Sunday, August 31, 2008


Paul Knowles and I have been out for a second day with folk from John Lewis Climbing and Mountain Sports Club (CAMS). We decided to visit the 'High Neb' area of Stanage Edge; hoping to get above the mist that was shrouding the Hope Valley.

High Neb was a good choice, and the group climbed the vast majority of the routes there in the Difficult to Extremely Severe bracket! Unfortunately late in the afternoon the breeze vanished resulting in midge swarms of apocalyptic proportions. We decided that an early retreat to the sanctuary of the Pool Cafe in Hathersage was the best option!!..

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Burbage North..

Paul Knowles and I have been out with a group at Burbage North today. Although quite humid, the conditions have been good on the Eastern Edges with plenty of folk out and about.

The team from John Lewis Climbing and Mountain Sports Club (CAMS), made light work of many of the classic routes along the edge. For some it was a chance to try rock climbing for the first time, while for others, it was an opportunity to make the transition to the real thing.

Scott is pictured above going for the top on 'Brook's Layback' (VS). It looks like Sunday may be wetter with the possibility of light rain and the odd thunderstorm coming in from the south...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Froggatt Edge..

Nick and I were at Froggatt Edge today climbing some classic routes. Despite a slightly damp start conditions improved dramatically giving some good climbing.

Later on in the day we also visited Burbage North to try some slightly harder routes. All in all it's been a nice weekend here in the Peak. Let's hope the fine weather continues..

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Burbage North and Stanage Edge..

Nick and I have been out and about on the Eastern Edges today visiting both Burbage North and Stanage Edge.

The weather has been very good with a pleasant breeze keeping the midges away. We started off at Burbage North with some bouldering and a few technique fundamentals before moving to Stanage Edge to climb some longer routes.

The crag was busy with plenty of climbers including a French team enjoying a bit of a tussle on 'Tippler Direct' (E3 6a). This tough local test piece seems to be getting a hammering at the moment. Last week a German climbing pair were working the route.

Some rain is forecast this evening but tomorrow looks like another promising day on the Derbyshire crags...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stoney Middleton and Millstone..

Today has been another changeable day in the Peak District. The day started with some showers in the Hope Valley before clearing to give good climbing conditions in the afternoon.

Simon and I visited Stoney Middleton, a good option in the rain, climbing 'Double Scotch' (E2) before moving to Millstone Edge.

Millstone dries quickly being very exposed in westerly winds, although it can sometimes get a little sandy due to the topsoil being exposed at the top of the crag. Despite the odd sandy hold we did 'Regent Street' (E2) and 'Emankment Route 4' (E1).

The forecast suggests that the weekend might give good fine weather, with any significant rain being confined to Saturday evening..

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Millstone Edge..

Dave Hollinger and I visited Millstone Edge today to take in some classic crack lines. We were joined by Pete, Martin, Phil and Andy who are on a visit from North Wales.

By mid morning the early showers had cleared and the crag was dry due to the breeze. The crag was quite busy with many of the classics getting ascents. Dave and I climbed some of the routes on the lower and upper tier of the Embankment, along with 'Bond Street' (HVS) and 'Lotto' (E1).

Phil and Andy also visited Higgar Tor early in the day experiencing the full gritstone "top out" thruch that exists on 'Flute of Hope' (E4).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mountain Tracks..

James Thacker Mountaineering has recently teamed up with Mountain Tracks - specialists in summer and winter alpine adventures.

Many JTM clients will know Olly Allen an IFMGA Guide who now lives in the alps. Olly is one of the Directors of Mountain Tracks along with Nick and Chris Parks, and I am more than happy to recommend them for your alpine adventures.

For more information on the courses and trips that Mountain Tracks offers worldwide, check out there website at Mountain Tracks.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Single Pitch Award Refresher..

Kris Hill and I were out at Stanage Edge today doing a brief Single Pitch Award (SPA) refresher.

We looked at personal climbing skills, including runner and belay placement, as well as rigging for group situations. The weather was very good with just the odd shower (pictured).

Despite this there were many groups making use of the crag, as well as independant climbers. James 'Caff' MaCaffie made a rare onsight of 'Chameleon' (E4); a route more usually spotted by the insitu climber hanging on their rope...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lead Climbing at Burbage..

Martin and Graham were out again today with Darren climbing at Burbage North. This was the second day of a Lead Climbing course, with much better weather than on Saturday.

The team climbed a number of routes at both Burbage and Stanage Edge, opting for a slightly longer day to make use of the good conditions.

Looking ahead the week looks changeable, make the most of it if you get a break in the weather..

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Lead Climbing at Froggatt..

Martin and Graham have been out with Darren today on Froggatt Edge, braving the heavy rain. They spent the day looking at essential belay set up's and gear placement at Froggatt, before moving to Lawrencefield in some challenging conditions.

All being well the weather will improve tomorrow, allowing them to put all the skills into practice. 'Heather Wall' (S), at Froggatt Edge is pictured above prior to the heavy rain starting. Photo: Darren Saxton.

An unsettled week..

It's been an unsettled week over much of the UK for the last few days.

Despite the showers the Peak District was one of the better places to be with the Gritstone edges drying fairly quickly, despite the light winds of late. Unfortunately, it has also been the place to be for Derbyshire's midge population!..

For Chris, Andy and I the experience was much the same with heavy showers in the Lake District. Chris being pictured during a brief dry spell at Reecastle in Borrowdale.

Later in the week the rain was just too much and it was time to visit Kendal Climbing Wall and experience the "pump" from the 18 metre high overhanging lead wall...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Improvised Rescue at Wild Cat..

Katherine, Nick and I were at Wild Cat crags near Matlock Bath today practising some improvised rescues.

This was in preparation for Katherine's forthcoming Mountain Instructors Award assessment. We had a fairly epic day covering hauling systems, dealing with stuck climbers on an abseil, lowering past a knot, traverse rescues and finally evacuating an unconscious second by a counterbalance (pictured).

Good Luck with the assessment Katherine. As I write this the weather is fantastic in Sheffield; definately worth getting out and making the most of it if you can...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Single Pitch Award Training (part 2)..

Max Holliday and I have been out with Tracey, Dean, Duncan, Colin and Dave again today on the second day of a Single Pitch Award (SPA) Training course.

We opted to visit Birchen Edge near Baslow to have a look at all the essential elements of group work in the crag environment.

The weather has been kind again with fine windy conditions, and there were plenty of independant climbing teams making the most of the good conditions. Max is pictured above discussing a releasable group abseil set up, as well as sporting an impressive pair of sunglasses..

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Single Pitch Award Training..

Max and I have been out at Stanage Edge, on the first of two days, Single Pitch Award Training. We were joined by Tracey, Colin, Dave, Dean and Duncan, and spent the day looking at personal climbing skills.

The weather was much better than initially forecast being dry and breezy for the vast majority of the day. This gave good conditions for some lead climbing, and testing communication between leader and second!

Tomorrow will see us looking at group orientated skills, combined with a visit to a local wall.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Mountain cragging in Scotland..

With rain forecast over many areas of the country on Tuesday and Wednesday, Chris Walker and I escaped to the North West Highlands.

On wednesday we visited Creag Ghlas in Strathconon climbing the fantastic 'Toad Hall' (E2)***, which gave six pitches of fine slab climbing on very rough schist.

Following this we decided to visit the popular crag of Creag Mhor Thollaidh near the village of Gairloch. This crag, famous for it's savage midge population gives steep high quality climbing on Lewisian Gneiss. Here we climbed 'Teddy Bear's Picnic' (E1)**, which gave a superb outing with a sustained second pitch (Chris Walker pictured to the left).

Unfortunately, it looks like there may well be showers in the Peak District over the weekend. I will be out and about doing a Single Pitch Award Training course with Max Holliday.

Pavey Ark, Lake District..

Monday was hot and dusty in many areas of the UK, and with a couple of days off, it was time to head out for some mountain cragging.
Chris Walker and I made an afternoon visit to Pavey Ark in Langdale climbing the excellent lines of 'Arcturus' (E1) and 'Capella' (E1). The crag was in excellent condition after a few days of dry weather; other parties climbing 'Braken Clock' (E2) and the awesome 'Cruel Sister' (E3).