Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Paynes Ford, New Zealand

How could life get any better? Climb all morning on outstanding and extremely steep F6b's. Swim the afternoon away in New Zealands best watering hole! The camps nighttime activities included intoxicated caving, intoxicated deep water soloing, and more less than sober activities with the more than keen camp residents.

I wasnt climbing very well, not very strong from my fall in September but still enjoyed the easyer climbs with people from the camp. The climbs i did were generously bolted, the holds were always sloping. climbing was best in cool conditions of the morning. when it got to hot everything became very greesy, which was a good excuse to stop climbing! Paynes Ford was best suited to F6a (19) to F6c+(24). most of the best routes were steep to very steep and relied on good footwork and ability to stick a sloper. i found the grading sometimes hard work, falling off a 18 after cruising a 23 earlier in the day. The quality of the climbing is comparable to the best British sport cliffs... don't let that put you of, there's more to climbing than the routes, the camp ground is the prefect training ground or hang out, many british lads spending months there.

The atmosphere of the campground was at first weird for me, everyone was way to friendly! expecting it to be a false i held back from meeting people at first, but was soon dragged out in search of a partner and started to lighten up to the hippy happy nature! Iam not naturally the socal type but found myself getting wreaked most nights with different people, and the trip has opened my eyes somewhat.

During my 16 day trip i got around mostly hitch hiking, which was a new thing for me, never hitching other long distances there was a learning curve which iam still climbing. Hitching in New Zealand is the way to get round if you have luck. Competition for lifts sometimes were frustrating, also was the lack of traffic! But its still loads easier to get lifts than the UK. Foods the same price in the UK and sometimes cheaper, with the Pound at the moment.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Three Mount Traverse, Mount Blanc

July 15th 2007

From our stay in Chamonix, most climbers we meet were all after or have done one thing, Mount Blanc. Apart from me. I wasn't interested in the walking and racing guides to the summit of Europe. It seemed long, boring and expensive. Our last weather window before we went home and I was searching the guidebooks for a route that i could solo, as it had appeared Rob wasn't keen on any of my suggestions, Walkers Spur? ok how about another go at the Swiss? Only now did i realise my obsessive behaviour, and the pressure i was placing on Rob.

I went to the tent to sulk and check my purse. It wasn't getting any fatter. I couldn't really think of anything that i could solo, that would round the trip off, i wasn't really fit, and i wasn't experienced. All that time slagging off Mount Blanc, it would make a good solo? The weather forcast was again suggesting a cold night, high winds but a clear sky. I went out to tel Rob my plans with my packed rucksac. Surpriced to see such action in our hungover camp, Rob asked if he could join me. Warming him i wouldn't be moving slow, and its going to harder day that the Frendo, he agreed.

Building our Snow Hole on the Col de Midi, i was glad for someone to Spoon with. It was a very cold night up there, and we didn't have our Bivi gear. We forgot our spoons so eating our Spag took a while. 2 hours later and i had enough, my clothes were already freezing. We walked over to the Cosmiques Hut. We hid in the boot Room and fell asleep. I was rudely awaken 1 hour later when we were caught, "you can not sleep here!"(somehow she new we were English!) I told her we will be gone in 30 minutes and were not paying 30Euros, she told us to go and left. We fell back asleep, to be again waken my someone dropping a ice axe between my legs! The guides were moving, up and out the door we went. It was 1.30am

Photo: Rob after a hard Night Spooning!!

The snow made music under our crampons, prefect conditions! We didn't have a rope with us so I just hoped Rob would be fine with the pace. The Cold conditions had made the steeper Section of Mount Maudit into a Scot III Ice slope. This section normally has fixed ropes, but none could be found, not that I would use them! the slope Steepened at the top making climbing with one axe rather challenging. I regrouped with Rob at every Top. The wait for Rob always made me chill, and had to again leave him to run down the Mount, iam not very good at pacing myself. The Winds as forecast made life pretty cold and the spindrift unpleasant, and party behind us turned around, leaving us alone on this Fanatic Classic.

I had some breakfast, and forced Rob to eat something before the final slope of Mount Blanc. Dawn was approaching, and i wanted to be on top for Sunrise. I left Rob and headed for the Summit. What a slog! The dome shaped summit just kept going! I missed sunrise but still got to have a nice chat with the first people from the Goûter Route, and take everyone Photos!!

Photo: Me approaching the Summit of Mount Blanc

I arrived at the Summit for 6am and Rob at 6.30am, i let him catch his breath back and we run down the Bosses Ridge. We reached the Goûter Hut for 8am, where a nice lady, we had met sport climbing offered us some "Le Grey". We ate our breakfast we had carried with us, and started the slog down to the valley. We got back down for 2pm and made the happy hours in Chamonix.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Swiss Route, Les Courtes

10th July

The Weather again improved, so i egged Rob into another shot at the Swiss Route. We stayed in the fantastic refuge d'Argentière. The view from the hut of our intended route, really didnt go down well with Rob, he didn't say much. I knew he wasnt happy, but being a sly bastard, i talked him into it! After a restless night of "Giggling clients" and "Sleep screamers" Rob got up and was kitted up well before me. The Night was worryingly warm, but we climbed to the start of the route, Rob Wasn't happy, and we turned around. I was pretty gutted but it was the right thing to do, i just wish he told me at the hut!

Walking across the glacier you could see the true angle of the Swiss Route, which if we had walked up to check the descent the day before may of been enough to encourage Rob. Next year.

Frendo Spur, Aiguille de Midi

7th July 2007Photo: Me after a good sleep in. The line follows the Route Roughly, however, you cant see the classic Snow section clearly visible form Chamonix

After a week sitting in the tent in the Chamonix Storms the weather started to improve. With all the Snow around we went for a Ice Route, the Swiss Route on the Les Courtes. Getting to the top of the cable car station it seemed the weather wasn't as good as the forecast had suggested, and there was way to much snow up there. We instead climbed the Petit Verte, leaving our sacks and ropes behind.

We returned to valley pretty pissed off about the weather, missing the small weather forecast. We went into town to grab some Wine, and check the forecast. Tomorrow looks great! Looking upto the Frendo from town it didnt seem to be covered in snow. We drank our wine and made plans. We bivied under a bench to save campsite fees. We got up around 6am to catch the "first" cable car at 7am (it was 6am!) We got up to the Plan de Aigillie and under the Frendo for around 8.30am. A nice sleep in really!

The route started well, and we made a quick pace up the snow ramps and rock slabs, not belaying to make up for lost time. Rob took lead before we joined the Spur. He somehow found a nice Aid section, not in the guide, and after a bit on encouragement made the top and belayed me. Our short slings made aiding extremely hard, and i refused to leave anymore gear on this abused face. This involved some free climbing and I rested on the rope quite alot!

The route was covered in loose snow from the days of storms and the cracks full of verglas, making the best handjams feel slippy. The upper section of the route saw Rob wilt a little, so i lead the Crux rock Pitch(IV, or in real money HS). Rob being the better rock climber i struggled and pulled on most things to gain height. This section didn't seem to get any sun and a axe sometimes helped progress.

We reached the Classic Snow Arete around 5.00pm.I swam up the snow, it wasnt as good as it looked! The Snow arete slowly steepened to about Scot III at the top, were party's face the upper rock section. This rock section was plastered in ice, and melting in the evening sun, sending volleys of ice and rock down onto us. During this time the weather had changed and we were now in a true Scottish white out.I lead of Left past the rock section to the more difficult but more direct finish. Our guidebook Gave Scot V, never leading above IV in Scotland, i couldn't comment. The Neve was perfect, every placement was solid. Rob was getting pretty cold so i didnt stop to place any gear and we moved together up the final 300ft.

Getting to the top was a magical feeling, and i made a belay. Rob climbed quickly and didnt complain about the lava in his blood! Arriving at the midi station, around 6.30pm, we had missed the last lift down. The staff at the midi came to greet us, they had be watching our progress. After seeing the state of our sun burnt faces and the fact rob looked like he was about to die, they offered us a bed, and food! We ate like kings, eating the left overs form the day and the best steak i have had in my life! Wine and coffee on tap, i was soon was pissed and the chef practised his "English" with me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Through the Looking Glass, Hodge Close Quarry

11th November 2007

After a great dinner, and drinking far to much, left me with a good hangover. Sunday Started with a wet start and we opted for a walk, my ankle wasn't so keen, and with the improving weather i suggested climbing.

After a few navigation errors we arrived at the quarry. It was really cold! The route started well and i was soon at the crux. the moves above were very balancey. Something iam not the best at. Just about at the end of the crux i went to stand in my once handhold and peg. My foot found its way on the peg! One more reach and i had the hold i was after. The above groove was very nice, but i struggled, getting shaky every time i was above the gear. After the last tricky move i was on top. I felt very guilty in the time i had taken, but only received praise.

Ian and Fran soon climbed up in the failing light, I suggested another route. Ian lead Between the Lines. However my headtorch was nearly gone, and so was I in some cases!

Wuthering, Stanage.

4th November 2007

First Proper Lead after 5 weeks of feeling sorry for myself. My footwork was as good as my walking, and i was shaking like a leaf. A true gritstone Route, and amazing weekend with Ian Moore. I went on to lead Yosemite Wall as well. Admittedly in a poor style, I shouldn't have done them, but i missed the sharp end!

The gears great once you get to it on the main face, and the moves across the face are really easy. The moves above the gear were really good, feeling out there, but still safe.

We had an interesting forced Bivi in the Plantation Carpark after Bill had locked Ian's car in!

Stargazer, HighCliffe Nab

Oh dear! Already lead this one, why not try it again? it was a bit damp and a little cold, but it felt real easy last time! Something wasn't right, i came of high on the crux. The gear was at my feet and it was bomber. The Floor was 30ft away. I still hit it. Fran was a little far back from the crag and was pulled in with my fat weight, plus it was a traverse, so even more slack was out. A shock to both of us really, I had never even struggled on a route with Fran before. After a massive fuss i hopped down to Guisborough with the aid of a few friends. A & E with the Usual Lot and 3 hour weight. Amazingly the swelling proved only to be a sprain. But 6 weeks on writing this, iam still limping. It cracks every time i walk, what a pain! A few Lessons Learnt.

Photo: My first lead of Stargazer, i didn't fall off!! (photoshopped to remove Acne and enlarge muscles ;)

Rigor Mortis, Castle Rock.

What an amazing route! It really felt out there! Never a rest nor a "thank god runner" in the whole pitch. Move after move of high quality. The time i had taken on the pitch looking for runners and messing around, had left me in a true state of Rigor Mortis at the belay. Fran seconded in great style and after a bit of trouble with one of my nuts, headed across the traverse, which would be quite bold to second. Fran was on a diet, and hadn't taken any lunch. So his lead proved to be a real struggle but managed it in good time.

We walked back to Patterdale Via Ambleside to get some food. No one picked us up till 2 miles from Patterdale, after walking the struggle in the Dark. A great day, and a route i will remember for a long time!

West Sphinx Direct, Wainstones

18th September 2007

After meeting Chriss Crags, Andysomething and Alan James at the crag. They chalked up the route for me. I did all my usual solos before everyone else arrived from the Club. Armed with some tricams, Mircowires and Mircocams it didnt feel that bad, with great fiction. Them top moves did involve a massive reach but it was all over rather quickly! The gear mid break is solid, 3(or maybe 10!) shit bits equals a good one! I found the mental crux gaining the mid crack, as the moves are mostly unprotected and the hole thing feels a bit wild.

A great route (best at the Wainstones?) and a testpiece at E3.

Prana, Black Crag.

15th September 2007

What a strange day! I met up with The Tom Ripley. After a walk up to Gable, and then a run down (it was raining) we headed to Black Crag. "Prana?" "yea why not!" After a dig in my sack i discovered i had forgotten my Harness!! Good job it was raining on Gable! I ran to the Fell and rock hut were i was staying, i was told a friend would be staying there all day. She had gone home! Bugger! I ran back up to the Crag, to find Tom had been collecting gear off a busy Troutdale Pinnacle.

Tom had a go at Prana anyway, me belaying him around a tree, After a great effort, he didn't commit to the crux. So after a exchange of his harness up i went. I was amazed how light his whole rack felt, and how many different colours there were! Upto the crux it felt around HVS, (doesnt everything!) but i was sport climbing with Tom's Superb runners! The crux suddenly arrived. On a ledge. A friend i had met in the Peak early that year, Dougy, ( breaking into E2) Was on Grand Alliance. After a grand effort off he went. We were sharing the crux runner, so we just hoped it didn't pull!

My turn and the crux was hard. Maybe 6a would best describe the moves, it was a real shock form the rest of the route. Just pulling, that's all. I wasn't that impressed, it was over after a run out, and a shaky leg to the top belay.

A great day, even if it wasnt very productive!

Fools Paradise, Gowder Crag.

14th September 2007

Left without a partner again, the weather was again poor, so Borrowdale it was! No one told me about the ants! I hate ants! I wanted to jump into the nearest tree! The rest of the route went without error, apart form the ant bites up my legs! Ron Hills arent Ant proof!

Ali Baba, WainStones

10th September 2007

A local classic i needed to tick! A fine reunion with my old mate Luke. The crux for me seemed the Entry groove, given E1. No gear and a massive reach! Once i got that i knew i had it! Just the E2 bit to come now! After a rest round the corner on good jams up i went on good holds to a nasty crimp and a poor top out. It felt rather Standard E2 to me, Not E3 stated in the Rockfax guide.

Astra, Pavey Ark

After a Bivi somewhere in Langdale, we headed up to Pavey. After a warm up on Bracken Clock, which was great! We headed to Astra. I have never been so excited to climb a route in all my life. 2 years of dreaming and i finally got on it. After a bit of route finding issues, it wasn't how i dreamed! Amazing rock and spaced but great runners, and a great position over a hanging prow. The crux soon arrived and i found the hidden *cough* and across i went to belay. Was that it? No desperate struggle? Hmm. Many i was to ready! Shaun Lead through to the top, in great style! Its started to Drizzle once again, so i left the idea of Cruel Sister for another day.

Samba Pa Ti, Dow Crag

8th September 2007

Had a bit of an Epic on this while seconding it a couple of years ago, (Learnt how to Jug for the first time, while it was pissing it down, after I fell off) so it was another Rematch! The route is well protected and you can find half rests between moves, its quickly all over once you reach a great rest and the angle kicks back.

When i did it apart from the pull of the slab, which wasn't to bad, it felt HVS! I wouldn't go encouraging any HVS climber up there, but if your a Gym Rat, who works as Rope Access, you would have no problem. What a route! Go do it now! Was climbing with Shaun for the first time, so i was glad it all went well. Well apart from me struggling on a VS on the same day!

The Niche, Lower Falcon

29th August 2007.

After failed attempts of hitching, we walked to Lower Falcon from Grange. Only having one rope our Options were limited. The Niche had 3 short Pitches, so it was first on the list. The crux first pitch was well protected, i was feeling quite happy, so across i went to the Niche. Ah. No holds! i couldn't reach anything. Back i went swearing! I tried many of a time, but still couldn't make progress. I was getting rather fed up, so just had to go for it. I climbed high and rapped myself around the arete, hoping my Ron hills would save me. No holds to be found, i hung there for about 10 seconds, my Ron Hills gave in and off i went! I exchanged more swearing and up i went to try again. No luck going high so i went lower. With a little bit of tension i felt a hold, i didn't want to fall off again reversing so i followed the line of holds!

I wasn't really happy with this style, but i just couldn't reach anything good. I will have another go! Once in the Niche, i brought up Rob. He didn't want to try it! Poor guy was white with Fear. It wouldn't have been a big swing, but he just was not happy! I wouldn't let him not try it because i knew he could do it! He did do it, first time! After about 30 minutes of talking!

The top pitch was again my lead. I was completely Shagged! Normally a pitch i would love, steep and overhanging i wasn't doing very well! I ramped in a nut in my panic, which i knew wasn't going to come out. That Nut was the end of rob, he was knackered trying to remove it so pulled his way up.

A great route, I just need a rematch!

The GoBetween, Quayfoot Buttress.

28th August 2007

Rematch! my first trip to the lakes back in 2004 had seen me getting Dragged up this route, unable to climb the crux. So 2007, with a few E2's under my belt, I gave it another go. Rob had meet me earlier in the Grange Campsite, were we had some tea. Rob gave the 5b pitch ago and had no problem. My lead! We had a basic rack and only one rope (doubled) due to a break down in communications with Rob, my fault!

A few thin moves and a couple of crap nuts and i was at the crux. I didn't really remember any of it, just that i couldn't reach the holds! I started fanatically looking for gear! Nothing! My Smallest nut (WC size 2) wouldn't go in. My calves soon started to pump. It was getting dark and there was no one to throw me a rope. I couldn't down climb! I laughed at my situation, and moaned to Rob about campsite prices. I stopped shaking, and up i pulled. Pulling pulling that's all it was. I had never been so glad to reach my belay!

I didnt enjoy the route but i learnt a good leason. Always carry Mircowires! I went to needlesports and brought some!

The Dangler, Lower Falcon

28th August.

An amazing route. I couldn't decide against The Niche or this one, but when someone jumped on the Niche it was faint! The Guidebook Suggested that the Dangler was a tougher procession than the Niche, so i was a little Nervous. I found the start of the 2nd Pitch the hardest and rather bold, even with the old bolt! after a couple of goes i gained a ledge and some pegs were i got my breath back. From there i made a couple more tricky moves to some good gear. The rest of the route seemed steep, but straight forward.

Bringing up Ian, he soon came tight on the rope. He hadn't been climbing all summer due to a foot injury! After a few more efforts i lowered him down and i abbed for the gear. A great route fitting to my "Stlye"

True North, Shepherds Crag

After another gloomy trip to the lakes, Shepherds was again the driest rock in Lakeland! After completing Adam(VS), we decided to abb down. Sliding down the rope i fell on a blank looking slab, with little edges making its way up the hanging Slab. It looked great, After a quick look in the guidebook and finding out it was given "only" E2 i headed up. The crux seemed to be getting onto the slab, but better holds were soon gained and protection. I once again found a soft touch and quickly made a belay to bring my friend Adam up. A perfect route for your first E2.

Hello, and good day!

Iam Gonna post my climbing experiences out on the web, hopefully to try and share my experiences, and maybe inspire some of you to try the same Climbs. Ive enjoyed reading other climbing blogs in the past, so would like to share my love! This climbing Blog, as the Title suggests, is dedicated to climbing, and really only a Tradition climber would understand my Thoughts and Actions.

Anyone who knows me in person will know, iam not into "Cock showing". I climb for myself and only myself, quite selfish really!

I will keep my blogs as English as possible, however i do struggle with English so please email me directly any corrections or rants