An eclectic mix of writing, covering climbing equipment, technique, life & death (and all the stuff inbetween).

Close to the Bone image Q&A  | Mar 27, 15

Close to the Bone

Hi PeterI think for summer alpine climbing, where you’re dealing both with heat and cold, where staying cool is crucial to staying comfortable, a layering system works best.  The Montane Extreme smock is my number one go-to piece for anything cold and gnarly, where I want the maximum robustness in my clothing, as it copes better than anything else for stop and go in cold temperatures, where multiple layers would not.  This is a winter exped, winter north wall piece.  But for alpine climbing in mixed environments there is very little flexibility, and a lot...

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Phantoms versus Spantiks image Q&A  | Mar 23, 15

Phantoms versus Spantiks

Hi GuyI know that people can get away with single layer boots in very cold temperatures when moving quickly (I’ve used single leather boots in Antartica and Greenland down to -25c when using Nordic skis), but the problem comes when you’re forced to stop moving.  Say for instance your feet are not being damaged by the cold yet (as I doubt they would be warm - just not frostbitten) but your mate slips and twists and ankle, or gets AMS, or you run out of food at and time at 17,000 camp and have to come...

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The Boat image Dark-Half  | Mar 20, 15

The Boat

I’m haunted by the memory of a boat - half built and begun long ago, timbers now rotting; hidden behind a ruin, beside a rain soaked and faraway shore.  This thing, a skeleton of wood growing slowly soft, seemed to mean more to me than the sum of its parts.  It spoke to me about the very nature of what pains me.“Do you want to see my dad’s boat?” she’d asked.And so there it was, bigger than I could ever have imagined, not a boat, a ship.  Too big to be a...

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D.F.Y.U image Climbing  | Mar 11, 15


Thanks for the question (I have had quite a few like this recently).  I’m sat in a cafe with two Christians arguing about the bible, so my answer may get a bit garbled!I must say first that I know very little about training, and the type of training I do is pretty spotty and sporadic, and probably is a long way away from any traditional approach - but seems to be effective.  If I have any kind of foundation that I work on, then it’s not a real fitness concept, not part of a fitness...

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Swamp Thing image Dark-Half  | Mar 08, 15

Swamp Thing

The other morning, washing up my breakfast dishes, the sun warming the kitchen for the first time in months, my mobile rang, something of rarity these days. It was my friend Dion, who now runs Speakers from the Edge, wanting to talk about going on tour later in the year, ideas and strategies, how to get bums on seats, what trips I’d be talking about.  He’s also booked me into some comedy festivals, so wanted to check that I had some material in mind, as it would be a good ‘direction’ to go in in the future....

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Christmas Tree image Dark-Half  | Mar 05, 15

Christmas Tree

It’s March and my christmas tree is still up, still standing in the corner of the living room, bedecked in glass baubles that glint and shine even under a hundred days of dust.  I’ve been away a lot this year, that could be my excuse - yah - I’ve been busy, traveling, moving - no time, no time. But that’s not the reason.I’m a lazy bastard - that’s another - bit more like it - my engagement with where I live confined to prisoner simplicity: bed, bathroom, beans on toast. ...

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Teeth image Dark-Half  | Mar 01, 15


In my new show, rather than just be funny stories of my latest holidays (the last show - Cold Mountain was all about Antarctica in 2014), I thought I’d try something different. And so this tour looks for lessons learnt after 40+ years of climbing, big and small, funny still, but a little deeper than gags about crapping in wag bags (although I’ve them still!). Trying to work out what these lessons are has been revealing, seeing how each lesson often led onto the next, that each lesson - each climb - was being instructive, giving me insights into who...

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Steps image  | Feb 27, 15


You know that feeling were you’re kind of half asleep because you need a piss - well more half awake, as being half asleep would be OK, so no - lets say half awake.  You lay there in the dark knowing you should get up and have a slash, like it’s the only way, the only way the niggling little torment will leave you, a stone in the shoe of sleep, but you don’t - you just try and ignore it, maybe imagining your body will just soak it back up.  On a side note...

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Blood & Bone image Dark-Half  | Jan 29, 15

Blood & Bone

HiI guess a few days ago - on twitter - I talked about how impossible it is to sign out of social media, that in a way I’m trapped by it, as it’s both a huge positive in my life (without it I guess I’d sell fewer books or tickets), but also may be a big negative as well (through it I betray myself).  I have often asked myself the question could I just switch it all off and walk away?Before Xmas I tried to see what would happen if I did, and for...

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Shia LaBeouf’s Butt image Dark-Half  | Jan 28, 15

Shia LaBeouf’s Butt

I’ve never liked Transformers, always finding it way to bombastic, too loud, to many cuts - in fact there are only cuts - it’s sort of dumb, but not in a clever way like Pacific Rim… no it’s just dumb - like American Sniper dumb (the American Psycho of our time).  I also never liked Shia LaBeouf either but I’m not sure why.  I don’t know what it was about him, maybe my image of him was contaminated by his association with dumb one dimensional robots, but he’s just never been the...

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