My Climbing 2014 in Pictures

Burbage Bouldering

Valerie climbing Bog Standard Slab on The Sentry boulder at Burbage South Valley.
Valerie climbing Bog Standard Slab on The Sentry boulder at Burbage South Valley.

Somehow I’d never seen the rolling hills of the Peak District turn purple before this week. I’ve walked and climbed in the Peaks numerous times, but somehow my timing meant that I had never been there when the heather was in bloom. It was a stunning sight. The smell of honey as Valerie, Leo and I walked along the edge of the Burbage valley and through fields of purple was sweet and warming. It was a great start to a couple of days of bouldering in the Peaks, but the trip didn’t go entirely to plan. Read more

First Peak

My son, Leo, got to the top of his first peak today.  Snuggly wrapped on his mummy’s back, he got to the top of Craig Wen in Snowdonia.  Summiting a 608m peak is pretty impressive when you are eight months old, can’t walk yet and have to battle cold winds and rain.  I’m proud of how well he did.  It feels good to be introducing him to the mountains and I’m really looking forward to going with him to the tops of many more peaks.

Fontainebaby

Behind you

An Easter break to the woods of Fontainebleau to climb on its famous sandstone boulders was our first real test as rock climbing parents. We had been taking our baby son, Leo, to the climbing wall on a regular basis and to some artificial boulders not far from where we live in London. He’d enjoyed the trips and we had managed to get a good amount of climbing done. But several days of outdoors climbing in a foreign country, with a teething seven-month old baby, felt like more of a challenge. By the end of the trip we had enjoyed some great climbing, been tested as parents and learnt a lot about taking a baby climbing at Fontainebleau. Read more

Baby Hits The Wall

Leo and Valerie at the climbing wall.
Leo and Valerie at the climbing wall.

Like all new parents, my wife and I are trying to work out how to manage our lives now that we have a baby.  Even seemingly simple tasks, like going to the shops or visiting relatives, now feel like a major logistical undertaking.  Resuming our regular trips to our local climbing wall felt like a particular challenge.  Such a trip would involve ensuring baby Leo is happy and safe in an environment not designed for babies while, at the same time, ensuring both Valerie and I enough of a chance to climb.  In the end, we managed the trip and Leo really enjoyed himself, but the little guy eventually hit a wall and crashed out on a bouldering mat. Read more