Friday, April 30, 2010

Site Specific Training..

I spent the day up at Rockcity in Hull yesterday doing some site specific training for visiting staff.

We spent the day looking at the use of this particular venue with a variety of different groups, along with making lively and interesting sessions. Rockcity also delivers the National Indoors Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) for young people, and as such we spent a reasonable amount of time looking at coaching and coaching progressions.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ski Performance Course For Mountaineers - BASS Chamonix offer sponsored course place in memory of Chris Walker..

As already mentioned here on the blog, Chris Walker’s life was tragically cut short when he was killed in an avalanche in Glen Coe in February 2010.

Chris was also a personal friend of Alison Culshaw and a regular client of BASS Chamonix. He had aspirations to become a Mountain Guide but he knew at some point he was going to have to get to grips with skiing if this was going to come true. It quickly became clear that learning to ski was not just about the guide’s scheme – he had discovered a new sport which he undertook with the upmost passion and enthusiasm.

Each year BASS Chamonix are to offer a free place on their Ski Performance Course for Mountaineers to ensure his passion for skiing is still felt on these courses and to assist individuals with similar aspirations to Chris.

The main criteria for selection are as follows:-
a) you are a keen mountaineer/climber with some ski experience. You main focus is skiing off-piste and ski touring.
b) You intend to benefit as a result of increased knowledge and ski ability so that you can enhance you own personal ski experiences.
c) This will be the first course like this you have undertaken – you have had little input into your ski technique before from a ski instructor.

Full details here at

Applications should be made directly to BASS Chamonix.

Nik Cook wins 120 mile race in the Canadian Arctic!

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of climbing with Adventure Sports writer Nik Cook. Having just moved to the Peak District we spent a couple of days doing some leading climbing coaching at Froggatt and Stanage.

Not one to rest on the laurels Nik recently won the Rock and Ice Diamond Ultra (6 day self-sufficient stage race in the Canadian Arctic of 120 miles). In doing so, he set a new course record of 38 hrs and 59 mins. Well done Nik!

Nik was also kitted out by Haglofs for the event; here is what he had to say:

"With a race in the far Canadian North such as the 6633 Ultra, clothing and equipment, more than anything else, really can make the difference between success and failure. In being supported by Haglofs I was lucky enough to not only have kit of the highest technical quality but also to have access to the knowledge and expertise of athletes who regularly expose themselves to the rigours of the Arctic winter. Without a doubt my Haglofs kit played a significant role in my winning of the 120-mile event and setting a new course record." Nik Cook

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lead Climbing at Stanage..

I was out at Stanage Edge today with Sara and Sonia, members of the Not So Trad Climbing Club, for a lead climbing course organised by Katherine Schirrmacher.

We spent the day climbing at the Popular End before moving down to the Martello Tower area. The weather was, for the most part, excellent with just a couple of heavy showers punctuating our activity later on.

The crag was busy as usual..

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Climbing Wall Award Training..

Bob, Alec, Mandy and Ben joined me for the first of two days Climbing Wall Award (CWA) Training today.

We spent the majority of the day at the Climbing Works in Sheffield, looking at a variety of syllabus topics focused around the coaching of movement.

Tomorrow will see the course at the Foundry in Sheffield. For more details about the CWA visit

Thanks to everybody at "The Works" it really is a good facility...

Loose Boulder at Stanage :: Heaven Crack

Just a quick message to let people know that there is a loose boulder at the top of Heaven Crack and adjacent to Hell Crack, at Stanage Edge. "The offender" is pictured to the left.

This boulder is directly at the top of Heaven Crack and is in a good position to belay from. It shows wear from being used repeatedly for belays, but when pulled in a specific direction topples towards the edge.

It appears that this boulder may have been responsible, in part, for the following incidents at Stanage in recent weeks: Incidents 32 and 44 Incident 23

Climbing has inherent risks and we all make judgments on belays all the time, but this boulder seems intent on fooling as many of us as possible.

Full discussion at

Friday, April 23, 2010

Euros in the Peak..

Team Mammut recently hit the Peak taking in many of the grit classics. Some would say that this involved plenty of Euro tactics: yo-yo's, preplaced gear and excessive chalk.

Anyway, it's great to see the Peak Grit high up the list with foreign visitors. Below is a brief YouTube clip which has appeared on and other websites. Definitely worth showing for the camera angles alone....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Walking Group Leader Award Refresher..

I was out with Donald today for a Walking Group Leader refresher prior to assessment.

We spent the day on Kinder Scout in some fantastic weather, looking at the three core areas which underpin both the WGL and ML qualifications: Navigation, Leadership and Environmental knowledge.

Visibility was excellent, with clear skies for the majority of the day. Back towards the Eastern Edges plenty of climbers were evident on Stanage and Burbage North, making the most of the fine weather..

For National Governing Body Award courses such as the WGL, ML and SPA visit

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stanage SPA Refresher..

Tony and I were out at Stanage Edge today to revise many of the skills required for the Single Pitch Award (SPA).

We spent the day looking at the technical aspects of personal climbing, belays, runner placement, top ropes, bottom ropes and group abseils etc.

It was a sunny, bit chilly day at the crag with a brisk north westerly wind. Despite this it was quite busy with plenty of folk out enjoying the crisp spring gritstone...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Navigation Training..

I was out with Dave today on Kinder Scout to do some navigation training. We were also due to be joined by Tim who didn't make it sadly (if you are reading Tim I hope you are feeling better soon).

This was a day provided courtesy of Edale Mountain Rescue Team and the Nine Edges Endurance after Dave raised a considerable sum of money in last years event.

We started off with a revision of many navigation skills used in a hill walking context, before looking at more advanced techniques including aspect of slope and relocation.

Trauma Weekend..

Over the weekend Edale Mountain Rescue Team hosted their annual Trauma and Acute Medical Care course in Hope.

This has recently become an annual event with members of rescue teams from across England and Wales attending to share best practice in mountain incidents. I was lucky enough to attend on the Saturday as well as doing a general interest lecture in the evening.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Scrambling on Kinder Scout..

Andrew joined me for a day of scrambling on Kinder Scout today. Often when compared to Snowdonia or the Lake District, 'The Peak' is thought of as being a bit of a scrambling back water.

For us today this wasn't the case, with the ascent of a few good scrambles on the southern edges of Kinder. Initially we headed up Grindsbrook Booth to the "halfway rocks" before striking a line up towards Upper Tor. This gave us a good opportunity to practice some basic ropework before reaching the plateau.

From here we made an ascent of "Hidden Clough" before also taking in the waterfall section of Crowden Clough..

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Navigation Training..

I was out with Nick today on Kinder Scout for some specific navigation training.

This was a day provided courtesy of Edale Mountain Rescue Team and the Nine Edges Endurance after Nick raised a considerable sum of money in last years event.

We started off with a revision of many of the essential navigation skills used in a hill walking context, before looking at more specific techniques for use in running and mountain marathon events. This culminated in us navigating with the use of a 'contour only' map - definitely to be recommended if you fancy a challenge!..

The moors were quite busy with plenty of folk out and about including a number of D of E parties. The skies on the other hand were very quiet given the closure of UK airspace - a rarely savored occurrence on Kinder which is directly on the approach to Manchester airport..

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Walking Group Leader Award Assessment..

I have been out on the hill here in Wales for the last couple of days on a Walking Group Leader Assessment for Plas Y Brenin.

Over the last couple of days we have made sorties to Tal Y Fan near Penmaenmawr and the moors south of Dolwyddelan.

The weather in Snowdonia has been great with clear skies and excellent visibility. It's still chilly however, with a cold northerly wind.

At lower levels and more sheltered crags there will be some good climbing to be had for those keen to get out and about..

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Phari Lapcha 2008, shortened video..

Andy Wild from 'Cause and FX' has recently added a shortened video of our trip to Nepal. Andy Turner and I attempted the North Face of Phari Lapcha and ended up coming away with the 3rd ascent of the neighbouring 'Snotty's Gully' ED1 ~1000m.

Or view the video on YouTube here

Friday, April 09, 2010

Peak Limestone..

With better weather in the Peak for the last couple of days it was time to hit the crags. Simon and I decided to visit 'Beeston Tor' in the Manifold valley, a popular winter/spring sun trap.

Here we climbed the popular classics of 'Evensong' (E1), 'Pocket Symphony' (E1) and 'Deaf Dove' (E2). The main section of the crag was in good condition but there were significant wet streaks in the vicinity of 'Black Grub' and 'Beeston Eliminate'.

Following this we called in at Burbage North, to do the usual bouldering circuit. All in all a pleasant way to shock the body into rock climbing mode after the Scottish Winter season...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Haglofs LIM Ultimate and Atom Bid..

This winter has seen prolonged cold conditions gripping the UK and most of Europe. Being kitted out properly for the mountains has been essential and even quite handy when visiting the supermarket!

As in previous years I have been generously supported by Haglofs, allowing me to head out onto the hill in some high quality kit.

For the majority of the winter I have been using the Atom Bib and LIM Ultimate Jacket for mixed and ice climbing in Scotland - pictured.

This gives excellent hard wearing leg protection (Gore Tex Pro Shell) combined with good freedom of movement and lightweight on the upper body (Paclite). In unusually good conditions I have swapped the LIM Ultimate for a Turbine Hood (Softshell). Or a Spitz Jacket (Gore Tex Pro Shell again ) in more demanding weather.

Yesterday, I combined some work in the Lake District with a visit to Haglofs UK office. Here I was able to give a good "thumbs up" to the above gear, with approximately eight weeks of continual daily use. There garments are still in good condition having been scraped up Cairngorm granite, done multiple ascents of Ben Nevis and survived snow hole expeditions..

Fingers crossed, I will be adding some more specific reviews of equipment I have been using on the website soon..

ML Navigation Reassessment..

I was out with Chris last night in the Lake District doing a one day reassessment to complete Chris' Mountain Leader Award.

With driving rain and poor visibility accurate navigation was essential rather than desirable. (As shown by the bad photo). Chris passed easily and is now an Mountain Leader Award (ML) holder.

Nice one Chris..