Category Archives: Events

Dec 5th: Peak Rock – The launch party

Peak Rock was officially launched into an expectant world last weekend at a celebratory bash at The Climbing Works in Sheffield. It was a veritable who’s who in Peak District climbing with the good and the great all turning out to welcome what will undoubtedly prove to be a seminal title into the already rich world of climbing literature…

Peak Rock, if you haven’t heard, is a celebration of the cutting edge and significant developments in Peak District climbing from the very beginning when James W Puttrell kicked the sport off at Wharncliffe right up to the present time. The project, which was originally started back in the early Eighties, was the brain-child of SUMC (Sheffield University Mountaineering Club) member, Giles Barker. However, his untimely death in a caving accident in 1992 meant that his work went unfinished. And so things stood for nigh on 20 years until Rock Archivist, Phil Kelly and Peak aficionado, Graham Hoey started the ball rolling again in a push to complete the job that Giles had started. So, having updated Giles’s original text, Phil and Graham then pulled a team of local eminent climbers/writers together to add further chapters to cover the most recent developments. Eventually, after a mountain of effort by the team, Peak Rock has finally been published by Vertebrate Publishing.

Contextual intro duly completed, let’s get back to the launch party on Sunday night which was about as glitzy and swanky as it gets in climbing. Think Oscar’s, but drop the tuxedoes, evening gowns and champagne for jeans, duvets, beanies and beer and you’re about there! There were also some indoor fireworks, but they came later and they weren’t exactly what the organising committee had planned!!

DSC_5133Host for the night was none other than would-be, stand-up comic, Niall Grimes. A four-man, heavyweight team of rock stars slowly climbed (sic) aboard the stage to join Grimer who extracted the proverbial from each of the said rock stars in turn. Ron Fawcett was first under the Grimer cosh, then Jerry Moffatt, John Allen and finally Pete Whittaker. To a man they all squealed and squirmed under the weight of Grimer’s ever so slightly off-the-wall questioning but they fought gallantly on determined to regale the audience with their wit and erudite comments. No doubt the booze, served in liberal quantities by Mark Leach, help lubricate – and liberate – their innermost thoughts. Ron, having trotted out the ‘marigolds in the bath story’ again, went on cheerfully to tell the audience that he and his former globe-trotting climbing chum/mentor, Pete Livesey, took great delight in nicking other people’s lines. “No namby, pamby messing about in those days!” Jerry delved back into his early days with stories about his first meeting with Ron at Craig-y-Forwyn and then his time in the Stoney wood-shed. Looking for the controversial angle, Grimer then gifted Jerry with the opportunity to ‘star rate’ a number of climbers – some of whom were well-know (to those in the know that is) – as being on Jerry’s ‘B-list’ (polite moniker). Interestingly though, he did smile as he low-scored some on Grimer’s provocative list – perhaps suggesting that with the passage of time he has mellowed a little? Pete Whitaker was introduced into the proceedings as the Young Pretender, a position clearly supported by his new routes of which he was only too happy to talk about rather than get embroiled in Grimer’s rabble-rousing questioning. However, it was John ‘The Boss’ Allen who gave what was perhaps the unexpected star performance from the sofa. His one-liner, put-downs were highly entertaining and little short of acidic. A classic example came when Grimer asked him if he felt that things had moved on significantly when Johnny Dawes did End of the Affair on Curbar. Without a pause John, lowered his head and his voice and grunted into the microphone – “No, I was just bitter!” The Boss’s wrapped up by sharing some of his hard-earned lessons too; “”stay off the pies, lads”. A class performance Mr Allen!

DSC_5140Following the half-time interval Steve Bancroft hit the stage with his guitar – not literally of course, that would have been too rock and roll. Then followed an auction of a copy High Peak, the 1960’s book which – previous to Peak Rock – was the Peak District history book of choice. Paul Pritchard and Grimer, pumping the crowd, succeeding in extracting a shocking three-figure sum from Graeme Alderson in exchange for said copy of High Peak to the cheers of the audience.

The rest of the second half was more about audience participation, although when the spot-light was spun onto one mega rock star from the Eighties who was present in the audience he (sadly) couldn’t find it within himself to embrace the spirit of the light-hearted evening.

Without a doubt the evening the majority there thought that it highly entertaining and a fitting launch to Peak Rock. Both charities CAC (Climbers Against Cancer) and the MHT (Mountain Heritage Trust) finished ahead of the curve – as they say – from the evening’s activities. The Barker Family have eventually seen the fruit of Giles’s labour although as it’s already out of date and thanks to the advance sales which appear to have accounted for half the print run, maybes work should start p.d.q. on the 2nd edition! No resting on your laurels please messers Kelly and Hoey…

 

Finally, then here’s a gallery of images from the evening.

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Also posted in Climbing

July 26th: Sheffield Grand Prix – mighty fine racing…

 

Sheffield City Centre was buzzing on Wednesday night as the British Cycling Circuit Series finished in a spectacular climax.  Helen Wyman was the winner in the women’s race whilst Dean Downing took the victory in the men’s race and George Atkins the overall series win…

As a newbie spectator to the criterium the whole thing appeared as a fascinating – if not frantic –  race. Eighty odd riders started the men’s race and it was hotly contested right from the get go.  Hammering round the tight 1.4km course anticlockwise at up to 50kms an hour, the riders navigated the rough and tumble of intermediate sprints, the granite cobbles of Surrey  Street  as well as the sudden death if they’re lapped. It all made for a brilliant evening of fast and furious cycling and the large crowd couldn’t get enough of it.

 

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Also posted in Cycling

July 11th: Its another cliffhanger…

Cliffhanger, and hence the BBC’s (a.k.a. the British Bouldering Championships), rolled into Sheffield last weekend bringing with it some of the strongest boulderers in the UK. In complete contrast to last year’s event which was (literally) a washout, this year’s Cliffhanger event was a total roaster. Bloc-misters, setters, officials, photogs/film-makers and spectators alike gasped for air, as well as holds, beneath the giant marquee adding an additional (and un-usual) twist to the fierce competition.

Shauna Coxsey shooting for yet another top-out in the final

The two-day event kicked-off with the qualification round on the Saturday. The competition, like the ambient conditions was red-hot, and the 80-odd competitors were halved ahead of the semi final round. Sunday, a.k.a. the business day, saw the setters produce some particularly tricky blocs to cut the competitors back to six for the final round. As the results show, the men’s semi was especially savage and very few competitors topped-out the problems; Stewart Watson alone claiming 2 ‘tops’. Hard on the heels of Watson came two young guns, Dominic Burns and James Garden whilst defending champ, Dave Barrans just survived the cut to qualify for the finals in sixth spot. It looked like a major upset was about to happen. In contrast, the women’s semi-final comp produced a more even spread of results although it was defending champ, Shauna Coxsey, that topped-out on all four problems. The mighty Alex Puccio finished second with Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Leah Crane coming in third and fourth respectively.

Dave Barrans winding up a big rock-over in the men’s final

By the time the final and deciding round kicked-off many in the audience smelt drama in the air – if not in Graves Park itself then certainly down in SW19! Climbing two at a time, the combined men and women’s final was a heart-stopping affair all round. The setting team, as usual contained Percy Bishton and Ian Vickers, dished-up a fiendish mix of delicate and balancy problems as well as some funky and powerful blocs using loads of volumes with a few skanky holds thrown in for good measure. Problem #1 of the women’s circuit tackled a slightly off vertical panel (of all things) and as predicted the super-sloping holds caused major problems and frustrations for some. Problem #2 of the men’s circuit looked equally funky – a side-ways dyno off a poor collection of non-holds! No self-respecting comp these days is complete without a boat load of blobs and volumes and right on queue, blobs aplenty featured on the later blocs. Flexibility, as well as strength was tested to the max on these problems; the setters wringing out the full deployment of tricks and then some from the finalists.

Ultimately, the 2012 champions, Shana Coxsey and Dave Barrans, retained their top-gun status. Dave Barran’s truly pulled the rabbit out of the hat to leap-frog ahead of the entire field finish in top slot. Like Dave, James Garden, Ben West and Jon Partridge all topped-out on two problems apiece – the only deciding factor came from the number of attempts they had taken. Like the women’s semis, Shauna dominated the final round pulling all four tops in just four decisive attempts. Shauna’s bid for bloc dominance both in the domestic and international arena moves inextricable closer it seems! Mina pipped Alex to second place whilst Leah had to contend with fourth place and hence finished sans silver. Andy Murray meanwhile had done the business down in London all of which seemed to rekindle something of the sporting glow that started back in 2012 at the Oly Games. Notwithstanding the obvious ability of all the final competitors, the real delight was the strength in depth – as football commentators would say – in the rest of the field plus the strong results from the young-guns! It all bodes well for the future.Here’s a gallery of shots from the final along with the final places:

Men:

  1. Dave Barrans
  2. James Garden
  3. Ben West
  4. Jon Partridge
  5. Dominic Burns
  6. Stewart Watson

Women:

  1. Shauna Coxsey
  2. Mina Leslie-Wujastyk
  3. Alex Puccio
  4. Leah Crane
  5. Gill Peet
  6. Jennifer Wood

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Also posted in General

July 7th: “its not flat”…

Thanks to a bicep tendon problem I’ve been (seriously) ‘off-topic’ for the last few weeks. Three numbers however, have provided a focus for my activities: 422, 19.8 and 6.3…

Seeing them like that they look like random numbers with little significance to anything. OK, let’s add some units: 422m, 19.8km and 6.3km. Maybe that’s better then? As they’re distances, the inference is that we’re talking some kind of journey is involved – but what? Here’s some more numbers to add into the mix: 422m, 19.8km with 247m elevation gain and then finally, 6.3km with 157m elevation gained. So, we’re nearly there: more numbers and a bit more info and lets repeat again: 420m swim, 19.9km with 247m elevation bike and 6.3km with 157m elevation run. For those in the pain business, ie triathlons, these numbers represent the Hathersage Hilly; a sprint distance triathlon based in the Derbyshire village of Hathersage.

In total, 324 individuals/teams coughed-up a chunk of cash to enter said event and put themselves under the cosh for anywhere between c.1:15 and c.2:30hrs. It all seemed like a great idea at the time I entered, but by the time I’d hit the start of the hilly section of the run over an hour into the event I quickly re-evaluated my earlier thoughts and chalked it up as more of my more stupid ideas! I’d done a bunch of training but frankly, the run was feeling nails and I’d not even got to the steep section at that point. The clue is in the name of this race and a further hint, for Strava users, is that the killer segment is euphemistically tagged as the ‘Ski Slope’ on-line.

The swim and the bike legs both went well for me and in the end so too did the run leg largely thanks to the steep downhill section in the second half of the race. Knackered, but pretty chuffed with my times, I fell over the line feeling like I was truly worked! The event T-shirt (above) produced by the organisers, Sheffield Triathlon Club, proclaims “its not flat”. The Hilly is many things but as they say, it sure as hell isn’t flat! Check-out the event website here or some of the snaps (race shots taken by my daughters) below but be warned, they ain’t pretty.

The Hilly was a great distraction whilst the bicep sorted itself out but I figure it’s time now to get back to the (serious) business of climbing now – probably…

Hilly Bike.jpgHilly Run.jpgHilly Goodies_DSC_9129.jpgHilly T-shirt_DSC_9125.jpg

 

Also posted in Adventure, Triathlon

Merry Xmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Xmas!!

 

Also posted in General

Nov 22nd: And now for something completely different…

Fancy trying something different this weekend? If you’ve always had a secret hankering to give drytooling a go but never had the opportunity then you can this weekend if you get along to White Goods…

Drytooling is kinda ice climbing without the ice! Sounds silly egh, well there is a serious side to it too as you’d appreciate if you’re on a mixed pitch and the ice runs out and you’re faced with rock. That’s where drytooling comes in. There is a whole new technique and vocabulary to learn too.

It fun, its technical and it at White Goods this weekend and ace climber Ramon Marin is involved so you’ll get a wicked workout if nothing else! I photographed Ramon doing Stump Man at White Goods for my climbing calendar. Stump Man is M11 which roughly translates to bl**dly hard and not surprisingly it’s one of the hardest drytooling pitches in the UK.

But don’t take this from me – get along to White Goods and listen to the mistro himself. White Goods is the place this weekend. The poster for the event is below – using the pix from the calendar of course. Check it out here first though… http://whitegood.blogspot.co.uk/

Also posted in Drytooling, KSP Publications

Cliffhanger 2012: Two Tickets to the Gun Show…

Far from being somewhere between a damp squib and a total wash-out, the British Bouldering Championships over the weekend in Sheffield produced some thrilling climbing. Sadly, the near biblical rain which poured down last week forced Sheffield City Council to pull the plug (sic…) on Cliffhanger 2012 at the eleventh hour on Thursday, the day before the gates to Graves Park were due to open for the weekend. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook the word got out very fast but the ‘Cancelled’ notices posted over the Cliffhanger hoardings around the city made very despondent viewing for many of the Sheffield residents who have really gotten behind Cliffhanger as an event in recent years.

Being British must count for something though and despite reports earlier in the week of water pouring through the marquee and running down the bouldering wall whilst the setters were hard at work the bouldering comp survived the deluge – just. Come Saturday morning the Senior and IFSC Junior competitors arrived for isolation – under stormy skies of course! Recent Cliffhanger events had featured international World Cup bouldering events but the comp this year was strictly a home-grown affair with the British Bouldering Championships riding on the event. And given the circumstances, perhaps it was just as well.

Following the well-contested Qualifiers, which saw all the usual names get beyond the cut-off, it all came down to the four problems in the finals. The 2011 Champs Ned Feehally and Shauna Coxsey were not only through to the finals  but led their respective packs. Could they retain their titles? As usual the setters had concocted a wicked mix of problems to catch the competitors out – more slopers and volumes than ever it seemed; the simple crimp all but banished to the spare holds bin behind the wall. Two of the women’s problems took gnarly groove-lines as well.

 

As if the problems weren’t hard enough, further difficulties lay ahead for the would-be champions as head-setter, Percy Bishton, ditched his cordless impact driver for a cordless radio mic and started barracking competitors in a double-act with the official MC, Ian Smith, who valently battled the BBM (Bishton Banter Machine) all afternoon to keep the loyal crowd up to speed with the action and the whole ship on an even keel.

Whilst the male Senior Quals were especially tight, with no less than four climbers coming in joint second, the finals were real close. Gaz Parry, ex Spain, turned in a very creditable performance to come in 5th. The 2011 champ, Ned Feehally, couldn’t quite match his previous form and slipped to 4th. Messrs James Garden and Adam Watson equalled Ned’s number of top-outs of three but took fewer attempts and pulled 3rd and 2nd respectively leaving the power-house that is Dave Barrens to take top slot with successful attempts on all four problems. IRSC Male Junior’s were Nathan Phillips (1st), Luke Tilley (2nd) and Ben Norman (3rd).

The female Senior Quals by comparison produced a nice spread of positions with no ties – a setters dream. Likewise the problems in the finals split the leaders across the board as well. Sheffield’s own ladies, Katy Whittaker, Diane Merrick and Mina Leslie-Wujastik (placed 6th, 5th and 4th respectively) couldn’t quite muster the power and athleticism that Leah Crane (3rd) nor Alex Puccio (2nd) brought to the boards. However, it was Shauna Coxsey that topped the table with a maximum of four tops to maintain her current good form and scoop the top place for the second year running. IFSC Female Junior’s were Shauna Coxsey (1st), Charlotte Garden (2nd) and Jennifer Wood (3rd).

Paradoxically, Sunday saw another day of OK weather for the IFSC Youth Categories comp which was well-attended and well-contested. For a full breakdown of the result s see the BMC website http://www.thebmc.co.uk/british-bouldering-championships-2012–results.

 

Cliffhanger 2012 - Gaz Parry on his was to topping out on problem #1Cliffhanger 2012 - Dave Darrens on the final 'rock and pop' move on problem #1Cliffhanger 2012 - Leah Crane getting into the groove on problem #1Cliffhanger 2012 - Diane Merrick on the 'blue sloper volume' problem #2 from hellCliffhanger 2012 - Leah Crane taking a campus approach to problem #2Cliffhanger 2012 - Alex Puccio hiking problem #2Cliffhanger 2012_Adam Watson hanging-in on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Ned Feehally heading north on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Alex Puccio eyeing up her options on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Leah Crane focuses on closure on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Alex Puccion again closing out problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Shauna Coxsey stretching for the title as well as the finishing hold on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Gill Peat lost in the blob-lands on problem #4Cliffhanger 2012 - Ned Feehally cranking hard for closure on problem #4Cliffhanger 2012 - IFSC Junior Female PodiumCliffhanger 2012 - IFSC Junior Male PodiumCliffhanger 2012 - Female Senior PodiumCliffhanger 2012 - Male Senior Podium

Also posted in Bouldering, Photography