The woods around Fontainebleau have a reputation as one of the best places in the world to boulder. Thousands of sandstone boulders, with tens of thousands of boulder problems, scattered about a pretty forest that covers some 300 square kilometres. Fontainebleau also has a reputation as being a great place to take kids. That’s a … Read more Bouldering in Fontainebleau with a Toddler
“All the Grindelwald via ferrata are closed.” The woman at the tourist information office said these words in a firm, brisk tone that indicated that she didn’t realise that I would find them disappointing. I knew that there was a risk that the long, cold winter might mean that some mountain routes would still be … Read more A Little Bit of the Eiger – the Rotstock Via Ferrata
It’s been a year since I climbed on real rock and six months since the accident. After lots of physio exercises, surgery and weekly sessions at climbing walls to remind my body how to climb, last weekend I finally got back to climbing outside. It brought a smile to my face and reminded me of why I love to climb.
The accident was stupid. One of those seemingly minor things that have surprisingly big consequences. Read more →
Why does the best weather always seem to happen the weekend before I go on a climbing trip? Sunshine, clear skies and low winds bless the destinations of my long-planned climbing trips on the weekends before I try to go climbing. The weather forecasters often refer to “unseasonably good weather” when talking about those weekends, before going on to say “but the weather will change mid-week.” This means that by the time I try to go climbing the weather is rainy, unsettled, changeable or in some other way not really ideal for rock climbing. That preceding weekend feels like a teaser of what might have been. It makes not being able to climb because it’s raining that little bit more annoying.
This is what happened last weekend. A weekend of good weather in the Peak District was followed by an intermittently rainy weekend. After a couple of abortive attempts, Read more →
My self-rescue skills became rusty because I never got into the sort of trouble where they would be needed. That’s definitely a good thing. My self-rescue skills also became rusty because I never practiced them and didn’t get refresher training as often as I should have. That’s definitely a bad thing. The self-rescue course I did at the weekend highlighted for me just how risky it had been leaving it so long to get a refresher. There were so many aspects of the rope work that I had forgotten and other aspects that I wasn’t particularly confident on. The instructors were great at talking me through the steps of a variety of techniques and putting them to use in different scenarios on the rock. I feel more confident about self-rescue now and determined to practice it more often (although, only in pretend situations).
Me practising tying off a belay.
A view of Hathersage from Lawrencefield, where I did the first day of the self-rescue course.
Me prussiking up a rope (badly).
Me learning how to do a hoist
Sam abseiling (rappelling) past a knot.
Burbage, where I did the second day of the self-rescue course.
Me abseiling down to check on my climbing partner after having removed myself from the system.
What a great weekend of climbing in the Peak District. I did a selection of varied and interesting climbs, the sun shone (mostly), it wasn’t raining (mostly) and there was enough of a breeze to keep the midges at bay.
Me seconding Ash Tree Crack (VDiff) at Burbage.
Leading Wall Corner (HVD, 4a) at Burbage.
Leading Wall Corner (HVD, 4a) at Burbage.
Me at the start of my lead of Ring Climb (Severe, 4a) at Burbage
The Grand Hotel bouldering area and the Goliath’s Groove area of Stanage Edge
Me leading Hollybush Gully Right Direct (Severe, 4a) at Stanage.
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 →
Well, the clue is in the name. You can’t really start out on this climb unaware that some bit of rock is going to wobble when you hold on to it. However, some of the wobbly rocks are more obvious than others and the guidebook doesn’t mention the most important of them. Read more →