Thursday, April 30, 2009

Abseiling at Lawrencefield..

Martin and I visited Lawrencefield Quarry this evening to do a bit of abseiling. This was some preparation prior to Martin trying to complete his second round of all the Munro's and Munro Tops.

The most famous Munro summit is the Inaccessible Pinnacle of Sgurr Dearg in Skye. Often referred to as the most difficult, it requires a steep abseil down it's west side to get down. Hopefully Martin will complete his second round in a couple of weeks..!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Crag skills workshop at Stanage..

I was out today at Stanage with Claire, Mick, Matt and Dave to look at skills for single pitch climbing.

This workshop was advertised on UKC with the intention of meeting varied aims and aspirations of existing climbers. Mick and Matt spend the day working on belays and gear placement as well as doing some leading up to VS.

Claire and Dave looked at belays, gear placement, as well as using double ropes. Dave has got his Single Pitch Award (SPA) Assessment coming up and also wanted somebody cast a critical eye over his performance! The day was a great success and I look forward to seeing everbody out on the crag at some point soon.

The climber who fell at Stanage yesterday was, I believe, ok despite some cuts and bruises and has been discharged from hospital. This is good news given a fall of approximately 7-8m.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunshine and Showers at Stanage Edge..

Mark and I were out at Stanage Edge today. Again it was the obvious choice for a 1:1 day of private instruction/guiding.

We started at the popular end and made rapid progress along the edge picking varied routes along the way. This allowed us to look at some specific gritstone techniques such as smearing "on nothing" along with the dark art of hand jamming.

There was also time to do some rope work, belay construction and gear placement before finishing for the day. We were just about to pack up when somebody took a nasty ground fall nearby. We wish the climber involved a quick recovery.

While helping this injured climber we lost a 30m half rope in the 'Heaven Crack' area, if you happened to pick it up it would be great if you could get in touch via

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rock Climbing at Stanage Edge..

Mick joined me this morning for a day of private instruction and guiding at Stanage Edge.

The conditions were ideal, being slightly overcast initially giving way to sunny spells with a cooling breeze. Ideal friction conditions.

We spent the morning doing plenty of climbing while looking at various climbing techniques by picking varied routes. Some time looking at edging and smearing footwork was well spent; as we finished the day on 'Gargoyle Buttress' (VS 4b). Mick also mastered the art of placing gear to a high standard as well as building single and multiple point belays. Not bad for a single day out.

There has been some uncertainty regarding the forecast for Saturday with some heavy showers forecast. Fingers crossed the Hope Valley may miss the worst of it?!....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reecastle in the rain!...

Ian (Yan) Boorman, Chris walker and I visited Reecastle today in less that perfect weather.

Sadly, the rain stopped play shortly after climbing 'Rack Direct' (E2 5b) and it was time to retire to Shepherd's Cafe for a quick brew. It now looks like the afternoon is brightening up, so it should be good this evening and tomorrow.

Unfortunately, there have been a couple of nasty accidents in the Lakes in recent days both a Lower Falcon crag. The first involved two experienced climbers, one of whom suffered a 15-20m fall after his ropes were cut by rock fall. The second involved a single climber who fell approximately 30m while abseiling after climbing the route 'Usurper'.

There is always much speculation about climbing accidents on the internet, but the reality is that incidents like this are few and far between. For details have a look at Keswick MRT's website. We wish them both a speedy recovery.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lake District Rock at White Ghyll..

Chris Walker and I were at White Ghyll today in some more great weather.

The crag was fairly quiet with just a couple of other teams making light work of the crag classics. We climbed 'Do Not Direct' (E1 5b,5a), and 'Waste Not, Want Not' (E1 5b) before retiring to the valley totally fried.

Lets hope the warm weather continues for a while yet... On a unrelated note James Thacker Mountaineering has also recently been featured in the Times Adventure Supplement.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sun at Stoney Middleton..

It's been another great day in the Peak District today, with plenty of sun and a pleasant breeze.

Andy Lole and I decided to visit Stoney Middleton and were surprised to find it busy - more commonly you have the crag to yourself these days! There were lots of folk out climbing in the bays and on Windy Buttress.

We found a quieter section of the crag and climbed the classic 'Golden Gate' (HVS 5a,4c) and 'Bingo Wall' (E2 5b,4c). Bingo wall is particularly good despite having recently lost some holds. Luckly the character of the route remains unchanged, it's just a little more sustained at the grade...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nice day in the Peak..

The weather has gradually improved today creating a great day to be out and about in the Peak District.

Loads of folk were out making the most of the cool breeze on the Eastern Edges with Burbage, Stanage, and Froggatt being busy.

The weather is set to be the same for the next few days, so make the most of it if you get the chance...

Friday, April 17, 2009

To be (guided) or not to be (guided)

The May issue of Climb Magazine is now out sporting a brief article about climbing instruction, courses and guiding.

I wrote this during the winter with the rock climbing season in mind. Thanks to many previous clients who's photos appear in the mag. For a taster of the May magazine visit the Climb Magazine website.

Also this spring I am running a couple of workshops for Peak District Climbers:

The first is a one day crag skills workshop, on the the 26 April. The aim of this informal day will be look at cragging skills. e.g. Brushing up on gear placement, belays, ropework etc. Alternatively have somebody validate your skills or just ask those tricky questions about 'best practice'?

This day should suit anyone who is climbing independantly, leader or second. Price: £30 Contact me via

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lead Climbing at Windgather..

Chris and Ian have been out at Windgather Rocks today enjoying the fine weather in the Peak District. This was the second day of a private Lead Climbing course with Steve Ford.

Both Chris and Ian made unusually fast progress allowing them to lead routes independently. Hopefully they will be out and about on the crags in the coming weeks putting their new skills to good use.

As the nesting season approaches the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) have listed crags where bird restrictions exist in the following download access via

Perhaps most relevant is the voluntary restriction imposed at Stanage Edge between the routes 'Narrow Buttress' and 'April Crack' to allow Ring Ouzels to nest. The little buggers are really common in North Wales and on Holyhead Mountain, but not in the Peak District where they have chosen the busiest crag on the Eastern Edges to nest! So as in previous years follow the local signage and avoid the roped off area. News Item

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Silvretta Tour..

I have been away for a week or so, this time in Austria to sample the delights of the Silvretta Haute Route.

After a lengthy drive from the UK, I met up with Keith and Rachael to make some final preparations before skinning to the Jamtal Hut.

From this excellent hut we made the short ascent of the Dreilanderspitze before descending to the Wiesbadner Hut. Day three started with an ascent of Piz Buin, a great alpine summit with excellent views (sadly missed by Andy Perkins and Rob Jarvis the week previously - see photo). The descent to the well positioned Silvretta Hut was achieved on some good quality spring snow making this arguably the best day of the tour.

Day four saw an ascent of the Rote Furka and the Schneeglocke, followed by a good descent and corresponding ascent(!) to the Saarbruckner Hut. Finally day five finished the tour off nicely with an ascent of the Klein Seehorn, and plenty of turns in powder despite the warm temperatures..

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Climbing with Liverpool John Moores University Students..

It's been a busy few days in North Wales with students from Liverpool John Moores University.

We spent the last few days rock climbing at a variety of venues including: Fachwen, Willie's Crag, RAC Boulders, Dali's Hole and Little Tryfan. This allowed us to cover a lot of ground including gear placement, building belays, single and multi pitch climbing, leading on bolts and using lower off's combined with some great climbing.

The weather has been dry and clear with excellent visibility all week resulting in some great views of the mountains. Lets hope it stays for the weekend..