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