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Flesh Turns Black
17 Dec 17 // Dark Materials

Flesh Turns Black

I've not been able to write much creativity while finishing Higher Education, and so have been using Instagram as a substitute - the 2000 letter limit a good way not to get sidetracked. Most things I write about are the first thing that comes to my head as I wake up, and last week the first thing I saw was a picture of Ben Fogle (see below), and so I wrote about that. I actually like Ben Fogle -.....

Belay Jackets Revisited
09 Dec 2017

Belay Jackets Revisited

The two questions I get asked most regularly via this blog involve either cordelettes or belay jackets - the cord ones about ‘how thick’, ‘how long’ and ‘how best to use’, which is funny.....

Finding Partners
25 Nov 2017

Finding Partners

Hi JohnPeople often ask me why I used to solo so much, Alex Huber (no mean soloist himself), even going so far to suggest it was some form of self-sabotage (two solo attempts on the Harlin must mean.....

“Bring More Beaks”
14 Nov 2017

“Bring More Beaks”

I got into a minor scuffle the other day on Facebook over the fact both I an Vanessa had placed some bird beaks on Mescalito last month, probably about ten in total. This was the around the same time.....

Walk on by
13 Nov 2017

Walk on by

A great climber once told me the story of how the first time he came to Yosemite, full of youthful wall dreaming, he’d sought out wall climbers for knowledge there being no technique books or.....

Unsent
10 Nov 2017

Unsent

I stare at the Facebook comment box, open but empty, from me to you. Have we met or are we strangers — I don’t know? Does it matter? I imagine you in that hospital bed — time passing at the.....

Storms
23 Sep 2017

Storms

Hi EveryoneFirst off sorry for big gap in updates!I’ve been in the US for a month and a half and most of it has been far away from the internet. I got down yesterday from an eleven day ascent.....

perfect universe in order
31 Aug 2017

perfect universe in order

As I crept through the dark forest that ringed the lake, my flip flop feet weary of sharp sticks and stones, I caught sight of something small and white laying amongst the pine cones. Although only.....

Life at retail
29 Aug 2017

Life at retail

“I’m going to leave a nut” I said, crouched down, tugging at the rotten rap slings jammed beneath a couch sized boulder, “I don’t trust these slings”. “What! We’ve already lost two.....

Cams - Field repairs
07 Aug 2017

Cams - Field repairs

The following is an extract from my up and coming book Higher Education, the most exhaustive big wall climbing book yet written. On hard, intensive walls, where cams are being placed and.....

Take!
12 Jul 2017

Take!

I once heard a scary story about miscommunication from a French guy I was teaching how to climb big walls.  He was climbing on some big sea cliff and was out of sight of his belayer when he found.....

Bill Gordon
05 Jul 2017

Bill Gordon

In the credits of your life, scrolling slow as you breath your last, who would appear there, writ in your misty mind? Star billing would be reserved for the stars, those you loved the most, those that.....

10 Things
14 Jun 2017

10 Things

... I wished I knew (before heading up Half Dome RNWF)I had a facebook message this week from a guy called Blair about climbing Half Dome. I get a lot of emails like this, this blog some tinder for.....

knot to question why?
12 Jun 2017

knot to question why?

I saw an old post from 2012 by Outside reappear a few weeks ago on Facebook titled “Bye bye bowline”, reigniting a pretty common debate on the knots safety: whether we should stop.....

An Education
07 Jun 2017

An Education

I once met a man who you might call an industrialist.  Some might call him one of the ‘bosses’, maybe even a ‘fat cat’ or part of the ‘elite’ if you saw him.....

brother to all climbers
06 Jun 2017

brother to all climbers

Email from me to Alex Honnold dated 14/06/2012Hi AlexMany moons ago I was asked to pick up an award for you at the Kendal Mountain Film festival for your first film.  I can remember watching.....

Two into seven billion
22 May 2017

Two into seven billion

He lays in the grass, beneath the route, me belaying, Vanessa above, telling me about his thoughts on future children his still fresh marriage might one day bring. Like all young, maybe dad’s,.....

Going to the bathroom
16 May 2017

Going to the bathroom

My big wall book is coming along well, and with 21 days to go it’s already on 154%, which is amazing.  A few people have asked if Higher Education will be just ‘another big wall.....

Party Tricks
13 May 2017

Party Tricks

While writing Higher Education again and again I come up with problems that in the past had needed solving, then written out what I did to solve them.  One example was how to lower out a super.....

Petzl Grigri +
12 May 2017

Petzl Grigri +

I’m not a sport climber, in fact I suffer from a lack of motivation when I find myself at single pitch sports crag, a mix of not being strong enough, and bolts not offering that scratch to my.....

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