Thursday, 25 October 2007


I know this is a bit overdue but here it is anyway.... the view from my side :)
Picking Neal up from Manchester airport on Friday night was surreal - hadn't seen ot climbed with the fella in a year and a half and then he comes strolling along through the arrivals gate with the air of someone whos been through a couple of dozen airport terminals too many in his time - as he says "dont talk to me about my Carbon footprint!"
Saterday morning after a chilled breckfast and a few climbing clips on the box we hit the road to Malham in fairly poor conditions. Having been there only once before during the summer it was a stark contrast to be driving through the yourshire countryside in these bleak conditions.
Once at the crag we gear up and jump on a dryish looking 7a - at first the style of climbing takes a bit of getting used to but before long we're all playing on a nice 7b and then finish up by checking out the crags mega-classic "Raindogs" 8a. From the ground it looks fairly blank but once on it the moves suck you in - They're still in my head 2 weeks later!
Funniest moments of the day? Me comming off the 7b just below the chain and eventually being caught by Caroline around the first bolt! A VERY dynamic Belay! and also the Butt Trumpet inncodent after the sandwiches on the 7b at the end of the day - my 1st lead fall where i was actually laughing from the moment i left contact with the rock!
Back to Flintshire for the night and some kip before repeating the journey north again the following morning. Sunday turned out to be much nicer and as a result much more busy at the crag. We decided to start up on the middle tier and enjoyed some faceclimbing on a zero star 7b before a manakin was thrown from the top of the crag and landed a couple of meteres to our right as i was belaying Neal. It fooled us all! we thought someone had fallen! After the initial rush to check out the scene the anger set in at someones stupidity at pulling a stunt like that without notifing people - we were just seconds away form having the mountain rescue being sent out! All the while some plonker was filming the show from below... Jeeze!
Anyway - back to Raindogs - or not. Someone literally had a rope on it the whole day! seems to be the accepted ethic at the crag. we were the only wierdos actually leading routes onsight! we occupied ourselves with some more 7a's and a nails 7b before packing up with tired arms (mostly form saterdays exploits) and headed back to the airport with Neal
Great weekend - first of many Malham weekends i would think!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Catch up

Been a bust few weeks!
Neal (aka Usual Suspect) has been over clipping bolts with Caroline and meself at the jewel in the crown of uk sports climbing... Malham (more from me on that soon)
I've been keeping up with work (just about!)
and i've been trying to work on a load of reviews and crag articles to post up on Team Geared after being invited to start posting there (Who'd have thunk people would actually ASK me to waffle!?)
Plus theres been education and cross-curricular courses for me to attend and more marking than can be healthy!
The Joys!
less than 2 weeks to Siurana!

Saturday, 6 October 2007


It's dark in the mornings now, theres a frost when we go for our AM runs before work... comming home i change into shorts and trainers and race to try and finish our evening sessions on the cannal path before the light fades and we retreat back to the warmth of number 5. The wall training is going well. Fingers are adapting to the regular wear. The regular routine of climb, chalk, sweat, hang, blister and sanding off the lumps of hard skin while scrubbing away the ground in chalk. Theres a goal behind all this... Siurana in 3 weeks!

More MacLeod Motivation

Within the last 2 or 3 weeks Dave's blog has been packed with a string of very impressive, very fast, very hard trad repeats in the lake district. Not content with his own ground breaking first ascents he has gone about repeating any and all hard trad lines he can travel to this year... it's been truely inspirational to follow. He takes on routes of all styles and rock types from Grit E10 (down grading to E7 or 8), North Wales E9 (Trauma), Mournes E10 (Divided Years down graded to MacLeod E8!) and now repeating A rake of Dave Birketts testpieces including Impact Day E8 6c, Caution E8 6c, Dawes Rides a Shovelhead E8 6c and If Six Was Nine, E9 6c. Also Dave has announced the launch of the new committed DVD.... I have to admitt that recently i've gone off following the whole climbing mags and media rubbish but i'm keen to check this one out.

Awesome interview

This week i stumbled on an interview with Chris Sharma about his climbing and life in general - not having much other than a car in europe and a car in the states with a rack of draws, harness and rope in each and loads of mates around the world where he can crash for a while while he passes through en-route to his next project.... makes for some great reading

"There is something both graceful and barbaric in Sharma's climbing. He couples a child-like playfulness with ferocious grit that leaves even his peers in awe and the rest of us inspired to reach a little higher and hang on a little longer.

When you do hard routes, you have to try hard. They’re not easy routes. You have to give everything you have. You have to get totally animalistic. When you’re super pumped, I have to yell to bear down."