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

Panasonic DMC-FT2 image Gear  | Oct 09, 11

Panasonic DMC-FT2

I’ve been using a Canon PowerShot G10 (now the G12) for a few years, and although it’s a great camera, its size, somewhere between a small SLR and a large compact, means it has to go in a medium-sized Lowepro pouch. Using a pouch to hold a camera is always a pain, and being able to slip a camera into a chest pocket is a much better way to carry a climbing camera, attaching it with a short lanyard to the zipper or a DIY tab so it can’t be dropped. One problem is that condensation...

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Summits are overrated image Gear  | Oct 04, 11

Summits are overrated

Well made it down off the wall (bet some of you thought I was still up there), and the long hard drive home to Sheffield.Shoulders are still sore, but good to be home, with plans already in my head for a future adventure.Anyway here’s a short little video of images and movies from the trip.

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Little voices image Climbing  | Sep 28, 11

Little voices

Back in the ledge after a fraught descent, and it took a brew, the rest of my chocolate and the last of my cuscus (plus a bit of Arcade fire) to remove a mask-like grimace that had taken hold of my face all day.  On reaching the ledge I was just utterly wasted - especially mentally.Did I get to the top?Well, set off at 7 am, jugging up 5 pitches, and cleaned the crux pitch. Noticed how my arms are feeling quite painful from so much jugging, as well as my knees and back, and what with my sore...

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Three to go image Climbing  | Sep 27, 11

Three to go

Pulled out all stops today (alpine start and cold cup of mountain fuel chic drink) and climbed 3 pitches - including what was probably the crux.The heavens also really opened up today, and it was the first day on the wall I actually got wet. It’s also a sign I’m getting close to the top,  and if I run two pitches into one I just have two to go.The sound of the rain was amazing as the whole wall came alive with rushing water, with waterfalls falling accross the wall, not to mention lots of rock...

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Chop chop image Climbing  | Sep 25, 11

Chop chop

Been checking my ropes every day for damage, as the troll is very rope unfriendly, with loose rock and lots of sharp edges. Anyway spotted that my back up lead rope (I’ve got 2 lead ropes and 2 static ropes plus a 7mm rap line) had been hit. The damage is one core strand and 20% of the sheath, but it’s a thick rope, so a bit of gaffer tape to hide it and it’ll be fine. Staying safe up here is all-consuming, and it’s a relief to get back to the ledge at night and just let...

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Hauling, hauling, hauling image Climbing  | Sep 25, 11

Hauling, hauling, hauling

As usual, it’s been a long day on the troll wall.Had to haul my bag from pitch 5 to 10, allowing me to set up camp to climb the next 8 pitches then descend. The last 3 pitches were super steep, so will need to do some down aiding on my way back.Amazingly all the hauling went really easily, two 60 metre hauls, and a 30 metre one - bypassing two belays. Had to do some fancy tricks, like hanging my bag from a fifi, and even lowering it out from the pitch above (if you want to know how to ask me...

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First fall image Climbing  | Sep 23, 11

First fall

Took my first fall today. It was bound to happen with so much loose stuff around, and so much hooking. In the end, it was a rusty copperhead that got me.I actually didn’t think they would be any heads on the route (I don’t have any!), so on the eighth-pitch I just tried to creep up to them - delicately like - back clipping as I went (if I fell I didn’t want to rip them out, as don’t have any replacements). Most were pretty grotty, but then I spied the worst of the lot....

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Bat hooks image Climbing  | Sep 23, 11

Bat hooks

A good day today; 2 pitches climbed, no rain, and finished in the light.Woke up feeling as only a big wall soloist can (I forgotten), with throbbing hands, tired muscles, knowing you have to get up and get moving (when your soloing if you’re not climbing, you’re not going anywhere).  Had a nightmare I was being crushed to death - which considering yesterday’s traumas I’m not surprised.First pitch was rated A2 and was a mix of very corroded bolts and rivets interspersed with bat hooks (I really hate bat hooks). If you don’t...

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Falling house image Climbing  | Sep 22, 11

Falling house

Yesterday was by far the toughest day yet - and I came within a whisker of bailing - but now I’m lounging in my portaledge ( got to bed at midnight so having a lie in), and I’m glad I didn’t.What made yesterday so hard was hauling, which is always tough even when there are two, but alone it can turn into a really nightmare. The problem is that the terrain is very featured (lots of loose hanging blacks) and every time the bag got stuck I’d have to rap down and free it, the jug...

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Stay on topic image Dark-Half  | Sep 20, 11

Stay on topic

Been a very relaxing day - in fact a bit too relaxing - spoilt a bit by the fact the weather has been really quite nice (think of a cold but clear autumnal day), with just a few showers.  Anyway have spent the time well, sorting out gear, and drying off my camping stuff that was festering in my car (although I am feeling a bit dizzy after gluing rubber drysuit cuffs into the sleeves of my Patagonia Super alpine jacket with seam grip).  Last job was boiling up all my eggs up to take on the wall,...

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