Sunday, 24 November 2013

Scottish tooling series at Gcc.

This weekend we went to the Glasgow climbing center to take part in the Scottish tooling series (sts).
After a short police escort through Lanarkshire past a jack knifed lorry down an embankment and a couple of pile ups because of black ice we arrived at the venue in good time.

Once we had registered and completed our belay and knot tying test in order to join the climbing wall. Big LOLS. We had a wonder round to check out the routes and form a plan of which to try and get done first and which to hold off till later on. 
There was a varied choice of routes that had been set, from variously arranged telegraph poles to the use of three auto belays in a jungle swing style and lengths of chain and holds that purposely moved. 

  The time went amazingly quick and before I knew it it was time up. I enjoyed all the routes and especially the hard technical routes. The 3 auto belay swing caused me trouble and I learnt a lot to take forward with me to the next round. 

I also met my new sponser for the first time and got my new set of new and improved schmoolz, which I can't wait to get to grips with at the wall this week. 
Overall I came 7th which for my second ever competion I was really happy with and an improvement from 10th at my last comp. I was gutted as I missed the final by a knots hair as the fun route caused me to loose points and if it would of been a proper route I would of got the same points as the finalist and got into the final, but it's all a good learning curve and I can't wait for the next round at glen more lodge on the 8th dec. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

White goods meet

Yesterday Ed came to pick me up at his usual 20 minutes before we arranged time. So after a quick nespersso we were off to the legendary white goods meet. White goods is a drytooling percific crag near Ruthin in Wales, it's mostly overhanging but has a good area of vertical climbs, probably 10 routes in the M5-M7 range then the majority M8-M10. 

Here's the topo-

Me and Ed got there in our fashionably early manner and no one was there yet, so we did a few easy warm up routes at the kitchen area, Adams M5 and apple M7. Two ok vertical walls with natural flat edges and crack lines to follow, which makes a nice change from the drilled pockets we've been used to at the works and other venues. Harry Holmes turned up whilst we were doing the first route and once we'd shaken the cob webs out we heard some commotion over at the white goods area and headed over to check it out. 

Dougie enjoying himself perched under the roof. 

Ready steady hook before Stevie Johnson stated the demolition causing a rock fall (scary)

As everyone started arriving we geared up and ed in his wisdom jumped onto jazz and got very pumped under the roof. The one thing I learnt as this venue was beta goes along way and some of the placements weren't as obvious as you'd hope. 
So after a bit of spectating I jumped on to jazz M8 and managed to send it first hit. After belaying for Ed on a few unsuccessful attempts at jazz and inbetween chatting and watching people on different routes I decided to have a crack at white goods, which is to the left of jazz. 
 BUT before I got onto it someone took a big whiper off of bold start near the top and came under the lip and hurt him self then a few other people took a few big hits, which made me feel a bit uneasy, I'm not one for bad Jew-Jew whilst climbing so it didn't fill me with confidence for my next climb. 
 I set off any way and got under the roof with ease, I just didnt feel great comitting to the roof moves so decided to fight another day. (Whimp out). 

All in all we had an awesome day and I was gutted we couldn't stay for the whole weekend. We meet a load of new dry tooling comrades and caught up with old ones. 
 We can't wait to get back there as it's a great venue and plenty of projects in our sights. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Festival of ice dry tooling comp

Last weekend myself, ed and andy Turner headed up to the festival of ice up at the ice factor in kinlochleven to compete in there dry tooling competition.
 We decided to set of on the Friday morning so it gave us plenty of time to get up to Scotland and relax before the comp on Saturday, before we could set off we had to help andy Turner with a little job for his partner hanging up some climbing photographs at the Buxton pavilions, for the Buxton outdoor film festival. Luckasz warzecha photography . After a quick stop at aldi we were on the road.

 When we arrived at the ice factor we found Phil and Emma Powell there doing a bit of pre comp reccy. Once all our digs were sorted we headed off to the clacaig inn in glen Coe for our pre climb tea.
The following morning we got to the wall and got a coffee before the melee began, once registered the fun could start, the first climb me and Ed did was a traverse with a high step up and jump to a marginal hold. Quite easy as long as you committed to it. Before I did it I was really nervous about about the climbs as it was my first comp, but once I had a few routes under my belt I really started to enjoy it.
I managed to get full points on 11 out of the 15 routes, 2 on the second attempt 1 on the third and could do one problem. Over all I came 10th which I was mega happy with considering it was my first comp.

all in all it was a great day and after a few post comp beers I was ready for bed and ready for Newtyle quarry the next day.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

New traverse wall

We've finally got round to building the training wall. Upto know its 16ft long and 8ft tall, I want to add abit to the top to make it a touch taller but its a start. I've drilled aloud of wooden blocks and drilled a hole in them to seat the picks. I need to get hold of some old climbing holds to practice on. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Hot cross training

So my winter training is well under way now, most of my nights are filled with varying types of training and my days are filled with aching muscles. ( a good ache )
 After speaking with different people about what's the best training winter, I decided to try a variety of things, the main one being cross training.
20 slashers 
1 min over head slosh pipe
5 laps Farmers walk
10 squats with slosh pipe
10 shoulder to shoulder with sand bag 
10 halos with kettle bell. 
31 minutes dead it took me

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Climbing the Blackpool Towers.

Last nights training session took me to the climbing towers in Blackpool, for more info go to blackpool climbing site.
  tonight's session was just me and Andy, we started of with a quick warm up, the usual stretches and a bit of cardio to get the blood flowing, then onto the wall.
Andy led the first route like he does, making it look easy and flowing from one move to the next with amazing strength, i seconded up and for the first time made it to the top of the 25m route, needless to say i was quite happy as my last attempt had only seen me to halfway.
Andy then did a back to back lead and i followed up with my first lead on this impending and very high structure, i managed to get halfway before over gripping and forgetting to breath properly took its toll and i got to around half height before muscle pump kicked in.

once we had finished on the routes we got stuck into the circuits, i did 3 minutes sets and Andy did 4 minutes, which we did four times then had a rest and then repeated.
by the time we had finished my arms were throbbing. great training tho  feels great.

Monday, 2 September 2013

SPA WEEKEND in the northeast.

This weekend I did my SPA climbing assessment with roxcool climbing up in the northeast. 
Our first day was at almscliff doing personal climbing skills and at Macmillan climbing centre in Middlesbrough. 
The second day which consisted of group work was at scuggdale in the morning and then gisebough viaduct to do the assisted abseil in the afternoon. I would highly recommend roxcool for any climbing qualifications you are considering as they were terrific the whole weekend. 
I passed with flying colours and now can't wait to get to work. 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Jims new shoes.

This week one of my friends asked me if I could take him out climbing, he'd seen all the pics I've been posting over the years and finally decided to give it ago.

The first evening we went up to wind gather rocks above kettleshulme in Derbyshire. We started off with a good warm up then went down the right hand end quarry to look at Kim's footwork. 
 I gave Jim a pair of climbing shoes which He found straight away to be so much more responsive and a lot more grip on the rock, we went through a few simple rules of footwork, as footwork is the key and vital to progressing in climbing and you need to start how you mean to go on. Once we had done some exercises on footwork and centre of gravity we moved onto some climbing techniques.

The next evening we headed up to stanage to try out jims new toolbox of skills. We started with flying buttress hvd ****. I led up it and Jim seconded. He got slowed down at the top of the first slab entering the upper slab through the bookcase corner. I just had to remind a few key points of what we had learnt the previous evening and he was soon up and enjoying the view from the top of flying buttress and revelling in his first four star climb. 
 Our next rout was holly bush crack vdiff ****, once Jim started climbing you could see he was feeling a lot more comfortable on the rock, this climb was solid climbing all the way to the top and Jim really enjoyed this route and thought it was the better of the two routes.

On the way home we stopped of at the old hall pub in hope for a pint and to have a chat about the climbs and what Jim enjoyed and wants to take a closer look at next session. 

Monday, 29 April 2013

The works vandalism.

I went down to the works on Sunday after hearing the news on my return to the uk from Spain.
I couldn't believe that someone or people would go to such lengths to vandalise such an important venue.
This venue was purposely developed for drytooling and has no other use, there were no routes already there and in no way encroached on any existing routes or venues.
It is a small dank hole the ground that keeps drytoolers of the mountains and in a controlled and well equipped area purposely developed for us.
A very sad incident indeed.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Millstone crack addict

Sunday we headed over to millstone edge in the Peak District and we went up to the north bay, which is one of the less visited parts of millstone edge. Me and Ed had our sights set on a climb called Estremo hvs 5a, a twisting fat fist jamming crack, which led to a crusty layback and out the top onto flakey rock. Fun fun fun I here you cry.
Ed set off first in his ultimate wisdom of not warming up and got ten feet off the ground before placing some questionable gear and backing off and coming down.
Ed knows how I hate this way of climbing so I was best pleased to be setting off up this route to first of all have to take out what he had placed and replace it, especially when there's two great chock stones in the crack which he somehow missed. I got to the top of the crack and as I placed my foot on the last thin green ledge to reach for the final jug, boom I went and was on my gear ( which I was glad I replaced). A moments lack of concentration and I was gone.
I pulled myself back into the crack and carried on into the corner to place my gear and get myself ready for the layback above me.
Once happy with the gear I pulled round onto the face and found that the layback was two full on layback move on to a big ledge with nothing but smears for you're feet. Really enjoyable an committing moves. Once at the top I set up anchors and brought ed up and he fell on the upper part on the crack. I also found treasure at the top of the route to. It was at the top of perplexity. A good day out.

First day back and a first accent

Saturday was finally the day that i got to actually lead something at the quarry I've been developing over the past few months, as I've been going there on my own cleaning and climbing the routes by abseil and on a ropeman.
I was mega psyched to finally get on the rock and lead the routes I've been cleaning and getting ready for so long. Especially one of the routes I knew hadn't been climbed before, so that would mean my first first accent. Whoop whoop.

The first route we did was around the vs mark, I'm not sure for definite as I've not got the guide with me at the minute.
It's a great climb with loads of gear after the start moves which are unprotected but big ledges and a good stretched move, followed by nice climbing to a large flake which is negotiated very differently to what you would expect as for the lac of foot holds on the opposite wall. All of the top outs at the quarry are sketchy at best as the grass and foliage has taken back the crag. So it makes for interesting finishes.

Next after warming up and in the ZONE I wanted to do the new climb. I'd abseiled down it a few day earlier to clean it as it was covered in ivy and you could really see any detail on the climb. Once I'd abed down it and started to rip all the ivy off it a nice route started to emerge. Once tied on I set off and as I went i was clearing the soil and grit which lay on the holds from all the ivy I had ripped off. The climb consists of two small ledges spaced apart to give you a nice balancey mantle shelf move so you can reach the next ledge and move onto the second small ledge using two small sandy krimps. Once stood on the second ledge you place you're first geared and the three pieces of gear you can place are one number 1 nut then micro wires.which are all on the edge of the crack. Once you have placed the gear you are onto the final slab and the crux moves which are also the last set of moves to. With the top moves you have to get it in the right sequence and you're away any other and you make it really hard for yourself as I saw with ed seconding as he fell on it.
I was mega happy to do the route and named it Little monster and gave it E1 5c due to the unprotected start thin gear, crux moves right at the top and Krimpy climbing.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Get ya (two) grooves on.

yesterdays adventure took me to the lake district and to a route called two grooves on brown cove crags, which is situated on helvelyn on the first shoulder which can be seen from the swirils car park.

Once id met cliff at a car park in ambleside we set off in separate vehicles only to my amusement about 2 minutes down the road cliff ringing me to tell me he had left his BOOTS at his digs, hahaha.

As we set off up the path the weather came in the higher we got and by the time we got under the crag it was blowing a hoolie. thankfully its a short walk in.

In my natural habitat

geared up and ready to go i cracked off up the first pitch which was a bouldery ramp into the first groove, i placed some gear and attempted the first hard section of climbing, the snow was soft and unconsolidated, it had built up in the groove and provided no solid placements what so ever, it only hid all the decent placement rather than providing any.

 on first attempting the groove i wasn't paying attention and naively made placements which i expected to hold and before i knew it with i slight shift of weight i popped off, as i fell i managed to arrest myself and not even load the belay.(i also managed to put a hole in my boot and my foot with my front point of my crampon)

after falling i realised the error of my ways and bucked up my ideas and concentrated on what i was doing. spurred on by the buzz of my fall i nailed the first pitch and set up the belay in blizzarding conditions. lol

Next was cliffs turn and he set off up the soft, sketchy ramp leading to the mouth of the first groove, but i could tell he wasnt happy about the conditions of the route as his body language was screaming out.
from my position at the belay it wasnt filling me with confidence. The soft unconsolidated snow on top of the slabby rock wasnt the best and cliff decided to back down of the lead n see how i got on with it.

i set off up the slabby ramp taking my time to get positive foot and axe placements a torque here a stienpull there and i was up on the ledge to the entrance to the main groove. all the snow that had built up in the groove proved to be hard work clearing it before i could place my axe and move to the next hidden holds and repeat.

i absolutely loved this route it was awesome, if you havent done it already you need to put in on the things to do list. you wont be disapointed, and if when you do it theres still a piton in the upper crack its mine (cliff couldnt get it out)  ENJOY...........

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Super duper super alpine gloves

On my trip to the ben this weekend I took my new mountain equipment super alpine gloves. I also took my old faithful gloves just in case the super alpines weren't so super and my old faith faithfuls never left the sac.

I was exceptionally impressed with the warmth and dexterity of the gloves as my hands never felt cold at any point throughout the day. They dealt with place screw, nuts and tying knots no problem what so ever, also whether I had my hands buried in deep powder trudging up gullies and snow slopes or stood on bleak belay stances they stood up to every test.

The only thing I noticed which I thought could be improved on is the finger length, it seemed to be a touch short, I got a medium which the fingers fit great but the large gloves were baggy but the finger length is the same for both sizes. I don't have massive hands so I reckon mountain equipment could re look at there sizing.

They are a highly durable and reliable glove which will be in my rucksack on every trip here on out.
Highly recommended and you won't be sorry if you decided to get a pair.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Green gully fun.

Another successful trip completed by the Dalton and son climbing duo. Today we set off with the intention of doing green gullly IV 4 *** and on the intial walk from the cic it was looking good.
From the get go from the CIC hut we had no fresh tracks in front of us (which i  was very happy about) and the weather was looking perfect, blue clear sky & no wind. The only problem was the snow as it was like little polystyrene balls under youre feet once you broke through the intial thin crust which didnt fill us with confidence.
With the sketchy snow conditions in mind we treaded carefully and made our way upto the base of the route,which is located inbetween the comb and number three buttress.
After the customery brew we set off up the first pitch which i led. The ice on the route was in great nic abit stepped out but solid ice, there must have been heavy snow over the last few days as all the hooks and the slopes had been filled with deep powder.
Trying to find belays was intresting as we had to dig out the ice and snow from all the cracks to find anything worth using.
It was eds first trip to the ben and he really enjoyed it. He did the second and last pitch which he had an fun time getting through the cornice at the top (hahaha)
I did the crux pitch which had a great vertical section of about 30ft, which could be avoided to the left if you wernt keen.
All the pitchs on this route had good climbing, intresting climbing and rightly so has three stars. Its also good that it finishs on top to which helps with getting down.
Hopefully this amazing winter season isnt over just yet and we can get back before the winter gates are closed on this iconic mountain and its spectacular routes.
Many thanks to ukc member yorksclimb67 for his post on wanting to do the route and giving us the motorvation to get up at 4am and get up there before anyone else.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A good reason for an alibi

I recently had a an issue with my old mamut gloves whilst drytooling at the works, which led me to throw them away in a rage. Without realising I needed a set of gloves for a trip I had planned to Ben Nevis the following week.
I ended up buying a pair of alibi 2s from The outside shop  in hathersage, 
they were £52 on sale from £65 (result).

Although this wasn't the best choose of glove for Scottish winter climbing 
I also took with me a pair of extremities, which were water proof and a good
warm belay glove. 

Thankfully the conditions were incredible and the gloves were ideal, I found 
them great on the Technical sections of the climbing with the tight fit & there
dexterity was great for placing gear Like ice screws and small wire. They were
also brilliant for setting up belays as there was no Issue tying off or doing up
screw gates because of there superior dexterity over many over gloves. 

However the second day out was wet (see vanishing gully post) and they in 
turn where extremely wet to as they are not Water proof in any way. Luckily
 for me it wasn't that cold andthe insulation they provided was More than
sufficient and I didn't suffer with cold hands what so ever, which was great.

I wouldn't recommend the alibi 2s for Scottish winter unless you're very lucky 
with conditions, but they are Brilliant glove for steep technical ice climbing or
drytooling. Ideally you want to use they in dry conditions 
But they do still keep you're hand quite warm even when wet, as long as you keep active. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Old school BMC quarry

Tonight i finished work early so i nipped over the road to a quarry thats in the old bmc kinder guide book but unfortunately no longer climbed.
I gained permission to climb there as its now private property and started to clean some of the routes a couple of weeks ago and then the bad weather kicked in so ive had been back till tonight.

I set up a top rope and used an accender to climb the routes as i was on my own. i did three roue which ranged from VS to HVS, a nice warm up back into outdoor rock climbing after not been on the rock after my spate of winter,drytooling and ice climbing routes over the previous months.

Big Ben Nevis.

Friday 1st march 2013

Our first days climbing had begun like any other, however this was my first time climbing on Ben Nevis and i was sooo psyched it was untrue. our plan was to head up and climb either the curtain or Glover's chimney depending on conditions.
mega excited.
The alarms sounded at 5:00 am and i was that keen i was bolt upright and getting ready in seconds( which isn't like me), wasting no time to get on the hill. once we'd had breakfast which was porridge pots (yum yum) we were off.

Leaving the north face car park (which is located in Torlundy on the way out of fort William on the way to speen bridge), i didn't know what to expect whilst walking through the woods but couldn't wait for what was in store for us. we where sure on what the weather was going to be like as the night before was quite cloudy but once out the woods we got a view of the kingdom of Ben Nevis which had zero cloud and glorious blue skies all around. i couldn't believe my luck, first time Scottish winter climbing and these were just amazing conditions to cut my teeth on.

at the CIC hut we decided to go against our original plans and headed over to minus three gully IV 5 ***.

Photo: Our route on the Ben 1/02/2013...Possibly one of my best days out for a very long time :-)
image curtisy of cliff lowther

the route was in great conditon and amazing climbing all the way to meet the north east buttress. we did the route in 4 pitches and enjoyed every one. at he top of the gully we had to opions, we could ab down or continue up north east buttress.
we obviously decided to continue up the ridge and we were glad we did, what an amazing route it was and for anyone doing the route dont avoid the man trap :-p
we rapped down number 4 gully using an already in palce snow bollard and walked back down to the car.
what an AMAZING day.

The next day we had a rest day because we were in bits, lol.

On our final day we decided to do vanishing gully V 5, the walk up this time felt alot easyier and at the bottom of the route everything was sweet.

cliff led the first pitch, which was a great pitch and he gad a monster run out on step technical ground( very impressive) as i popped my head over the the top and all i could see was cliff stood in a water fall at the belay( not gonna lie i found it funny). 
the second pitch was mine which consisted of step ice and long run outs (paradise if you ask me).
We rapped down 1934 route and we were off.

my first weekends climbing on the ben and im hooked, there something winter climbing that just sets it aside from any other form of climbing, its an adventure and its not just all about the route you climb but the lead up to it, the company and the getting down off the mountain that all adds up to a exceptional and memorable day out.

with other styles of climbing you remember the routes in bits and bobs but Scottish winter routes have more depth and stick with you longer.