Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Back on the project

Finally went up Cheesewring again, weather was good, crag wer dry. The intention was the Khyber Project. Did a few old favorites to warm up, swung leads with Hannah on Simenon Direct then wandered over to Julietts Balcony. Up we went followed by a quick abseil into the fortress and had a play.

How did it go?

Got a spanking.

Oh well, found a slightly different way of doing the start. It certainly felt more logical, still struggled with the next section, think i just need to get a did scrappy maybe even pull, who knows? Might be able to be a bit more samurai about it by climbing some hard slab routes.

The issue is yet again am injured,again, me shoulders hurt. A lot. It ill be alright though am back of to physio.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Mad Month of Agust

We where back in our field of Morvah for August, loads of people came to see us. Pete & Ingrid (from the Lakes), Gregor Colet Abby Leighsah (Devon), Tori Bobby Teigan Jasmine (Bodmin), Robson (the Lizard), Shaun & Jules (Skemsdale), Dolph (Bude) and of course Smudge (Camelford). Good times. Loads of stuff happened, loads of stuff was climbed and of course drunk.

Hannah is still running around destroying every VS in the south west, in fact anyone would have thought she was preparing for an assessment not training.

My personal favourite time was spending time with Shaun. The best thing about Shaun is you can always talk him into an epic. So when I suggested doing a few routes from the 1950 W A Andrews guide he was up for it.

Andrews was famous for many a thing, especially his idea of traversing the coast around the high and low tide mark. So we tried.

We descended down commando ridge and started. First was a funny little stride across a narrow zawn, followed by two small abseils and we where in Great Zawn.

Do the jump? Not likely, climb round yeah right it was all sopping wet, last solution? Swim.

There where a lot of people in the zawn that day, I can only imagine how ridiculous it must have looked seeing two pastey white northerners squealing and laughing as we swam out of this bastion of Cornish climbing. When I say swim it is in the loosest sense of the word, Sean went first with the rope, then we got the bag across, I held the end of the rope jumped and was pulled through the water.

We then cept traversing passing some of the most beutefull zawns, walls and bouldering till we came to Brandy Zawn. No amount of rope trickery was going to get us round this, it would have to be another swim.

This was a kind of exploratory trip, so rather than swim again we should try escape in the general direction of Rosemergy Ridge. This we did Sean lead off up 80 degree grass and general tottering junk till we met the ridge.

Once the ridge had been done we set of in a southerly direction towards another ridge and climbed this. Once on the top we where surrounded by a world of thorns bramble and general scratchy madness, some would say a hole world of pain.

Would this stop the two intrepid explorers? Not a chance of we went laughing and joking about snakes, shouting Hello Bears to scare them of. This only increased our own paranoia.

After 20 minutes we found a little oasis of grass had a sit down drank the last of our water smoke some fags then back to it. The thorns where about waist height and pain full then stumbled across and old mine shaft, error, we retraced our steps to the oasis.

Once sitting down again I noticed Sean’s leg was bleeding a lot. On closer inspection realized he had been bitten by a snake. Oh shit, no phone’s, no one new where we where, what the f##k are we gonna do.

“Right Sean you go first if you pass out I will legit to get help” Choice words when all seams bleak. Thing is it worked I just kept pushing him on. We found the coast path, we then found the road, an hour later we where safely back on the camp site. Mission complete.
Hospital? No likely. Gave him some piriton and washed it down with lashings of ale Treat.

About two weeks later I did complete the traverse from Bosigran to Pendeen in about 4 hour’s as a solo trip the thought of our epic escape inspired me to just keep going so I did.

Job done. Cheers Sean.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Orkney to Penwith

It's been a bit mental in the last two months. We've been from Cornwall back up to Orkney again, stopping at numerous places on the way.

Obviously climbing but also hooking up with mates and parents on the way.

After running the schools program at the college we packed up and left for the Scottish road trip, as usual there was a bit of last minute work to be done. First a day trip to wales to attend an SPA providers work shop. Sounds dull but this was the best one I've been to so far, the fella from DMM was there braking Krabs pulling sling apart and the like. Then of course i had to fill in loads of paper work in to apply to be a provider. Have to wait till September for a reply.

Off to the lakes, it rained. Saw Pete and Ingrid, still raining so went north.

Woke up in Glen Coe still wet so we ran across the Aonach Eagach ridge in about 4 hours.

Thing is with Scotland is it's massive so we stopped at numerous places all the way to Orkney (Via Durness).

The reason we went to Orkney is for the party my friends Ami and Martin build a stage massive fires and rock out all night, its great.

Then back to mainland heading south visiting Torriden, Applecross. But wait what is yonder isles in the distance. Its Skye looking as amazing as ever.

Before we started this trip we both said we aren't gonna go to Skye. We have been there loads climbing, walking scrambling and being eaten. So we set of for another visit.

We climb at Staffin in the north bit wet and windy. Slept in Glen Brittle. We awoke to glories blue skys with a hot sun. The seen was set, of we ran into Corrie Laggan up about 300m of climbing to the Choich and had lunch. This has always been a childhood dream of mine. Another 100m of climbing led us to the summit and a gentle stroll back to the van.

Skye always looks on us favourable we always have some good weather so the next morning there was more sun so back up we went. Only this time to do something a bit harder. Al went well, after negotiating the awkward decent i fell, bounced a bit down a gully then came to a stop on a massive block. My rib cage stopped my fall and my god it hurt, couldn't breath or talk. There was a bloke coming down the gully who tried to help, but what can you do its hell, air goes in hurts like hell to breath out, air goes in hurts like hell to breath out. So after swearing lot started to run down to my sack. Agony, packed back all i wanted to do was get of the hill to my van so packed back by which time Hannah had arrived, i did try to convince her they weren't broken but we both new the Truth. So continued down the hill at brake neck speeds so as not to prolong the pain.

Any way got down, then drove off, somewhere nice? no Leeds. My parents live in Leeds and I've not been there for about 5 years, it was cool hanging out finding out my mothers latest hair brained scheme (She's walking the coast to coast using Tesco's club card point to pay for youth hostels).

Now we are back, now we are on a field in Morvah (West Penwith) with Boats Bikes and a large rack of climbing gear ready to ave it (once the ribs aren't so sore)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Cornish Female MIA in the making

It’s been quite a stressful month. Hannah placed an application for her MIA (Mountain Instructor Award). How is this stressful? Well there has been a few people from Cornwall who have had their applications turned down mainly due to having southwest routes on it. As if climbing in the southwest isn’t serious enough, many folk from up country think it’s a good holiday destination for a bit of fun. Those of us who have a healthy addiction to adventure know otherwise could list many frightening VS’s that would turn you to drink.

So the thought of being told that what you have achieved inst good enough, the thought of climbing in your home county is just a bit of harmless fun is a bit insulting. I must stress Hannah’s application had a lot more than just Southwest routes in it, Hannah has climbed up and down Britain a few times from Orkney to lands end.

So she decided on a road trip, the main aim was to climb as many routes of VS and above so if the application was rejected then she would have enough routes to fill a new application with a whole new selection of routes. And she did. Llanberies didn’t stand a chance, every VS was crushed fully on-sight with no hesitations’, and Ogwen suffered the same fate. It was cool for me as I was a second for 2 weeks; this was the first time in over 15 years that I’ve been a second for this length of time. It reminded me that it’s a stressful job belaying; everything is totally out of my control.

I did lead some stuff though. In my favourite quarries, the slate quarries. There has been a lot of work done in these quarries some good and some bad, Costa del Dalie, what’s the fXXing point, poor routes, bad gear, and it has delayed the release of the new guide. On a positive some of the old gear has been sympathetically replaced, round the colossus walls the old routes have been turn in to “Slate sport routes” big run outs with a high fear factor e.g.- The medium on the seam stress slabs (a Dawes route from the 80’s now given 8a more like E7 6c/7a) very technical with a big fall factor, Shot yer bolt (Stevie Haston E5 6b certainly not F7a+) all the bolts are hard to clip and a long way apart what a classic.

The problem with North Wales is there are no scum bags; no personality has any one read Mays copy of Climb? The one where they let The right honourable John Redhead write an peace, its genius. Adventure tourism is everywhere, the rock is abused, and every boulder / bivi site is covered in shit, human shit. Does a bear shit in the woods? Yes as do climbers in North Wales. The decision was made to leg it to lakes, home turf (we lived there for about 8 years, happy times.

The thing with the lakes is its further north; further north mainly means bad weather. Not this time wall to wall sunshine. Days on Raven crag, Gimmer, Wallthwaite and of course the jewel in Langdale’s crown Pavey Ark. Hannah despatched route after route with the same confidence and style making routes look easy. All our mates came up to Kentmere to a cottage in the middle of nowhere so there was a rather large party.

Back in Cornwall there was a package at the door; Hannah’s application had been Accepted. This was the best result you could ever ask for. The training is booked for October, Hannah’s ability and confidence has gone through the roof so all is well. Well not quite my shoulder injury in back and worse than ever, arse back to phyiso and rubber bands arse.

So what’s next? Bit o work then the next adventure, there’s a good solstice party in Orkney, might do the old man again who knows?

Friday, 30 April 2010

SPA Trainning

Just finished working on an SPA training with the guys from Spirit of Adventure. It's really cool working with these guys, they talk sense. Having sent students of to do SPA training's you always spend at least a month explaining the out come. So to be a part off a training course the supports the use of Bowline is a breath of fresh air, not tying of clove hitches is revolutionary. To most climbers this may sound daft but it happens people really do tie of clove hitches. The only issue is it seems that John books the rain, although it didn't rain as much as last time so that was nice.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

NICAS, then West

Sun's out. Best go west. So we did and it was worth it. The thing is to go on trips all the time you need to balance work, play and training. So working the past two week ends at the Barn helped. Its interesting work, working with the Barn Youth Climbing Club. They are working there way thought the NICAS scheme. Having only done some work with scheme i am more and more impressed with it. Obviously it ideal for an indoor environment, but i do feel it needs some outdoor elements, an intro to sports would be easy to fit around the scheme plus its in the great outdoors.

Being in the barn all weekend it was hard to believe so many people visit during such glorious weather. There is an up side, no one on our crags.

Until. When walking into Bosigran I was livid to see someone climbing on Porthmiona Island, during the nesting session. Then when on the top decided to "have a chat" with there mate on Door post. How can such stupidity exist. Well It was a University climbing club.

Thing is there are some birds around some nesting, some not. Chair Ladder is covered in bird shit and nest's but not many nesting yet, Black Head on the lizard has ravens nesting on Archangel and shags nesting on the wall of holds.
Tater Du has nothing on it except the large nest that is usually on Martell's Direct finish is there didn't see any thing flying around though.

Well the exhaust fell of my van, got a crack steering rack gaiter so have to go north to work Arse. Well we will be back soon

Friday, 16 April 2010

First trip west of the year

Are West Penwith is a special place. Maybe its cause i get to live out of a van. Maybe it's cause the sun always shines. Maybe its cause I hate granite. Maybe it's cause the climbing is so good (even though I hate granite). Any way we went down top Halldrine cove, this is one of the best teaching venues down here. Easy access good climbing, good gear in a nice setting, having done every route in under two hours we opted for a change of venue. Trewaves, ever heard off it? well it's ace. After a quick warm up on Cross Over (Very exposed HVS) we went and sent Single blonde's which is is a bit tough at E4 but OK. Back to the van for a quick kip (well it was 10 o'clock). Next day and my best mate Robson was knocking on the door, he was itching to complete his project and do you know what? he did. Over on the ridge he has created Economy 7 what a classic. Well after a few more tough VS's we are driving back to Bodmin cause I've got to do some work. A Level climbing? AS level climbing? and some coaching at the barn (the south wests best climbing wall) well it OK really we all have to work and there's no where better than here in Cornwall.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Wettest SPA ever

Just spent three days observing/ working with John Diplock on an SPA training course. Spent a day at Cudleigh and it rained lots, then it rained some more. Day two was spent at Dewerstone in, you guessed it, the rain. Still i think it was a good course, John's enthusiasm is utterly infectious and back up with some sound hard earned knowledge. If anyone is interested in doing an SPA get in touch with him at

Sunday, 21 March 2010


Still can't do the cheesewring project. Stabilising two exacting geometry's then move between them. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. SOON?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Da Peak

Part three of Duchy’s AITP 5 week consolidation expedition. When in the peak you have to go climbing it would be rude not to hay. This part of the exped started with a weekend off, Yeah. So myself and Hannah went pulling hard, the weather wasn’t to good so we hid in Horseshoe quarry sampling peak sport climbing (this int Cheesewring sport climbing it’s to safe and the rock is of a poorer quality). Hannah has been on the go for 10 days straight so she went back to the hut for a sleep, so off a wondered down to Staden Quarry for a bit of soloing on quality limestone. Sunday started with a bit of Grit. “The best Grit in the peak is found in Staffordshire” How true the Roaches never fails to inspire even the most jaded of Grit junkies (Me). Ten or so routes later we wondered out to the limestone, The BMCs crag Aldery quarry a secluded little gem but possibly not what you came to the Peak for. After a couple of hours we where back to the hut, then of to Harpur Hill quarry, the instigator of the great “Peak Bolt Wars”. Bolted rubble will always appeal to a quarryman like myself, insecure climbing and loose so loose I pulled a hold off and took a little lob changing an insignificant 6c+ to the Peaks first 9b treat, back tomorrow muscles aching but the soul feels good.

Day one.
Castle Naze. What’s happened to the weather, it’s windy so windy, to windy to venture up the top of the crag. So the day was spent covering differing aspects of rope work, rigging top ropes, releasable abseils and how to tie a belay after leading. The group where working hard, this was a very good thing as it was the only way to keep warm, looking at the wind burnt faces poking out of numerous layers of clothing the decision was made to find shelter. Where to go what to do? Well bouldering on the lower tier of you guessed it the Roaches. This must rate as one of the best bouldering venues for novice to improvers. Not only was it sheltered but the sun set was stunning even Hannah was seen bouldering with a smile.

Day two.
Burbage North. Thou must lead 15 routes prior to attend the SPA training course. Quite a burden when all you want is for people to improve still plenty to go at, weathers getting better.

Day three.
Windgather. What a classic group crag. We had 10 students leading everything possible whilst sharing the crag with three other groups off about 20 small children under instruction and there was plenty of space for us all. Routes where going down, students confidence was going up, placing gear was getting much quicker. By the end of the day everyone had achieved the target number of 15, some had exceeded this number. Now we can concentrate on becoming climbers treat.

Day four.
Roaches. Today was about covering old ground anything the students wanted to recover. So there was lot of rigging going on, rescues and other SPA related subject prior to their training next week. Due to all this rigging of top ropes meant they dudes had a chance to top rope some desperates, dispelling the myths about hard grit routes. Then back down to the boulder fields for some more cranking. Back down to Cornwall tomorrow.

Lakes Scrambling

Lakeland scrambling

Part two of Duchy’s AITP 5 week consolidation expedition. The Lakes will always have a special place in my heart, much softer and greener than the angular harshness of North Wales. Last week the group completed their ML summer training, so the main intention of this week was to walk as little as possible and to go over the steep ground elements of the course. Obvious answer? Scrambling.

Day one. Sort out digs and orienteering down in Grisdale.

Day two. Things get interesting, Start at the New Dungeon Ghyll. Mill beck (grade 1/2) followed by Tarn Crags (Grade 1-3 dependent on line taken) then a short wonder round the tarn to Pavey Ark and an ascent of Jacks Rake. Perfect weather with the maximum of amount of rock under your feet provides a good day on perfect teaching ground.

Day Three. Another classic Lakeland scrambling day. Starting just outside of Coniston a short stroll leads to The Bell (Grade 1) a classic buttress of perfect rough rock. Lots of rope work skills, group management and other issues where covered. Then across to Lows Beck (Grade 1 ish) leading up to impressive Low Water Beck (Grade 3). The application of rope work and “Ninja spotting skills” calms the nerves whilst the groups ascend some steep serious ground. Leading to a well frozen Low Water Tarn.

Day four. After experiencing such a variety of Lakeland classics what do you do next? Well you get steep, very wet and go down. Down Stone croft Beck. Lots of slides, jumps and shoots all merge into an unforgettable trip. Wet suit some with dry suits helps to keep the cold out with a special motion to young Harry who just whore fleece lots of fleece. Good effort. Well this part of the exped is over off to the Peak tomorrow, it would be nice to spend more time in this special place but don’t panic we will be back.

Sunday, 28 February 2010


What do you do on a day off in North Wales when the weather is a bit suspect. Go down the Slate quarries. With resent development there is a massive variety of option around, old classics's with newly up graded gear or just plan simple new routes. Potter around and do what ever, keep moving from different crags to keep warm. 13 routes, 4 different crags, treat. Back to Cornwall tomorrow.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Duchy College North Wales Expedition

Four star kayak cancelled due to lack of rain, rock climbing is hard to source coz off all the lovely white snow. The classic venues of Lion rock gave us a day of good sunshine, this is an ideal venue for SPA style stuff. We then had an interesting day Mountain biking down at the Marin course in Betws y Coed, still loads of snow, so much snow that you had to pedal down hill, then it snowed some more. Still Thursday was cool spent the day over at Castle Inn Quarry, such an assessable venue will always please students. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Old project New Bolts

There is a route I've been trying for about ten years. Still haven't done it (yet). How do you achieve something you can't do? One make it public e.g Stick some bolts in it (Make sure venue is appropriate first) Two let others know. So its in Cheesewring by Kyber Wall. Should be done soon.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Fun in the winter sun

Doyden point in glorious sun shine in February, does it get any better? Yes climbing Flying Circus and getting to hot in a hoodie, then quickly nipping up one of the best VS's on the north coast, Caprice. Hope this weather stays for North Wales next week, wishful thinking me thinks.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


Two weeks in Spain nice, well it was even after the two months of rain. We where here before Christmas during a spell of good weather on the last day it rained and didn't stop till we got back. We did a massive amount of climbing highlights being, red pointing Bocov Kokot (7c+) at Esperanza, Hannah fully crushing a 6a over on Sergio Antonia and declaring its about 4 maybe 4+, Joe and Nick fearless approach to falling/ jumping off routes. All was going well then it started to rain so an "active rest day" was called for, so we went for a team trip up both the gorges the second canyon is so impressively beautifully. The day after the weather looked more promising so we went for El Navigador Pillar (5 pitches up to 7a+), the rain started after the i had finished the third pitch but Hannah ended up followed this pitch in the pouring rain. After we abseiled off the rain didn't stop. So where do you go in the rain when in El-Chorro, follow the crowds up to Poema DE Roca. Is it dry in there? Fairly if you avoid the biggest drips and mad falling Spaniards. The tufa was running with water the in-situ chalk felt as slimy as bird poo.