Friday, September 28, 2007

Stone Country 2 New Venues

I'm currently finishing off the new edition of the Stone Country companion, a full-colour guidebook to Scottish bouldering. I've got about 80 venues, many of them recent and new (including a gritstone venue, ha ha ha Sheffield), so this is a call to any boulderers who would like their new or classic venues listed and mapped out... just let me know what I should include.

Some highlights include Craigmaddie, Glen Nevis updates, the Arran Mushroom, Dumby updates, Clashfarquhar, Muchalls Shore, Clova, Shelterstone, Aviemore venues, loads of far northwest stones, Carn Liath, Applecross, Scatwell, Glen Coe, Tom Riach, Brin Rock of course...the list is extensive, but it's all about what information I can dig up.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fewer Chicken Heads but Deeper Dishes


The weather basked on the fringes of a high pressure and rain was attending one side of the country like a distracted bully, so we headed east and to the delights of the County. Bowden was visited after an aborted look at Raven's, proving too rough on the skin for a weekend of mostly skin management. We headed up to Bowden, gleaming in the sun like a petrified golden wave. Pairs of worshippers touched rock all along the length of the crag. Busy. Choose a can see the white dot-to-dot rubrics of the classics from half a mile away. We chose the winter-snowflake storm that is the Roof. Soon it was crawling. Still climbing gingerly, I snuck off to the west end to do some classics and noticed the crag was suffering just as much bouldering injury as me.


Anyway, the weather was perfect and some classics were done, Colin cranking hard through the Bowden right roof, getting close on Poverty (the foothold is now so worn, it really is harder, nothing sticks now!), Child's Play (fewer chicken heads but deeper dishes) and the new classic Staggered saw a repeat from one of the locals.

A secret bivvy in Belford and a few pints saw us waking blearily to wind in the trees and the complaints of crows at dawn. A dusty rain threatened to turn into a downpour, so we packed and left for Kyloe-In, which for about half an hour was finger-cool and sticky, like the finest conditions at Font in November. Getting absorbed in some classics, we didn't notice it was raining hard, then things started to go weak and tired, the body gave in and another weekend in the County was over, the law of diminishing returns allowing me to use the rain as an excuse!

Monty Python's

As for the question of the rock... the question remains... to pof or not to pof?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Scotland's Top 100 Problems over Font 7a

Here's a list of what I thought might represent the best of the hardest problems in Scotland... please have a look through and get back to me on any opinions/inaccuracies or additions... it's just a matter of opinion, but I'd like to get some feedback for inclusion in the new edition of Stone Country.

Scotland Top 100 Boulder Problems Font 7a and above…

Font 8b V13

Sanction Dumbarton Rock Dave Macleod 2007 Plain hard.
Pressure Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2005 Aggression needed.
Super Size Me Dumbarton Rock Malcolm Smith 2005 Very long.
Perfect Crime Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2005 Contorted.
Zillion Dollar Sadist Clifton Paul Savage 2002 Blank and slopey lip.

Font 8a+ V12

Sosho Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2007 Convoluted tour.
Serum of Sisyphus Dumbarton Rock Malcolm Smith 2007 Perfect Crime escape.
Sabotage Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2003 Technical prow.

Font 8a V11

Chahala Sit Start Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2007 Tricky dynamics.
Hokku Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2007 Half of Sosho.
Pongo Sit Start Dumbarton Rock Malcolm Smith 1998 Classic power problem.
King Kong Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2003 Sustained tension.
Chinese Democracy Thirlstane Paul Savage 2000 Eliminate rules apply.
Firestarter Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2004 Finger nasty.
Kayla Portlethen Tim Rankin 2006 Technical and powerful roof.

Font 7c+ V10

Shrinking Violet Sit Start Thirlstane Paul Savage 2003 Eliminate cave crimper.
My Evil Twin Sandyhills Paul Savage 2001 Eliminate prow. Orig. 8a
News in Pidgin Gaelic… Glen Nevis Super-crimpy roof.
Press Gang Glen Nevis Dave Macleod 2002 Eliminate power.
Axeman Glen Croe Dave MacLeod 2002 Brutish.
Georgie Boy Portlethen Tim Rankin 2006 Undercut power roof.
Mike’s Problem Applecross Mike Adams 2006 Undercut puzzler.
Out of the Blue West Highland Way Chris Graham 2005 Butch technical roof.
The Nuclear Button Kennedy Boulder Dave MacLeod 2002 Power surge.
Central Belt Mafia Clashfarquhar Tim Rankin 2005 Slopers and crimps.

Font 7c V9

Precious Glen Croe Mike Tweedley 2003 Power arête.
Turbinal Nose Glen Croe Dave MacLeod 2003 Dynamic arête.
Beatleback Traverse Glen Nevis Dave Cuthertson 2000 Technical classic.
Silverback Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2001 Body tension.
Smoke Screen Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2004 New sequence, still slappy.
Pongo Direct Dumbarton Rock Malcolm Smith 1998 Stand-up start to crack.
Far From the Maddening Crowd Craigton Andy Gallagher 1998 Bold arête.
Consolidated Extension Dumbarton Rock Andy Gallagher 1995 Super-classic traverse.
Put My New Shoes On Brin Rock Ben Litster 2007 Slopey lip.
The Sword Loch Morar Boulders Chris Graham 2006 Bizarre feature crimpfest.
In Bloom Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 1998 Tenuous traverse into Pongo.
Catch 22 Glen Nevis Dave Cuthbertson2000 Classic dyno.
Frantic Torridon Dave MacLeod 2004 Lip slopers.
Knife Party Clifton Paul Savage Slopey granite lip.
Susurrus Brin Rock Mike Lee 2007 Campus crux.
Craig’s Wall Sit Start Thirlstane Tim Rankin 2005 Crimpy and dark.
Sweet Cheeks Clashfarquhar Tim Rankin 2005 Overhanging arête.

Traighd Route
Lewis Dave MacLeod 2003 Crag traverse.
Curmudgeon Garheugh Dave MacLeod 2003 Innocuous crack…
Rapier Glen Massan Dave MacLeod 2002 Sharp and reachy schist.

Font 7b+ V8/9

The Shield Dumbarton Rock Malcolm Smith 1994 Bullworker problem.
Beyond the Edge Reason Portlethen Tim Rankin 2006 Slopey lip.
Turtle Traverse Portlethen Tim Rankin 2004 Wave-washed smoothness.
Free Energy Loch Sloy Dave MacLeod 2002 Pocketed roof.
Moir’s Traverse Boltsheugh Wilson Moir Eliminate low traverse (F8a+)
Consolidated Traverse Dumbarton Rock Andy Gallagher 1994 Classic pump.
Liar’s Lair Portlethen Tim Rankin 2005 Short version Kayla.
Oceans Dumbarton Dave MacLeod 2001 Desperate undercut.
Hardcore Superstar Thirlstane Paul Savage Eliminate traverse.
Tied Up and Swallowed Thirlstane Paul Savage Mantel.
The Tombstone Ben Ledi Niall McNair 2006 Scary block.

Font 7b V8

The Zealot Glen Ogle John Watson 2007 Crimpy roof.
Mugsy Traverse Dumbarton Rock Andy Gallagher 1993 Sloper crux.
Right to Silence Glen Nevis Dave MacLeod 2002 Roof and wall.
Pagan Uillean Glen Nevis Roof cross-over.
MacTavish Glen Nevis Dave MacLeod 2002 Undercut and technical.
The Mission Torridon Richie Betts 2007 Technical reachy wall.
Ginger Rides Again Cummingston T.C.Edwards 2004 Blunt arête.
Supercrack Glen Croe Dave MacLeod 2002 Slopey jam-crack.
Crucifix Ardmair Ruins Mike Tweedley 2004 Roof contortions.
The Main Issue Reiff in the Woods Richie Betts 2006 Sloper dyno.
The Cutting Room Glen Croe Dave MacLeod 2002 Sharp as hell.
The Catch Scatwell Mike Lee 2007 Dynamic and powerful.
The Victorian Trossachs Boulders John Watson 2007 Roof and lip crimps.
Cubby’s Traverse Etive Boulders Dave Cuthbertson2005 Granite slopers.
Mother Farquhar Clashfarquhar Tim Rankin 2005 Undercut crack.
Rudeboy Ben Ledi Mike Tweedley 2004 Sloper traverse.
Altered States Garheugh Mike Tweedley 2003 Undercut roof.
Broadsword Glen Massan Dave MacLeod 2002 Highball finish to traverse.

Font 7a+ V7

Toto Sit Start Dumbarton Rock Cameron Phair 1994 Crimpy crossing.
Slap Happy Dumbarton Rock Andy Gallagher 1993 Classic sloper crimps.
Virgin Suicides Stronachlachlar Dave Redpath 2001 Slopey traverse.
Clach Mheallain Reiff in the Woods Ian Taylor 2006 Technical arête.
Diesel Canary Lost Valley John Watson 2007 Crimpy dyno.
Mestizo Sit Start Dumbarton Rock Dave MacLeod 2000 Heel-hook crux.
Big Up Orra Glasgae PeepsTrossachs Steve Richardson 2005 Insane mantel.
Pit Boy Glen Clova Tim Rankin 2005 Perma-dry roof.
Three Streaks Annat Mike Tweedley 2004 Technical groove.
Sonic Mook Loch Buie, Mull Mike Tweedley 2003 Cave roof.
Ace of Spades Glen Croe Dave Redpath 2001 Overhung crack.
Enthalpy Loch Sloy Dave MacLeod 2002 Crimpy wall.
Nipple Attack Loch Buie Slopey nose.

Font 7a V5/6

Mugsy Dumbarton Rock Dave Cuthbertson 1980’s Dyno and sloper.
Malcolm’s Arete Torridon Malcolm Smith 1990’s Overhanging arête.
Pump Up the Jam Sron na Ciche Boulders James Sutton 2004 Jam crack from hell.
Pebble Mill Reiff in the Woods Mike Tweedley 2004 Pebbletastic.
Corkscrew Ardmair Ruins Mike Tweedley 2004 Twisty and fun.
Helipad Lost Valley John Watson 2007 Sloper crux.
The Pit Portlethen Tim Rankin Undercut then dyno.
Razorback Reiff Unleashed power move.
Jihad Thirlstane Paul Savage Pocket dyno delight.
Cavalcade Kennedy
Boulder Mike Tweedley 2002 Dynamic.
No Traighdbacks
Traigh na Berigh Dave MacLeod 2003 Rounded crag horror.
The Cnipper
Traigh na Berigh Niall McNair 2001 Crag traverse.
Man of Mystery
Cameron Stone Dave MacLeod 2002 Crimpy roof.
Galtee Merci
Glencoe Rannoch Stone John Watson 2007 Granite sloper rail.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Brin V9 Susurrus

Ben Litster on an early attempt at Sussurrus

Michael Lee, haunted by a whispering need to get on the big roof at Brin, took advantage of Ben Litster's absence (unlucky Ben, don't be too hard on him!) to campus out the last crucial moves of Susurrus V9. The line is obvious when you walk into the woodland wonderland of Brin bouldering... a cavernous roof with a footless hanging prow, like a Scottish version of Eclipse. Mike thought the problem to be about Font 7c with a new cunning sequence at the start. Great to have two higher-end problems at Brin (the other is Ben's Put My New Shoes On), prompting questions.... is there an 8th grade somewhere in the forest?

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