Monday, 13 May 2013


Since getting back home it has been so good to finally have a settled period of weather with a decent amount of sunshine and good conditions. If you could guarantee something like this every year in the UK I would quite happily stick around and not chase off around Europe as much.

Sport climbing season is now here and in a big way. The crags have been drying fast, even the Cornices! I always find it weird how it only takes one session back on the lime or even the grit for that matter, to suddenly get you instantly hooked again and forget about everything else.

There is no doubt about it that our Jura trip has set us up perfectly for the season and I've been reaping the benefits of this and all the training throughout the winter, over the last couple weeks. I love to see progression and there is nothing better than to see all the hard work begin to pay off.

Heres a short list of the stuff that's been going down in the two weeks since getting back.

Kneedless - 8b+
Zeke the Freak - 8b
Sworn Enemy - 8a
Caviar - 8a+
The Sissy - 8a
The Free Monster - 8a
O'Leanna the Butler Dunn It! - 8a?
River of Life - V11

The day after we flew back into Manchester I got a tick I've dreamed of for quite a while. Zeke at Rubicon. We arrived early, it was cold, perfect for sticking to those holds and I was fired up! We warmed up, put the clips in, got all the moves dialed, had a brief rest and it was done. Such a crazy feeling clipping the lower off on this route. It had felt straight forward all the way, solid on every move.

 River of Life

A few days later another one fell, but not without a bit of a fight first. This time it was down at the sleepy hidden crag of Turning Stone. A small grit outcrop not far from our house. I've been going down here all winter and each time its been soaked so when we found out it was dry I was over there in a flash. Amongst the rhododendrons lays one of the best roof problems on grit, if not the best! River of Life.

This bloc began to mess with my head at one point and started to become quite a mental battle along with butchering my fingers like never before. But it succumbed in the end and I found the whole process to be a great learning curve. Its been said before but you really do have to stick with these things sometimes and basically in the end, just try harder.

No excuses.

Then last Monday I was able to do another route that I've craved after for a long time! Jon Clarks masterpiece 'Sworn Enemy' over in Dovedale. Its probably the best 8a in the Peak and one of the best in the UK... True Euro style climbing through a magnificent limestone arch. Big thanks to JC for having the vision and investing the time into putting up such an awesome line.

Since writing the above I've had a crazy weekend! Even though the rain returned and tried to dampen the mood at times, the crags held out firm. An 8b+ linkup at the Tor and two 8a's on Saturday and yesterday I fought my way up the crimpy piano playing number, The Sissy back at Rubicon. It poured it down for most of the afternoon, but we had fun and that is what matters most!

My psyche is extremely high right now and I'm constantly amazed at just how much stuff there is to do in the Peak and the UK in general. I'm very much looking forward to sticking around for a while and seeing where we can go with things. Lots of projects, the tick-list of stuff that we want to get on grows daily!

Peace out and thanks for checking in.


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Schnitzel, Kuchen and Pockets


So our trip to the Jura was full of its ups and downs and unfortunately we decided to fly back home a couple of weeks early. It seems like the whole of Europe had been hit by a very harsh winter, which we soon realised on our first day over there, with many crags having a large amount of seepage. But its all about learning to deal with these kind of situations and just get on with making the most out of it all.

We spent the majority of our time in the northern parts, revisiting some of the crags we were at last year and checking out some new spots as well. Climbing once again in shorts and t-shirts, nearly everyday felt amazing. Its been a while!

King Lui at Diebsloch | 7c

I really do love the style of climbing over here, it suits me pretty well and I'm constantly fascinated by the vast amounts of crags dotted amongst the hills and around the forests. The countryside is incredible and sometimes you'll be lucky to bump into anybody all day.

Last day send of Nullkommanix, 8a+

The trip didn't exactly get off to the best start as I woke up the morning after our first session with a screwed up finger. I was so annoyed with myself and my motivation quickly slipped away. After a few days rest it seemed it be healing and by the following weekend it felt good enough to pull on again. I took advantage and dispatched one of my favourite routes of the trip, 'Primeur de Leux' a very popular 8a+ at the small roadside crag of Kuhkirchner Wand. This set me up for a brilliant next few days and during this time I really started to feel strong and felt my body fully adjusting to the toll, pressures and joy of sport climbing again.

Primeur de Luxe

I'm sure we'll be back here soon! There are so many routes we all wanted to try on this trip but in the end you gotta take what you're given and move on. It ain't going no where! Enjoy the photos. I'll post up some more when I get chance.