Saturday, 23 January 2016

When 2 become 1...

Winter in the UK can be very hit and miss. You blink and it's gone. Scotland usually does 'alright' but the mountains of England and Wales constantly tease you, leading you on like a school boy crush. A fall in temperatures, a dumping of snow, word on the grape vine that 'Route X' is in condition. The eyes begin to glisten, fingers tingle and stretch for the winter gear, a decision is made to go this weekend...then BAM! Thaw sets in, temperatures rise to double figures and that white gold we all crave is stripped from your grasp! UK winter IS gambling. It's addictive. It should come with a warning. Instead of pouring over the Financial Times and trying to decipher the stock market or working out this weekends winning lottery numbers (which by the way, is way easier then the following), we, as UK winter climbers, are looking with a vacant expression, at the cryptic lines and symbols on weather charts, pressing refresh on the Met Office Mountain Weather page, MWIS and that other weather website your mate Dave swears by because he saw it mentioned on an AD break while watching Bear Grylls repeats on...DAVE, to try and decipher the weather patterns criss crossing the UK to figure out...will Kinder be in this weekend?

Sunday, 19 July 2015

My Top 10 bivis


We all love it, we all need it. A fundamental part of any holiday or trip away is based around where we'll be counting sheep, the rest just falls into place. At the end of the day, all we can think about is getting into a nice comfy bed and closing the day. Some of us can function on very little, which bodes well if you're a climber. For any normal person, a bed, four walls and a roof is the accepted minimum, or standard should I say, if you count going camping as an acceptable holiday, in this case, at least some form of electrical hook up and functioning toilets and showers. But for us 'dirt bag' climbers, who don't deem a bed as 'necessary' and want everything free (even the beer), we'll get our heads down literally anywhere. So here are my top 10 bivis. They aren't ranked from worst to best, more the story behind them and their location. After all, why pay for something which I already have at home?

Monday, 29 June 2015

Insatiable (7b+) Cheddar Gorge

Me and Chris were supposed to head to Bosigran this weekend, However due to the weather and change of plans, we ended up staying home, so headed to Cheddar for an afternoon instead, just to get our fix. We jumped on Raw Deal (7a) which I have previously tried before but failed to link the moves after the crux due to being too pumped! Yeah it's only a few metres high but my endurance is crap. Any way, I managed to get it and clipped the lower off! feeling pretty pleased, I wanted more. There were 2 couples climbing beside us, pretty good climbers as they were doing 8a's, so I got chatting to them and they had suggested Insatiable (7b+) to the left of Raw Deal. I did mention about my struggle up a 7a, but their words of confidence persuaded me to at least try it, at least I could say that I had.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Tranquil Avon Gorge

Our day didn't start to well. I picked up Chris and drove him to Weston so he could pick up his new bike and then ride to Avon. However, we got a few hundred on our way from Weston and his bike kept stalling. We turned around, took the bike back and was soon on our way. Little did we know that the Portway was closed due to a Triathlon. I don't know Bristol very well, so had no idea where else I could park. After driving round aimlessly, we finally ended up at the park at the top of the Gorge. Right, lets get climbing.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Daddyhole Main Cliff - Some lessons learned

Our initial plan was to head to North Wales this weekend to do a series of link ups in the Llanberis pass and Idwal valley. However, the weather up north wasn't in our favour. So saving this idea for another day, we stayed local and headed to Daddyhole in Torbay.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Review - RAB Exodus Softshell Jacket

When venturing into the mountains, we are constantly exposed to the elements. No matter how amazing human skin is, it still needs protection. Some people get by with the latest in expensive, high tech materials, others with a simple bin liner with holes cut into it for the head and arms (if you have even the smallest of brains, never do this!). Back in the day it was a simple waterproof jacket to keep the wind, rain and snow off. But within the last 10 years, Softshell has really taken off. At first people were skeptical: warmer than a hardshell but not as waterproof. Colder than a fleece but more windproof. So where does it stand? Today though, it's what a majority of people go to as their protective layer. But with so many variations and choice for us on the market, we need to narrow this selection down and be realistic about our intended use. For me, I wanted a mountain specific jacket with a hood large enough for a helmet, no membrane, harness accessible pockets and breathable but still keep out all but the worst that the weather can throw at me. So I settled on this jacket: the RAB Exodus.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Chere Couloir - Triangle du Tacul

The Chere Couloir (II,4) The very top climber in at the 3rd belay and the bottom 2 making their way up to the 2nd.
We met the famous Dane Burns of the Coldthistle gear blog the day before on the steps back up to Montenvers, had a beer and then went for dinner with him. I hadn't had the opportunity to climb during my time out here, mainly due to lack of partners, so he offered to climb with me. We chose the Chere couloir as neither of us had done it, plus it's a ski in, ski out route so a great multi-activity day,