Monday, January 31, 2011

What's going on?

Having written off this winter due primarily to injury but also imminent arrival of our new baby daughter I told myself I would try not to get too envious of what everyone else might be doing up north. That's been tested this last week with a tidal wave of impressive ascents. InesPapert is back in Scotland with her friend Charly Fritzer and she's quickly amassing a telling ticklist; warming up on Daddy Longlegs VIII,9, following Charly up the second ascent of the very steep To Those Who Wait IX,9, climbing a new route with Dave Macleod on the Ben and heading out yesterday with Greg Boswell to the Shelter Stone (I haven't heard yet what they got up to EDIT Ines and Charly went to the Corries instead managing Happy Tyroleans and Demon Direct one day and a new route - make that THE new route there the following day-Wow!).
Ines on pitch one of Daddy Longlegs pic Pete Macpherson Fritzer on the second ascent of To Those Who Wait IX,9 photo

Not to be left out the locals like Greg Boswell, Pete MacPherson and Guy Robertson have been on fire with numerous big new routes, as well as repeats such as Andy Turner's myth-shattering ground up of The Hurting XI,11. Andy's exciting report is here

The route that impressed me most recently is Guy and Pete's Stone Temple Pilots on the Shelter Stone. To me it sums up how far the best Scottish Winter climbers have come, whilst Guy has a fair amount of knowledge of that cliff it was still ground up, as close to onsight that matters at an exceptionally sustained level; 8 pitches most at tech 8 or 9. Couple this with swooping on the cliff when it was in prime winter nick and you have a real demonstration of mastery with two climbers at the top of their form defining the limits.
Guy Robertson on Stone Temple Pilots IX+,9
Tim Emmett on Spray On photo Christian Pondella

As if all that hadn't made me jealous enough, Tim Emmett returned with Will Gadd to Helmcken Falls in Canada where last year they established a WI10 ice route called Spray On. This trip they added a further 4 pitches through some of the most extraordinary territory on the planet. Envious yes, but at least with their climb at least I knew I wouldn't have a chance of climbing it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sheffield Photography Lecture 28th Jan

I'm doing something a little different this coming Friday. Rather than lecture about my walking holidays I'm doing a show at The Showroom Cinema about climbing photography. It will be a mix of stories, images, video and tips. More info can be found here:

The show is part of 4 expert nights from different outdoor adventure activities over the next month leading up to the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival on the 4th to 6th March

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Mighty Storvegen

During a largely social trip to Skye, I had that rare but rewarding experience of finding myself in the right place at the right time. With winter conditions right down to sea level I couldn't resist the draw of one of the best lines in Scotland; Storvegen VI,8Spot the line!A view out to the Cuillin, on the day before our ascent (that day we failed on two lines).Jon celebrating finally getting up something, with the old man poking through the falling snowA very happy three, me, Ben and Jon

Monday, January 3, 2011

Macclesfield Lecture

For anyone in the vicinity of Macclesfield, I'm doing a lecture for Camp Four at Macclesfield Rugby Club on Friday 14th Jan. Some details here

I'm working on a new mix of pretty pics...
... tall tales from the Himalaya...
... wonderful adventures from closer to home...... all in all a roller coaster ride through the mountain life.
Hopefully see you there.