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

special image Dark-Half  | Sep 14, 10


Saw this morning on the BBC website that Ofsted are saying that thousands of pupils are being wrongly diagnosed as having “special needs” on the UK, and that what’s really needed is better teaching support.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently - mainly because my son Ewen has been having a hard time at school, and so there’s been a push to have him categorized as having special needs. For a long time I’ve wondered if being labeled as having “special needs” is just as bad as being labeled as “remedial” when...

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Operation Certain Death image Dark-Half  | Sep 03, 10

Operation Certain Death

Been trawling through all my old emails today, looking for messages from my brother Robin, who plays a big part of my book, mainly through his emails as he goes off the Afghanistan and Iraq, and gets closer and closer to danger.  I had the idea of showing two brothers doing dangerous stuff, one selfishly, the other selflessly.  I didn’t want to do this in an explicit or contrived way, and seeing as I rarely see him, then his emails seemed like a good idea.Anyway this one made me laugh this morning, received a little before...

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ROPE SOLOING 101 PART 4 image Technique   | Sep 02, 10


WARNING: This blog is not meant as instructional text, and is simply a description of how I rope solo. Rope soloing is highly dangerous and demands a great deal of experience and good judgment and in many ways is more dangerous than free soloing, due to an increased reliance on ‘systems’. Anyone wishing to rope solo should already have an extensive knowledge of all the systems and equipment needed, as well as a sound knowledge of themselves, their limits, and the reality of making a mistake. 

Bottom line: Don’t rope solo.In this final instalment of this series of...

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Not working clever image Dark-Half  | Sep 01, 10

Not working clever

I aspire to be a workaholic - the type of guy who can’t stop, who gets it done no matter what, who ignores normal life in the pursuit of something else.  Unfortunately I’m not - I’m a I’vegotworkdoaholic. Every day is full of things I have to do - important things - things that can’t be ignored; books to write, articles to finish, deadlines to meet, tour to plan, talk to set up.  Throw in two kids, a high flying partner who’s training for the Paralympics, family, training and the odd...

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Ten tips for the Valley image Climbing  | Aug 31, 10

Ten tips for the Valley

It’s around this time of year that I start to get a bunch of inquires about doing big wall courses, primarily by people with their eye set on the Nose.  Unfortunately this year I’ve had too much on to do any, so I thought I’d scribble down a few random thoughts and tips for those bound for the valley.Getting into Camp 4 This is a big one, as the ‘Camp Full’ sign never comes down!  To get a place you need to be in the queue at 6 am (bring a book, coffee and a chair...

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Me & Stevie image Dark-Half  | Aug 28, 10

Me & Stevie

I noticed tonight when looking at my website stats (yes that is very sad) that a lot of searches that bring people to this site are via the words, Stevie Haston.  I imagined the rage in the man, to know that people looking for him were, in fact, winding up with me*.Stevie Haston - just his name strikes fear into my heart.  He is my boggy man.  A climbing monster.  A creature.  Myth.  He’s also my hero.The other day, while in a climbing shop with my kids, I picked up a...

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The Balance image Dark-Half  | Aug 25, 10

The Balance

Writing your memoirs - well a bunch of stories about yourself - can be pretty tough once you dig below the surface.  Time and again I look at my younger self and think “you’re not a very nice person, in fact you’re a bit of bastard.” I hope I’m not quite so bad now, but I feel ashamed of my blinkered view of the world back then.  It was just me and the mountains, and nothing else seemed to matter unless it stood between me and my obsession.  This seems common amongst many...

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How I write image Literature   | Aug 21, 10

How I write

People are often surprised how many words it takes to write a book, and yesterday, talking to a TV producer (me and Karen are doing a daytime chat show next week) she said: “Oh how many words do you need to write - 30,000?”  The answer for cold wars at least is 100,000, and I suspect it may be even more than that.  “Wow,” she said, “how on earth do you write that many words?”.  It’s a good question.Most days are meant to be writing days, but writing days are like climbing days in the Alps, and...

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The Race image Dark-Half  | Aug 20, 10

The Race

Yesterday was Karen’s first race at the para cycling world cup in Canada, a 14km time trial, and all day I was gripped with tension, waiting for her to call me and say how she got on (for anyone who wants the back ground on Karen’s inspiring dream to go to the Paralympics then have a skeg at this blog.I seems that most top athletes spend the whole of the run up to an event telling themselves - and everyone why they are so good - and then when they loose - why they were so bad. ...

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Hero? image Dark-Half  | Aug 19, 10


My brother emailed this morning to see if I would help him raise awareness - and hence funds - for a charity pull he was taking part in. This involves pulling a C-130 Hercules down a runway in aid of The Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) and The British Limbless Ex-Service Man’s Association (BLESMA). As some of you may know, my brother is a loadmaster in the RAF, and at the moment is tasked primarily with bringing the dead and injured home from Afganistan - a job that is probably not one anyone would choose to do (the hardest...

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