blog

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


Below the eiger image  | Jan 23, 12

Below the eiger

Told this morning that we’d not make it to the eiger due to a metre of snow. These words came from the ticket salesman - so what does he know!  Anyway he was right that there was a metre of snow, but not that we wouldn’t make it. And so after a fair slog in thigh deep powder and breakable crux, we’re bivied below the Harlin. We had planned to go up to the first band, but decided that it would be better tomorrow (best not to get shafted on the first day). And so were...

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Interlaken around image Climbing  | Jan 22, 12

Interlaken around

Sat in the hostel in Interlaken, having driven over from the UK yesterday.  The weather is incredibly mild, and it was raining when we arrived at 11pm last night.  The forecast is overcast tomorrow, snowing the day after, then steadily getting better the next four days (colder and clear).  The plan is to get the 6.40 train up and walk in from the Eigergletscher station at 8.10 to the bottom and try to reach the 1st band (crux) that day, leaving me to lead the crux aid pitches (4) through the band during the poor weather.  Alpine climbing is...

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Exotic Gear image Gear  | Jan 16, 12

Exotic Gear

Hi Andy,I was wondering if I could get your advice about getting hold of cam hooks. I have been doing a bit of research and it doesn’t seem anyone in the uk has them anymore (Joe Brown’s have sold out and are not re-newing their stock). I emailed Moses to see if they knew of anyone who stocked them in the UK and they said you had been the only person to enquire about them before. They suggested someone like mountain tools would do international shipping, so I was planning on getting in contact with them to...

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A Little Prayer image Dark-Half  | Nov 27, 11

A Little Prayer

Had a tough few weeks on the road, pushing my body a bit too hard at times, with late nights and early mornings, and a few thousand miles traveled on bus, plane and car.  Having done a talk almost every night for a week, including some 5am starts, my body had started to crumble, with a sore throat and general ‘ME’ style fatigue chasing me (I really felt for Goarge Michael, his tour cancelled due to pneumonia - although I don’t smoke, so maybe that had more to do with it!). Sleep becomes the overriding obsession, as well...

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Ban the Bowline! image Climbing  | Nov 24, 11

Ban the Bowline!

There’s been a lot written recently about how we may see the banning of the bowline from UK climbing walls (many walls already have a bowline ban internationally). This has been prompted by the death of a climber due to the apparent failure of his bowline, a failure that to me doesn’t sound that uncommon (user error).I’ve never been a huge bowline fan, and I think it’s a knot you have to start with for it to become your number one. I also can’t help remember the story of a Brit bridging up the...

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My gayest fan image Dark-Half  | Nov 22, 11

My gayest fan

Had someone buy a book the other day who asked for me to write “To my gayest fan” in the front, which may seem a bit odd, but is really pretty normal compared to some of the odd requests I get (“Too Hatstand”).  I love signing people’s books (makes me feel very much like a real writer), although I prefer people with names like Jo, or Loz or Jim (I had a ‘Bee’ last night - and when I asked what it was short for I was told ‘Bee’) rather than Yvonne, Nathaniel or Techwynn.It’s been...

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One Star Reviews image Dark-Half  | Nov 15, 11

One Star Reviews

A few weeks ago a friend of mine failed to ski to the South Pole.  His aim was to set a new record, but he didn’t even make it beyond the Canadian coast due to poor weather.  It was a costly failure when you consider that a trip up north can set you back by ninety grand; not to mention a year’s training and preparation; his very own Olympic event. To make matters worse, this was his third attempt, the first failure due to a broken ski binding, the second a broken fuel container.  If...

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Whose Story is it anyway? image Literature   | Nov 02, 11

Whose Story is it anyway?

I was being interviewed the other day by Nail Grimes when he asked me a question, the type of question you laugh off, but which sticks into like an arrow and stays there.  First, he told me he’d asked many of my old climbing partners, most of who are now Alpine guides if they’d read my first book Psychovertical, to which they’d all replied “Of course not - it’s all bollocks”.  He asked me what I’d say to this statement.At first, I just laughed it off and said the usual line about...

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Binman fitness image Climbing  | Oct 20, 11

Binman fitness

hi andy just would like your advice on the best way to get fit for winter climbing this year ,I did loads of running last year up to seven miles twice a week for about seven weeks before the winter took hold.but still struggled up ben nevis moonlight gully as well as others.Being out of work means saving my cash until winter comes so I’m restricted on i can do, any advice greatly appreciated,look forward to your talk in Leeds .take care ShaunHi ShaunIt’s funny to be giving advice on fitness, seeing as...

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Pounding Steel image Technique   | Oct 18, 11

Pounding Steel

Hi Andy.    I hope you dont mind me picking your brain, just say if you do. But I’m wondering where I could practice the art of piton craft within the uk.  Ive got a bunch of copper heads I’m keen on trying.  I’ve been speaking to others and all I get told is to go to some worthless crag somewhere, but no one really knows where. I’m going to yosemite in 3 years and I know a lot of climbs go clean, I suppose i could just go there and learn on the spot but...

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