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
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.