Friday, July 31, 2009

Armchair Sheigra

One of my favourite places on the planet for climbing, boulder hunting and being... the gneiss territory around the road from Rhiconich to Sheigra and the territory beyond. I noticed recently that Google maps have upped their resolution for this area amongst others and it's great fun exploring steep shadows with an eagle's-eye view... I've put a Google map together of the best places to boulder here I know of so far, plerase email me if you know of any others nearby.

Thanks to Chris Fryer for the prompt and photo... a visit is called for soon!

Just click the pin on the map and 'Zoom Here' command...

View Sheigra Area Bouldering in a larger map

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Clochodrick Traverse Video

Stewart Brown demonstrating the moves and method of this traverse. Using the sloper eliminate problem at the end will make it a good Font 7b+ (F8a in sport money)...

Clochodrick Traverse from Stewart Brown on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Bouldering Film 'Crux' at Dundee

News from Simon Fildes on their new film 'Crux' - go see it at the Beautiful Game exhibition if you're passing through Dundee - in the Hannah McClure Centre.

The Beautiful Game

Hannah Maclure Centre

3 August – 30 October 2009

Opening reception 31 July 6pm – 9pm Simon Fildes and Katrina McPherson

The exhibition The Beautiful Game will seek to explore the relational aesthetics of sport, athletics, art and game play, along with its theory and psychology, mark making and movement, modes of athletic performance, temporal and spatial dissonance. By employing a wide variety of artistic practice The Beautiful Game brings sports into a visual arts context exposing the active aesthetic.

Hannah Maclure Centre
University of Abertay Dundee
Top Floor Student Centre
1 - 3 Bell Street
Dundee, DD1 1HP

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Clochodrick Traverse

The mystery that is the Clochodrick Stone has always been actually finding it! Driving around the fields of Renfrewshire aimlessly is a prerequisite frustration. Eventually you stumble on this occasionally-glimpsed stone, nestling in the corner of a field much like a sad burst football. I still get lost, despite having visited every year for the last decade!

View Clochodrick Stone in a larger map

There is not too much to get excited about, but the straight-up problems are all fun from sit starts and perhaps the greatest mystery is the nature of the mythical 'Traverse'. I had heard Paul Laughlan used this stone for training before doing the Tunnel Wall routes, so I'm sure he worked out this traverse and used it as training. It goes about F7c, though nothing more technical than Font 7a.

Stewart Brown repeated the traverse for the camera, which we'll upload soon and will illustrate the best method. Basically sit start the south arete and turn the bulge and continue as low as possible round the north arete, low as possible across the crux north wall via crimps and a crux reach to a pinch, then drop down to the west roof and finish along this. It's a long outing and extremely pumpy, good for summer evenings if you're bored of Dumby. there's a F8a (Font 7b+) version finishing along the west wall sloper eliminate - hard to describe but you'll see it when you're there.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dumbarton Bloc Sport Guide

The new edition of the Dumbarton Bloc/Sport guide is now available for download through >>>

It's an updated edition which is now 16 pages and includes Sport Climbing routes as well as complete bouldering and recent new problems. I've corrected some mistakes and rejigged the look and feel of the guide so it is more information- rich with lots more photo-topos to help unlock the problems and routes!

This will form part of the Clyde Valley Blocsport guide but it is a useful document to have on its own with over 200 problems and routes described.

To buy a copy, click on the Buy Now button through Paypal and follow the simple download instructions. If you recently bought the first edition of the guide, I'm happy to issue a 2.50 refund (so you get the new guide for only £1) - just include an email stating your name in the Paypal process and I can check through my records and make a refund!

Add to Cart

Friday, July 10, 2009

Clyde Bloc Sport

Cammy Bell enjoying the summer evenings at Dunglass

Currently we are developing the Stone Country Bloc Sport website to include a new series of area guides in pdf format, reworking Dumby and other Glasgow-radius crags with sport climbing included (so we'll have the new sports crags at Lomond and elsewhere...details to come!). These topos will also be available from the exciting new Betaguides website (due to launch in the next month or so - a complete database of bouldering in Britain).

For the new Bloc Sport webiste I've been embroiled in all things Joomla, which is frying my head, so can't promise anything too soon, so I'll put the topos up on the blog as soon as we get them. Here's an example topo from the guides, which we will be producing in guidebook format next year - it's the Dunglass sport wall:

Dunglass has been a saviour for me over the early summer, acting as a good training ground to get some basic fitness back. We have fully bolted the West Wall (though the trad routes remain untouched, so no chopping - the existing bolted routes have been refitted and some other routes squeezed in between Steel Finger and Wall of Horrors, the two main trad lines). There are now around 15 sport routes in various combinations between 6a and 7b+.

The girdle project fell late last night in cool conditions to John Watson, which is now the biggest challenge on this crag at a Wagnerian 25 metres! It's called The Ring Cycle and goes at about 7b+, though I'd say a Dunglass 7b (with apologies to Cammy!).

Now for some trad action hopefully!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Great Climbing Films

Climbing is really quite easy to do but notoriously hard to film. Anyone who has been involved in making even a small production of their own realises the logistical difficulties and the problem of making climbing 'interesting' - watching climbers move slowly over a rock face is a rather disembodied experience. And how on earth do you make movies about alpine climbs?!

I was thinking of the 'great' climbing movies (pointedly ignoring 'Cliffhanger') and my thoughts ran back to the excellent thriller The Eiger Sanction with Clint Eastwood and George Kennedy made during the Cold War hysteria in 1975. Since then there have been a few notable high-profile films such as the rather corny 1991 'mountain-buddy' movie K2, the superb Touching the Void by Kevin MacDonald in 2003 and now I think we have the best yet in 2009 - the superb Nordwand (North Face) directed by Philipp Stolzl.

Nordwand relates the tragic chain of events in July 1936 which led two talented German climbers (Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser) close to the first ascent of the Eiger north face, before turning back to help fellow climbers. The slowly unfolding tale of small errors and fateful combinations eats away at their goal as they try to ascend the mountain. Avalanches and rockfall and exposure threaten them all while the world's media looks on in macabre glee at the unfolding tale of tragedy through the hotels' telescopes. A well-crafted movie with great characterisation and a real feeling of exposure in the action sequences, with the constant ringing of hammered pitons in the background, this movie captures the ambiguous motivations of mountaineering but ends suitably with the purity of some climbers' sacrifices.