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Showing posts from August, 2009

Summer Blues

I'd rather be here.. The west coast has bombed spectacularly into boiling humidity and endless depressive rain fronts, I think I've managed out twice in August and have done nothing but stare at climbing through the internet, maybe it's time to get a trip organised to somewhere next summer! Anyway, to get inspired I surfed around a few sites for new guidebooks produced by computer bound publishers like myself. Here are a few I thought were inspiring. Click on the links to have a look or buy the guides and support your sport... Lofoten by Rockfax - award winning guidebook to a fantastic set of islands off the coast of Norway. Ailefroide by Team Les Collets. Bouldering in one of the finest areas of the Alps. brilliant trad and sport as well. Sardinia One of the best sport islands in Europe with mountains, spires, beach sport and granite bouldering. Love the place. Sardinia Granite... and sunshine! Tenerife Climbing - great sport climbing, spires of rock and

Unsponsored Heroes - Craig Parnaby

You never know who your heroes are going to be in the climbing world. They end up being people entirely different from the abstracted heroes you started with in the climbing mags - the ones photographed doing crazy solos and hand-stands against the cliff faces. If you are lucky enough, they are people you climb with for a few years. They often disappear from the climbing world into real life and don't come back, which only makes their legend stronger. For me, Craig Parnaby was one of these vanishing legends. Craig was inimitable and his ability on rock was terrifying. I first met him at the Bowderstone in the early 90's, a 'beginner' doing laps on the classic 6a crack. He was a youth from Coniston in the Lakes, with Gecko hands and lithe forearms, reminding me instantly of Ron Fawcett's build - you could just tell he had the genetics. Even as a beginner he moved on the rock like a bent bow, always tensioned, never loose and arse-out-the-window like the rest of us.

Rob's Reed

High Voltage 6b+ I must admit, I'm impressed with this crag. I usually hate pebble pulling, I find it as secure as climbing on a stack of giant Minstrels. However, this crag has enough good sandstone flag mixed in with the pebbles, and enough varied angles from roofs to walls, to provide some of the best short sport climbs in Scotland. Around 50 routes provide all sorts of entertaining moves from butch pocket pulling to delicate balance moves. The climbing is still blind and hard to onsight, but if you dog the generous bolts, tick the holds with chalk (take a stick of blackboard chalk), the grades become understandable! Of course, full marks for any onsight... I spent most of my time on 6c's brushing around on high like Rolf Harris - 'can you tell what it is yit?' The outlook is superb, a pleasant grass runway underneath the routes, and some little stone plinth seats for lunch or contemplating your blasted forearms. The lack of midges and shading trees make it an idea

Shelterstone Bouldering Circuit

Some folk have asked about the bouldering around the Shelterstone blocs. This is really a fine venue if an absolute trek with a boulder mat. A few years ago I was researching this for the guidebook and walked in with a boulder mat, full trad kit, tent etc - the full kit bhoona - on the promise of some friends joining me on the weekend for some trad action. Saturday morning came and went and no sign of climbers, so I bouldered around a bit and dug out a nice circuit of problems on the blocs. By Sunday no-one had arrived so I packed up and hauled out, the way back took about 4 hours with all the kit. What was worse was that by the time of printing the guide I had accidentally left out the Shelterstone page (along with Richie's Scatwell topo). Still, I was pretty leg fit for ages after... calves like flower vases. So to redress the oversight, here's the basic topo. Lots of testpiece aretes and walls aside from this, but if you can carry a Dropzone in you'll probably just end