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Colorado!

26 Sep 2011

In a very short space of time we’ll be flying off to the States, Thursday in fact.  First stop will be Boulder, Colorado to see my old friend Airlie.  Then Rifle and Nic’s old friend Dave and finally Jeff’s house which is somewhere in between.  There’s no doubting the amount of fun we’re going to have.  And Vanessa has no idea!  She’s pootling along with her everyday concerns of stuffing flat fish in her mouth, emptying the kitchen cupboards and sucking on the velcro of her new shoes.  Meanwhile there’s a whole world of packing going on.

For the first time ever on such a trip we’re just taking our climbing shoes, harnesses and chalk bags and hoping the rest will be provided.  All our bags will be filled with Vanessa’s stuff!

Nic and I have been building up our climbing and the one day a week at the crag arrangement is suiting us both very well.  Nic has done three 8bs this year (his first 8b in over 10 years) and last Tuesday I climbed Cry of Despair 7c at the Cornice in the Peak.  Following my recent ascent of Cordless Madness, a hard 7b+ and Bored of the Lies 7b/+ I’m going well.  I never thought it would be this well at this stage.  But the big question is whether my rapid improvements are going to be enough to keep up with Lynn Hill.  Or rather simply be able to climb on the same boulder as her.

Yes my big opportunity to climbing with the hero herself may soon be coming up.  How naff, I’m such a groupie.  But since Airlie is actually friends with her wouldn’t it be a bit of a shame to miss out.  Who knows what actual climbing we’re going to do out there, but there seems to be no shortage of every kind.  I will report back soon...

Meanwhile, if you're a female climber you may be interested in this event I'm attending in Liverpool at the beginning of November organised by top climber Shauna Coxsey: https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=154008164683587

Also I'm running a brilliant course at the Climbing Works in Sheffield at the end of Oct.  There's one running at the Castle in London too.  It's a one day course to kick start your training for the winter focussing on general preparation including weights, core, circuit training and technique: http://www.lovetoclimb.co.uk/climbing_coaching/22/Team+K+you

Rock Action

19 Sep 2011

It was only just over two weeks ago when we were all saying our goodbyes at Thornbridge.  Rock Action has just had its third birthday and reports were that it was the best course yet.  6 of the 8 who came had been the year before.  So Ben, Josh, Ellie, Hannah, Jethro and Charlie all knew each other alreadyand immediately picked up where they left off.  Just Ailsa and Matthew to bring into the nest. 

Rock Action Team 11

The team after a great day at Bamford

James MacHaffie, Jules Barratt and John Orr joined me for a splendid week.  For most of the young people who came, this is one of their few opportunities to get on real rock and boy did they make use of their time.  With fairly bad weather at the beginning of the week we changed our plans and headed down to Cheedale.  Most spectacularly Ben made an extremely impressive ascent of Why Me, a most challenging, punchy 7c at Two Tier on his third attempt.  I can tell you that James (the instructor) was getting a run for his money.  He got it on his second attempt!

Mostly this was a chance to get used to the intricacies of Peak limestone.  This was followed by a damp start at Cratcliffe for a foray onto grit.  By the end of the day arêtes and blank slabs were going down with ease.  Wednesday at Stanage welcomed us with the worst midges I have ever seen in the Peak.  But there was no time to grumble.  Everyone dosed themselves with probably a dangerous amount of midge repellent and got on with it.

Ailsa Martello Cracks

Ailsa on her first trad lead, Martello Cracks Mod, Stanage

Fortunately Thursday was the kind of day you dream of on the grit.  And everyone could really apply themselves at classy Bamford, one of my favourite crags.  Everyone led and everyone hit milestones.  There were numerous ascents of Bamford Wall S, Brown’s Crack HS and Ben steamed ahead with his first E1 Nemmes pas Harry.

On the final day we headed to Horseshoe and things really came together for everyone.  Charlie made an impressive lead of Pale Rider, his first 6a.  Jethro by now had got over his probably broken toe, which he arrived with, or at least was ignoring the pain.  He was unstoppable, going from lead to lead and onsighted the tricky Wall of Jericho 6b.  And we pretty much had to drag him off the crag.  It was time to go.

I’m really looking forward to next year.  Photos here