I am working this week with a group from Bedford here are some photo’s from our 2 day expedition in Snowdonia
I am working this week with a group from Bedford here are some photo’s from our 2 day expedition in Snowdonia
Always nice to get a mention for the hard work put. Good show.
Just got me a 8ft long bullwhip. Now after the weekend of learning how to do and the pain that i went through when something traveling faster then the speed of sound hits your neck, i am ready to get better, much better………hopefully.
Last week i was working for Hyundai in Scotland with there new ambassador Andy Torbet it was an amazing week and great weather i will write a full trip report and add lots of great photo’s soon.
The VS Challenge – By Dave Talbot
Here I am, up here-somewhere cold, somewhere in the Alps. God help me – we started at 2 am and now it’s my lead on pitch 10 or 11, I am not sure. Doesn’t matter anyway I am bloody stuck here, scratching around trying to find that solid feeling hook placement through cruddy snow. Getting tired now but must stay focused, where is that hook? There it is, now don’t get scared just pull like crazy it will be fine, won’t it?
Watch me!! I shout and with all the strength and courage I could muster and I was going upwards away from my gear but closer to the summit and closer to being done, sitting down, drinking tea and being cosy.
Someone…probably someone important that I can’t remember, said that “you can only be brave when you are scared” and this is true. This is especially true when climbing at Avon!!
Wobbly pegs and wobbly legs are the order of the day here. Yes going indoor climbing gets you strong but here at Avon you gotta have some balls. Thinking about it, you have to have more then that, you need skill. You need a rack too and that can be expensive unless you steal your mate’s? Technique is useful and so are climbing shoes. Especially climbing shoes that can stick on mirror polish that Mr Tesco would be happy fixing his comb over before heading out for lunch with big boy Branson.
Yes that’s right, we have all heard the rumours, ‘Avon’s polished’ but it’s not that bad really and you can always say ‘that’s right you big girl it is, but have you ever climbed at Stoney?’ Anyway, it’s character building. Avon hasn’t got any man eating off-widths or chimneys of doom, so we need a bit of spice, something for the weekend and all that. Something to get your teeth into and tell tales of in the pub. “Snapped that peg off with my hands the other day, yeah E5 now”. That’s all changing by the fantastic work of many and soon all of the routes will have a little scrub up, a touch of paint and a tightening of the loose bolts and holds.
Avon’s great, it’s in Bristol for a start, and Bristol’s great so it just gets better and better. I just want to add this little glint, something to keep you guessing, something hard but do-able, something Alpine!!?? Well maybe not something Alpine but here goes anyway….
The ‘VS challenge’ – it’s Biblicaly brilliant, great for the visiting climber to get to know the different areas and primed for all those that think speed climbing ‘The Gronk’ is easy.
Simple – climb all the 2 star VS’s in the gorge, back to back, with no other transport other than left foot – right foot – repeat, quickly to shave off those all important seconds.
Giants Cave Buttress
Some say that ‘Clarion’ might spoil the flow because it’s not a multi-pitch and doesn’t finish at the top but it doesn’t really matter, it’s just a challenge of which there are many.
Firstly there is ‘Unknown Wall’. A fantastic route that weaves around finding reasonable ground and great climbing up an exposed wall. Top out of this one – now you face the biggest test. Do you eat an ice cream from the ice cream van (which will slow you down when speed climbing)? I think it would be fun to add it in for all the teams up to the task of chinning a 99 while descending through the trees to the start of ‘The Gronk’ which is the next route.
I am going to stop at this point and say that I know those people with a hearty merit could solo these routes and blast a time Buzz Light Year would be proud of but I want this challenge to be for everyone and whatever time you clock gets a double thumbs up from me.
I can then add if you would like a benchmark, try doing ‘Unknown Wall’, roped up and in pitches, car to car in under 22 minutes and that is a good pace to be going at for the day.
The Gronk is long and winding and has balancy climbing with much traversing that makes this route hard to go fast on but an absolute Avon classic. After this one heading away from Sea Walls running with gusto and brute (or walking casually eating a kebab, whatever takes your fancy). You will arrive at Main Wall and it’s about time too.
Clarion is next on the list – a fine single pitch that climbs with style up the right hand side of Morning Slab to a small forked tree. Descent now is the only option for the speeding climbing teams and sitting on a skate board with a bouncy castle at the bottom is almost certainly the fast way off. Others may choose to abseil.
Cleaning and shining your shoes to a ‘Daz’ clean finish is what you need to do to match some of the footholds on the next route. Piton Route is in the bed-time reading novel ‘Classic Rock’ and because of this popular series this route has seen its fair share of ascents, epics, arguments and entertainment for car drivers clogged on their way to work. This, ladies and gentlemen, is an Avon Gorge slippery slide but its still good and tests your balance and careful placing of your feet. Once at the top deciding how to get to the start of ‘Giants Cave Buttress’ is the next task. If the bouncy castle is still there consider this a quick descent option for achieving a very quick time.
Disclaimer – use of bouncy castles at Main Wall is strictly prohibited and jumping off the top of any rock climb is considered dangerous.
The last route climbs the arete to the observatory tower on the amphitheatre walls next to the iconic suspension bridge. You start with a scramble to get you going, then 2 more pitches that lands you with the ‘move around the arete’ to the surprise of the onlookers standing on the viewing platform. A nipper up the wall and you’re on the top and bravo for finishing.
Admire the view and take your breath because you’ve just done something great, something different, something Avon has to offer us, covering some of Avon’s climbing history and soaking up the atmosphere of its different walls. How did you get on?
P.S. Many people I know could get some very fast times at doing this challenge but speed climbing is dangerous and I don’t recommend it and anyway I am a mountaineering instructor and I should teach you how to equalise anchors. Www.davetalbot.net
Headed out today climbing at Avon Gorge and did a route on the suspension bridge buttress, “Limbic Dystrophy” a route that hasn’t seen much attention due to not being in any guide books yet. I was climbing with Henry Castle and Dan Donovan and Dan managed to grab some picks of the me on the first pitch.
Its all about winter climbing then it warms up and its not, then it gets bloody freezing again and all of a sudden its back on and your ranting your VW north to get first dabs on that winter route, it’s a funny olde game. So it was warm then i went walking in the Breacon Beacons and it was cold, very cold, then it snowed and i drove up there on a weekday to bag a quick route up the Pen-Y-Fan North Face.
The car park was covered in snow and the ground was bullet hard making for a good start to the day. On the way up the Army boys were up there being punished by being made to hold there gun with no gloves on……..???? the air temp was about minus 10 and the wind was blowing 35mph easy, so to say there hands were nippy, sums it all up.
Descending from the summit and traversing below the North Face took us out of the wind but not the cloud which was down and covering our vision in a foggy haze. We headed to what appeared from below, the biggest gully and the most central, which was good because we were trying to climb ‘Central Gully’ ** Grade 3 and being in the middle of the face made sense. We headed up the gully soloing and came to a couple of tricky steps that were nicely iced.
It was a nice steady way up the face with a little extra kick as it steepens up for the head wall. This was it a nice leisurely winter route ready for the next but what next??
What next?? Well……………..myself and mate Henry had booked a trip to Morocco, flying into Agadir heading to the Anti-Atlas mountains for Monday and with conditions still good why not head to Snowdonia and grad a little something on the way over, after all that’s what winter climbing is all about, grabbing a little something when you can.
So we packed a lot of stuff into my van and headed north. We wanted something turfy, something exciting, something you stick your axe in and really krank, get scared, be brave, get scared again and then reach the top. We agreed that this would be found at Glyder Fach in Snowdonia and we ploded slowly up to the face and made it there after 1.5 hours of left foot, right foot repeat. The face was in the cloud and we made the most of the little flicks of rock that stuck out to get our bearings. We choose ‘Dancing Queen’ in the end, at IV, 5 this seemed a good choice to get something funky in without fucking yourself up trying something when your not warmed up and your Jedi winter climbing powers aren’t fully powerful yet!!
‘Dancing Queen’ was in great nick and the climbing flowed really well. The picture above is me on the first pitch crux bulge and you had to pull which was nice. We did the route in 2 pitches as it made sense and there was a nice ledge at 35m. The 2nd pitched started like this.
It went up this great little turfy wall on blobs and then moved up grooves and bulges to a belay and abseil station that we added. The route was great but must be climbed when fully frozen as it relays on frozen turf a lot. I would advise two pitches rather then the guide books one as the route seemed to be around 70m and abseiled down in 2 pitches as well. Great route and worth more then 1 star for sure. The next day we were up at 3:45am to catch a flight to the desert and a great start to a trip.
Yesterday i was out on the Pen Y Fan horse shoe, here are some photo’s from the day.
Just popped over to Wales today and headed for the Pen Y Fan Horseshoe. The weather was gorgeous, with a slight dusting of snow and freezing temperatures at all levels. Starting just north of Talybont reservoir we headed up and ticked the classics and made it back down in a swift 2 hours 50 mins which isn’t too bad considering we stopped a lot to take photo’s and eat food. The photo below was taken from the summit of Cribyn looking towards Pen Y Fan. If your interested in walking the Pen Y Fan horseshoe then get in touch.
26 minute lap time of the MTB trail at Ashton Court today including the extra red section at the top of the 2nd hill, not sure what the quick times are, anyone got any other info on that. What have people got??