cool, We decided to play in the pleasure dome area, I hadn't been here before and was pretty surprised at how much steeper it was to the chalk I'm used to climbing on, eager to get started I got geared up. I warmed up by traversing along at low level which be honest was really hurting my hands, so I decided to take five and get some shots of the guys. Scott and Rob were playing in this big overhanging cave which looked awesome.. I headed over and had a go, there was a line which came from the back of the roof with a big reach to the lip of the overhang, you then need a fig4 with a crazy swing to get established on the overhang. was pretty cool but also scary because there was pretty big lumps of chalk a few inches below that would probably hurt should you fall.. After a fair few attempt I was still unable to complete the route, Will also came close but didn't succeed but Scott did mange to complete the route which was pretty awesome.. overall I had a great evening with the guys... and look forward to next time.
I plan on heading down there once a week so hopefully I should be pretty strong come winter and hopefully manage to lead grade 6 this year....oh shit nearly forgot, I need to buy some Nomics, there flipping mutts nuts!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Too High, Too Quick

This weekend myself and phil attempted to climb Mont Blanc to try and raise some money for my close Friend. In August this year I lost a close Friend to cancer, A Friend that always managed to put a smile on every ones face before her own, a Friend that was a wonderful person and will never be forgotten.
Myself and Phil decided to try and raise some money for the Eden ward ( The ward that looked after carli throughout her illness) by attempting to climb Mont Blanc in a weekend trip. We both knew how crazy this was but after summiting the Matterhorn in a weekend trip last year we knew it was possible. We arrived in Chamonix around 1pm on the Friday giving just enough time to stock up on food, drop our bag at our Friend Kat's and push on up the hill to start our attempt. Our plan was to cross the glacier and bivi in the abri simmond shelter at the foot of the cosmiques ridge before setting off for the summit around 1am. when we arrived around at the cosmiques we noticed that the main hut was open so with no persuasion we decided to see if there were any room available in the hut. we were lucky and there was.... we sat down to a lovely portion of soup, veg and pasta with a nice bit of chocolate cake when Phil started to feel abit under the weather, he was coming down with altitude sickness and was struggling to keep his food down, I was a little worried at this time has he kept vomiting and didn't look too good, we decided to get our heads down for the night to see if this would help...
I probably had the worst night of my life in the mountains, I also came down with altitude sickness with the worst headache in the world and vomiting blood, I didn't get any sleep at all, morning arrived and things were not looking any better so we decided it would be best for us to make our way back across the glacier to the auguille du midi where we could get back down to the valley to safety. Absolute gutted and feeling worst for wear we arrive back down in chamonix, only having the weekend we were unable to attempt the mountain again. I now know how fast Altitude sickness can creep up on you and its actually quite scary. I want to thank everyone that sponsored me for this attempt and also Kat for putting us up and helping us with our gear, and especially Phil for being a good climbing partner and a pleasure to climb with.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Penmachno trail

This weekend I decided to shoot up to North wales for the day to ride the Penmachno trail, below is a video I have taken with the new handlebars cam, Ive put it together so others can ride the trail without all the hard work on the uphill sections.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

New line climbed at candys pit.

The left hand line at Candy's pit has been climbed, Phil belcher managed the first ascent giving it a grade of M7, the route has been name "Blind Placement". I have also manged to climb it and get the second ascent, the route isn't too bad if you can find the axe placements before you get pumped out.
Below are some photos from the day.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Few Photos from rescent Alpine Trip.

Veiw from the Mittilegi Hut
Midi-Pan traverse

Midi-Plan Traverse

Vioe Rebuffet

The Dru

Bernese Oberland

Rescue on the Mittilegi Ridge

Mittilegi Ridge

Eiger Summit

Mittilegi Ridge
Phil on the crux of the cosmiques arete

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Rescent Alpine trip

Heat waves and lots of stone fall was on the cards this alpine trip, Our attempt on our intended routes the walker spur and kuffner ridge were abandoned due to the amount of rockfall and snow conditions in the mont blanc range. All wasn't bad tho, we did still managed to get some good routes ticked. We got some good acclimatising climbing in on completing the Midi plan traverse and the cosmiques arete. We also managed the Est Arete on the Pyrimide du tacul which is giving a grade D, this felt pretty easy for the grade with the only hard bit of the route being the bivying and the walk out afterwards. next up we decided to try the Voie Rebuffat route on the south face of the midi, this is graded at TD+ and is pretty long and gets lots of traffic, we were probably the last climbers to start up the route taking it in turns on the leading the pitches, the climbing wasn't to bad but very hard on foot placements, we were up near the top just about to start the last pitch when some serious weather moved in, the whole wall turned into an electrical magnet inviting all lightning around with open arms,by this time we were in complete whiteout with a constant rumbling noise of thunder, things got pretty scary so we decided to phone mountain rescue for advice, straight away they told us to ditch all our equipment, we then had to attach ourselves to the wall using only slings and no hardware, we were perched on a little ledge so it was possible for us to sit on our ropes and cover ourselves in the emergency bothy bag. We waited nervously for the storm to pass but things wernt looking any better, all of a sudden we could hear a voice from above, i popped my head out of the bothy bag and looked up to see on of the french mountain rescue team, what a relief, He set up a rig and lowered down a hoist, myself and Phil both attached ourselves to it and we were lifted up the last 30metres of the route, when we got to the top there was no time to hang around has lightning was hitting the wall all over now, we left the ropes in place and just made our way into the midi station just in time for the worst of the storm. Myself and Phil thank the chamonix mountain rescue team from the bottom of our hearts because if it wasn't for them we may well not be here right now.
we also headed to Grindlewald where we completed the Mittilegi Ridge on the Eiger, this was an awesome route with much character. The climb down the south western flank seemed pretty long and tiring but it was well worth it. Overall a great trip and some great routes.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Candys pit - new routes and Possible first Ascent

Some photos of a new line myself and phil have put up and both climbed. we headed to a local forest in portsmouth where there is an overhanging 25metre wall of chalk, we are not 100% sure if these lines have been climbed before but due to the nature of the chalk and the danger of how loose the top section is it would be very suprising if they have. we manged to climb one line to the full height of the face, we have called this "Dont look up" and given it a fair grade of C8. there is another line to the left of the cave that I attempted, this is a little harder and very thin on axe placements, i managed to make my way up and over the cave but my axe ripped out taking with it a vital placement for the next move....A route for next time I guess.

Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are
naught without prudence, and that a momentary negliance may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; Look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end