If only Scottish winters were like this!! An inpsiring bit of wintersoloing in Austria, from Beat Kammerlander, who, incidentally, is a world-class photographer as well as climber - some of his images appeared in Stone Play.
Brin Rock is full of mossy projects and another has fallen recently to Richie Betts. This bold and dynamic arete looks a bit of a headpointer, but Richie assures me the climbing is good, it may be a bit more reassuring in a dry spring rather than a damp green January! Richie called it 'The Scientist' and it goes at Font 7b.
He describes it:
'The big bad arete up behind new shoes I'm calling 'The Scientist' and goes at about 7b I think. The boys had been clamping and squeezing up a blank section. I found a better way with a big move between two good holds and this made the whole thing doable. Still managed to have a 'moment' on the damp top out which we couldnt reach to clean. It's a brutal overhanging arete, one of the best features at Brin and the landing's not too bad with a few pads.'
I visited Dave MacLeod in Glen Nevis for a flying visit to get a couple of last pics for the forthcoming new Stone Country guide, with Dave close to a couple of projects on the Heather Hat. We worked a few lines and noted Tom Ballard's new line through the roof on the left -a crimpy lock from a dubious flake crimp. I noticed that the old Pagan Uillean line had a more direct start and a logical link to the widest part of the roof... feeling a little heavy and unfit, I handed it to Dave, who came close on the first attempt, until diminishing returns set in! With tired arms, we began a leggy hunt for a few new boulders and crags on the hillsides - we weren't disappointed and came away with a haul of new projects from Font 5 through to at least Font 8b+, possibly 8c (those ones are for Dave, not me). It was encouraging to see Dave's endless enthusiasm and drive, we both got inspired by some new undeveloped lines and it was heartening to see that the …
First of all Happy New Year to all who drop in to Stone Country. 2008 should be another busy year. In March, we see the release of the new Bouldering in Scotland guide, accompanied by a new film from Pete Murray on the philosophy of bouldering - hopefully we'll have another launch party at Glasgow Cotswolds in the spring. We'll let you know the dates closer to the time.
The rest of the year will be dedicated to new books and guides, one of which may be a radical new biking guide to Scotland. Also in the pipeline are complete bouldering guides to Scottish areas and a new series on Scottish mountain routes. Oh, and maybe a European bouldering guide will appear... it all depends on how much research we get done!
Congrats to Donald Slater for winning our Christmas comp and thanks to all who entered. A free copy of Stone Play is on its way to you, Donald! The book is still available from bookshops or discounted here at Amazon.