In praise of Builders Bars

It’s hard to write about Builders Bars without sounding like an advert.  They may only be protein bars, but they are great protein bars.  They are also brilliantly convenient if you want to recover after rock climbing and don’t want the hassle of protein powder drinks.

A Builders Bar

Clif, the company that makes the eponymous power bar, makes Builders Bars.  They are basically chocolate-coated biscuit bars that contain 20g of protein for building muscle and aiding recovery after exercise.  There is even a picture of a ripped climber on the packaging to give you an idea of what to aim for (I’m still trying). Read more

Totally Recalled

Earlier this week equipment manufacturer Edelrid issued a product recall for a selection of their via ferrata lanyards.  This recall follows a fatal via ferrata accident a couple of weeks ago.  Apparently, investigations have so far established an association between increased use of these lanyards and a weakening of their elasticated webbing.  As the Edelrid lanyards involved in this accident had apparently been rented, it is quite possible that they had seen greater than usual use.  However, the actual cause of the accident has not yet been established and Edelrid have issued the product recall as a precaution.

Using my Edelrid lanyards on the Via Ferrata Michielli Strobel.

Every so often you see product recalls for mountaineering equipment.  In the last year, for example, Petzl has issued product recalls for Scorpio via ferrata lanyards and some GriGri 2 belay devices.  Most of the time I just glance at these notices, but the Edelrid notice grabbed my attention because I’ve used Edelrid lanyards for the last couple of years.  My model isn’t covered by the recall and so I’m saved the hassle of returning the set for inspection and repair.  But this particular recall has got me thinking about is the trust we place in both our gear and the people who make it. Read more

Learning to lead

Libby teaching me about placing gear.

Guest Blogger – a post by my fiancee

Well, after two years following Robin up crags and cliffs, we decided that 2012 would be the year I would learn to lead.  Aside from the fact that it’s frankly rather cool, I had several reasons I wanted to progress to leading.  Firstly, I wanted to start pulling my own weight in our climbing partnership, we both want to have a stab at longer multi-pitch routes where leading through is necessary, and lastly, you haven’t really experienced trad climbing until you’ve been reduced to a quivering wreck…

Women usually climb very differently to men, so I decided I wanted a female guide to help me through my first foray into leading.  As we climb mostly in North Wales, Robin contacted Libby Peter, and we hired her for two days at the end of July 2012. Read more

Review of the new Beacon Climbing Centre

Earlier this week, with waves of rain sweeping over North Wales ruling outdoors rock climbing out, my fiancée and I decided to try the new Beacon Climbing Centre near Caernarfon.  We were impressed.

Tommy the bouldering elephant in the dedicated kids area at the new Beacon Climbing Centre.

The old Beacon Climbing Centre had been in the Marconi Building in Ceunant for some 18 years.  This was a reasonable climbing wall, but it was very out of the way, a bit rundown and in need of an update.  This old centre has now shut and the operation moved to a former TV studio on the Cibyn Industrial Estate near Caernarfon.  As the new location is just off the main A4086 road from Llanberis, the Beacon Climbing Centre is now brilliantly placed for climbers rained off the mountains and crags of Snowdonia National Park. Read more