Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Climbing Year - 2014

So the traditional personal photo roundup on an odd but fun climbing year. Odd because my main effort was running my first marathon in September - which started with a 6 month training master plan and immediately derailed with injuries but ended well (I digress as this about climbing not running). Having decided therefore to just enjoy climbing whenever the opportunities arose I ended up having a surprisingly successful year.
January - My second visit to the Dubh Loch and this time despite just missing stellar ice conditions with the Giant still complete but with soggy ice, managed the super classic Vertigo Wall with Ben.
February - I had two separate weeks in Scotland. The first week at the International Meet was one of my best ever doing some great routes with Olov from Sweden and then one of my dream ticks - Centurion with Michelle from Canada. The Second week with Garth was perhaps the worst I've had up there and despite lots of very wet walking we only got one minor route done.
March - Lots of fun routes this year including Aiguille du Merlot traverse on the Lleyn with Jon on his birthday.
April - More fun on Chris's stag do with a trip to Reiff and the Old Man of Stoer
May - Back to old haunts in Bristol with my fellow Climb Mag editor Dave and the superb Haystack finish to Yellow Wall in Avon.
June - Beginning to get trucking with Zippy on Gogarth's main cliff. Fowler's meaty 6 pitch traverse Trunk Line finishing up the Citadel crack.

 July (Part 1) - So much fun in this month that I've cheated and used two pics. The first a fine family holiday near Baggy Point - highlights were a great coasteering odyssey with Paul and Steve's families. And then Steve and I nipped off to Sharpnose to revisit some old favourites including Sea Green.
July (Part 2) - The mighty Mandarin at Hoghton Quarry - the second best pitch I lead this year.
August - Extraordinary day with Dave at Cilan Main starting with the ab set up and culminating in another dream tick - Vulture.
September - Churnet with Jon. Great bouldering place even for those who can't really boulder. Infact just a great place full stop.
October - Tremendous trip to Skye with Jon. Including best pitch I lead this year - Mothers Pride at Elgol, but seen as I have a better pic here's another corker the charmingly named Golden Shower at Neist.
November - Attempted to get fit for a specific mixed route in Switzerland. If I could do the easiest thing out of the Works cave then I'd book a flight. I failed so didn't.
 December - Bit of a depressing December was saved by surprise Christmas weekend winter conditions and the chance to fall off a lot trying to follow Pete up a taxing new route in North Wales (click on pic - I'm in orange, Pete's in red). [Photo credit: Andy Harbach]

As much fun and variety in 2015 and I'll be a happy boy.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Film making again

It's been a long while since I've worked on any films - either side of the camera, and so it was nice to get back in the saddle working on a mini series with Polished Project. Polished Project are Wojtek Kozakiewicz and Lukasz Warzecha. I've known Lukasz for four or so years now as a photographer so it was exciting to be working together on a project.

I came up with a basic story idea for our three film series for Marmot following Steve McClure together with Leah Crane as they returned to revisit Steve's old stomping grounds in the slate quarries of North Wales. The first film focusses on Leah's ascent of The Mau Mau a tough E4 crack.

Of course one of the skills of good film making is being flexible with the real stories that evolve on the day - sometimes very differently than you might have scripted. Many of the other skills of good film making are evident in the quality of Wojtek and Lukasz's camerawork (I was the third and most 'junior' cameraman) and Wojtek's brilliant editing. There are two more films to come in the next few weeks so keep an eye out. In the mean time you can see the first film on Youtube here or UKC here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


What's that nice Mr Garry doing?

Oh No! Dave you're not going to...

Now you've gone and done it! Get yourself out of that.

Er? I think this is climbing?

This definitely isn't.

Don't worry Dave the belay is bomber.

Hmm looks a bit like White Goods?

Steep, tiny holds... that's better.

It's a three star route but not the three star many might know - Vulture (E4 5b,5a,5c,6a) Cilan Main, Lleyn.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Mighty Hoghton

Hoghton Quarry near Blackburn in Lancashire had long been on my 'to visit list'. It's often claimed as the finest Grit quarry but tricky access restrictions (only two months climbing a year) have meant much less traffic and the place has gained a reputation as very overgrown. A recent thread on UKC concerning potentially controversial new bolts brought Hoghton back to mind and I easily recruited Jon for a visit.

Both of us love visiting new places and I for one find that post industrial lost world of British Quarries strangely attractive. After a short but squelchy approach the first views didn't disappoint - this place is BIG.

The quarry doesn't just include the big main walls which are 40m high, but there are numerous other levels linked by old stone steps and overgrown retaining walls. There's that lovely feeling of man's touch being reclaimed by nature, such as this abandoned log pile.

We only ended up climbing one route - but what a route. Mandarin a 40m E2 was worth the trip in it's own right and I reckon is one of the best E2s in the country and was pretty spotless. I then spent 45mins on ab digging out all the cracks on Boadicea a three star finger crack but didn't have time to climb it although hopefully I'll get back before the end of the month to have a go.

The soaring grooves of Mandarin with in situ cleaning brush in the foreground 
As a nice bonus just as we were wrapping up we got to meet local legend Les Ainsworth giving the crag a quick crag guardian check up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Gogarth Sunshine

Fine day yesterday with Zippy on the incomparable Main Wall at Gogarth. Managed to get up the character filled snaking Trunk Line which weaves its way in 7 dramatic pitches starting up Resolution Direct and finishing up the Citadel crack (Gulp!). Wild for E3 and if pitches 5 and 6 are logically linked would make a solid E4. A proper day out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

Yorkshire Coast

A couple of weeks ago we had a family holiday on the North York Coast - such a lovely area so despite lots of rain it was a good trip. Here's a few pics of Whitby beach huts and the lovely back-street gardens of Robin Hoods Bay.