Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Van Barr Peak Tours

Had a big day and big night planned on Saturday, one went to plan, the other. . . .not so much.

Set off in the boulder bus with Chris Barr and heading for what we intended to be a full day of out-there trad on high tor. I thought I was going to die on the walk in, again an experience that doused any Alpinist fire that may lurk inside my soul. Walked past the High Tor sport and looked at the pillar of Endgame, an old Simon Lee route now Bolted at 6c+, which looked really good and I am keen to drag someone with me to try it. Our intention was to warm up on one of the HVS classics then crack on with the vertical, technical trouser filling/pumping run-outs. Chris hadn't lead Original Route before so we started on that, my suggestion so I do take responsibility for the failure of this week's task Lord Sugar. After some initial trepidation Chris got into the swing of things and romped up the groove. On second I wanted to take it nice and slow, savour the moves, unfortunately I went slow enough to feel and see the massive blocks coming away on this route, scary stuff, I'll never make it to the craig doris, I'd rather solo scoop wall then play roulette on that stuff. We both shared a knowing look on the belay ledge, so without further a do abbed off and heading straight to the damp polished arms of Raven Tor for a comforting hug. Only this was one of those hugs by a complete bastard who sticks a kick-me sign on your back, in short, I failed on rattle and hump start again and now realise my Noble-Method doesn't work if your piss weak so it's back to the drawing board, also Barr mashed his car on the Tor tree, doubly pissed.. Ollie youth had ticked Call of nature as we arrived, his first 8a, nice one you day-glo mammut psyche mission, speaking of psyched, met Mark Richardson climbing with Oli, that man is pure climbing enthusiasm!

As it turned into early evening we headed off to a sun baked millstone being the clever tacticians that we are, Chris fired up Technical Master a problem I had sucked on last summer and not tried since, YYFY I did it and it felt amazing and necky. After Barrows and Ramsden boasted of their one handed ascents I am determined to match this feat, right hand with a French blow to ensure a burn off.

I had wanted to do the snivelling shit for a while and with pads and excitement I set off up the slab which climbs exactly like science friction at Apremont, which Nathan Lee pointed out while I fell off the top of that problem. I had a minor jump at the start, no illusions of flashing the route, then committed to a longer getting through the unbelievably thin start to the good handhold with sloping clay death feet (give me back those matchstick edges!) I couldn't see the way and in bouldering mode jumped off again, no way was I risking my threads sliding down that shit. The jump was fine but I wouldn't want to go from any higher i.e. the crux. Ben onsighted it after joining in 5 minutes previously and showed that the crux is quite extended for men of average-ish height. I'm gunna do it, I'm gunna do it. was supposed to tonight but Barr snaked me and went out with Steve while I was still slaving away paying taxes.

anyway, to finish the day Ben and I climbed a wall left of March Hare on positive holds, felt about V2 with a longgg stretch for me. That night we went to STI who got Luke Slater down for a massive one.  He started as a slow burner for me being a techno punter but by mid-way he had me by the balls and I was in complete moron mode. Nice one STI.

I need more footage of climbing, there is only so much footage of my flat and the bus to work I can put up with.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Font in videos

Tried to write, what is the point?

Music: Talking Heads - This must be the place

Tom's stag week in Font, at first the forcasted rain looked like it was set to ruin the week but we only lost one full day to it in the end.

climbers are Nathan Lee, Steve Ramsden and Lee Cooper, plus me failing on science friction.

cheers to Roo at the House for the digs and advice (Rababoum is indeed world class)

music by:


Cheers Tom, looking forward to your wedding

Stag Tom executing a perfect font top out with lots of crowd support

Lee Cooper on the 7B in Apremont, Fontainbleau.

Monday, 14 May 2012


Late shift week at work meant no climbing after font until the weekend, good really as my tips resembled a newspaper shredded up in the gutter on a rainy day. Even though on an evening shift I haven’t got to set off until 11 for work I have never really had the enthusiasm for training in the morning of any sort, long shower and sleeping in over fingerboarding and press ups etc. Now we’re in a new place under strict rules there is pretty much no chance of hanging my fingerboard up either. I would go to a wall as the works is a couple of minutes away but doesn’t open until 12pm, however I have just read that the worst of the bouldering walls the Matrix is open from 7.30am (!) soon so I will potentially try this avenue a few times, still no fingerboarding though as at the Matrix they’ve hung the beastmaker on the same angle as the campus board, DUMB. I don’t want to remain a night owl every other week, more the morning hawk hunting the early bird that caught the worm.

On bank holiday Sunday I went to Roche Abbey with Jo and James, meeting with Nottingham Joe and his two friends, after a drunken roller disco the night before I was feeling like a bag of smashed crabs. Jo cracked off her 7B project first go of the day, 3rd session in all, it revolves around moving off a left hand sloper up to an undercut in a roof, I was drawn to it and surged up to the undercut in snappy style on the flash go before peeling off, each subsequent go got worse as I tried to move slowly off intermediates and other douchbaggery. Joe took an almost horizontal swing of the top of Borg, at over 6ft tall this was like seeing the inner workings of Big Ben, the BONGGG being him hitting the floor and signalling a move over to the impossible roof. James set to work on doing a standing start to Apache, a heinous and harshly graded 8A+, whereas other people have French started. He made a good link but felt a weak shoulder twinging so stopped for the day, I flashed a 6C to the left of the roof on good holds and big moves then failed on the 7A traverse with big moves and big cross overs. Jo’s second project was faith left-hand on Beef Buttress and after silent communication with the Abbey attendant we moved up the crag, Jo dispatched said king line as the sun appeared and baked us all into a simultaneous snooze. silent acknowledgement the day had ended. 

I woke up on Monday feeling really bodily ruined so slept a while longer, I dragged myself to the works and promptly fell off everything I tried and had done before, I was feeling low and bored but then saw Barrows and watching him spend 10 minutes+ going up and down foot-on the campussing reminded me there is always someone worse off than you. Screw 8c for a game of soldiers.

Last night I went with Rammers to Anston and had a good few fails on Berretta, I cant be sure but all signs point to this being a rubbish problem, I am not bitter. Joble had suggested I try Fine art and after cracking it off quick smart I watched Steve fail then crack his back (result!) which I filmed (oh and another!) unfortunately he found a cheating less heroic method and the embers of my burn off were doused. This problem has wicked pinches and pockets as you can see in the video but the start is right next to a big block and below you is a back paggering block as you pull up off your heel, similar to the one found on The Nose at Burbage West, Fine Art is a non star problem with 2 star moves. I tried to do Blue Circles to finish the evening, a 6C on the surprisingly good vertical walls, but the holds were a bit too damp and I kept firing off in a strange tense agony. Went to bed too late again.

Steve on the 7A+ sidewall/arete at Anston Stones.

After big rainfall the previous night the humidity had come down and the rock was in great condition, relatively.

Music: Nouvelle Vague - Killing Moon