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LAST UPDATE:     9th March 2008


Peterborough Climbing Wall Climbing Competition, March 8th 2008

I did a bit of training for this one.
And it paid off again.
I won the 'Old Fart's' category as usual with enough points to put me ?th overall (I haven't checked yet).

Graham leading Pedestal Crack and enthusing about my E1, the weather, the scenery...
As usual, there are no photos of me climbing. But I did. Honest.
Froggatt 9th February 2008

What a surprise. Only the 9th Feb. A whole month earlier than last year.
The forecast for the weekend was good so Graham suggested a day out.
We decided on Froggatt and sure enough it was a superb day.
I started with a little HVS to get warmed up and by this time the crowds were arriving so we decamped to the far end and Chequers Buttress.
There's an E1 version of the Buttress which I'd looked at last time I was there and I decided to give it a go. It's superb! Straight up the middle of the face with good gear just above half height and then ... er not much more.
After that, Graham did Pedestal Crack which was on his list and I made the mistake of having a go at Chequers Crack.
I think it took about two and a half hours to get to the top with three restarts and eight falls. I never really fall when I'm leading, but here it's inevitable. It just doesn't seem possible to stop and put gear in.
I made several mental notes to NEVER try that route again.
So, anyway. A good day with good weather and two routes off my wish list, one far more successful than the other.

Calpe Spain December 1st - 8th 2007

OK, this really has to be the last entry this year.

The New Tourettes Climbing Club went to Calpe again from the 1st to the 8th December for some bolt clipping and associated swearing.
After the now traditional search for the villa in the growing darkness and a night in the freezing cold, we awoke to strong sunshine and English high summer temperatures.
All week the temperature was in the mid to high twenties and for the first time in all my winter climbing trips there was absolutely no rain.
We concentrated on Toix as it's close and none of us wanted to spend hours sat in a car. And on one other day we went to Olta which is similarly close.
My high points were a 6b+ slab and last route of the week was Ghost In The Shell, up a slab and then up a tower and also 6b+, which I'd done in 2004.
Good week.

Click round here somewhere for more photos

My favourite tree at Cratcliffe. It seems to have melted over a lump of gritstone.
Horseshoe 10th November 2007

The forecast was good but with the possibility of a shower so Graham and I went to Horseshoe.
It was already wet but we got a route in at the little end and then the rain started. And it rained and rained.
So we packed it in and went for a look at Cratcliffe. Which was also wet.
This must be the last outing in Britain this year.

Stanage 3rd November 2007

Three of us this time.
Me, Graham and Peter.
Surely we must be getting to the end of the season.
We went to the High Neb area cos the popular end looked like a termite's nest. There were rows of minibuses and cars parked all along the roadside. High Neb was only a bit less busy, but OK.
Graham and Peter did some easy stuff and the hardest I managed was and HVS5b. But a very hard one.
On the way out I did a nice delicate HVS5a.
Two pics of me climbing. Is this a record?

Who Stole The Monkey
Lawrencefield and Horseshoe Quarries 26th/27th Octber 2007

I met Tony, Graham and Peter at the cafe and after a cuppa and various rants, Tony and I set off for Yarncliffe while Graham and Peter went looking for some easy stuff at Birchin.
Yarncliffe was cold, wet, dirty and unappealing so we moved on to Lawrencefield.
There we each did a couple of HVS and watched Neil Bently shoving some poor beginner up the E1 that I led last time we were there. When the beginner couldn't do it, Neil soloed the route to get the gear out and then downclimbed the HS next to it.
Graham and Peter arrived and watched us finish our last route then we parted. They went home while we went to Horseshoe car park to spend the night in the vans.

The forecast rain never arrived and the next morning was good so we got straight down to it on the upper tier.
We did a couple of easy routes and I tried an E2 which had been bolted halfway up. I soon realised why. It was fractured, loose and thoroughly unpleasant.
Down on the lower tier, I did "Rage" again after leaving it a couple of years. Superb! And then "Like Ice Like Fire" again after a similar time. Also good.
Then I started looking at a huge new pile of rock on the floor and realised that "Monkey Stole My Walkman" had finally fallen down (or been helped).
This has removed half of the HVS to the left and left a large area of new rock, so I started looking at the possibility of a new route.
Tony forced me to have a go at it and I got halfway on good gear although the first gear is fifteen feet off the floor. I struggled like buggery with the next bit and finally came down to let the master finish it. Which he did, but slowly.
It's all a bit hard and off balance over the middle third and we reckon the route is E1 5b/5c. We called it "Who Stole The Monkey", for obvious reasons.
I've reported it to the relevant authorities and now we'll see what happens...
And that was that.

The 4 of us at a cold Lawrencefield.

A significant pile of bird turd at Horseshoe.

Stanage October 19th 2007.

Stanage again.
Graham and me again.
And the best weather of the year (as far as I can remember).
I started with a VS warm-up. At least I think that's what it was, I didn't look in the book.
Then I went ion to a HVS5b which was superb and left me wanting more.
Then I picked a short slabby E15b and two thirds of the way up simply couldn't make the moves on tiny greasy slopers. It felt more like 6a to me. So I fell off. Definitely my best ever fall.
Then I did an HVS 5a, which felt like E15b.
Good day and Graham did two HVS too, so he was pleased (I think).

Graham receives helpful advice on how to climb.

The man in black is trying the crux of my E2.
My HVS is to his left up the corner.
Bamford Edge 6th Octber 2007

Another excellent day. This time it was Dave and me at Bamford.
I'd never been to Bamford before, so I followed Dave to Neb Buttress.
My first route was a superb HVS up the corner of the buttress and my second was an E2 up the middle of the face. I'd watched someone make the crux move and tried to do it the same way as him. This was a mistake as I couldn't make it that way after three or four attempts, I then tried the other hand and got it first time. I'll learn one day. It was maybe a bit soft for E2, but a really nice route.
Then we moved to the left hand end of the crags. Dave led an E1 and I led a VS5a crack. Both nice. Then I ballsed up by picking a nasty greasy, slopey HVS5b which spat me off a couple of times before Dave took over and led it. He didn't enjoy it much either.
All in all, a very good day and another E2 (which needs doing cleanly next time)

Neb Buttress Direct.

Froggatt September 28th 2007.

Just me and Graham this time for a damp day at Froggatt.
In fact it kept spitting with rain for most of the day.
Graham led Tody's for the first time and was happy. I did a strange slab route next to it which was supposed to be HVS with protection in the route next to it. Dunno.
Then we went up to the Chequers Buttress area in search of some dry rock and I did a HS4a route which was about the hardest thing I've ever led. It's either a very strange route or very strangely graded. Then Graham backed off the two VS' next to it, in one go for the same reason.
Then I tried the E1 up the middle of Chequers Buttress, couldn't make one move, or didn't want to on damp rock, and finished on the HVS, which as always was superb and saved the day as far as I was concerned.

Hmmm, try it this way round then.

Good lead Graham.
Harpur Hill and Willersley 14th & 15th September 2007

On Friday I met Tony at Harpur Hill for some bolt clipping and we went to the lower tier to try and get out of the savage wind.
After warming up on a couple of 5s and a 6a, which were a bit disappointing, we did two superb 6a+ routes, both of which are starred. Then we decided to go up to the top tier where the bigger routes are and generally the climbing is better. The wind was evil so we climbed on the 'Dark Side' where there was some shelter. We did another 6a+ and a 6b, which were excellent and Tony climbed a 6b+, which I found quite hard. Finally I tried another 6a+, which I reckon is under graded at the top (So do several posters on the Rockfax site).
I'm very impressed with Harpur Hill so far. Shame it's as far as it is, but it only took two and a quarter hours in the van so not too bad.

After a night in the car park at Wetton (camper vans are smart!) we met Graham at Willersley.
To be honest I was a bit disappointed. I've climbed there a few times recently, but this time things seemed a bit slippery.
Graham wasn't disappointed at all. His first route was an HVS and he then had to pull first me and then Tony over the crux.
Tony led God and us two seconded it and finally Tony led Gangue Grooves (However its spelled) and I seconded it. I looked at the E2 at the right hand end again but couldn't get the enthusiasm.

I wonder how many more outings we'll manage this year...

Stanage September 1st 2007.

A total of eight of us climbed at Stanage this time. Attendance is getting better and better.
My first time out since my ignominious defeat at Pembroke.
I ended up doing quite a bit of belaying and seconding as we had three non-belayers in the group, so I only led two routes all day. E1 and E2.
The E1 is just to the left of the HVS that I did last time and the E2 is one that I'd spotted in the guide and which Dave has done before. Lucky he had cos the crux takes some protecting and he had exactly the right nut to do it.
A really good day apart from the omnipresent freezing wind.
And on paper an excellent one.

Yes it really was that windy and cold.

On the E1. The start is the hard bit.

On the E1. The top is easy.

Starting the E2.

On the E2.

Crossed the bleedin ropes.

I'm setting off to climb 'The Arrow'. Still couldn't do it though.
Pembroke 20th - 23rd August 2007

Graham, Tony, Dave, Chris (and later some bloke called Paul) and I climbed in Pembroke this year.
And although the weather was great with strong sunshine on the cliffs and just windy on the top, I still found myself pretty much unable to climb anything. Or at least what I wanted to climb. Stennis seemed to be the area that suited me best, but it's in the Army firing range and only open after 4.30 in the afternoon.

For pictures of the trip Click Here

How can you tell the picture was taken in the range?

Harpur Hill August 11th 2007.

No rain at all this time.
Graham and I went to Harpur Hill for the first time ever for some Trad and Bolted limestone climbing.
We started at the bottom tier and were unimpressed. It is very fragmented and a lot of the rock looked quite unsafe. "If it's all like this, let's go somewhere else". Then we went up to the upper tier and everything changed. The quality of the rock is hugely better and with so much friction that it often feels like grit.
On the way out I led a superb face climb that was graded 6a+ in the book, but with repeated English 5c moves and English 6a at the top, I'd say more like 6b or 6b+. Still the best and most enjoyable I've done for quite a while.

Graham warming up on 6a+

Graham, cruising on Pocket Symphony
Beeston Tor 4th August 2007

Two weekends in a row without rain. Almost.
Chris, Dave, Graham and I went to Beeston Tor this time.
The only route I particularly wanted here was Pocket Symphony, which I seconded with Tony on my first ever outing on the 29th Feb 1996. Then two years ago I failed to lead it when I was unable to get any decent gear in.
To cut a long story short, the same happened again and I climbed left onto the VS and Chris led it. We all seconded it and I decided that I'm never going to be able to stop and get the gear in (as Tony had predicted) cos my fingers are like bananas and my feet are like cricket bats.
We also did The Thorn but that was about all there was time for as the crag is now so appallingly overgrown that moving around is a very long and tortuous job.
It was a good day but I didn't seem to do much real climbing.

Hmmm, it must go up there. Dave on The Thorn.

Horseshoe July 28th 2007.

At last! A dry day. So yet again, Graham and I went to Horseshoe to do what we've been trying all year to do.
This time we were joined by Dave and Katrina. Phil and his son. Simon and er... someone else.

After a cpouple of warm-up routes Graham led 'Like Ice Like Fire', his first E1 and I led 'Do Androids etc', my first E2.

For the rest of them it was the first visit to Horseshoe and they were simply trying some routes, but I'm sure everyone had a good day. I know I did.
And it didn't rain. What are the chances of that?

Dave is seconding 'Do Androids etc', belayed by
Graham, watched by Katrina, Simon and Phil.

This was the only climbing anyone did at Horseshoe.
A desperate snail trying to escape the monsoon.
Horseshoe 6th July 2007

Graham and I went to Horseshoe again cos as I always say; "however wet it is you can always find a dry route at Horseshoe"
It was really wet, but after half an hour walking round looking at routes it had dried out enough that we got the gear out, put shoes on and I tied into the rope and... It pissed it down. So we went to The Edge in Sheffield and did an afternoon inside.
Which was nice.

Horseshoe June 24th 2007.

Wet again, so I went with Graham, Chris and James to Horseshoe.
It was dripping when we arrived but we found a 6a that was dry and then went down to 'Galening Crack' which seems to always stay dry.
I led that and while Graham seconded it I was looking at 'Like Ice Like Fire' again and was ready to lead it as soon as Graham came down. However, the rain started again as his feet touched the ground and this time it was serious. Chris was on the crux of a 6b and had to lower off and we waited... and waited.
It didn't stop so we cleared off.

If it's wet you can usually still climb something at Horseshoe
But there are limits...

Graham on his first route of the day
Stanage 12 June 2007

We went to Stanage as it was a midweek outing and the place would be far less busy.
The weather forecast was shite but we agreed that it would be good just to get a couple of routes in after a five week layoff.
The day started with an epic when I picked the first HVS we came to. It seemed damp and slippy all the way, but when I got halfway up it, I discovered a minor waterfall running through the crux and said "Bollox to this". I downclimbed it and Graham found a dry VS.
Next I did the HVS version of Graham's VS, which was excellent and a decent length for Stanage, then it started to rain. The rain only lasted twenty minutes, so we did some short easy stuff while the rock dried out and then I did another HVS, also a decent length and very good, with a pull over a roof at the top. Nice.
Last, Graham had a go at an HVS that he fancies but ran out of power on the crux and downclimbed it. Next time.
Good day.

Frogatt May 4th 2007.

Three of us went to Frogatt this time. Me, Graham and Graham's neighbour, Peter, who was climbing for the first time in 18 months.
We all did some easy stuff first and then Graham moved on to the real purpose of the visit; Chequers Buttress. He cruised up it with no trouble at all and was well pleased.
I had intended to do the E1, The Great Crack, but couldn't get motivated, so I did Pedestal crack again. Then we top-roped Browns eliminate and Graham was surprised to find how easy it is. Not sure I'll be leading it though.

Pedestal crack. Brown's is on the right.

At the top of Willersley Castle Rocks
Willersley 14th April 2007

Just Graham and me this time and we set off or Wildcat Crags at Matlock Bath.
Unfortunately, due to the cuntishness greed of the local council, it is impossible to park at Matlock Bath for the whole day unless you put £4.50 in change in a machine and even then in only one car park in the whole town. If you don't happen to have that amount of change on your person, the only thing you can say is "Bollocks to the profiteering bastards" and go to Willersley, one mile down the road where it's free to park.

So when we arrived at Willersley Castle Rocks, we did a couple of VS's to get started and after Graham's Cam fell out instead of protecting the crux and all the others came out when I breathed on them, I led Gangue Grooves - HVS5b. We both liked it and on the way out I discovered an E2 that I'd like.
Next time.

Oh, and it was warm. What are the chances of that?

Horseshoe March 30th 2007.

Me, Graham and Tony again, this time at Horseshoe to stay out of the monumental freezing wind that seems to have domain over the country.
I started with a 5 which the other two repeated and quickly moved on to a 6a+ which I don't think I've done before. When Graham couldn't make the crux, I went up again and somehow tweaked my shoulder retrieving the gear. Bollox!
That could have been it for the day, but the shoulder eased up and as Tony was firing on all cylinders this week, I let him lead 'Ice/Fire' and 'Rage', and I seconded them.
Then there was a pivotal moment in Graham's climbing when instead of not climbing these two, because the are "Too hard", he had a go and did them both. Coming down off 'Like ice Like Fire' he announced "I could lead that", which coincidentally is what I've been telling him for 18 months. He then came down off 'Rage' with the biggest grin I've ever seen and announced "That was brilliant. The best route I've ever done etc." Which coincidentally, is what I've been telling him for 18 months.
Good day apart from the shoulder

Graham's done the hard bit... I'm just finishing the route.

No caption necessary.
The Roaches 23rd March 2007

Tony, Graham and I went to The Roaches on Friday 23rd.
The weather was superb when we arrived, but by the time Tony had started the first route of the day, the inevitable clouds had arrived and it was starting to cool off.
This first route was supposed to be HVS5a, but when Tony backed off it with cold hands, there was obviously something up. That is to say, Tony backed off the route after giving the pair of young climbers next to us stick about bringing a bouldering mat and then pleading to borrow it while he down-climbed. Sometimes your words can comne back to haunt you...
I managed to force my way up the route and Graham seconded it, but we decided it must be E1... maybe 5b.
Then we went up to The Valkyrie section and Graham started to lead Valkyrie itself. This is inexplicably graded VS4c. 4c, yes, maybe even 4b as there is little or no climbing of any value on the route. But VS? I don't think so.
This is probably the nastiest route I can rememeber climbing aywhere, with no redeeming features. It is wandering and contrived with almost inevitable rope drag and as I say, no real climbing anywhere, but lots of grovelling along ledges.
Graham led the first 4/5ths and I scrambled up behind him and finished the route off. Three star my arse! I give it three dog turds. A complete waste of time.

So it was an interesting day, with Tony backing off an HVS and me finishing it and then we had nightmares on a VS.
On the way home, Graham got flashed by a speed camera.
Not a perfect day at all.

Lawrencefield March 16th 2007.

Second outing of the year was Me, Graham and Chris.
We went to Curbar first but there was an evil freezing wind so we immediately went down to Lawrencefield which is more sheltered.
It's on the opposite side of the road to Millstone so the rock is very similar, but I seemed to get on a lot better.
This time I led a very nice (and a bit soft) HVS and my first E1 of the year. This was E1 5b, with a 5c start... Doesn't that make it E1 5c?
Apart from the cold and the wind which followed us down there, I was pretty happy.
Chris leading HVS and seconding my E1 while Graham basks in the sunshine at the bottom.

Tody's again. A bit colder this time.
Frogatt 9th March 2007

At last. The first outing of 2007.
Graham and I went to slightly cold and very windy Froggatt. I did a couple of HVS's without any difficulty apart from the wind which was trying hard to knock me off the rockface for most of the second one. So we set up a top rope and had some fun then retired to the tea shop.
A good outing and it looks like the winter's training has paid off again.

Lunchtime. Trying to get out of the wind.

Peterborough Climbing Wall climbing competition. Sunday February 25th 2007.

The first entry on this page this year.

After my stunning victory last year I felt compelled to enter the competition again.
As usual, the top few climbers in the club were route setting and therefore didn't enter.
To cut a long story short, I did almost exactly the same as last year, won my category by a mile and scored only 1% less points pro rata. Graham was second.
If he makes me a suitable offer, I may enter the open category next year and let him win.

Cruising to another win. Pic by Paul Havard

Joe, Graham, Me, Trevor. (The Tourettes Climbing Club)

A typical end of November day at Toix.

The Penon from Olta.
Calpe, Spain. Nov/Dec 2006

The 2006 trip was to Spain and the obvious place to stay was Calpe.
Joe and I have been before and we had 2 Costa Blanca virgins with us; Graham and Trevor.
We stayed in the town within walking distance of the Penon and 5 minutes in the car from Toix, Mascarat, Olta etc.

We arrived on Saturday 25th and went straight to Toix on Sunday 26th even though it was a little too hot to climb.
Monday we arranged a mass assault on the Penon after a trip to the gear shop where we bumped into Simon Wright from Stamford and his mate Ian from Bourne.
Joe and Trevor climbed first and Graham and I waited for them to clear the first belay. By the time they cleared the second belay of ten pitches it was becoming obvious that time was limited and while they had a reasonable chance of finishing before dark, anyone following them, in this case us, would be pushing their luck. So we ab'ed off and walked round the back to the top.
Tuesday was Toix again where I discovered there are more routes in the Amphitheatre that I can do and Wednesday we went to Sella.
Thursday we visited a newish crag at Olta and liked it a lot.
Friday was the last day so Graham and Joe went off to do the Penon as Graham had missed his chance the fist time round, while Trevor and I went back to Toix to have a crack at some harder stuff.

Excellent trip, excellent company, excellent weather and excellent climbing. We must do it again.

For pictures of the trip Click Here
There are a lot of pictures so you need broadband or patience.

Me in the Amphitheatre again
Is Trevor belaying or what?

Horseshoe Quarry again 4th November 2006

It was a cold start so Tony, Graham and I went to Horseshoe again as it always catches the sun nicely.

We started with a 5 and a 6a (in my case in the wrong order) and then moved up to the 'Androids' area.
'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep' has been on my list all year and I was thinking on the way over that this was probably going to be my last chance. So with a little persuasion from Tony, I decided to have a go.
It was still a bit cold on the hands so I was lacking feeling, but that was more than made up for by the quality of the gear. I had a moment of indecision moving from the crack onto the headwall, but after a rest on the rope to spot the necessary foothold, I was away again. The top of the route is basically the same as 'Rage' which I did last year and the climbing on the rather blank looking wall is superb.
After all my brave words, I couldn't stop myself using the bolts at the top. If I do it again, I'll try to do it 'trad only'.
Tony climbed it next and without using the bolts.
We agreed that it's E1 5b/c with the two bolts at the top and E2 5b/c without them.
Then I went on to do a couple more 6s and pronounced it a very good day.
Graham got a couple of 6as and was pleased. Tony was, as usual, completely unfazed by any of it.

The Spain trip is only 3 weeks away.

     Graham on 'Thomas Crapper' F6a    and    Tony at the top of 'Rage' F6b

Me on a chilly 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep'

Tony on one of many F6a routes, some of it is dry and some is wet. There's a borehole at the top
Horseshoe Quarry October 28th 2006

Tony was still in Britain and I met him at Horseshoe on Saturday.
When we arrived, the place was under water so we started at the right hand end where most of the routes have a small overhang at the top.
After a couple of dodgy wet F6a routes we moved left and picked out a couple of dryish ones.
Then Tony went on to lead Like Ice Like Fire, which I led last year. It's E2 in the guide but after I'd seconded it, we agreed HVS would be more accurate.
Then I did an arete only variation of Pale Rider and the day was over.

Froggatt 14th Oct 2006

I went to Froggatt again with Graham and Paul.
We met Tony at the crag and immediately set off to Tody's Wall which I had failed last time. This time it was easy, but not quite as easy as Paul made it look. Then I led Chequers Buttress which I seconded last time and found it to be good.

At this point there was an unexpected pairing up of two of the all-time greats of British climbing.
Tony spent twenty minutes thugging his way up Chequers Crack and Johnny Dawes was nearby teaching. I could see he kept looking over as Tony progressed up the route. Eventually JD came over and asked me "Who is that? Do I know him?" He was really that impressed.
Then he asked if he could jump in and second the route, which was OK by me cos he took all the gear out and I just climbed it. Good route, but there's no way I would be able to stop to put the gear in.

On the way out I did that tiny E1 again after Graham jumped off from just below the crux.

Brilliant day at Froggatt, several good routes. A bit busy though.

Graham enjoying Tody's

Tony and Johnny

There's no stopping him now.
Paul on Chequers Buttress

Leading Pale Rider and Belaying in the rain. Pics by Paul Havard
Horseshoe Quarry September 29th 2006

This week I went to Horseshoe with Trevor and Paul.
It's nice to see a few more people following my lead and not working on Friday.

Trevor hasn't climbed since last year in Sardinia and this was Paul's first outing ever.

It rained within a few minutes of our arrival and I'd only had time to put the rope up an F5, so after Trevor had seconded it, we moved down to Galening Crack; HVS5a in the book and I led that so they could both have a go in the dry as it's under a little roof.
Then we did a few F6a routes ending with Pale Rider, again just after a rain shower.
Paul pronounced himself knackered but happy and Trevor remembered why he used to climb.

Good outing and it proves that you can still do something if it rains.
From there I went on to Leicester wall to meet Graham and did another couple of hours.

Willersley Sept 22nd 2006

Willersley again.
This time with Graham and Chris.
I just wanted to do the E1 5b that I pathetically failed last time and I did, although with rather too much hanging about and swearing.
Excellent route though.

God. E1 5b

Willersley September 15th 2006

Willersley again.
And another mixed-feeling outing.
We did a couple of VSs and then Chris did an HVS5b, which apart from the horrible polished start, wasn't any harder.
Then I tried E1 5b and did all the hard moves, but my brain wouldn't let me finish it. Chris finished it and I seconded it.
Annoying and inexplicable, but we may go back next week so I need to force myself to do it properly.

Froggatt Sept 9th 06

It was just Chris and me again as Graham is on a world cruise.
Froggatt is new to me but Chris has been there plenty.
Of course, it's grit again.

We started slowly, both suffering minor setbacks to our climbing egos but to cut a long story short, we did some excellent and varied, although not very highly graded routes. Then on the way out I did the smallest E1 in the world at the very left hand end of the crag. That made the day for me. My first E this year.

Limestone next week.

Me on the smallest E1 in the world

Chris on Rage. F6b
One of my favourites.
Horseshoe August 28th 2006

For a while, it look like I wouldn't get out at all over the bank holiday, but Chris came to my rescue after a record 5 others had mysteriously cancelled.
As it looked like being showery, we went to Horseshoe on the assumption that it's easier to get off a bolted route in the rain.
This proved to be true. We had several showers but it dried very quickly.
We did 3 HVSs, a F6a, F6a+ and F6b. I was struggling with F6b, which means I still need to get about a grade and a half back to be where I was at the start of the year.
Getting there though.

Millstone August 11th 06

Millstone is grit.
Most of the routes there are cracks.
I don't like grit and I don't like crack climbing.
So why did I go to Millstone. That's the question I ask myself.
Graham had a good day. I had a crap day.
I'm not going again. Or to any Grit crags or ever climbing any cracks.

At last! Some grit that I like.
Wharncliffe Aug 5th 2006

Wharncliffe? Never heard of it.
Graham, Chris and I went to Wharncliffe, north of Sheffield to see what it was like.
At first sight it was small, falling down and incredibly overgrown at the bottom, but as we moved further to the right, there were some quite good routes. Nothing over about 14 meters, but gritstone that sometimes had sharp holds. Slightly like Millstone.
We did a few routes between us, nothing over HVS, but some of the routes appeared to be under graded. Maybe that's how grit is.
Good fun though.

Willersley 23rd July 06

It must be 10 years since I climbed at Willersley.
In those days I was leading HVS. How little things have changed.
It had rained the night before and when I arrived with Graham, we were the only ones there and the crag was still damp through the bottom third.
Nice and slimy.
But they're quite high routes and after struggling through the damp patches, the top half of the route was mostly OK apart from the loose rock and the vegetation.
By the time we got down from route one the place was busy and we had to wait for the Pothole route which we both found most enjoyable with an unusual crux at 3/4 height.
I had a look at a couple of E1s which I'll do next time assuming it hasn't rained within 24 hours.
At last! A picture of me climbing

Graham on the HVS and the F6a
Horseshoe Quarry 30th June 2006

It was Graham and me again at Horseshoe and we both had routes that we wanted to do.
We started with a 5ish warm-up and then both did a F6a which is a bit of a milestone for Graham.
Then we both did the HVS that Graham had failed last year, another milestone for him and I did another harder HVS further along.
Then we both did a starred F6a which was on Graham's list and he was pretty happy.
In between I had a look at the E2 that I want, but I'm not fit enough yet. But not far off. Soon.

Pickering Tor June 17th 06

I met Tony and his friends from the Polaris Club at Pickering Tor near Milldale in Dove Dale.
The friends disappeared further downstream while we crossed the river to climb the huge needle of rock on the far bank.
Tony has climbed it before and at E1 5b I was expecting some reasonable climbing. However, a lot of it is seriously overhung and I found following the route mystifying. Also, Tony's variation took in some of the E3 next door, so yet again, I found myself dragged to the top sweating and swearing while walkers looked on from the far bank. Nice.

After some scoff we found another E1 which was much more to my liking. This was a far more predictable face climb and about the best I've done this year. I seconded again, but when I'm fit I wouldn't mind leading it.

The needle thingy and us at the top

Belaying Spod (which I was much better at than the climbing).
Cratcliffe Tor June 11th 06

Graham was on holiday, so it was just Steve, Spod and me at Cratcliffe.
Bloody Gritstone again.
I was planning to lead Suicide wall.
That was until I tried to second a horrible short HVS 5b, hand-jam route and then an E2 with pretty much no hold anywhere.
I've led E2. I can easily second it, but try as I might, I couldn't get more than 3 feet off the ground no matter how hard I swore, while Steve lay on the ground behind me howling with laughter.
But I did feel a lot better half an hour later, when it was me lying on the floor and Steve stuck 3 feet up (although maybe not for quite as long as me).
After these two consecutive traumas, I felt in no state to lead Suicide Wall so I seconded it and I must begrudgingly accept it as an excellent route.
I'll come back for that one later.

Black Rocks 29th May 06

"Black Rocks" Said Steve, "I'm going with Joe and Spod. It's brilliant, It's my spiritual home".
"Black Rocks" Said Graham. "It's horrible".
I had never been, so I persuaded Graham to go and we met the other 3 there.
Basically we struggled with a few VSs which felt like E2s. Not my style of climbing at all.
Graham had an awful day until the last route where he had an impressive leader fall, got back on and finished it. That cheered him up immensely.
If I had the choice between Black Rocks and pretty much anywhere else, I'd go pretty much anywhere else.

Graham is belaying from the top of the 'first pitch'.
I'm on some sort of crux while Steve takes the piss from the top.
Pic by Spod

It looks like Slawston Bridge.
Stanage (again) 12th May 06

First time out this year. Since I climbed in Sardinia in December in fact. I went with Graham to Stanage to test my collarbone.
Graham had a couple of routes that had caused him trouble when he first started climbing, so he knocked them off first and I seconded them without any trouble.
Then I picked a VS up a left handed crack (to protect my right) and led it without any problem.
Graham then decided on a nasty, slopey, greasy, unprotected HVS, did all the hard moves and retreated onto the VD next to it which was a shame.
Finally I did another VS up a crack system without any difficulties and we pronounced the day a success.
On the way home we stopped at Millstone and I found myself inspired. We'll have a day there in a few weeks.

Peterborough Climbing Wall Bouldering Competition March 06

OK, I know it's not real climbing, but after a winter of hard training, particularly at Leicester wall, I entered the Vet's category at the Peterborough Bouldering Competition and won by a mile.
My score would have put me 3rd in the open class if I'd entered it and higher if the first 3 or 4 hadn't (alledgedly) scored each other's performances "creatively" (according to some of the overseers).

On my way to the crushing defeat of my adversaries
Pic by Colin Edwards

Cala Fuili near Cala Gonone
Sardinia Dec 3rd - 11th 2005

December's climbing trip was originally supposed to be Me, Steve, Joe and Nick going to Spain again, but for various reasons, the other three had to pull out one after the other. (Perhaps they're not telling me something).

Then when I tried to arrange it myself and started to contact people, I was invited by John Reed to join him and his mate Robin on their Sardinian trip. Three is an awkward number in climbing and I soon recruited Dario as the fourth member. He's keen to start climbing again.
Dario immediately had to pull out as Johnny Depp had requested the pleasure of his company in a five star resort in the Caribbean for three weeks, shooting promo pics for the new film. Hard choice I suppose.
Dario was replaced by Trevor Wagland, also keen to get back into climbing and that's how the line-up stayed until a week before the trip when I still hadn't heard from John about where we were staying etc and he wasn't answering my phone calls, texts or emails. I finally emailed his mate to see if he could shed any light and was told by a surprised Robin that John had broken his hand at work two weeks previously and really should have got in touch to tell me that they'd both cancelled.
Yes, he should.
So then there were two.

I got on the internet and booked flight, car parking, car hire and an apartment for about £200 each.

The full story is here

The Peaks 25-25 Sept 2005

I met Graham in Hathersage and we went via the gear shop to Stanage.
Yes, you read correctly. This was to be my first ever visit to the Mecca of British Gritstone climbing.
We found Tony, Liza and Tessa doing a VS and did a VS of our own and a couple of pleasant but short HVSs. The other 3 went off to the right while Graham and I turned left to find the Unconquerables.
I led the Right Unconquerable (HVS) and then the Left Unconquerable (E1). They were both good and probably worth a repeat if I ever visit Stanage again.
Graham left for home and a bottle of wine as Tony's party arrived. Tony then led the E2 arete that I'd been toying with. This involved a 20 metre solo through some tricky ground. He hasn't lost it.

Day two started wet and we considered some indoor climbing, but as it started to clear up, Tony and I went to Horseshoe while Liza and Tessa set off for Burbage. They didn't manage to climb there as it was already raining. Tony and I got three routes in before rain stopped play.

Tony could put some gear in,
but he chooses not to.

Bosherston Head - Serious stuff.
Pembroke Sept 2005

I arrived in Pembroke on Monday afternoon with a stiff and swollen ankle (see the racing section for Anglesey 2005).
Chris immediately dragged me to St Govan's head where he led a VS and an HVS. The ankle was a problem, but I climbed on one leg.
Tuesday was cool but we did some more HVS at St Govan's and a couple of E1s.
Wednesday started off wet, but quickly dried up so we went to Trevallen to do an E1. As the sun came through, it became impossibly hot. With the tide coming in fast, I was urging Chris to get up quick and when he fell off the same route three times, my only option was to finish it off myself. This was my finest hour as it was all down hill again from here. I backed off another E1 at Stennis Head due at a combination of the heat, brain and ankle problems.
Thursday was cooler again and I went for The Arrow - E1 5b, which I fell off and knackered the ankle again. Tony and Dave arrived midday and climbed alongside us. At this point Chris went into overdrive and started knocking off the E2s including The Butcher at St Govan's.
Friday was the last day and I had accepted that I wouldn't be leading on one leg, so we went into The Range again and Chris led a couple more pretty awesome E2s.
In conclusion, I climbed better than last year, but still only managed to second most of what I did.

Horseshoe Quarry 4th Sept 2005.

I went with John Reed this time as Graham was preparing for his trip to the alps. (4 bottles of wine and 2 boxes of chocolates should be enough preparation).
After a couple of hours it was hot. Too hot.
We did F6a, F6b, F6b+ and then John went on to do the F6c that I failed a couple of months ago.
By this time we were searching for shade just to belay from and the climbing was suffering - mine anyway.
I had a look at Androids/electric sheep and would have done it straight away if not for the heat. I'm convinced it'll go next time I'm there.

Bolting a new route

Purple Haze E1 5b. I'm up there somewhere.
Ravensdale 27th August 2005

It was me, Graham and Chris again for this trip.
I hadn't been to Ravensdale for a few years and wanted to reclimb Gymnic, one of my early leads.
I remember it being polished at the bottom and good at the top. It was still very polished at the bottom, but the rest was less exciting and much smaller than I remember.
Then we went to Ash Crack which I've led a couple of times and Graham led it. We did a 'vitually no crack variation' as the crack itself is now so polished and that was better and more interesting.
I then went off with Chris and he led Medusa, HVS5a I think and very good. And finally I led Purple Haze, E1 5b. With just a pause at the crux for some swearing, I quite enjoyed it and I think it's worth doing again.

Beeston Tor August 2005

The first time I ever climbed properly was at Beeston Tor with Tony on the 29th Feb 1996. On that occasion, I seconded (badly) The Thorn HVS 5a and Pocket Symphony E1 5b. So I've wanted to go back and lead them.
This time, I went with Graham and we did The Thorn first. Graham led the first pitch, VS 4b into the cave and I led the second, which turned out to be easier than I expected and shorter than I remembered. I did the crux without clipping the pegs, all my own gear. And Graham seconded it cleanly too. One down and one to go.

Pocket Symphony was a different story. Graham led the 4C first pitch to the ledge. The gear I got in at the bottom of the E1 pitch was wires, pulled though threads with the gear removal tool, but what a long-winded pain in the arse! I only got halfway up, before I realized that the gear placements were either non existent or way beyond me. So I traversed left and finished up a VS. Balls! The climbing was excellent, it was the gear placing that let me down. A familiar story.

Beeston Tor.
You get no idea of scale from the picture.

E1 5b my arse!
Chris has taken the gear out, thrown the rope down and is down-climbing the route while Graham looks on amazed.
The Roaches 6th August 2005

I went to The Roaches with Graham and Chris.
It's grit stone and this was probably only my 3rd attempt at grit.
I couldn't wait to get started so I jumped in and led The Sloth HVS5a, one of the Classic routes at The Roaches and we all found it to be good. In fact probably the best route of the day.
Later I led Saul's (arse) Crack also allegedly HVS5a. This would have been a superb route when it was conceived, but years of traffic have polished the crack itself which is a shame.
We did a couple of other lesser routes and all in all had a good day.
Not sure I'd go back there If I had the choice of some good limestone.

Wales 9th&10th July 2005

About 15 of us turned up at the PMC "hut" in north Wales to celebrate Steve Cox's wedding.
This was another good opportunity for me to get some trad leading in.

We split into several groups and mine went off to Tremadog where I climbed what was supposed to be a VS with Zoe. She'd wanted this route for 2 years and would be denied no longer.
As it turned out, there was an HVS5b variation at the top, which I felt obliged to take and it was the best bit. (4 pieces of gear in 70ft). We were both pretty pleased with it and then later we did the first pitch of a VS4b, which with no possibility of gear placing held the certainty of hitting the deck from 40ft if I'd fallen off the crux and with very sparse holds, it was definitely the hardest climbing I've done this year. I'd give it E4 5c. But then what do I know.
After the inevitable bbq and beer on Saturday night, I went off with Matt Green and Kate on Sunday to Castle Inn and climbed some bolted routes up to 6b.
Good weekend all in all.
Commiserations to Nick. At least you got a helicopter ride, even if you don't remember it.

Matt, Kate, Zoe, me.

At the top of the HVS.
The E is immediately to the left, over the roof at the top.
Horseshoe Quarry. June 2005

I've been here a few times this year already and the climbing is showing some improvements.
I've been doing F6b and 2 weeks ago I did my first F6b+ in Britain.

So yesterday I searched the trad gear out and after an HVS5a warm-up, I steamed straight into what was listed in the book as an E2 5c. Now it's been downgraded to E1 5b, which make a lot more sense.
That's my first ever E grade lead anyway. It's taken some time coming.
Now I'm looking forward to Pembroke in August.

Vallouise, France. April 2005

The first week in April, a group of us went to France looking for some alpine sun and rock.
It was colder than ideal, but there was loads of very good climbing in the area and I'd be happy to go back there later in the year.
I think I did my favourite route ever on this trip.

For more pics of the trip, go to:

The top of the first route.
Horseshoe Quarry. Easter 2005

First time out in 2005.
Horseshoe Quarry with Sarah.
Plenty of F6a and some F6b too.
I reckon I'm ready for France in a couple of weeks.

Spain, December 2004

I was pleasantly surprised to be invited by Steve Cox, Joe Begley and Nick Welsh to join them for a week of climbing in the Spanish sun in December.
That was the idea, but it pissed down for the first 5 days and we managed only a few routes each day until the last 2 days.
I still managed some cracking routes and can't wait to go again.

For more pics of the trip, go to:

Pembroke August 2004

I met up with Tony, Rob and Ulli, some Friends from Germany, Dave Reeve and Clare and later Steve Cox and we travelled to Pembroke via Bristol climbing wall.

There was much rain for the first couple of days, but when the sun came out for the last 2 days, it was hot enough for sunburn.
I was not leading. E2/3 is too much for me, but there was some good seconding on the cliffs and at the end some of our group went into Huntsman's leap. I stayed out.

For more pics of the trip, go to:

Calpe Spain November 2002

The second week in November 2002, seven of us from the Peterborough Climbing Wall went to Calpe in Sain for a week.
The weather was superb. Low 20s. Not too hot.
The Climbing was awesome. Hundreds of bolted routes within 10 minutes of the villa, which was huge, with good facilities and a pool. It overlooked the Mediterranean and was situated in the old and therefore quiet part of town.
The whole trip was cheap, as was the car hire (It worked out about £2 per day per person)
Food and drink is stupidly cheap out there. Or perhaps we just get ripped off in Britain.

For more pictures of the trip, go to

Me in The Amphitheatre

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