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
So after a couple of days in Pembroke rock climbing myself and my good chum Henry Castle managed to bag 5 first ascents in 2 days. Not bad going at all. On the first day we went to Giltar Slabs and did some new routes starting from the recess at the bottom of the main slab and above the high tide line, so good to know about these bad boys. The first route was a soft touch E1 5a and then a hard E2 5b both worth a star. We then moved over to a crag with no recorded routes and started opening up that area with another ground up on-sight of a lovely HVS 5a with great gear and moves. For the next days rock climbing we went back to the same crag but forgot about the army firing there guns and were told to 'piss off' so instead we went on to the next crags 'Proud Giltar' and were gob smacked by what we found. An exciting ridge down climb that leads into a traverse above the sea to get to the start of the two first ascents that we did today. The routes are superb on rough rock with bomber gear, loads of exposure and a roof that looks hard but turns out its got whooping holds and great gear also. The whole outing with the ridge, traverse and one of the climbs would make a 3 star experience for the severe climber. We thought both routes should get at least 2 stars and I am looking forward to others doing them and getting excited about great rock climbing. Below is a slide show with a photo of each new route that [...]
Just got back from a fine weekend running a charity abseil in Sheffield with some awesome rock climbing on the Saturday too. We started the journey north on Saturday morning early and got side tracked by the Decathlon store by the motorway in Birmingham. For those new to the outdoor game or like my friend and climbing partner Jonnie who had not been into the wonderful world of Decathlon, it's a bit of a 'kid in a sweet shop' scenario. Lots of great kit at really cheap prices and top quality too - there you go Decathlon, that's my plug for you. So after lightning our wallets we carried on to High Tor a limestone crag in the peaks and one of the best bits of limestone around. I wanted to climbing a few routes and get the arms working again after a little time off but what happened was very different. It was freezing with a strong northerly blowing and after the warm up on "Original Route" HVS 5a, my fingers, toes had nearly fallen off and it turned out that there was some good games of rugby going on that day. So what did we do......yes, we went to the pub and watch the last bit of the Irish game and all of the English game. Some cracking rugby was viewed. The next day we were up at just gone 5 am to get across to Sheffield and over to the Owen building of the Sheffield university to help Challenge Events run a charity abseil fundraising event for a Childrens charity. The morning was cold and very over cast the rigging for this particular job was quite complex with plenty of kit was needed [...]
This Tuesday just gone i ran a charity abseil event for TK Max at the amazing - Peel Tower. Peel Tower is in the village of Holcombe, near Manchester and is situated right on top of the hill side looking out for miles across a sunning landscape, it's one of the best venues out there for a charity abseil event. The weather was not the best that it could of been, there was a little rain, snow, hail, sunshine and lots of wind. So much so that we had to move the abseil to the other side of the tower to get of the wind half way through the day. Still everybody did the abseil in good spirits and they raised nearly £5000 for comic relief - not bad going at all. If your interested in running a charity abseil event then get in touch for your 'charity abseil information pack' that gives you all the info you need to help you get started and raise money for a good cause.
I've just gone and done a site for a new abseil venue in the town of Bury that is near Manchester and Sheffield. The venue is called Peel Tower and its a beauty. Tall, unusual and in a great location, with tonnes of history associated with it too see - History This is a picture of the outside of the tower and looking at the front face that you abseil down. At the bottom of the tower there is a large area that you can group in out of the elements and the staircase to the top is very winding and atmospheric. If you want a great abseil venue or to use this one then get in touch. If you want a great abseil venue or to use this one then get in touch.
I Have been out over the last couple of days running and climbing in the peaks. After a site visit at Peel Tower which is now a new venue that I can use for charity abseils, myself and Robyn headed over to check out Wimbury in the northern area of the Peaks. We managed to get a few things done and then headed over to the Climbers Club to stay the night. The next day we got and there was a strong cold wind blowing, we headed over to Burbage Valley for some friendly bouldering - not like the photo below which is obviously very high ball and above one pad!!! I've always wanted to run across Stanage edge but I have never really been that interested in running and to be honest i was always too busy climbing all the routes i could bag in day to make time to get to the top of the cliff with running shoes. Today was the day however and getting changed outside the van was a chilly experience. We started up towards the popular end of Stanage edge and hit the trig point at the top, from there we ran to the other end of the cliff and the trig point there and reversed over steps. A great day of running and climbing in cold weather and making the most of it.
Climbing Toubkal in Winter. As soon as you get off the plane you can see the mountains from Marrakesh airport all covered in snow unless you've come in summer, in which case they won't. We wanted to ski off the summit of northern Africa's highest peak and that was goal or at least the first goal. We knew we needed to get to a town called Imlil which is the mountain town from which most people start there trek to the summit. We hadn't really planned that much apart from booking a flight and making sure we had at least two pairs of socks each and some crampons that fitted the socks. I was with a mate of mine - Mike. We hadn't climbed together but had worked together off and on at the fine institution of 'Outward Bound' for around three years. This then was our first date. The baggage handlers at the airport seemed to take a fancy to our skies and this seemed to be a theme that ran throughout the trip. We were stood at the carousel with no bags and no skies long after everyone had headed for Marrakesh town. A chap poked his head through the black plastic drapes that hung separating the carousal and the tarmac outside and asked what we were waiting for. We had to describe each bag before it was put through – strange!!?? We grabbed ourselves some Dirhams and headed out into the open air. Problem one occurs almost immediately when you try and grab a taxi – what price do you want to pay and what price is the taxi driver willing to except? The haggling begins. We arrived in Imlil after about [...]
I ran an Abseil Event for Macdonald Hotel chain last week, doing the 12 days of Christmas via abseil down the front face of their hotel opposite Windsor Castle. The aim of the abseil event was for 12 abseilers to complete the abseil down the front face of the hotel with festive music playing for the crowds to sing along too, bringing to life the 12 days of Christmas. The event was for the local people in the towns advent calender (more info here) but it was also a great way to generate marketing interest in the hotel chain as four local papers turned up to capture the action. I had done the site visit a few weeks prior and myself and Choire were rigging off the roof of the hotel with the take off being from the balcony of room 406. Something a little bit different for an abseil event with the participants having to walk through a lovely hotel suite to get to the abseil in all there gear. We gave ourselves plenty of time to setup the abseil event during the day, then participants started arriving at around 4:45 pm for a briefing at 5 pm. The 12 abseilers were from the local area such as the town mayor, Windsor and Eton town center manager and such like. We had rigged a practice abseil in the lower level car park so that after kitting people up they could have a go at abseiling on the flat and receive some coaching. We then took the abseilers up through the hotel, into a free hotel room next to take off point were we had tea and coffee setup and another practice abseil inside the hotel room. [...]