Saturday, February 10, 2018

Inspiration

It's an elusive juice - sporting inspiration. Athletes talk of 'form' and how difficult it is to peak to their optimum performance, as well as the mental glass ceilings they need to break through to achieve these goals. It's a lonely affair too. In the dark Scottish months when it's hard to feel motivated, some stories just show what's possible and perhaps how weak most of us are at forcing the issue (why we're happy to be bumblers!). Dave MacLeod has always inspired me, not because he is the 'strongest' climber or sends the hardest lines (he freely admits he isn't and doesn't). After a long recovery from a shoulder injury, he has just climbed Catalán Witness the Fitness which has to rank as one of the most intricate (and powerful) problems in Europe. Dave is used to roofs - he cut his teeth at Dumbarton on the likes of Pressure, and more recently the long roof problems at Arisaig Cave such as 4th Wave. Dave has written a terrific piece in Rock & Ice magazine about this experience. Time to set some goals for the season!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mountains, Risk, and Volume


Many volumes have been written on risk from the point of view of Economics, Evolutionary Theory, Society, etc.but risk on the hills is becoming a lot more topical with the sheer volume of people approaching mountains as something akin to 'instant freedom' from the urban world or as a monetised escape. The recent criticism of mountaineering as rich people building their CV and measures to limit ascents of Everest, for example, have brought this issue to the fore. What are our mountaineering responsibilities and rights in a 'post-exploration' world?

Our author Francis Sanzaro (author of 'The Boulder'), now editor of Rock & Ice, has written an intriguing piece for the New York Times on our right to take risks in the mountains.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Boulder Scotland bouldering app

We've just signed a deal with Vertical Life to license Stone Country guides on their terrific app. Check it out and download to IOS or Android. Buyers of the book will soon find a stickered code inside the book which allows them a free download of the app. It's very functional, clean and easy to use, plus they have dozens of other guidebooks available to use on the app. We hope the app is available from January 2018. Those who have purchased the book already can email us for a code to unlock the app.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dumbarton Rock article in World Archaeology


Bouldering might feel just appear to be just a bit of athletic fun on some rock, but some take it very seriously indeed ... even archaeologists. The latest issue of the academic journal 'World Archaeology' features an article on the idea of 'counter archaeology', as practised by boulderers at Dumbarton Rock (amongst other visitors such as graffiti taggers/artists). It's always worthwhile taking some reflective time to consider what our activities mean in the greater scheme of things, and how they might appear to someone who has never witnessed this activity. In more imaginative contexts, some might see bouldering as 'costly signalling behaviour' (showing off), or consider it a pure form of non-representational theory (talk to John Hutchinson), and some might just call it 'bonsai mountaineering' (my term). Anyway, it was all a collective effort instigated by some kind archaeologists at ACCORD, an enlightened group of enthusiastic people who believe in opening archaeology to everyone... check out some of their projects at this open access site >>> which includes a 3D model of the Pongo boulder.

Here's the abstract: ' The notion of counter-archaeology is echoed by the opposing faces of the volcanic plug of Dumbarton Rock, Scotland. On the one side is the ‘official’ heritage of Dumbarton Castle, with its upstanding seventeenth-century military remains and underlying occupation evidence dating back to at least the eighth century ad. On the other side lies a landscape of climbing, bouldering and post-industrial abandonment. This paper develops counter-archaeology through the climbing traditions and boulder problems at Dumbarton Rock and brings to the surface marginalized forms of heritage. Climbers and archaeologists have co-authored the paper as part of a collaborative project, which challenges the binary trope of researcher and researched and provides a model for a collaborative, co-designed and co-produced counter-archaeology.'

Check out the collective article on Dumbarton Rock in World Archaeology's latest journal issue >>>