Some times you got to get nicely nervous. That was the plan today. I went down to Snuff Mills today with Henry Castle from Climb Pembroke and did the 2nd ascent of 'Morris Dancing on Ecstasy' only moments before the 1st pitch got retro bolted. The route is well worth 3 stars and there is nothing like it for miles around. This is pure adventure climbing at its best but safe to, well, now the first pitch is bolted. The routes is 4 pitches long and we thought it went at HVS 5a, 5a, 5a, 4c. It's amazing climbing, in a superb position, funky moves, tree swinging, air beneath you and bolts from the sport routes every now and again to add to the experience. It somehow manages to feel really spooky but actually because of the trees and bolts, its safe but it feels like a big sea cliff adventure route. Amazing all the way. Pack your bags and get down there. Morris Dancing on Ecstasy - 3 stars Contact Us for your Rock Climbing Course - Contact Us
So you live in the London area and you're a rock climber? You want to get out of the city and climb on some real rock? This Article will look at the options that you have if you're going for a day or a weekend away rock climbing somewhere outside of the City of London. The places I have described are close by so as to not break the bank or increase your carbon foot print too much. If you want to go to North Wales, go. The same with Spain. This article will look at the crags you can get to in a day if you're keen. London city - our nation's capital. The big cheese, the smoke, the hustle and bustle of the business world and yes, now it's your day off and you want to escape - of course you do. If you're a rock climber who lives in the City of London then you know the battles of trying to get away and enjoy some time in the countryside, escaping the rat race for a day and freeing your mind from the grip of the office. It has a great effect. Having a car is the first thing that you will find very handy, or having a friend with a car, or stealing a car, borrowing a car, hiring a car, or just generally getting a car is helpful as a climber. A lot of the climbing spots in the UK are not best fed by public transport. A train will drop you off in the centre of a city but the crag you want to climb at is 11 miles south in the depths of the wilderness. Having a car is [...]
This article is designed to help the new outdoor rock climber find the best place to go rock climbing around Bristol. Bristol is a great place to be based if you're a rock climber, with crags in the city itself and with great motorway links to other UK climbing spots and an international airport on its doorstep. You can see why it's one of the best cities to live in for rock climbing. Bristol has Avon Gorge in the heart of the city and it's known as the best city crag in the world - if that doesn't get your juices flowing I don't know what will. However, Avon Gorge does take some time to settle into the climbing style - with its delicate and balancy moves. So don't go jumping onto an E2 at Main Wall just yet! I know many hard visiting climbers that have admitted to being terrified at Avon Gorge. I wrote this article to whip around the local crags to give you a few options if you're starting out rock climbing around Bristol. I hope that I share some of my experiences and knowledge in the process. I've not really focused on any of the sport climbing areas and will leave that for another article, so this is more aimed at those who want to do some trad. I've inserted links to the crags and routes mentioned so feel free to click the highlighted text to find out where the crag is and find out some more information. Myself trying to figure out how steep this wall is in Avon Gorge!! Goblin Comb When you start off rock climbing around Bristol most people are [...]
The Wye Valley Last weekend i was working in the Wye Valley rock climbing. Some of the best Wye Valley rock climbing can be found at Wintours Leap which is a magnificent crag. One hundred meters tall in parts and with trad routes and sports, both single and multi-pitch, with great views - its hard to beat. The road access is close by and you can park in picturesque village of Woodcroft meaning that the walk into Wintours Leap for Wye Valley rock climbing is only 5 minutes. Cliffs in the local area to rival Wintours Leap are Avon Gorge in Bristol and Cheddar gorge in Somerset. Both of these crags however have roads at the bottom which makes for even quicker access but you have the traffic noise interfering with your peace and rock climbing ambiance. I was working with Harry and Simon getting them in the Wye Valley rock climbing outside from indoor climbing. They hadn't done any lead climbing before and wanted to learn the skills to be able to climb outside and learn to lead sport climbs so they can use that skills indoors and outside. We started off at the top of fly wall getting the guys using there ropes to setup top ropes in order to allow them to climb outside on minimal kit and therefore cost in purchasing equipment. After we had climbed 4 routes in this manner we then moved over to some sport climbs, getting the guys leading and then stripping the routes. If your interested in learning the skills to go from indoor climbing to outdoor rock climbing then get in touch and we can make a course tailored to your needs. [...]
Today i was rock climbing coaching in the Wye Valley working for the BMC. I had four young people from various youth squads that had booked a course with the BMC to learn to lead sports routes outdoors. None of the guys and girls had climbed outside before but had all lead before indoor and all climbed at a good level. So it was my job to do some good climbing coaching to get them up to speed and out on the crag. The team pictured above were all super keen so we headed to Wyndcliffe Quarry to start off with, which is a great venue for climbing coaching. With two pairs climbing i put up two bottom ropes so i could watch the guys lead while a rope was above them the whole time. As they were indoor climbers i didn't give them the guide book or tell them the grades, they had to climb both routes and then let me know what grade they thought they were. To be fair to them they were very close to the grade - that doesn't normally happen so good effort team. After that we did some climbing coaching on stripping anchors after leading a route, we did this on the ground and then moved onto the guys leading there own route and then stripping it themselves. This is impressive considering some of them were only 11 years old and it takes a lot of learning and putting into practice to get this nailed so well done guys. After everyone had lead a route we packed up and headed over to Wintours Leap on the other side of the river. We got everyone on a [...]
Cracking session this evening doing an abseil in Avon Gorge. The weather was perfect and all the boys went down the abseil, some even abseiled using a stick rather than the traditional figure of 8. If you fancy doing an abseil in Avon Gorge then get in touch. Avon Gorge is great venue for abseiling with lots of abseils all at different heights with great views of the Avon Gorge - awesome.
Awesome little day today in Bristol. A long run this morning picking up a bit of shopping on the way through. Then down to meet Jon Gupta at Avon Gorge. We headed up to Suspension Bridge Buttress and climbed - Suspense, Suspension Bridge Arete, Hell Gates and Clan Union. Just nice to get out on the rock again after climbing a few big peaks recently. After a spot of dinner i was back at the Avon Gorge for a group climbing session with Chandos House. Group Climbing sessions at Avon Gorge are always great fun and today it was perfect with the evening setting and warm temperatures and a group fully up for it - what a great day. Home at 9pm and in time for dinner Bring on tomorrow - although it looks like rain. If you fancy climbing at Avon Gorge on a group climbing session then get in touch.
A quick blast rock climbing at Wintours Leap in the Wye Valley today. A little mission to tick a few routes that I've not done before which is always good fun, not very stared routes and not on most peoples tick lists but the crag classics I've done before. We started with Original Route - VD - no star - two pitches. This route was shit and i will not do it again with anyone so say away Wintours Leap climbers. Next we did John's Route - HS - one star - two pitches. A good route seemed about the same grade as the VD but on good rough rock and worthy of its star. Next we did Grey Wall - VS 5a - one star - a good route i thought with good gear and fun moves. Good one for people to push themselves on. Last we did Black Wall - HVS 5a - One star - I thought this was one of the best routes of its grade at Wintours Leap. Steep, good gear, good holds - although maybe a touch crumbly but i like that. What a great route, will put everyone i can on this bad boy - superb. Lets go rock climbing at Wintours Leap - get in touch.
So we did it. We climbed and skied Mt Elbrus at 5642 meters high - the highest mountain in Europe. Unfortunately we didn't get to ski off the summit due to poor snow conditions and by that I mean it was sheet ice above 5000 meters, so crampons were the way forward and therefore upwards. Michael and myself are now fully in the zone with this whole big mountain ski stuff. Jedi nights in the waiting possibly?....possibly not!! But we had done a trip to Morocco in January and skied off Toubkal summit - the highest summit in northern Africa so we felt good about this trip. We had to dig the road out from snow in order to get our bus to the end of the road and start the walk in to base camp. The packs were heavy with mine weighing in at around 34 kilos with all the ski gear, boots and enough stuff for 12 days, the pace was slow. The walk was steady and with one dodgy bridge crossing the river we made into camp with plenty of time to spare. After a look around base camp we ditched our stuff and myself and Mike headed out with a rope to try and find some new rock to climb on get some first ascent action. We did two routes, no idea if they had been climbed before - probably not but it was fun all the same. The photo below shows the north face of Elbrus's valley with huge amounts of rock route potential on the right side. The next day it was the start of moving stuff up the mountain. Base Camp was at 2500 meters and high camp [...]
Tomorrow myself and Michael head off to Russia to climb and ski Elbrus - the highest mountain in Europe at 5642m. It's going to take us a while to get from the UK to the area of the mountain and then spend a few days acclimatising but hopefully with good weather and snow conditions we can make a ski descent. In the past few months I've been putting a lot of time into running and getting the lungs going well, so hopefully all shall be well. Other projects in the summer include - run the Cotswold Way in a one go - a total of 104 miles, guide on Kilimanjaro and get some more new rock climb routes done in the UK. I will try and keep updates of our trip for those that are interested. Below is a picture of the equipment being sorted for the trip. Here we go...... Elbrus ski equipment