blog

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


Winter Logic 3: Dot to Dot image  | Feb 09, 11

Winter Logic 3: Dot to Dot

Most climbers are defeated in the mind long before the body, often years before they even see their hardest climbs.  Most climbers are strong enough, skilled enough, and posses enough stamina for any classic winter climb up to grade V.  Often all they lack is a the right mental approach.What I learned climbing big walls can be easily applied to any climb, in that a route is simply the sum of its parts, and if you can climb those parts, then you can climb that route.  Tim Emmet once explained to me that when he’s...

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Winter Logic 2 image  | Feb 07, 11

Winter Logic 2

I know this website is pretty glove heavy, with thousands of words explaining different systems on how to keep your digits working.  The reason for this is not that have some glove fetish, but that getting this aspect of your gear correct is paramount.  Well here are a few more!One glove to rule them all (Well a mitt actually)When you climb with a lot of people in winter the number one thing you notice is that the ones with lots of experience tend not to make a big fuss about their hands, while those with less...

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Winter Logic 1 image  | Feb 05, 11

Winter Logic 1

When I’ve finished writing Cold Wars (should be out this summer, with my deadline being the end of March), I’m self-publishing my next technique book Driven being the 1st), a book called Down; which covers everything you need to know about not dying on the descent (£1 from each book will go to the Conville Trust), and a book called Climb Logic (the money from this will go to help my kids get to Eton, and so rise to the top of the Conservative party). Climb Logic won’t be like your normal ‘how to climb’ book, as...

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The other valley image Climbing  | Jan 21, 11

The other valley

Drove over from Sheffield to Chamonix yesterday.  I spend a lot of time driving these days, sat in my smelly and noisy diesel van alone, my iPod earphones stuffed in my ears trying to drown out the noise, only this time I going climbing… ish.  I haven’t driven over to the alps alone for a while and it was only halfway into the journey, about hour six, that I realized I still had the same journey ahead of me as going from Sheffield to Inverness, a trip I have grown to dread for its mind-numbing distance. ...

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Death of a lie image Dark-Half  | Jan 16, 11

Death of a lie

I was supposed to be climbing with Rich Simpson this winter, probably something on the Jorasses, not that we’d ever met, our relationship no more than half a dozen Facebook emails knocked back and forth, but I was looking forward to it.  I know little about sports climbing or bouldering, but I’d heard a lot about Rich from other climbers I respected, and have heard on the grapevine that he was planning on moving into Alpine stuff, I thought I’d see if he was up for some alpine climbing.  It seemed Rich was maybe cut...

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Break Through image Climbing  | Dec 21, 10

Break Through

So Season after season you go up north to Scotland - and some times - rarely - to the Lakes and Wales - to go winter climbing. You’ve undertaken a standard apprenticeship or rock and then ice, easy routes first - almost walking - then onto harder routes. But now you feel in a rut, climbing no harder than III or IV.A tough grade IV on Ben Nevis feels like the living end, and even the thought of moving up onto V’s scares you to death. Standing on a belay on Tower Ridge and looking over at...

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Race to the bottom image Dark-Half  | Dec 18, 10

Race to the bottom

In the comments in my last blog, where I wrote about removing hooks, Ben Sharp said how he was disappointed to see when my book Driven came out at £20, and the download was £10.  I wondered if I was in fact being a greedy capitalist and should be selling it for a nominal amount or even just put the whole thing up on the site for free?This of course is the dilemma with the web, in that so much information is put there for free we resent having to pay for it, even when it comes in the form...

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Get your hooks out image Technique   | Dec 16, 10

Get your hooks out

New technology in winter protection is always a good thing, and beyond the democratization of good quality ice screws a decade ago the last new bit of winter kit was the ice hook.  Everyone knows how versatile ice hooks are, and since they’ve been adopted in the UK they’ve replaced old style drive in’s and proved themselves on rock, ice and turf.  The main problem with the hook is that it can easily become fixed when placed as a peg, meaning that many routes now sport fixed hooks.  Being one of the original proponents...

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Don’t try this at home image Climbing  | Oct 08, 10

Don’t try this at home

I thought this was a wind-up, but it wasn’t (Neil climbed Lurking Fear).  I’m glad he made it.

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Which Nuts? image Gear  | Sep 28, 10

Which Nuts?

Hi AndySorry to pester you, but I’m about to buy my first rack of nuts and wondered if I should buy Rocks or Wallnuts?ThanksAdamHi AdamYou can look at nuts in two ways, one is that they are just oblong bits of alloy and they are all much of a muchness, or that they are incredibly sophisticated bits of kit and that each design stands apart from each other.  The truth is somewhere between the two.90% of the time any rack of wires, be they Wallnuts, Rocks or Stoppers, will work perfectly well; you...

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