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

Rock me sexy Jesus image Dark-Half  | Aug 16, 10

Rock me sexy Jesus

Cold Wars is coming along bit by bit (that’s my book - not a reprise of the cold war), but today - sat indoors writing while the sun shone for what seemed like the first time in months, I had a sudden crisis of confidence.  Was I writing stuff that people would want to read?I was working on a chapter called ‘A chocolate river runs through it’ about how instead of going to Yosemite, I spent two months working on the film Charlie and the Chocolate factory.  I started thinking about when, years ago, I started...

read more
Best in Cam image Gear  | Aug 14, 10

Best in Cam

Went into Outside in Hathersage yesterday - the climbing shop I worked in for years -hoping to do some more work on my book.  I should have known it’s a non starter, as I know most of the staff, and most of the customers know me, so I tend to spend most of the time chatting away about stuff - but not working.Anyway the conversation came round to cams, and the merits of the DMM Dragon versus others caming units, namley Aliens, Metolius Master Cams, BD Camalots and BD C3’s.I guess I’m lucky in...

read more
Letter from America: Big Sur image Dark-Half  | Jul 11, 10

Letter from America: Big Sur

Down at the coast in Monterey with one night before I fly back to the UK. After resting a few days, I had time for one more go at my crazy plan of a one day solo of El Cap and set off Thursday afternoon to try Lurking Fear.  The day before I’d carried my gear up to the base so I could just walk up at 4 pm and start climbing.  Once there I found another team fixing pitches who asked about the weather forecast - with big clouds coming in over half dome.  I’...

read more
Letter from America: Closer image Dark-Half  | Jul 06, 10

Letter from America: Closer

I’m sat in my usual spot in the Yosemite Lodge cafeteria typing out words with sausage fingers, my hips and feet aching with a dull throbbing pain, my head full of fog.  I feel as if I’ve been run over or been cage fighting.On Friday at 7.30 pm I started up Zodiac for my 5th time (2nd time that week), with just 3 litres of water, a single rope, two sets of batteries for my headtorch and a minimalist rack; I don’t think I’ve ever felt so committed in my life.The first two pitches were...

read more
Letter from America: A short fix image Dark-Half  | Jul 02, 10

Letter from America: A short fix

Well, a week has passed since I arrived in the valley - a week which has seen little traffic on ‘the captain’ - and a very hot week (up in the ‘90s), but thankfully - and after many false starts - I climbed zodiac in 19 hours (with one pitch fixed).  Unfortunately, this wasn’t a solo speed ascent, but with two young Californians; Jordan and Adam.The story begins when I went back up to do a two-day solo ascent of Zodiac, both to get reacquainted with the route, and also to calm my nerves about setting off up...

read more
Letter from America: The Hand image Dark-Half  | Jun 28, 10

Letter from America: The Hand

Well it’s been a busy 5 days in the Valley, with lots of ups and downs… well mainly downs really.After my last post I went back up to Lurking Fear and by 7.30am I was six pitches up.  That may sound fast, but I felt I was climbing too slowly to make it in a day, as I’d set off around midnight.  One thing I hadn’t grasped was that to make a non on-sight one day ascent of an el cap route was a big undertaking; to do this onsite doubly so, and to go...

read more
letter from America: Superman and the fuckwit image Dark-Half  | Jun 25, 10

letter from America: Superman and the fuckwit

Back in the cafe after another unproductive night shift on El Cap.Every time I try and fail - I’ll explain why later - I come down not feeling glum, but excited about going back.  Every time I fail I see things I need to do better; little tweaks, better ways of doing things, new ways of thinking.  Also every time I go back, the mountain before me is a little smaller.Yesterday morning I was being attacked by my ringtail cat - but it seems months ago already.  Coming down at 5 am I felt knackered...

read more
Letter from America: Ringtail image Dark-Half  | Jun 23, 10

Letter from America: Ringtail

Drove into the valley yesterday afternoon and the first two things that hit me were the crowds and the heat.  People often say they hate the crowds, but when you spend most of the time on a wall you don’t tend to see them, but yesterday the place was rammed - perfect for a ‘get me off the ground’ psyche.  Next was the heat, and as soon as I saw the haze coming of the tarmac I was running through heat stroke - or worse - scenarios for my speed climbing (due to the nature of speed...

read more
Letter from America: Thinking like a fool image Dark-Half  | Jun 23, 10

Letter from America: Thinking like a fool

I’m sat outside the Coffee block Cafe in Merced working off my jetlag with a cup of tea before heading up to Yosemite valley. I don’t mind flying, but hate traveling - which is pain when that’s what I seem to do most of the time.  I guess it’s down to the fact that I just don’t trust myself to get the myriad of tiny - but crucial - things right.  It’s as if I have to double check everything all the time. I can’t be left or trusted.  Its...

read more
The balloon image Dark-Half  | Jun 15, 10

The balloon

The last few days have been a revelation to me - the kind of days that seem to come straight from the pages of a book.I’ll keep the story short, as it’s not my story, but I guess the person involved would never see it as anything special; which is a shame, because for the rest of us, it’s something to hold onto when times are tough; one of those stories too good to be true (like most of mine - except this one is).Anyone who’s seen me talk over the last few years...

read more