Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Essential Fontainebleau

The Stone Country Guide to Essential Fontainebleau is nearing completion and should be printed before the autumn bouldering season is upon us. It is a combined editorial collection of the forest's best problems at all grades (up to 8a anyway, anything above that, we figure you know the forest!). The book is a pocket guide with a visual photo-topo approach to represent the secrets of those problems that constantly elude you, with one page topos for each area, so you need not flick back and forth between sections of the book. Each problem is given a photograph and description to illustrate its moves or holds - often an issue with new visitors as many problems have hidden technique, forbidden holds or are simply not obvious at first glance!

The guide will retail around ten pounds and will be close to 200 pages of full colour! It is designed to provide the beginner, intermediate and even the yearly veteran with an admirable tick-list: it provides hundreds of bench-mark problems and classic historical problems to guide you through the grades. A team of experienced boulderers has helped select the best problems that illustrate the various techniques and specific strengths required in the forest, from smearing footwork to body-tension roofs to the slopiest winter testpieces!

Have a look at the sample below and if you have any photographs of classic problems, please email stonecountrypress@btinternet.com with anything from your collection... we have plenty of room left for good photographs!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stone Country New Stuff

With the advent of exciting new books from Stone Country, we are looking for photographs and authors to illustrate the richness of climbing in Scotland and for Guy Robertson's new book 'Great Scottish Climbs' so get in touch if you'd like to have any of your hard-earned photos or 'epic' essays appearing in this 'superbook' of Scottish climbing.

We'll also be adding downloadable bouldering guides in various formats (book, mobile and .pdf), so please check back soon on the main site for a variety of new guides at affordable prices.

In the meantime, we are still running the summer 'bouldering' offer (£40 for 'Elements', 'Bouldering in Scotland' and 'Stone Play')! See the main site.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Remote Stones

Summer is a time for wandering and exploring remote corners of the glens for the perfect boulder! While trying to round the country and snap some photos for the new 'Great Scottish Climbs' book by Guy Robertson, I've found some great boulders awaiting a return in cooler conditions (when they'll probably be weeping and wet!), and have also discovered some high summer bouldering. At Allt Coire Giubhsachan, the high glen up left of Steall Meadows in Glen Nevis, Tom Charles Edwards added a few explorative lines to the big boulders up there which he put on Scottish Climbs. The area is well worth the walk and is listed briefly in the Glen Nevis section of the Bouldering Guide.

Russell Birkett added a couple of hard long traverses to Weem crag which is delightful in summer under the shade of the giant Beech trees:

Getting the Chop Font 7a+** Sit start at the right arĂȘte and follow Getting Lippy (6c+) to the left arĂȘte, drop down to flat holds and move left to below The Chop (7a). Finish up this.

Too Hard Too Far Font 7a*** Sit start at low flat holds right of The Chop। Reverse Getting Lippy (6c+) to holds below the groove of Too Hard Too High (6c+). Finish up this and do battle with it's rounded topout!

In the Hebrides, I added a few problems to the circuit at Traigh na Berigh, a sample download of which is available from the forthcoming North West Bouldering guide (see the Downloads page at Stone Country)

The bouldering potential at the Sron Ulladale boulders was explored briefly, but its really overshadowed by the lure of the routes! Anyway, there is plenty of bouldering at this venue to keep your strength honed for the harder routes, but if not, the walk is well worth it for the stunning landscape and solitude of Harris, just take your rockboots in case.

Plus the best granite boulder in Scotland? A perfect leaning wall with holds? More news soon...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hebridean Sun

It had not rained in the Hebrides for over six weeks, significantly anyway, a light shower during the night to dampen the corncrakes' dry rasps, I was told. The heather was crispy, the sphagnum like large green trampolines. The lochs all had a dry skirting board of whitened rocks and cracking peat bogs and sand was beginning to cover everything, covering some of the roads in a futuristic apocalypse of blown sand!

I took a full week to explore some of the Hebrides fine Lewisian Gneiss and wasn't disappointed, adding a good blue circuit to the problems around the crag at Traigh na Berigh. I'll put a full topo up on www.stonecountry.co.uk but here are some more pics on my Picasa site.

Lewis Bouldering

Sron Ulladale was most impressive and bone dry, though I saw no climbing parties about... amongst the giant boulders at the bottom I spooked a big cat (either that or a fox) and discovered a pair of green wellies and a frying pan if anyone wants them back? A particularly good swim is the 'jacuzzi pool' flowing out from the Waterboard dam on the walk-in... just beware sweeping vortex currents, I went round and round like a drowned fly in champagne until I could grab a rock to haul myself out spluttering and chastised of my boldness.

I'll post some bouldering news shortly, as well as sample pages of some of the new books in production at Stone Country... the new Font guide will be here soon!