Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Belfast Lecture

I'm doing my Wild at Heart Show in Belfast this Friday evening as part of the Ulster University Mountaineering Clubs Intervarsity event. It's open to the public and takes place at the Holiday Inn Hotel in the Olympic Suite at 8pm. I'll be talking about my various trips to Alaska together with Adventures in Range West, Torridon and Austria.
Me revisiting my route Dark Angel (E5 6a) at Baggy Point in Devon. Photo David Pickford

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Glasgow Lecture 25th Feb

This Saturday I'm off up to The Climbing Academy, Glasgow to do my new 'Wild at Heart' show. It had its first outing last weekend at TCA in Bristol and seemed to go down very well. I've a big section on my various trips to Alaska which included perhaps my most novel trips. 47 hour single push on one route, vertically pitched tents on another. Alongside that I've a look at where this adventurous streak came from and several films and tales from recent entertainment in Austria and of course the North West of Scotland.
Tickets and further info are available here

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Big Tick

The reason I'd come out to Austria was a superb looking route called The Supervisor, that we'd used a photo of on the front cover of Climb. But with consistently low temperatures, Neil feeling off colour and my body getting more and more battered I wonder whether we'd get on it this trip. I'd really struggled with my left bicep on our last route a surprisingly steep 2 pitch grade 6 charmingly called Wet Dream. It had received a deep bruising whilst cleaning icicles on Gasteinerfall and felt suspiciously like my right bicep did when I snapped it's tendon. Luckily it didn't look like a broken bicep so I tried to put thatout of my mind as we set off for an earlier start than usual heading to the Eisarena at Anlauftal home of Supervisor.This is the top section of the Eisarena with the central line - Mordor (WI5) and our target Supervisor on the rightSupervisor had formed very strangely this year, with huge ice umbrellas and very thin ice low down.
We opted to climb the first pitches of Mordor, which looks like it would make a great outing.
After 60m we traversed onto Supervisor and steeper climbing. This shows Neil nearing the top of the WI5+ pitch (4th pitch in guide and our 3rd) with the madness of the crux lying ahead.
Me finding a sneaky way through on the crux and relieved that my bicep is holding together.
200m or so down to the start of the route with Mordor in the background.Abseiling down Mordor in the night required my alpine 'A game' as the previous team must have had 65m ropes to place their abalakovs. At the end of a long day I had more bruises, some frost nip in my toes (it was -20c or so all day) but most importantly of all a life affirming Big Tick!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Getting up to speed

Beginning to get up to speed here in Austria. Yesterday 'got involved' as my friend Timmy would say with this cheeky number. Short bit of scratching followed by a few lock offs to get established on the ice...Luckily leading to a resting ledge then a surprisingly steep finishing 20metres.This was today's mission - Gasteiner Wasserfall, right in the middle of Bad Gastein, viewable from the main street and therefore a potential for much public humiliation! Luckily I managed to excavate my way through the icicles of the first pitch....and neil did the business on the top chandeliery column

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bristol Lecture

I've a lecture coming up in just under two weeks at the Climbing Academy in Bristol. 8pm on the 18th Feb - I'm working on a few new things to build into my show, which I've titled Wild at Heart. I want to take a good look at why adventure is so important to us. So there will be new images, stories and videos. For more info and tickets see the TCA website

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Holiday Snaps from Austria

On my winter hols in Austria, ice climbing with Neil Gresham. Very Cold here, -17c today so lots of ice but a bit brittle. Our first day we visited Thun-Klamm a gorge with an El Chorro like walk way i.e. large parts of it had fallen down. We did a couple of short ice pitches to get our minds warmed upNeil on Relax given WI5 but probably WI4 and bolted too!Me on Kerze WI5 at Thun-Klamm

Today we made it to Gasteinertal - the main valley that had inspired this trip. We drove about 200 yards before we spotted something we wanted to climb:
This is left to right Rock and Roll WI7-, M8+, Wet Dreams WI6 and Ruinenorgel WI5+. We choose the latter as the sensible option but hope to return for West Dreams.
Me on the long first pitch of Ruinenorgel WI5+

We then in search of something for tomorrow and came across this madness right in the middle of the town of Bad Gastein. It's called Gasteiner Wasserfall WI6 although it's twice as thick in the photo in the guide with the big icicles on the left having touched down. Not sure whether we will get brave enough for this, by the end of the week.
Eeek! and yes that is steam from the hot springs