Showing posts from August, 2006


"...there is no such thing as 'hard' climbing or 'easy' climbing - more of this needs to be understood. 99 percent of us end up being just climbers, not 'Rock Gods', but really we haven't stopped doing the same things. When we give up the idea of competition and start motivating ourselves with our own goals rather than others' expectations, it becomes apparent nobody was watching all that time... your belayer is most likely thinking about dinner, a warmer duvet jacket or the next lead... whether you've just cranked out an E8 headpoint or topped out on a gripping V Diff, as long as the motivation has been rekindled, that's all that matters. Climbing on your own, solo, or just bouldering alone is a great way to source the real elemental stuff - it reminds you of your own limits, the boundaries you've set up. It is just movement on rock, moving through our own internal maps and renegotiating these boundaries - the only one you can't bri

New Areas topos

I've put a few new topos on the main website at including Kev Howett's guides to various Central Highlands venues. They are printable Word docs. and the authors would welcome any feedback on history, grades, repeats etc. - the weather's cooling down and some new bouldering venues are always a tonic for the jaded Scottish trad climber... time to get some power back in them bones!!

Secret Training Regimes of the 8a Climber - Part 1

Ross Henighan's hardcore regime has finally been sussed! Contrary to the belief that all Scottish climbers eat nails and train with 6-packs of Stella for weight-belts, Ross was caught red-handed in full pump at Dumby yesterday. When challenged as to what sort of training regime this constituted, Sleeping Beauty claimed his milk had been spiked: Aye, it must have been the locals, man. They spiked my bru. There I was, on a 7c crux, when it just came over me... I had to lie down man, everything went wonky-coloured and I was away before my head hit the turf. The last thing I remember was Buzz playing 'Blackbird' on the geetar... the rest is all naked girls running after me along Dumby's golden sands. Then some numpty poked me... I was just about to show the girls my tattoo and aw... man, I'll never climb 8c if i don't get proper training...

Carn Liath Development

Mr Ben (direct V5) Lee Robinson has been busy with friends at Carn Liath, mapping the jungle of boulders for a future guide. It has a full circuit now and some hard projects, well worth stopping at if you're anywhere near Portree - it gets the morning light and the rock is a lot kinder on your skin than the gabbro. Thanks for the photos, Lee, some absolute cracking problems! Sheep Can Levitate V4

Classic Scottish Problems No.3

Pump Up The Jam V5 6c - Sguman boulders, Glen Brittle, Skye Described by first ascensionist James Sutton as a 'deluxe 10 m jamming crack' (since when is jamming deluxe!!), this line is probably the most 'climb-me' problem on the Isle of Skye. It is indeed a long jamming crack just above the ground, overhanging severely and requiring grit, single-mindedness and lots of tape. It is also remote and is the finest example of what can be found if you take the Scottish bouldering approach: mat, boots, stove, go walking... it is located in the An Sguman east cluster (GR 443 184) just past the Coire a Ghrunnda burn, about 40 minutes from Glen Brittle campsite. It lies in a cave cluster, which is quite obvious from far away, small holly trees grow roundabout. It is an absolute must of a problem, as it is so unique - a kind of Separate Reality for Scotland (even in the Peak you'd be hard-pushed to find such a perfect 'bouldering' jam-crack a few feet off the ground

Shelterstone Circuit

This topo is a rough guide to good safe problems up to about V3 on the Knoll boulders underneath the Shelterstone. Please let me know of any other problems you might do or know of that are worthy, or any harder problems that have been done above about British 6a. Lots of problems have been done here and it would be good to get a consensus of the best circuit and best 'off-piste' lines, some of which lurk in the great jumble above the Knoll. 1. Easy arete on reddish granite. 2. Overhanging groove, moving left on higher jugs. 3. Short slab direct. 4. Bigger slab to the right, straight up. 5. Cube-shape boulder arete. Jump to start. 6. Right arete of the diagonal crack boulder. 7. Tiptoe r-l along the diagonal crack then reach high for jugs in centre of wall. 8. Overhanging groove. 9. Right side of sharp arete. 10. Lip traverse l-r of curved boulder. 11. Easy large slab left to right arete above small howff. 12. Short wall on pink crimps. 13. Lip traverse R-L. 14. Traverse crack f

Classic Scottish Problems No.2

Home Rule V3 6b - Dumbarton Rock It is inevitable there will be a number of Dumby problems in any Scottish classic bouldering wish-list. As the years go by (and the layers of graffiti paint build up), this testpiece has maintained its notoriety despite the big numbers flying around. It is a simple enough direct line, rocking up on a polished edge for a frustratingly out-of-reach hand ledge, then boldly finishing up the suddenly bottomless arete on thankfully good holds. It combines technique, strength, balance, commitment and persistence: the trademark of any Dumby problem. Redoing it brought back to me the subtlety of this problem. Due to its disproportionate polish (Dumby is after all famous for its polished slopers!), the crucial rockover edge requires a steady toe and a focused eye. The press with the left fingers on a good incut keeps the balance until the slimy pinch hold for the right hand comes into play. This hold is notorious for popping like a soap-bar and you slowly feel

Classic Scottish Problems No.1

Ardmair - Stones & Seaweed V2 6a Okay, this is entirely subjective, but please make any comments and a consensus may develop (some hope!). I'll be posting candidates for Scotland's select 100 problems, with a film in mind... here's my first candidate: the Ardmair pocket problem Stones & Seaweed ss V2 6a . First of all, I believe a good problem is one you remember long after you do it, one you will no doubt return to. In fact, any problem you really enjoy. It usually exhibits a natural line (though not always, it can be blank or an eliminate); it has enjoyable or unexpected movement (it demands 'solving'); the rock and holds are attractive or curious; it requires balance, power and subtlety in one; other people mention it in passing... there are lots of crtieria for a good problem, but these are my favourites, what are your's? So, the problem. Ardmair is a beautiful beach north of Ullapool, with waves lapping on a pebble shore that has for aeons swirled

Curious Things

While out hunting boulders and generally wandering around, I've snapped a few curious things on the way. Part of the joy of bouldering is finding serendipity in odd places: dead turquoise Volkswagens in the Alps, iron floats , psychedelic plants & stones, strange cloud formations, 'found' objects. Here's a selection of a few things to take the mind away from bouldering a while... I'll post up some bouldering shots as well soon, new boulders, new areas.