A Little Bit Green Around the Edges

Climbing in the Peak District at this time of year usually means three things for me. Hoping that it won’t be raining so that I can actually climb. Trying to avoid climbing on rock covered in damp, green lichen that it’s easy for my hand or foot to slip off.   Plus, climbing at a level that I can manage and enjoy when I either have a cold or am recovering from one.

Climbing One Inch Arete (VB 4a) in the Little Quarry at Curbar Edge.

The rain that had poured down on the Peak District last Friday disappeared by Saturday to leave clear skies and brilliant sunshine.   It was great weather for bouldering and I was really pleased that I could try out bouldering at Curbar Edge for the first time. Read more

My Climbing 2016 in Pictures

 

(Re)learning Self-Rescue

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).

Peak Weekend

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.

Spring Climbing

My climbing trips this Spring have had cold winds, some bright sun and (thankfully) no rain.  This has given me the chance to really get back into climbing on rock and to do some great climbs.  It feels like I’ve warmed up for the rest of my climbing year.

My Climbing 2015 in Pictures

In his Stride

Valerie climbing JT (V0- 4b) at Robin Hood's Stride.
Valerie climbing JT (V0- 4b) at Robin Hood’s Stride.

I didn’t know how Leo was going to feel about his first camping trip last weekend. He’s not yet two years old and being taken away from his home and routine to spend a long weekend camped in a field at night and bouldering in the day might have been a bit too much for him. My main concern was that he would be nervous of the tent. I wondered how Valerie and I could coax Leo into what might seem to him to be a giant orange monster. Read more

Hopeful Climbing

Hoping the rain will stop while belaying at Stanage.
Hoping the rain will stop while belaying at Stanage.

You need a lot of hope if you want to rock climb in the UK. Hope that it won’t rain on your weekend climbing trip. Hope that the rain will stop by the afternoon so that you can go climbing. Hope that the rock will dry out quickly from the last lot of rain because you’ve been sitting in the café far too long. Hope that the rain will hold off until you have finished your climb. Hope that the water slowly trickling down your sleeves as you climb is just a quick shower. Even hope that the patch of lighter cloud you can see in the distance is the “possibly clearing later” that the weather forecast mentioned. You need that hope, particularly if you are a London-based climber like me and every trip to a climbing venue is an investment of time and effort. It’s that hope that gets you in your car to drive to the Peak District or North Wales and it’s what gets you out of your tent when rain is pattering on it first thing in the morning. Read more

My Climbing 2014 in Pictures

Pootling Around The Roaches

One of the things I like about bouldering is that it’s great when all you want to do is pootle. That’s all I wanted to do last weekend at The Roaches. I had a creeping cold that was developing a cough. The gritstone was green, wet and strong, blustery winds made sitting belaying at the top of a crag look a bit unappealing. So I spent my time wandering around the boulders, doing low-grade routes that looked interesting and weren’t so slimy and wet that my feet would skate off them. Moving at a gentle pace and just focusing on how to move on the rock really cleared my head and relaxed me.

To make the weekend even better, I got to see the inside of the Don Whillans Memorial Hut. I’ve been past that iconic oddity tucked into the rocks at the bottom of The Roaches so many times and wondered what it looks like inside. With some friends staying there, I got to see and it is an amazing building (particularly the kitchen).

In the end, the tiredness caused by my cold and the limited number of boulders sheltered enough that the crash pads wouldn’t blow away brought an end to my climbing on Sunday. I didn’t mind. I finished my lovely pootle by ambling off to the nearby tearooms.

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

My Climbing 2013 in Pictures

What They Don’t Tell You In the Guidebook – Wobblestone Crack

Me climbing Wobblestone Crack at Burbage in the Peak District.
Me climbing Wobblestone Crack at Burbage in the Peak District.

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