Monday, 30 April 2007

Sunday 29 April - Sergeant Crag Slabs

Lakeland Crags Man - HVS 5a *** - Sergeant Crag Slabs. With Tony Shepheard and William Ripley.

Stunning day in the Lakes today. After the OB conference we descided to go cragging. The slabs were quite busy, but suprisingly all there were locals. Dad lead this great route first and it was joy to follow. nice flowing climbing good gear.

Asphaisa - E2 5b *** - Sergeant Crag Slabs. With Tony Shepheard and William Ripley.

A brilliant route. My first E2 lead last year, Tony lead with style. I htink I went slightly off route when i did it. I found the route much harder than i remember, due to sore toes. A quite bold feeling route with a suprising amount of gear.

Terminator 2 - HVS 5a *** - Sergeant Crag Slabs. With Tony Shepheard and William Ripley.

I'll be back.... maybe not! A great route, and like most at the crag low in the grade. Nice flowing climbing lots of gear good friction on the rock. A stunning end to an afternoons cragging.

Thursday - 26th April - Gouther Crag

The Fang Direct - HVS 5a *** - Gouther Crag. With Caitlin Ripley and Joe Dixon.

Great Climbing on broken feeling, but solid rock. hold better than they look and good, but small gear. Crux is a quite run out rockover, but the rcok 10 beneath my feet was confidence inspiring.
I attempted One Step Beyond afterwards, but couldn't do the strenous and awkward VS 5a moves up to it. I reckon i could have done One Step..... poor excuse!

Friday, 20 April 2007

Quick Review – DMM Phantom Karabiner.

Meaty review: I received four of the new DMM phantom krabs yesterday, so I thought I’d give them a quick write up. First impressions: Wow! This is light. The phantom is currently the lightest krab in the world and a meagre 25g per biner. I’m very impressed by its weight, strength (23kn closed, 7kn cross loaded and 9kn gate open) and size - I can’t see krabs getting much smaller than this while still being usable. Size wise the karabiner is virtually identical to a Black Diamond Neutrino, but with a deeper nose, making it more appropriate for racking wires. I was a little dubious about its size at first, thinking that its small capacity would make it harder to clip in extremis, but having used BD neutrinos quite a lot and played around with the Phantom I’m convinced that this is the way forward. DMM are manufacturing the krab in 7 funky colours: red, yellow, blue, green, purple, silver and grey. In my view the only downside to the Phantom is that is too small for racking wires . I'm sure just as with the first wiregates, the hotwire it will be recived sceptically, but to my mind light is right so the Phantom is the way forward.

Quick summary: An excellent little krab that has set the standard as the new light, leaving those old hotwires looking very heavy indeed. This is the perfect biner for anyone who is serious about shaving the weight off his or her rack.

When I’ve abused mine I will add more. The Phantom currently looks like what I will be replacing my old quickdraws with.

Competition: Black Diamond Oz (28g), Camp Nano Wire (28g).

More info at:

The DMM Phantom will soon be available in all good climbing shops in a range of colours for: £7.50 each.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Saturday 14 April - Gouther Crag

Hindleg Crack - Severe * - Gouther Crag. With Joe Dixon and Andrew Mitchell.

Hot and sunny today, Bizarre weather for April! Would love to be out and about on the big crags Scafell et all, but AS levels are looming all to close. I’ve been forced by Dad to do four hours revision this morning. Maths maths maths. Andy and Joe came to picked me up and we headed over to Swindale. The walk in was sweaty. Truss buttress was surprisingly busy, but the main crag contrastingly empty. Started up Hindleg crack, a traditional looking route that was in the shade. The guide book description said, strenuous but I didn't find it so. You just had to bridge. The route had a rather awkward pull round a chockstone, from inside the chimney. Very traditional, but it was good entertainment. Andy and Joe seconded with ease.

Bloodhound - E2 5b ** - Gouther Crag. With Joe Dixon and Andrew Mitchell.

I wasn't exactly psyched for the Bloodhound, but decided this looked like good fun and was my style of climbing. I spent ages working out where the line went and where the gear was. The route was in full sun when I started up it, the rock was very grippy, which was lucky considering how hot it was. I climbed easily up right and managed to arrange 3 runners, one of which could have been considered a side runner, but I'd have still hit the floor before I managed to place the next one. Next, the difficult traverse left, lots of small holds and masses of friction. I backed off a couple of times, before I worked out the sequence. I then got to a big handhold, which mantled on so I could arrange some more gear. If I had fallen then the alleged side runner wouldn't have stopped me. I then continued up on small but positive holds arrange more gear on the flake and just above. Then up on to a sloping ledge, tiptoeing down it, balancey. Up into the groove, where a good runner was arranged. Now the final bridging moves to a big hold, The climbing eases. A big whoop and the top. 3rd extreme of the year and third E2 onsite, good sustained climbing, which doesn't ease until the very end. Andy and Joe did really well seconding. Neither fell off, despite it being their second route of the year and Andrew hadn't even followed E1 before!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Sunday 8 April - High Crag Buttermere

Delilah - VS *** - High Crag. With Tom Parker (aka Bandana Boy).

Buttermere full of bloody tourists. The farmer will have made a bob or two with his parking feild. The walk was steep as usual. High Crag was suprisingly quiet. Started on Delilah. A lovely VS with varried climbing. I lead it in one pitch. Bombproof gear all the way up. Tom seconded the route slowly with numb hands!

Tom Ripley leading the crux on The Philistine

The Philistine - E1 5b *** - High Crag. With Tom Parker

A great route, that i've wanted to do for ages. It lived up to its reputation and was a briliant exspirence. Middle of the grade. Good gear when needed, but never felt too bold. A short difficult section with gear by your waist and then a few run out sections, but every nut was bomber. I managed to drop 3 wires of my harness half way up! Bummer! Fortuanatley i found 2 of them and had found another of the other size at Castle Rock. Tom fell off due to cold hands, so I lowered him down (interesting when you are using a magic plate! I then Abbed and cleaned the route. A stunning pitch that lived up to its exspectations. One of the best E1s i've done in the Lakes. Nearly as good as Red Edge.

Saturday 7 March - Corvus

Corvus - Diff *** - Raven Crag Borrowdale. With Caitlin Ripley.

Got up late again. Started walking at 12ish. Arrive at the bottom to find 4 parties on the route. There we 2 parties of muppets at the back, (one had an pully for aid climbing on his harness, but when i suggested Troutdale Pinnicle as good route said severe was too hard for him!) who were climbing extremely slowly but blaming the instuctor with his two clients at the front. We overtook them, i think one of them wasn't happy about this and took it as an insult to his... manhood! the route was as good as I remember it. The best diff in the lakes - with the traversse pitch being superb. Topped out as the same time as Dad and Nic who had done a couple of good routes. We then proceeded to walk back to the car. We had to queue for about an hour into Keswick! Bank holidays!

Friday 6 April - Castle Rock

North Crag Eliminate - E1 5b *** - Castle Rock. With Caitlin Ripley

Home now. Couldn't sleep in because work at 8:30. Got home and went straight out to Castle Rock. Crag very quiet considering it is good friday. Dad and Nic did Overhanging Basiton. Cait and I did North Crag Eliminate. Tree Pitch fun as ever. Caitlin got very gripped on the tree pitch. I didn't feel up to doing the ramp pitch. I've done the route before anyway so i finished up Barbican. Caitlin dropped her belay plate from the top of the crag so we rapped off as pair... interesting. I got a wire out of NCE, which was bonus. Without the ramp pitch i supose the route is easy HVS 5a.

Very amused by the thread on UKC about my exsploits on the Ben:
Most odd. I'm a web celeb of sorts!

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Thursday 5 April - Walk out

Walkout today. End of our Adventure. Pack up bags, which felt considerabley lightier. Said good bye to the Hut and began walking out. Passed Andy Nesbit walking in with a tiny pack, he must keep his stuff in the hut though. I'm going to do my Munro quota to join the SMC this year. Arrived at the station with 20mins to spare so i bought some food. Train journeys was exciting with stunnign views of the Highlands. Managed to cross Glasgow quickly so got a much earlier train. Didn't have my rail card, but i managed to blag it by the skin of my teeth. Got home absolutley knackered.

Wednesday 4 April - CMD Arete

Carn Mor Dearg Arete - With William Sim

Our last days climbing and another stunner. I got up early hoping that we could do Astral Highway, but William didn't fancy any more front poniting after 4 days front poniting in his Scarpa Manta Boots. So we descided to walk up the CMD arete, which was brilliant, espcially on such a stunning day, however the walk felt more knackering than Orion Direct! We took loads of photos. The sky was cloudless with the temprature at 3000 metres. We stopped at several places for long (boots off!) sunbathing sessions, i got extremly sun burned. We then descided to leave out bags and head up to the Summit, where we met Stuart Anderson, who knew me from UKC! We met the two Dave's descending down the Little Brenva Face. I then joined them in scour for gear beneath the Orion Face. I found a Rock 9. Met Dave Mcgimpsey and Andy Nesbit on the walk down. Dave also knew who I was from UKC - werid! Can't complain about going walking, considering the stunning weather we've had and the routes we've got done. No worries about alarms tommorow!

Tuesday 3 April - Ponit Five Gully and Smiths Route

Ponit Five Gully - V 5 **** - Ben Nevis. With William Sim.

Got up early again. Ready Break gross again. Felt shit on walk in again. Second on route again. C'est la Vie. Luckily the two Dave's from Yorkshire let us over take us and we climbed the route very quikly after that. We swung leads and Will did the best pitch, the chimney pitch. I got the Rouge Pitch, which was some what of an anti climax and very hacked. Topped at 11:00. Messed around on the summit and then descended Tower Gully.

Smith's Route - V 5 **** - Ben Nevis. With William Sim.

There were two parties on Smiths as we descended down so i fancied Albatross, but William wasn't up for that. Unfortuanatley two spainards beat us to the bottom of Smith's so we had to wait even longer. As Will had had all the best pitches so far and was knackered I got the crux of Smith's, which was super. It was hacked to pieces, which spoilt it a bit as no front poniting was required. The crux was a little steep buldge pulling onto the ramp, which was great fun. The top pitch was nice snow slope looking across to Tower Ridge that looked brilliant. We then descened back to the hut. Dinner was rice with pilchards. Yummy! Set alarm early hoping to Astral Highway.

Monday 2 April - Orion Direct and Tower Ridge

Orion Direct - V 5 **** - Ben Nevis. With William Sim

Got up at 4:30 while all my friends were still in bed, but despite this we were still second party on the route. We were happy to queue though. We started climbing at 7:00am. Will got the first pitch, which was hacked. I led through onto the second, which was nice wee gully. Third pitch had a scary looking bit of mixed climbing on it so i was more than obliged to let Will lead. It wasn't half as hard as it first appeared. I lead the 4th pitch that took us to the foot of the crux, but was unremarkable. William then led the Crux, which was hacked and scary. A determined and focused lead by William. the screws looked better than they were! The next two pitch were unremarkable apart from Will getting ice in his eye. I then lead the top ice pitch, which was excellent and good fun. We had to move together before I got to the belay though! The top pitch was a simple snow slope. We basked at the top, like the cat with the cream, reflecting on our efforts. Hats of to Smith and Marshall for vision to climb thing in 1960. We then descended Tower Gully and after Will proclaimed that Psychedelic Wall was going to knacker him out we descided Tower Ridge would be a good laugh.

Tower Ridge - III 3 **** (AD in conditions) - Ben Nevis. With William Sim.

Will Sim easily heading along the Eastern Traverse

We descided to go light and left our bags at the bottom. Just taking a rope and few wires and slings with us. We soloed up to the Eastern Traverse, where Will wanted to rope. We swung leads from their up to the top. A fine route in alpine conditions. Again we descended Tower Gully and I found a krab and leash on the descent. Dinner was pasta and tomato sauce. Folks in the hut are all jolly. We set the alarm for 5:00 again. Ponit 5 tommorow's game.

Sunday 1 April - Comb Gully and Green Gully

Comb Gully - IV 4 *** - Ben Nevis. With William Sim and Will Ripley

Got up an hour late because my alarm was set wrong! opps. Oh well. Luckily we have access to the Dam key so we didn't have to walk too far with our heavy bags. Got recongnised by Stuart the Postie from UKC out side the CIC! how bizare, while we were dumping our bags. We then started up into Creag Corrie na Ciste. COmb was empty, but some bastards nipped ahead of us and then proceeded to climb very slowly. C'est la vie. William led it all which was good as he needed the practice at placing screws, even though he still proceeded to drop two! The climbing was excellent with a long crux pitch. At the top we basked in the sun while waiting for one of our screws to be returned by a following pair of climber. Thanks. Fi kindly returned the other screw to me through UKC. Thanks.

Green Gully - IV 3 *** - Ben Nevis . With William Sim

Dad then left us to Climb on our own. So we descended down Number Four Gully and traverssed round to the foot of Green Gully. Which we climbed quickly in 3 or 4 long pitches. The climbing was very good, but unfortuanatley the route had recived lots of traffic in the good weather and was very hacked.

We then descended down to the CIC, quickly grabbed some beds and made some dinner. The Hust was packed with folks sleeping on the floor. Set the alarm for 4:30. Orion Direct next!

Saturday 31 March - Zero Gully

Tom Ripley leading the first pitch of Zero Gully.

Zero Gully - V 4 *** - Ben Nevis. With William Sim and Will Ripley

First of 5 days on the Ben and very excited. Up at 5:00. Tony was late so didn't start as early as hoped. walked up to the orion face. Climbed Zero Gully an excellent route with good belays, a rareity for zero I'm told. I lead the first pitch, which was excellent and had a nice steep section. We then alternated pitch until the top easy bit, which I lead all of to save time. Met Tony on the top and had walked back. The Ben was very busy and there was stunning clear weather. Got back to OB and went out for fish and Chips in Fort William. We then packed up all our food and cobble for the next few days in very heavy bags. set alarm for 4:30. Bed at 11:00.