BBC - Weather Centre - Forecast for Llandudno, United Kingdom

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Your Christmas Sermon

This is the 3rd Christmas sermon on this blog, doesn't time fly! The Sunday Sermon's were fun but they seem like ages ago now. The blogs had a quiet few months. This is because its a climbing blog and i haven't been climbing. I haven't climbed since mid November actually and no i'm not injured. I've been in a weird place motivation wise probably since September, i had been trying to get in the best shape i could for the Diamond season. After maybe 5 sessions i was going well on the route, better than last year although still getting to the same move. I had one session where i was even feeling fairly fresh up there getting there 3 times in a session. Despite this something just wasn't quite right. I felt like i was just going through the motions in order to get it done. I found myself in a strange predicament as although all i needed to do was keep going i was struggling to maintain the tunnel vision approach that was needed. The Diamond is not your standard sport crag. You're lucky to get six weeks a year there and your lucky to get good conditions more than one in three days. To do this route at this crag i needed to invest all my time and focus. I had no money, i was the poorest i'd ever been in my life. Things were just getting back on track with the missus so i needed to put some effort into that. On my return after a two week break i knew the game was up. I had lost the edge physically and this resulted in me losing the physchological battle. I was soon falling off everywhere,it was getting cold too. I resigned myself to defeat. It was bouldering season now and i knew i was weak as i'd hardly bouldered since June, it would be a hard old slog getting back into the Cave. The upshot was the desire wasn't there. I knew then i probably wouldn't climb again for a while. You need to be psyched out of your mind to climb when its so cold and i couldn't be bothered.
There has been a definite shift in my motivation in the 2nd part of this year. Like everyone i get peaks and troughs in motivation but this time it felt like a more permanent shift. I remember when i was younger i was motivated to climb on any piece of shit. I was totally obsessed and up for anything, totally mad for it. These days i can't get excited by sitting down in the mud pulling on and jumping for the top. I wish i had the same motivation as when i was younger but it is completely organic for me and can't be forced. One of the reasons that climbing has been such a big part of my life is that it has really made me feel inspired which is a completely infectious feeling. Of course i enjoy moving on rock like everyone but its the kind of drive that can stop you eating properly for a few months or make you run round the orme even though you really can't be arsed that i really crave. When the inspiration dried up i just felt a bit lost. I've been going at it for so long at the detriment of most other things i guess it was always possible that i'd end up running on fumes. I met Zippy down the Cheedale Cornice this summer, he didn't seem his normal self. He said something about things not going too well. I said "well at least you've been enjoying yourself for years". He replied something like "i've been enjoying myself too much thats the problem". And i guess this brought to the front another pressing issue. The climbing life Vs career/posessions/house/pension etc... Lots of people manage to do both obviously but we all know that to get the most out of your potential it sure does help not having a proper job. There is no right or wrong way, it is up to the individual to decide what they want from life. This is a conflict that most obsessed climbers will have to face at some point. I felt this was my time. As much as it would be nice to try and climb Liquid Ambar and travel the world i knew i didn't want to end up living in a allotment shed with nothing to my name.
I don't know when i'll start climbing again. I'm kind of dreading it as i know my base level is about font 6b so it'll be a tough old slog to get any kind of strength back. I'm looking forward to hanging out at the crag again with familiar faces. It may sound sad but climbing has felt like its given me a place in the world. I may not be finding cures for cancer etc.. but promoting the Orme is surely a worthwhile pursuit and someones got to do it! Merry Xcrement.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Fat Twat Pulls Out Wobbly Block

After years of wobbling under the bodyweight of many boulderers the wobbly block under Rockatrocity has finally fallen out. This hold gave many a disconcerting moment mid move as it used to shift position constantly. The hold is essential for In Hell, In Life, Pit of hell, Cave Life, In Heaven, The Highlife etc... Fat sport climber Bob Hickish was the man who pulled it out. I was shopping in Manchester when i got a worried text from Richie Crouch who had heard the news from Leeds. Then i heard first hand from Bob. Today i popped in to pick it up to ensure that no kid throws it over the wall. All that was left in its place was a shallow hole, it was hard to see how it had stayed in there so long. I will try and sort it out with Nodder this week. It should be ok!

Orme artefacts, original bolt from Liquid Ambar, the wobbly block, and Neil Carsons blue tat from Big Bang.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Monday, 29 November 2010

Far From the Orme

Lots of hommes have been having it large out in swizzy recently with some good results. I've been getting psyched hearing the news of hard ascents. This is defo one of the top global destinations now especially for the harder grades where many world class problems exist. It is a bit of a gamble in winter with the risk of trip ending snow omnipresent but if you get it right it is a beautiful place to climb. Dave Mason and Micky Page have returned to complete two climbs that they put some effort into a few years ago. Dave crushed Vecchio Leone 8b at Brione the other day. This is undoubtedly one of the most perfect hard problems in the world. Three suprisingly ample (but awkward) perfect finger edges up a overhaning wall lead to a quartz pinch which must be squeezed like billio to gain better holds. I had a play on this when i was out there two years ago and remember thinking i could maybe get to the pinch with some work but colossal pinch strength is needed to execute the crux. There can't be a more perfect 8b anywhere (maybe Spectre??). Nice one Dave, a great tick. Similary Micky had tried From Dirt Grows the Flowers (Dave Graham 8c) a few years ago but was thrawted by bad weather if i remember correctly. He has gone back out there this season and finished the job for its 3rd (?) ascent and joining a small number have Brits to have climbed font 8c. Can only think of Jonny and Ty off the top of my head. Dobbin has done a couple of 8as out there too which is good going for a short trip. So there you go, it looks like Swizzy is catching the Orme up in terms of world significance.

Vecchio Leone from Michele Caminati on Vimeo.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Batman 7c+

Muledog Samuel Howard Clifford Cattell has done the line right of Caveman 7b on Cavewall on the top of the Little Orme. Mule did the first ascent of Caveman maybe ten years ago. Today he fought the arctic conditions on his first session back on the project for a while. Batman took him 3/4 sessions altogether and the grade is hard 7c+ but don't be surprised if it turns out to be 8a as he's strong at the moment. The problem goes from a crouching start.
This crag has a few toughies now:
Batman 7c+ (8a)
Caveman Low Start 7c+
The Weakest Link 7c
Caveman/Breezeblock 7b+
Rocket in a Pocket 7b
Caveman 7b
Right hand problem 7a+
Patch's Problem 7a
Breezeblock 7a

Ben Bransby also managed a 2nd session repeat of Bonnie 8a+ in the Cave.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Confirmation from Carson

I thought i'd ask Neil Carson if he did repeat Sea of Tranquility or not as i have always wondered. It seems that the Rockfax got it wrong - "I never repeated Sea of Tranquility - dabbled with it but was more interested with the other unclimbed lines at the time." So there you have it another myth dispelled and the 2nd ascent goes to Pete.
Not been climbing much recently, have been working more and playing lots of snooker. Have got a few things on the go though. Could do with getting some strength back. Feeling strong is nice! Some footage of my best efforts on the Diamond:

Sunday, 24 October 2010

New Diamond 8a

Jon Ratcliffe has climbed his project line on the Diamond. This is a very cool little number following a diagonal break left to right on the right hand side of the crag. The route joins Hysteria at the top. It is a power endurance affair and quite a unique line for North Wales. Jon equipped and started trying the line last year. Over the winter a big jug was smashed off by the sea by the grade remained the same as this left a jug underneath. Its called The Waiting Game, very appropriate, nice one fella!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Freezing Day at Pigeons

Went down Pigeons today, it was very cold and windy! Stiff Upper Lip has seen some attention since it has been rebolted (Pete Robins has redpointed it). This must be one of the steepest 8a's in the country. It makes the 'roof warrior' in Cheedale seem not very roofy! About 5 bolts worth of it are completely horizontal! Jim's clips were in so i had a quick bolt to bolt. It was brilliant, some good holds and a burly section on undercuts and then a frustrating last move slap! Keen to do it sometime when i'm climbing stronger again.

Some footage of one of Jim's redpoints:

Monday, 18 October 2010


When i lived in Holywell i spent a lot of time climbing in the Eglwyseg valley near Langollen. People have climbed here for years with a lot of the routes protected by fixed gear. In the early noughties the old fixed protection started to get replaced with stainless bolts and new sport routes started to go up. A new guide book came out and the areas popularity was assured. I stopped coming here a few years ago as i had done most of the better 7's at the time and normally found myself at the Ormes. The Valley has a lot going for it however. Its obviously not tidal and apart from a hot summers day conditions are nearly always good. There are lots of 7's to go at and quite a few 8's up to 8b. It feels like quite a stress free scene compared to the Ormes! There are even some projects. Rob Mirfin has been putting up hard new routes here for a few years. I have been a few times recently and am quite keen to get back into it. On Sunday i went with Mule and we did a 7b+ called Cubase which was cool. I also fell a foot move away from flashing a 7c called Dyperspace. My hand uncurled as i tried to move my foot up, was quite gutting as i've never flashed 7c in Britain. The lack of climbing has taken its toll though and i feel in poor shape. 5 weeks ago i was doing 8a/+ worth of climbing 3 times a session on the Diamond and now my arms feel tired after warming up. Haven't had much urge to go climbing although when i've been i have enjoyed it.

Lee Proctor, Mr Dinbren:

Mule flashing Cubase:

Friday, 15 October 2010

Sea of Tranquility 2nd Ascent

Pete Robins has done the probable 2nd ascent of Sea Of Tranquility on LPT. In the 97 Rockfax it credits Neil Carson with the 2nd ascent but rumour has it that this is a mistake. Over the years i have spoken to several people who were around at the time and they all thought that Carson didn't do it. If anyone knows for sure get in touch. Sea of was graded 8c by Ben Moon in 1993 who thought it to be similar to Liquid Ambar in the harder range of the grade. However with the evolution of grades throughout the world and with a distinct lack of repeats for both routes both could now be considered 8c+. Three of the four people who have done LA say 8c (Ben M, Jerry and Simpson, not sure what Pete thinks now) but they are all old skool in their grading. For me the fact the people who have failed to repeat both routes tells a story. I've belayed Mcclure and Simpson on Sea Of and neither managed to get it sorted in a few days of effort. This year Malc managed Liquid in two halfs but didn't get it done and Nic Sellars didn't do it in the height of his sport climbing powers (he said it was nails). Its a shame they don't get more attention as they're both brilliant routes. Pete has very few routes left to do on LPT now with the obvious one being Big Bang which will surely be the most prestigious 2nd ascent in North Wales when completed. He also becomes the first man to tick the three 8c/+s Liquid, Sea of and Infanticide which is quite an achievement. LPT almost ticked! - not bad for a few years worth of effort!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

25 Days And Finally a Topout

No i haven't crushed my project but after over 25 climbing days there i've finally done a route!!! Ok so Hysteria might not be the grandest of Diamond routes but its still a route. Jonny R was looking good on his project falling with the jug basically in his hand - will be a cracker. Have been back to the Mill a few times and the strength is slowly returning. Even popped into the Cave yesterday to see how shit i am. Wasn't too bad just need some conditioning. Quite keen for a few things in there this winter.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Fast Twitch/Slow Twitch

Been to the Mill a few times this week in an attempt to shock myself into better shape. Instead i just shocked myself with how weak i am! I haven't bouldered properly since the Dulas campaign in June when i was doing some extra training in the Cave. In the Mill i was struggling after the warm ups. Strange you can be close to your hardest ever route and yet be completely weak as piss. I always think though that it doesn't matter whether your weak, unfit or whatever at a given moment as long as you can climb what you want to climb at that time. This is always how i've worked anyway. A lot of it is about timing and getting on the right things and making sure you finish them at that moment. As some small consolation i was better on the circuits in the Mill.

Friday, 24 September 2010

I'm Not Giving Up Yet!

Well since my last post i have had two weeks without even pulling on - which is very rare for me. I went to the Lakes for a weekend with the missus then a few days later went to Belfast for four days. During this time i consumed much tasty food and did some cultural stuff, the highlights being William Wordsworths house in Cockermouth and then filling in my knowledge on the Troubles in the Belfast musuem. Also caught up with Irish Jap si and his lady wife who were over from California. When i got back i struggled to get a belayer then last wednesday i made it down the Diamond but it was raining and thus was gopping. Throughout my time off i couldn't help but think of the strength and stamina that was slowly ebbing away and also of the weight that i was inevitably putting on. I knew logically i couldn't lose much in this time but i'm used to climbing all the time so it felt like a big lay off. I could tell on my one go up on Wednesday that i hadn't lost much strength. Today was cold and windy and it looked like we could be getting wet on the handline as the waves battered against the cliff. I could see the chalk on my route as we approached and sure enough it was dry as a bone. When you know the crag you can tell by looking at the colour of the black streaks how greasy it is. First redpoint i felt good but my heel popped off. Quick rest then managed to get to my highpoint which was confidence inspiring. I had definitely lost some fitness and didn't feel as good as i did but it should come back soon enough. And then it got dark so we left. I'm hoping to get down once more before the tides change and then i plan to train really hard and push on next time. I really need to pull my finger out and put some effort in. I've felt like quitting so many times. Life would be much easier but then it would also be more boring and i do like a challenge!
The dreaded redpoint crux. 34 moves in, 7 moves to go! Pic by Dave Redpath.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Adversity is what i'm facing with regard to this Diamond route. It has dawned on me this week that is probably one of the worst places for climbing at your limit. Ok so Sharma managed to do Jumbo Love half way up a mountain in the desert but he is Sharma, its his job to do shit like that. The Diamond is only 20 minutes from civilisation but this is all it has going for it for multi session seiges. I think its a fabulous crag for going and doing some routes in a session or two. It is one of the most impressive bits of sport rock in Britain without doubt. By the time i get back on the route i will basically have had 11 days off. I have been away a few times and the weather has been shit here. Now my names not Cattell or Dyer, those boys can warm up on Trigger Cut after 5 months off. 11 days is significant for me! So the place is tidal (obvious disadvantge), you can only climb there 2 months a year, any kind of atmospheric ming and its unclimbable, it can't be raining and you need partners on the good days. Its getting dark at 7.30 now and you can't go before 12 cos of morning grease. You will never do a route at your limit there if you have a job. I have been putting off working to try and do it. This doesn't make you rich and is a bad way to be. I'll see what happens in the next tidal window but with all these problems and my continued psyche dip its not looking good!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Bastard Grease

Last two days on the Diamond have been too greasy to progress. Yesterday a temperature inversion was responsible but today was breezy and clear yet the grease still prevailed. Don't know why it was like that today, can't think of a logical explanation. I knew i'd cursed myself when i started telling people how reliable the conditions had been this year. The last good day i felt stronger than ever on it too. Is weird i'm getting to the same place as last year but i'm significantly stronger and more solid on it. Good and bad rolled into one. The redpoint crux feels like it may go soon though. The good thing with a route like this is that every good go is money in the bank. And it all builds up to that go when everything's right! I might not get down there again til the next tides now which is frustrating. At the end of the day i had a flash burn on Hysteria which i reckon is far to burly for 7b. I fell and it was very greasy but a cool route.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Monday, 6 September 2010


Just got a txt off Pete Robins who has finally managed to link Lou Ferrino into The Incredible Bulk (Part 2) in Parisellas. Pete has been battling with this link ever since he did the first ascent of the stand start last winter. So its 7c+ into 7c+/8a with no rest. He didn't mention the grade but it will be at least 8b and one of the best lines in the Cave. So aswell as being strong, fit and talented Pete also knows how to seige - a dangerous combo! Some footage of Pete attempting the stand version prior to the FA.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Thank You Rock Climbing!

In a previous post i talked about psyche problems that i've been having recently. Throughout my climbing life i've felt inspired and driven and if you read this blog you will know that climbing rocks is a big part of my life. When the inspiration left things weren't good. I've had some traumatic problems with the missus also which has added to things greatly. I think usually you climb best when your in a good place and your happy. Relationship problems felt like the final nail in the coffin for me. I couldn't really be bothered climbing but i knew that my climbing life had been building up to this Diamond route for years and i would regret it if i didn't give it everything even if i didn't feel like it. With the tide in and having no motivation for the Mill i headed to the peak with Mule to get on a very dry, re-bolted and chalked Cheedale cornice. I was well and truly going through the motions. I felt weak on the stuff i tried and seemed incapable of trying hard. I couldn't get high enough up anything to get a significant pump so in terms of Diamond training it was a waste of time. Doom and gloom! The final thing i did was go bolt to bolt on Nemesis which i really enjoyed. What a route that is!
Ben on Nemesis (he did it the next day)

I headed back to Wales for the next tidal window but i was actually dreading getting down there. I'd hardly climbed for over a week and after the last session being good i couldn't afford to go backwards. This would of screwed my head up even more. I wasn't sure how i'd climb on the route, surely i was in to much emotional turmoil to perform. I set off and soon found myself at the crux, i really wanted to get through this first go to help my confidence. I crushed the holds and soon found myself at the flatty just shy of where i fell last time. This time things were different, i felt stronger here than i ever had before and i knew this could be a good go. I powered through the big move that had stopped me last time and fell on the high redpoint crux. Yes! Back to last years highpoint. 7 moves to go. Last year i only had it in me to get to the RP crux once a session so i was surprised to find myself there again on the next two goes. The last go was actually the best and i had some strength left-was inches from the hold. All my worries evaporated momentarily. Usually i would be so desperate to do well and try and do the route i would create nerves and pressure for myself which would often adversly affect my climbing. Today i climbed unencumbered with nerves and pressure and it was one of the best i've ever felt on the rock. I hardly put a foot wrong in 3 redpoints and the endorpins really made me feel better. I think the climbing lifestyle i've lived for the majority of my 20s may be coming to an end but i know i'll always be a climber. Such a special sport, thank you rock climbing!

Thursday, 26 August 2010


After the doom and gloom of the last post this one should be a bit more cheery! Had a really good day down the Diamond. Just me and Mule down there tonight and once again we were spoilt by good conditions. Not had a bad day down there yet, starting to think we imagined the grease of last year! I was feeling strangely confident. Strategy wise i was in a bit of a catch 22 situation. If i fell low down i really needed to pull back on and bust out a link for fitness purposes. However this would tire me for the next redpoint. I figured at this stage of the game that it would be more beneficial to save my strength and try and get through the crux section. If i could, this would do my confidence the world of good and the whole thing would not feel quite so daunting. 1st RP my heel slipped off frustratingly. Next burn up i crushed the crux and fell on a big move just shy of the pre-redpoint crux shakeout. I was inches from getting to last years highpoint. I fell there again on my next go, i was feeling fit and this was just the session i needed. Mule had a good first session on Never Get Out of the Boat getting a good pump on. Alas that is probably the last time i'll make it down until the next tidal window. Can't wait!

Photo by Matt Pickles:

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Unscrambling the Physche

I would liken my recent loss of motivation to a computer system suffering a massive crash. The effect is instant but recovery is not and often takes a bit of time to unravel the damage thats been done. At its worst i could no longer see the point of rock climbing and felt i was just going through the motions by doing something that i felt like i should rather than wanting to do it. I've had such feelings before but it just happened to be particularly bad timing this year with the onset of Diamond season. It is horrible when something that is such a massive part of your life seems momentarily pointless. And the worst thing is you can't force your way back, the psyche has to return naturally. Anyway despite all this i've been enjoying the early Diamond sessions, its hard not to get a bit of an urge to climb at this place. I stuck another step on the road to recovery today by getting a tick. Haven't had one of those for a while! Went down Pigeons and after warming up on Koo managed to dispatch Stark finally, felt fine too which made it all the more sweeter. Had that spring in my stride walking out that you only get from clipping a chain. Pete and Nodder continued the re-equipping work. Nodder learnt how to bolt on Koo and Pete started on Stiff Upper Lip and Follow the Prof. These need completing, we'll probably have to get a big ladder down there to finish them. The old bolts are so rusty we can't even use them to clip into to keep us in while we bolt, they just disintegrate!
Pete drilling Stiff Upper Lip:

Nodder on Koo, very fun 7b on big holds:

The boys and the tat:

The crag is in a right state with old krabs on every bolts and knackered rope and rusty chains hanging from the belays, some stuff Pete chopped off:

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sweaty Diamond

More Diamond action today as a big team descended on the steepness. Once again it was factor low on the grease front. I felt a bit more at home on my project today, should have made it through the crux really. I'm in a bit of a strange situation on it. I'm keen to go from the ground and see how high i can get but at the same time if i fall on the crux its because its hard and not because i'm pumped. Today when i fell i continued some linkage to the top but of course this then tires you more for the next go! Think i'll just keep on like this for a few more sessions. Once i start getting through the crux i'll just keep redpointing for the ground as this will provide sufficient pump. Boat People got a few ascents and onlookers were quite shocked as Dyer failed to flash Never Get Out of The Boat, must be hard! Later the sun came on the crag which was nice in a way but a bit sweaty also. Last year we didn't make it there til September and the evening sun wasn't quite as warm. I could resist no longer and had a rather shit flash burn on Boat People, not much left in the tank and i was soon hanging! We cut it a bit fine getting out, had to go down to bare feet to make it to the escape corner. Jeez those barnacles were sharp!

Ray escaping:

Neil on the 8a:

Friday, 20 August 2010

Pigeons Re-equipping

A few months ago the seed was planted in my mind to have another look at Pigeons Cave with view to regearing it. For some reason i'd always dismissed this place despite the attractive grade span and unique horizontal nature. I realised this was a mistake when i first went down to try Stark. Stiff Upper Lip and Follow the Prof looked great fun and Stark turned out to be a great route. I had done the 7b Koo before and that was dead good. So i sent out an email to see what resources the bolt fund had at the moment. Nearly all the resin bolts had been used to regear LPT. Pete Harrison sent out a group email and we got some more funds in through donations. Pete isn't one to mess about so he ordered 35 bolts to re-equip the place. They soon arrived and today we went and stuck new lower offs in the routes left of Stark. All that remains now is to rebolt the routes and get on them. The bolts are amazing 12mm twisty stems, very diddy indeed. Which makes drilling much less arduous!

Tiny bolts:

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Back on the Horse

Went down to the Diamond today with Mule n Pickles. Signs were good as there was no grease on the approach. Sure enough when we got there the rock was crisp and bone dry. The black rock which soaks up the grease usually, was a lighter colour. A one in 6 day i would say. The crag was looking fairly dry, a few birds were left on the ledges but it felt like Diamond season. I racked up for my proj. Was gonna employ the same tactics as last year, warming up on the easier sections putting the clips in and doing a few small links. I didn't know what to expect really. In my mind i was still falling off the high redpoint crux but i suspected this wouldn't be the current reality. The moves went ok, only felt a little rusty on them. I re-aquainted myself with the redpoint crux and soon remembered why i was so far off doing it last year. Its a long stretch off a sidepull quite high up the route. When your tired the last thing you want is a long move, locking and covering distance is always hard when your sagging. Plus on this move you can't slap, you need to go reasonably static. The next few moves are smaller on positive holds before a very drop-able finish to the jugs. Last year i was locking off a flatty up to a wide pinchy thing which i guppied before laying one to a jug. This move wasn't feeling piss this year and it dawned on me what a drop-able last move it was. I could see myself falling there for days. Today i worked a new sequence for the end which although was more moves felt a bit more secure to me, despite the last move being off a poor sloper. Think i'll stick with this for now as it feels a bit more secure. I was fairly pleased to get to the first crux of the route from the deck climbing through the boulder problem off the ground first go. Mule and Pickles did Rub a Dub Dub 7a and got on Boat People. Like most folk (bar Pete) from last year they went to the first lower off. Pickles fell just shy of the big corner on the onsight then got it on his first redpoint. Mule had a ok flash go but didn't get up it last go as the sea was lapping the bottom off the access corner and we had to go. I must say this route looks very meaty for 7c. I had earmarked it for a potential flash burn but i'm not so sure now. Can't believe that it only gets 7c if you go to the top of the crag. This top section looks tricky in its own right and you've already done what is probably a hard 7c to get there (there is a rest though). It started pissing down and we got soaked getting back to the car. Not good.
Well the route still felt hard, i was happy with how i got on as hadn't been on it since last October. Despite my best efforts to prepare well it was still feeling pretty meaty, but then it is completely at my limit (and beyond) for a power endurance route. Such an amazing style though! Also need to build up my confidence on the route again. Might sound a bit pathetic as it is sport climbing but this is a meaty wall, the likes of which i don't climb on very often. I reckon i'm in for the long haul on this route, need to build the fitness and muscle memory up on it and get up to that redpoint crux ASAP. My biggest concern however is despite being finally able to try the one thing i wanna do i'm not exactly feeling overly psyched. I want to climb but am not feeling the usual fire in my belly. Would be nice to get this back as it would help my cause greatly. Now is not the time for a psyche dip. I feel like i'm going through the motions at the moment, maybe an upturn in form will sort me out. Fingers crossed!

Rub a Dub Dub 7a:

Boat People

Pickles dropping the onsight:

Wet Exit:

Monday, 16 August 2010

Diamond Open for Business

Tommy and Nodder were playing on Temple of Gloom today, nice to go back and see the beast.

The bird ban date for the Diamond has passed so its game on (conditions,weather and tides dependent of course). Pete Harrison has already been along to check the handline. Apparently one section of the static rope was down to the last few threads where it had been rubbing over the winter. Pete has sorted this now and also put two new bolts in the last section as the original bolts were starting to move as a result of the forces being put on them. The new bolts have been countersunk and face the right way so it should be fine now. Me and Mule went down but forgot mornings were a grease fest. This little fella was left over from the bird season:

Friday, 13 August 2010


Spent the last week down in Devon working on Dartmoor. It's not often that there are after work climbing options when you're away from home so i was keen to take advantage of being reasonably close to Ansteys Cove. I always fancied checking this place out so came down a bit earlier on Sunday. After a five hour non stop drive there was only one thing for it and i jump straight on the famous 8a Cider Soak. Bit of a harsh warm up but i'm liking the moves, there are some great shapes on it too. Sparky's dishing out the beta which is very helpful as its quite a complex little number. I have a few redpoints but my attempts fall just shy of the top break and i vow to return. Next sesh i meet up with Jon and the exile Ted who has spent the last few months working on Jersey. I have a few more redpoints and fall coming into the painful fingerlock at the top. The other route high on my ticklist was the mega Empire of the Sun 7b, its getting pretty dark but i'm dead keen to get it done so jump on. Love this climb, my favourite 7b in Britain and was nice to flash as i don't flash much these days. Manage to coax Bob and Tim to another after work hit, first RP i fall going for the flat jug at the end, next up i get the jug, swing my feet, stare at the top of the crag an inch away and then lose my strength and fall! Can't believe i fell here, its been a long time since i can't hold such a jug. And so the tick gets away and i leave with mixed emotions. I felt quite fit down there but at the same time the epics on 8as continues - not a good sign for the impending Diamond season!

Jon on Empire:

Me on CS:

The Exile:

Thursday, 5 August 2010

LPT sending spree!

Good vibe down on the beach today. Mussel beach saw a couple of ascents from Blair and Keith and the Dyer crushing train rolled on. He scored a hat trick of 8a+s, Pas de Deux, Melon Beach and Bad Melons. Bout time he got on something hard if you ask me! Come on Neil pull yer finger out. I had a redpoint if Bad Melons but one of the crux holds was wet and i could do with being slightly stronger. Good link though, should be a goer. Did Bad Boy 3 times. Think the main thing i'm lacking now is a bit of actual stamina. Strength and PE are both reasonable. Had a return to form in the Mill yesterday, could do some of the old favourites again!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Ginger Jims Bad Melons

Headed to the Orme today determind to get some rock in. Nodder rang when i was in me pit enquiring about the conditions, all i could see was blue sky. When i turned onto the prom however the Great Orme was descended in mist! Bugger, it was spitting too! Usual story - headed there anywhere, team Llanberis turned up and headed down. Me James and Nodder weren't inspired by the weather so eventually we opted for a do on Simon Says, the new boy of the Orme. James in action:

I struggled with the upper crux (same as last time i tried it). Nodder was looking pretty good though. After we decided to head down Pigeons. I was a bit hesitant,another kicking on Stark was the last thing i needed but i needed some rock time so went for it. You can climb down Pigeons for quite a bit longer than LPT. Anyway a good session was had by all. Me and Nodder made new highpoints. I fell off the last move one go. Was pleased as it was feeling a lot easier to the last section. Felt like i was climbing it a lot better. Plus conditions were bon! I'll be going back soon to try and finish it.

After James took a dip in the drink!:

Spoke to Jimmy Big Guns Mccormack who is currently trying to crack Melancholie, he ticked Melancopout the other day and added another training link today. Bad Melons (8a+) starts up Bad Boy and then traverses into the middle crux of Melancholie which it follows to the top. Nice one la!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Christopher Doyle Progress Report

The foot was taken off the gas on the training front this week as i had to endure the slight inconvenience of going to work. I climbed in the Mill on Monday and had a 'comeback' sesh today. Have been hammering the circuits for about 3 weeks now, have definitely made some progress on the PE front. I'm feeling the need to get on the stone soon though. Need to make sure that what i have been doing will translate to actual endurance outside. I really hope i haven't been pissing in the wind! On paper i should be fitter but you never know with this sport. My main concern at the moment however isn't if i'm getting fitter or not its the inability of my arms to haul me up hard moves. I am bizzarely weak at the moment and despite bouldering on the steep board i'm just not getting any stronger. For the 2nd half of my Diamond project i need fitness, for the first half although i don't need to be a power monster it is always very helpful if you can turn on the afterburners when you hit a hard move. Anyway i need to get on rock to see where i'm at on the fitness front. Hopefully i'll soon be stronger soon too, i need to be. The weather needs to sort itself out too, the Diamond is a fickle beast and any humidity or dampness in the air is bad news. The good conditions ratio is about 1 day in 3. The bird ban comes off August 15th so lets hope for some sunny weeks around then.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Breck Road Footage

Not too much to blog about at the mo. The weathers gone tits up and i'm spending my climbing time clinging to overhanging wood. There is still much work to be done as i attempt to make my training even more specific. Here is some footage from the vault including the amazing Swing of Fire:

A big jellyfish down LPT:

Monday, 19 July 2010

The John Dunne of the Orme

The big fella used to fluctuate a stone or two in between routes/seasons. Well i appear to be the same, i've managed to gain 9 pounds since the dulas campaign!
Too much of this:

And not enough of these:

Consequently i feel very weak. Usually there is a 7a+ or two i can do in the Mill regardless, at the mo the limit is 7a. Sweet jeez. On the upside fitness is more important to me and the circuits are going well, i'm enjoying them too. Managed a shortish 8a one i set a while ago (bit pointless unless your doing it with short rests) but have been doing ok on my longer circuit. Almost managed it the other day, also have a 7b+/c circuit which i've started doing with a 4 minute rest. Would be good to get this done on the minute eventually. The Diamond season looms. I'm hoping come mid August that my form and the weather take a turn for the better. This rain has come as a bit of a shock! Hope all your projects are staying dry!
Nodder in the Mill:

I even went multipitch climbing the other day, Bramble Buttress at Tremadog.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Pidgeons Cave

Went down Pidgeons this eve with Pete, i've been there a few times over the years but never really got excited about it. I'm not sure why! Probably because the bottom of the routes are quite sandy and it needs rebolting. I've done the 7b Koo before, great steep fun. The harder routes are so steep, proper roofs! George Smith did a great looking 8a here. One of the harder routes Stark 8a is a Neil Carson route which has resin bolts in it. I dogged up and worked it out, then Pete fell off the last move on the flash. He did it next go. I was finding it pretty tough, the last sequence was a burly boulder problem on undercuts. A true PE route! Anyway i'm keen to go back for it, give me something to try for a bit. I'm gonna re-equip the place too.

Mr Men Undies:

Bit of a shit vid, (too far away)!