Category Archives: Published

Oct 12th : Fifty shade of Reeve…

Climb 105 has just come out and it features a piece by Neil Gresham on Paul Reeve. Over the summer, Paul repeated Cry Freedom at Malham; especially newsworthy given that Paul is 50!

For those not familiar with the history of the route, Cry Freedom was so-called by first ascentionist, Mark Leach, because he spend 40+ days on the first ascent. Back then it was thought to be F8c, the first in the UK in fact. It slipped back to F8b+, perhaps largely as a result of a fast ascent by raiding Frenchman, ‘JB’ Tribout. Since then the list of folks who have had utter epics on it has grown longer and longer, so much so that by popular consent it’s back up to F8c.

It’s an interesting piece, well worth a read if you’re planning to climb hard into your later years. Climb used a couple of my shots to illustrate the article too…

Cry Freedom_DSC_2370_web res.jpgPaul Reeve_DSC_2937_web res.jpgReeve on CF.jpg

Also posted in Climbing

January 9th: Arco and Patrick Edlinger – Sweet and Sour…

January 2013’s edition of Climber was a real sweet and sour edition for me. The sweet bit was the 8-pager on Arco, one of the primo Italian rock climbing destinations, by yours truly. The sour bit was the Partick Edlinger obituary which I also penned…

The Acro piece overviews the plethora of climbing just beyond the northern shores of Lake Garda in Italy and man there is stack of it as well! Arco is a real destination venue, one of the Italian ‘must visit’ spots for sure. I first went there back in the 90’s and I’ve had some memorable days since. However, my very first climbing experience there involved the pleasures of being belayed by a young Italian alpinist with an Italian Hitch. Quiet an unforgettable experience it was too!

The Partick Edlinger obituary was a tough one to prep and write-up. He was a rock god, pressed from a mould the like of which produced our own Ron Fawcett. Edlinger’s was a rags to riches story like many from the era. He was a seminal climber – a principal actor on our vertical stage. “Le Blond est Mort” was the headline – he shaped modern climbing more than many realise. An obituary can never do a life justice but it was an honour to try to capture the essence of the man in a few words.

So catch January’s edition pdq before the February copy hits the shelves. And just marvel at the winter climbing gallery too – it almost makes me want to get involved (again…)…

Also posted in Climbing

No 18th: Down Under shots published in Digital Photographer

Out of the blue – shows the power of the ‘tinterweb – I had an email from a photo-journalist a wee while back asking if I would contribute some photos and text on shooting down under in caves as part of a feature in the Digital Photographer magazine on ‘shooting in unusual places’. It would have been rude not too…

I haven’t seen the piece yet but I’m told that it’s in the Nov/current edition of the mag. Two photographers were featured, Mathew Emmett and myself. The final piece ran over five pages as the thumbnail that Mathew was kind enough to fire me over shows.  

 Mathew’s work featured shooting in disused buildings and mine was about shooting in the caves of Derbyshire. I’ll know more about the piece when I see the actual copy but meanwhile here the shots they had to pick from…

 

Tim in Peak Cavern streamwayTwo Tim's in Peak Cavern streamwayJim in Giant's Cave

Also posted in Caving, Photography

Oct 10th: UK Classics: Debauchery…

Having been around the block a few times I’m in a great position to be able to contribute to Climber magazine’s UK Classics. My latest offering, Debauchery, is a rather nice double page spread in the Oct edition…

  

I really enjoy writing these little cameo pieces for Climber as it’s an opportunity to let the writing flow a little and indulge. Basically, Climber’s UK Classics are around 900 words and a couple of pixs  – sweet little articles that are a pleasure to write.

In fact, the Debauchery piece is quite special. Not only is it a great route up one of the best bits of one of the best trad crags in the Peak but I know the first ascentionist, Chris Jackson and John Atkinson, personally. Sure, their ascent in 1965 left a bit of aid which was duly tidied up byYorkshire’s 70’s super hero Pete Livesey, but their ascent was quite visionary. I can picture the scene (fairly easily) – a few slings and a few pegs for protection, peg hammers jammed down the back pockets of their jeans. Raw talent, balls and adventure. Wicked stuff!

Shots of Richard Mayfield on the second pitch illustrated the piece. Check it out if you fancy the low down on one of the best E1’s around…

Richard Mayfield climbing Debauchery (E1 5b, 5b) High TorRichard Mayfield climbing Debauchery (E1 5b, 5b) High Tor

Also posted in Climbing

July 16th : Lower Sharpnose – The Little Big Trad Venue of Devon…

August’s Edition of Climber is hot off the presses and it comes with a destination piece from yours truly on one of the best single-pitch, seaside trad climbing venues we have in theUK– yeph, I’m talking Lower Sharpnose…

  

For years I’d blasted down to Cornwall getting, but ignoring, a ‘I should go too Lower Sharpnose’ feeling as I motored past Okehampton on the A30. Eventually, the opportunity came to check-out the Culm Coast for a calendar shoot and Adam, Kev and myself met up last summer and went down there for a weekend. The short walk past the listening post had been superseded – a long walk-in along the coast now being the order of the day. It’s not really a long walk – but it sure felt it carrying both climbing and photography kit. High tide that weekend was at noon so a late start – followed inevitable with a late finish – was imposed upon us. It did afford a lie-in so it wasn’t entirely disagreeable and we did (just) make last orders at the pub as well so again, that wasn’t a total disaster.

Over the years I’ve sometimes found that crags that are hyped-up don’t always quite live up to expectations – not so Lower Sharpnose however; the crag is truly unique and the climbing to die for. Well maybe not quite, but it is pretty flippin’ good. Lower Sharpnose isn’t especially big – quite small in fact – but IMHO it’s a package that hangs together very well indeed.

But there I go starting to give you the full SP. If you want the full low-down at the moment you’ll have to pick up a copy of the mag. Here’s a gallery of images to whet your appetite…

Kevin Avery on Out of the Blue, E2 5b on North Fin, Lower SharpnoseKevin Avery on Out of the Blue, E2 5b on North Fin, Lower SharpnoseAdam Lincoln abbing into the base of North Fin, Lower SharpnoseAdam Lincoln on Sea Green E4 5c North Fin, Lower SharpnoseKevin Avery climbing around the base of Middle Fin stealing a march on the outgoing tideAdam Lincoln on Pacemaker E5 6a Middle Fin, Lower SharpnoseAdam Lincoln on Fay E4 5c Middle Fin, Lower SharpnoseKevin Avery on Pacemaker E5 6a Middle Fin, Lower Sharpnose

Also posted in Climbing

June 27th : The Big Three – a.k.a. Malham, Kilnsey and Gordale…

In case you haven’t seen it yet, Climb #89 showcases The Big Three – the limestone giants that are Malham, Kilnsey and Gordale – claiming them to be “this country’s true limestone capital”. It’s a grand piece running to 12 pages, sans adverts, written by devotees Steve McClure, Stuart Littlefair, Steve Crow and Karen Magog. I’m totally chuffed to have a total of six images illustrating the piece, including a double page spread of Steve McClure on Overshadow (F9a+)…

I first visited and climbed at these venues back in the early Seventies and I’ve been going back on a frequent basis ever since. I’m far from being the only migratory climber to have been totally smitten by these three crags. They’ve gotten, it seems, into our DNA – much as they did for Adam Ondra. He visited for two years running and bagged the biggest and best tick-list of any visiting foreign climber.

The Big Three are certainly amongst the finest cliffs that we have in the UK – that they are located within a metaphorical stone’s throw of each other is a happy coincidence for us ‘locals’. Following more than half a century of development they now represent some of the best trad and sport climbing that exists on our fair isle.

In my view there’s very little not to like about them – maybe the midges at Kilnsey in the summer or the endless hordes of tourists traipsing through Gordale. But don’t take me word for it – go pay a visit yourself. Here’s a gallery of images published in the piece along finishing with a shot of Ondra battling on the crux of Overshadow during his first visit. Enjoy…

 

Steve Mac on Overshadow_DSC6993.jpgMiscel_Barry Rawson onChiselling the Dragon_DSC_9622.jpgScenic-0562.jpgMiscel_The Catwalk at Rush Hour-0210.jpgMiscel_paul reeve on the thumb 01.jpgScenic_ DSC_1378.jpgAdam Ondra on Overshadow-0390.jpg

Also posted in Climbing

June 2nd: Belaying is rocket science…

Belaying is rocket science, or so it seems. Improvements, no matter what they relate to, come thick and fast these days and quickly get absorbed as the norm.Moore’s Law, dating back to the start of PC developments, describes (roughly speaking) a doubling a PC power every two years. There aren’t similar laws for climbing, least not that I’m aware off, but it would be interesting to cogitate a few…

Accepted that belaying isn’t exactly top of the sexy list either, it is fundamental to the business of climbing. Today, there is such a plethora of devices available that anyone new to the sport or having had a ‘climbing holiday’ for a decade or more might well suffer total meltdown when standing in front of the hardware counter down at their local climbing store when they come to part with their hard-earned in exchange for their belay device of choice.

It wasn’t always thus however. I avidly remember starting my own climbing career using the (then) old favourite, the waist belay. A pair of leather gloves were added by some climbers but usually a twist around the belayer’s wrist was the only trick in town. It seems totally Heath Robinson looking back but hey it was clearly an effective means of belaying (for the style of climbing common at that time) as the hospitals weren’t full of broken or rope-burnt climbers! We didn’t fall off much though in those days…

 Today, as I say, the choice of belay devices is quite literally, be-wildering. Passive or active, single or double rope and sport or trad – take your pick. I’ve just co-ordinated a review of many of the current belay devices and krabs which are available for Climber. Twenty eight separate bits of kit in c. 2000 words. Don’t bother doing the math, just grab a copy and get the low-down in next month’s mag.

Meanwhile, check-out the shots below to see what’s included within the review…

 

Single Rope Belay Devices_DSC_0578.jpgDouble Rope Belay Devices_DSC_0583.jpgGuide Plates_DSC_0592.jpgBelay Lock Krabs_DSC_0593.jpgHMS and D Shaped Screwgate Krabs DSC_0603.jpgHMS Belay Krabs_DSC_0596.jpg

 

Also posted in Climbing, Reviews

May 3rd : Snow, Rain and Front Covers…

April 2012 was one heck of a month with some highs and some lows. Yep, it snowed, it rained, the crags all got wet – oh yes, I got a new camera and a front cover on Climber magazine…

Weather stuff – what else – first. What made April’s weather seem even worse is that March was totally awesome; the third warmest on record. We all knew it wont last but boy, no one thought that the bubble would burst that quick and that April would be the wettest since records began – no less than 126.5mm of rain to be exact – nor that it would end with the crags as wet as they are!

The new camera I’ve already posted about. I know it’s gonna be awesome and I’m looking forward to using it in anger – if only I could get those (proverbial) ducks lined up I could get cracking with some climbing shots.

So that just leaves the front cover of May’s Climber to shout about. It’s been a while so it’s very nice to be back on the FC of a climbing mag.  In truth, getting a FC these days is bitter/sweat for many photogs. The sweat bit is obvious, I would have thought, but why bitter? Simple really, as a photog I’d rather see my images sans masthead, barcodes and strap-lines but that’s modern front covers for you which are the way they are because of marketing requirements. Very happy though to be FC’d again so this isn’t a rant. And by the way, the shot is of Julian Heath on Traction Trauma (E4 6a) at Dinbren over in the Eglwyseg Valley. If you’ve not been its well worth the effort. Check-out the eight page article within the mag too…

 

Climber May 2012_FC_web.jpgDSC_0438.jpgDSC_0442.jpg

Also posted in Climbing, General