‘Big E (go)’
The other day a friend emailed me some questions aimed to help people wanting to head off on their own adventures, covering the often-overlooked financial side of things as well how you find the gumption to go on one in...
Down off Denali
Just down from a five weeks holiday on Denali with Vanessa (worst holiday EVER!). Without a doubt, the most misery one could ever undertake voluntarily. Survived whiteouts, the deepest unrelenting cold, wind storms,...
beyond your control
Thought I’d share this reply on the subject of rescue scenarios that are outside of the norm (I’ll do a full response on my blog later, as it’s a really interesting topic).
“Hi James, I might...
I was once talking to a well known black TV presenter and he asked about skiing across Greenland and making a TV program together. I joked that I wouldn’t do it if he being black was any part of it because I always...
For me - this is one of the photos that started me off on this life long love of big walls: John Middendorf - thumb outstretched - as ever - on the summit of Trango Tower. The photo was taken in 1992, around the time I was...
“Bring More Beaks”
I got into a minor scuffle the other day on Facebook over the fact both I and Vanessa had placed some bird beaks on Mescalito last month, probably about ten in total. This was around the same time that “Piton’s Pete”...
Walk on by
A great climber once told me the story of how the first time he came to Yosemite, full of youthful wall dreaming, he’d sought out wall climbers for knowledge there being no technique books or websites back then. One...
I stare at the Facebook comment box, open but empty, from me to you. Have we met or are we strangers — I don’t know? Does it matter? I imagine you in that hospital bedtime passing at the speed of healing - skin and...
<p><p>Hi Everyone</p> <p>First off sorry for the big gap in updates!&nbsp;</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been in the US for a month and a half...
Life at retail
“I’m going to leave a nut,” I said, crouched down, tugging at the rotten rap slings jammed beneath a couch sized boulder, “I don’t trust these slings”. “What! We’ve already lost two nuts already,” said...
Cams - Field repairs
The following is an extract from my up and coming book Higher Education, the most exhaustive big wall climbing book yet written.
On hard, intensive walls, where cams are being placed and removed...
I once heard a scary story about miscommunication from a French guy I was teaching how to climb big walls. He was climbing on some big sea cliff and was out of sight of his belayer when he found himself off...
<p><p><em>I had a Facebook message this week from a guy called Blair about climbing Half Dome. I get a lot of emails like this, this blog some tinder for stupid/noble adventures like this!...
knot to question why?
I saw an old post from 2012 by Outside reappear a few weeks ago on Facebook titled “Bye bye bowline”, reigniting a pretty common debate on the knots safety: whether we should stop teaching it, and looking for...
brother to all climbers
Email from me to Alex Honnold dated 14/06/2012
Many moons ago I was asked to pick up an award for you at the Kendal Mountain Film festival for your first film. I can remember watching it...
New Big Wall climbing Book
So you want to climb a big wall?
Do you want to climb a big wall, wake with a start in the dark clipped to a ledge the size of a dustbin lid?
Do you have dreams of nailing pin scar cracks a kilometre up,...
We haven’t met.
I was one of Andy Fanshawe’s regular climbing partners. It is sadly 25 years since he died next Tuesday 14th March.
I was just doing some research on the net to...
Climbing Gear Technique
Prusic Loop as pro?
I was asked last night down at the wall about the strength of prusik loops, a topic that seems to crop up from time to time. The climber had used his prusik as an extender after running out of quickdraws....