Category Archives: Climbing

Dec 2nd, 2015: Mammut University Onsight Lead Comp at The Foundry

The winter climbing comps are very much in full swing now – today saw The Foundry playing host to the Mammut University Onsight Lead Final.

Will Smith milking a kneebar before committing to the crucial tufa above

The Foundry’s chief setter, Rob Napier, had conjured up a couple of tasty looking routes up the main wall for the competitors to get to grips with. I couldn’t help drop in for an hour or so and grab some snaps. The men’s final route was on the right-hand side of the prow and off the top of the Bleaustone Wall I had a grandstand view. Connor Bynre and Luke Dawson had both topped out in the opening round so it was totally down to the final to split these two. Will Smith however had his own game plan and very nearly sneaked in and upset the proverbial apple cart. As it was, Connor Byrne flew-off the crucial mid-height tufa allowing Will Smith to take second place and Luke Dawson the top slot although with only 2moves separating all three climbers it was a pretty close final.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to stay to watch the majority of women’s half of the comp although I was there to see Team GB Member Jennifer Wood hike the women’s final.

Here’s a selection of the action…

Mammut Uni Comp_01_DSC_4910.jpgMammut Uni Comp_02_DSC_4918.jpgMammut Uni Comp_03_DSC_4928.jpgMammut Uni Comp_04_DSC_4933.jpgMammut Uni Comp_05_DSC_4945.jpgMammut Uni Comp_06_DSC_4956.jpgMammut Uni Comp_07_DSC_4963.jpgMammut Uni Comp_08_DSC_4982.jpgMammut Uni Comp_09_DSC_4992.jpgMammut Uni Comp_10_DSC_5007.jpgMammut Uni Comp_11_DSC_5014.jpgMammut Uni Comp_12_DSC_5028.jpgMammut Uni Comp_13_DSC_5032.jpgMammut Uni Comp_14_DSC_5049.jpgMammut Uni Comp_15_DSC_5052.jpg

Also posted in Events, Photography

2014 Captured

Ridiculously belatedly, I know – glaciers have moved faster – I’ve finally pulled together a gallery of images from 2014! Post processing your images take forever – or so it seems – but notwithstanding it’s always worth reviewing your work. Not least, it’s worth asking what works and why and what doesn’t work and why and pulling together a gallery of images is one way of doing just that.

1402_DSC_5417In my round-up for 2013 I said that I’d shot some 7,500 images totalling 263 GB of space and that had trumped my efforts in previous years. Well, 2014 blew those figs clean out of the water; c.13,500 images shot consuming c.454 GB of disk – nearly twice my previous max! Quantity isn’t, nor has it, nor will it ever be a measure of artistic value or quality but – to coin a phase – the more I practice the better my images get – arguably! As an aside it also shows that myself and most other photogs have data handling issues equivalent to companies many times the size of our businesses. Quite literally, digi photogs are awash in data.

Photographically, 2014 was an extremely interesting and different year to those that went before it. I continued to shoot climbing images – as I figure I always well. The bulk of these however were in the Peak District – only a single overseas trip to Riglos being the sole exception. Cycling shots were up for sure – hardly surprising given that La Grand Depart happened on the doorstep. A week-long summer trip facilitated some UK surfing shots but the big newbie in my portfolio was trail running. Vertebrate Publishing were in the final stages of a trail running guidebook for the Peak District and our paths collided. By the time the guide went to print in the autumn I’d shot images on trails all over the White and Dark Peak. As you’ll see, trail running is well represented in the gallery accompanying this post – though more of that anon.

2014 kicked off with some spectacular dawn light on Merseyside. The New Brighton Lighthouse, formally known as Perch Rock Lighthouse, is a favourite1412_DSC01725 of mine and a few thousand other photogs as well! Originally constructed in 1827, the current lighthouse ceased operation in 1973.Since then it has been maintained by the Kingham family. Reports of Northern Light activity flooded the media in the second week of January – so much so that I donned suitable attire and jointed the throngs of night revellers at Stanage for whatever meagre glimpse we might get of said NL spectacular. In the end, most folks bailed an hour or so past mid-night with so much as seeing anything other than car headlights and a light-polluted (admittedly) clear night!

The main event in February was F-BO14 – an open bouldering comp at The Foundry. It produced some surprises along the way. Against some stiff opposition a certain Mr Ben Moon qualified for the final which was absolutely great to see that he could still hold his own in the rarefied air of top-flight bouldering comps. By March the weather was heading rapidly into spring and limestone action at Stoney was underway as well as some grit. It was great getting out again especially as I was in the midst of a climbing shoe review for CLMBER magazine.

1436_DSC_9294A four-day trip to Riglos in late March/early April felt like the real start to the season. And what an amazing route Fiesta de los Biceps is – absolutely knock-out; c.300 m of stunning climbing up unbelievable steep rock. What not to like? Back home after that, the flora was springing (sorry…) into life everywhere. April and May went rushing past in a blur with trips to Wallasey included the unexpected bonus of ‘finding’ The Breck as well as the more usual haunts in Chee Dale and Stanage providing photo opportunities. Farther north, a trip to Northumberland – with excellent weather as usual – was a real bonus. We based ourselves near to Dunstanburgh Castle which is just spectacular as are the nearby rock/boulder strewn coast line.

July, of course, was all about La Tour, what a great event that was – again bags of photo ops. It’s a cliché of course, but I couldn’t resist a snap of the yellow jersey as ‘it’ came past. And following that was the Sheffield Criterium – a city centre race where the pro teams and the best amateurs hack round a loop flat-out for an hour in a first-past-the-post race wins. A brilliant race and another great night out with the camera.

 

 

August and the school summer hols provided the opportunity for me to dip my toes photographically at least into a totally new genre – concerts; specifically Camp Bestival at Lulworth. It did occur to me that I might sneak off for a cheeky DWS or two but the festival was full-on that half-baked idea withered on the vine. What a great opportunity to add some new material to my portfo1467_DSC_4788lio as well as catching some great performances too. The week after we washed-up on the Devon coast at Bude intent on sampling the surf and some Devonian bloc action – both were rather good as it turned out. A trip down to Colchester later in the summer hols offered another opportunity to catch the Red Arrows and an iconic Spitfire. August bank holiday saw us back up north in the Whitby area. As well as a trip round Go Ape in the Dalby Forest we nabbed a few waterfalls and night scenes on the coast. I also managed to fulfil a long-term objective – photographing a field full of fresh cut/baled hay which doesn’t sound much but it seems to have taken me a while to get the tick.

 

1471_DSC_0778Starting in September I dropped into running mode; shooting trail running to be exact for a guide on trailing running in the Peak District. I’d shot runners before – but always as part of events and never as stand-alone image to illustrate a book. The brief was to shoot the runners at various stages around the routes and to shoot couples running wherever possible. With twenty odd routes to shoot in about as many days, it was an interesting challenge. Shooting a single runner as its own challenges but adding in another runner into the equation takes it to another level. Imagine shooting fast moving action and trying to get a good body shape as well as a good composition showing the routes is OK, but getting two runners to run together and look half decent is… well try it and you see what I mean! Fortunately the weather was stunning last autumn and I got the job done to deadline – just! Plus I got to go to some places I’d never been to before in the Peak which was brilliant. I also got to see and photo some great wildlife too.

And when I wasn’t shooting running, I was out climbing and snapping climbing action too – that seemed a doddle in comparison to shooting two runners. Autumn seemed to pass very quickly – the colours were beautiful but seemingly gone in no time and then it was winter, Xmas and then the New Year and then time to start over!

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To see the full gallery of 2014 Captured click thru here

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Aviation, Bouldering, Cycling, Events, Photography, Running

Oct 24th: KSP Goes Big in Autumn

Keith Sharples Photography has just gone big into autumn and then some!

A while back, Foundry co-owner and living legend Jerry Moffatt got in touch with me to ask if I had any images of iconic scenes out in the Peak District that they could print up for the wall in the Foundry Café. “Only a zaggillion or two” was my reply…

Since then I sent Jerry a selection of shots to have a look at and he picked out a shot of the Popular End of Stanage in full late autumn colours. It was actually shot back in the days of film (remember them…) so I supplied a scan of said image for printing.

Well I called into the Foundry in downtown Sheffield this afternoon to check out the final result. I hadn’t really thought much about it but I was thinking 18×12 inches maybe or perhaps poster-sized. When I got there I was blown away – the Foundry café wall had disappeared under the print which can’t be far off 8 by 4 feet! It’s a monster print and it looks pretty darned good even if I say so myself.

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Nip down and take a look see for yourself if you’re in the area. Damn fine show skippy… err Jerry…

I’ve uploaded the original shot and two others below that were taken the same day. As I say, they were shot on film coming up for 11 years ago this autumn. I recall the day pretty well ‘cos I’d just nipped out to meet Steve Mac at the plantation and I only had a couple of hours but I felt that the light was so good that I couldn’t go climbing and not take the shots. Funny how you remember the minute detail related to some pixs. Glad now I stopped though. Sadly, I’ve still not done Jerry’s Traverse at the Plantation. Maybe one for this winter?!?!

Finally, I should say that smaller prints can be made if required!!

Stanage, The Popular EndStanage Plantation and the Popular EndStanage Plantation

Also posted in KSP Publications, Photography

June 7th : Gear Review – Rock Shoes for 2014

The world of rock shoe manufacturing doesn’t stand still for long and this year is no exception. The June edition of Climber magazine is on the shelves and it features a review of no less than thirteen pairs of new shoes by yours truly selected from two categories – beginner, intermediate and all-rounders shoes and specialist performance shoes. If you’re in the market for some new shoes it might be worth taking a quick look through as there’s some surprises in store…

DSC_6253_lo resI, like many climbers, have had my favourite shoe manufacturer for years – 5.10 in my case. However, doing back-to-back shoe reviews for the last two years (see below) has opened my eyes to new products on the market today. More and more though I see experienced climbers trying new shoes looking for any advantage they can get – in my case to buy-back age-related declining performance!

Although most of the shoes tested are brand spanking new, typically they build on previous designs and features looking to spring-board off popular feature sets. Unusually though, some manufacturers have gone retro for 2014 and have re-introduced slightly remodelled shoes from yesteryear.

I commented last year to the effect that there was a huge number of rock shoes on the current market and there’s more coming to market all the time. That trend seems set to continue. Similarly, there’s a veritable mix of lace-ups, velcros and slippers as well as low volume/narrow fit to high volume/wide fitting shoes. Surprisingly, all five of the specialist performance shoes tested are slipper-based shoes with some throwing-in a Velcro closure as well to supplement fit/performance. Perhaps this is proof that slipper/velco fastening shoes are now more popular than traditional lace-ups.

Included in the 2014 review are the following shoes:

rock shoes review_spread#1

Beginner, Intermediate and All-rounder Shoes: Boreal Marduk, Edelrid Blizzard, Evolv Addict, Evolv Defy and Elektra, Five Ten Guide and New Pinks.

Specialist Shoes: Boreal Satori, Boreal Dharma, Edelrid Cyclone, Evolv Nexxo, Scarpa Stix and the Tenaya Ossi.

Here’s some visuals to check-out too…

Yours truly - supervised by Simba - putting the new Pinks thru their paces on the age old classic Hampers Hang (Font 7a)More Hampers Hang actionAnd the flip-side of Hampers Hang

 

 

Also posted in Reviews

May 14th: Spring Collection – the best route ever, Garage, green stuff and yoga…

So, as spring slips away and we flip over to summer it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve achieved thus far – and then to enviably project forwards! I think that spring is perhaps the most uplifting time of the year; winter’s over and suddenly everything starts to rejuvenate as though by magic. Green shoots emerge all over the place and a cornucopia of flowers follow soon after. Spring is a time to start over; leave the comfort of the climbing wall, and go and get acclimatised to slick, slopey (non-coloured) footfolds on new climbs as well as to try a few new activities. As a photog, it’s a great time to capture new photo opportunities…

Riglos_000_low resAs springs go, 2014 has been pretty dandy for me I’d say. It’s been a time to get back into climbing slowly so that old injuries are carefully managed. It seems to be going OK at the moment and although it’s been a slow and careful progression just before Easter I pulled in what I think might just be the best route I’ve ever done – ever! And given I’ve been climbing a shade over 40 years, it must be good – right? What’s that you say – what’s the route? OK, if you really wanna know, and obviously you do, it La Fiesta de los Biceps at Riglos. I’m holding back on this one but I’ll give you a taster right now.

Meanwhile, back on planet home, Garage Buttress at Stoney has been a great venue and one which just keep on giving! Easy access, virtually perma-dry and some great climbing – though not (thankfully) to everyone’s taste! Oh yes, and there’s some selfies I shot whilst doing a rock shoe review; a piece of cake using the intevalometer which is in-built in the D800. Non-climbing subjects have featured a fair bit of super-rich and season flora, such as bluebells and wild garlic, with some family-based biking shots and even a yoga shoot thrown in for good measure!

Photographically it’s been interesting too. Not though for what I’ve been shooting, more for what I’ve been shooting on. When I’m looking for the absolute max my go-to camera is my D800. However, if ‘light is right’, then it’s the Sony RX100 without a question. I’ve lugged my D800 up routes before and it ain’t fun! Amazingly though, and like most folks these days, I’m anyway packing a camera even it’s the 8mg camera on my Samsung Galaxy. It doesn’t hold a candle to either of the other two if the chips (sic!) are  down, but it’s a whole load better than nothing and for on-line consumption it holds up pretty OK. Horses for courses you might say!

Here’s my spring collection then for you – shot on any one from the D800, the RX100 or the Galaxy…

It's tough, but someone has to test rock shoes! The new Pinks from 5.10 hanging out off Hampers Hang, StanageClimbing archioligists take note; an early 'nut' recovered from the ivy on Garage Buttress, StoneyKristian on his new super-crimpy F8a  at GarageRuth putting Jill through her yoga pacesYoga's fun too - honestVibrant Spring colours are beautifulBrinciffe Edge Wood bursting into lifeFornby Beach, Liverpool, won't you believe!More scouse bluebells!And yet more bluebellsYorkshire wild garlic flowers #1Yorkshire wild garlic flowers #2Yorkshire wild garlic flowers #3Yorkshire wild garlic flowers #4Chelsea Park, Sheffield #1Chelsea Park, Sheffield #2The Beach - yeah, really @ Easter!Trail ridingThe drive to Riglos, SpainThe view out the back of the refugio, Riglos, SpainRiglos TowersFiesta Tower - and yep, it's nearly 1000 foot tall!La Fiesta de los Biceps, the cruz. Quite probably, the best route in the world!la bateria F7a  on El Sendero, Santa Ana

Also posted in Environmental

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 Events

Nov 24th: Be in My (2014) Calendar – Round-up

So, with Climbing 2014 shipping it’s time to round-up the 2013 ‘Be in My Calendar’ competition that was run on UKClimbing. This year the winner was David Kirsfelds and the three runners up were Luke Owens, Char and Owain Atkins.

This year we stayed in the Pennines for a day of classic grit for the photo-shoot with David. Whilst I know the Pennines pretty well and it was pretty easy to short-list a number of routes to go out and shoot, it did pose a challenge – how to shoot classic routes which have been photographed many times before.

There’s a write-up for the day and my thoughts on shooting the classics here

And finally, here’s a gallery of my favourite images from the day as well…

BIMC Winner_DSC_2963.jpgBIMC Winner_DSC_2968.jpgBIMC Winner_DSC_2992.jpgBIMC Winner_DSC_2987.jpgBIMC Winner_DSC_3019.jpgBIMC Winner_DSC_3042.jpgBIMC Winner_DSC_3088.jpgBIMC Winner_DSC_3096.jpgBIMC Winner_DSC_3139.jpg

Also posted in Be in My Calendar Competition, KSP Publications, Photography

Oct 28th: A Decade of Climbing and Calendars…

Whilst I’ve been working on Climbing:2014 I’ve been feeling in a rather reflective mood. Not only is Climbing:2014 my tenth consecutive climbing calendar but I’m now into my fifth decade of climbing. Both feel something of a benchmark. My intro text to Climbing:2014 reflects my feelings on both the calendar and on climbing and I figure it’s maybe worth posting it on-line…

Back in the summer of 2004 I had the bright idea of publishing a climbing calendar. At that time I didn’t know what that would entail or how to bring that simple idea to fruition. Neither did I give a second thought to where it might go in the future. To coin a phrase, I had a dream, and set off in pursuit of that dream armed with a camera and a bag of lenses, an address book, a shelf-full of guidebooks and a bunch of ideas. My mission was underwritten in my mind by a number of objectives which I came to treat as core values: produce a premium product; include an eclectic mix of striking climbing images from the UK, Europe and beyond; include images of both inspirational and aspirational climbing across the grade range; include all the disparate climbing styles; feature male and female climbers as well as heroes and non-heroes alike. And to make matters even more authentic feature seasonal images as well and take them in the month they were to appear in!

A decade on, Climbing 2014 is my tenth calendar and, save the last of the criteria listed above, my mission and core values remain as they were back in 2004. Not surprisingly, the decade has flown by in no time at all! Climbing is now even more polarised than it was: sport climbing is becoming middle-aged; many boulderers don’t own ropes, a harness nor rack; indoor climbing has a huge following and is an end in itself for a significant number; DWS (deep water soloing) is firmly established; hard trad is still alive and kicking although no longer is it just quintessentially British any more and training is no longer a dirty word, in fact, if you’re not following a programme and not using a stop watch then you’re not really training at all!

And yet, despite all this nu-skool agenda, fundamentally climbing is the same as it was, climbers getting it on with the rock! One glorious Saturday in August I drove north to the Yorkshire Dales to capture some images for the calendar. In the car, along with myself, was Paul Reeve, Steve McClure and Buster Martin. At the ripe young age of 50 Paul had just plucked an ascent of Cry Freedom (now reckoned to be F8c). Buster had done Bat Route (another F8c) earlier in the year when he was a mere 16 and Steve McClure, for his part, had nailed Batman (at F9a/+). I was struck by the disparate circumstances of us all but by the strength of the common bond that was climbing that wove us all together. I couldn’t help but take delight at that bond.

So, Climbing 2014 features yet another eclectic mix of images, some of firm classics and others of new routes that are likely to become classics of tomorrow. Climbing isn’t easy, nothing worth doing ever is. That a significant number of us are driven by the need for exploration is to our sport’s benefit. New developments are the life-blood of climbing; they fuel the inner drive of so many of us and help keep climbing fresh and exciting. I’ve no more idea what the next years will bring in climbing than the next person – but here’s to the journey wherever it takes us. And finally, thanks to all who have been involved with my calendars over the last 10 years – it’s been a blast.

So there you have it; my reflections of a decade of calendars. This being a photographic blog I can’t really leave without an image or two so here’s a few more shots of Neil and Claire on the somewhat ‘off radar’ Hanging out at Glastonbury at Castell Helen, images which were shot for the calendar on an absolute cracking summer’s day. It seems a lifetime away already…

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Also posted in KSP Publications, Photography

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 Published

May 10th: Malham plums picked…

After considerable effort Jordan Buys wrote his name in history last Friday when he repeated Rainshadow F9a, at Malham. Jordan’s ascent of Rainshadow, the third after Adam Ondra’s second ascent in 2011, is the first repeat of a Steve McClure F9a by a Brit – a worthy prize and one which a number of top sport-climbing Brits have been vying for some time now. Justifiably, Jordan was over the moon: “best climbing day of my life so far!!!” he wrote on his 8anu scorecard entry…

Jordan has been focused on repeating Rainshadow for some time during which he’s battled with some of the skankiest weather for years – especially during the supposed summer of 2012. Jordan got close to closure last autumn but – as they say – no cigar. A week since he got the coveted send it’s obvious that Jordan is still on a massive high: “I’m still bouncing now. Glad I stuck with it!!”

Shockingly, it’s a decade since Steve did the first ascent of Rainshadow. However, until Adam Ondra’s second ascent in 2011, few climbers – UK or overseas – had seriously committed to the job of repeating any of Steve McClure’s top routes. Ondra was clearly impressed with Rainshadow recording on his 8anu scorecard “Honestly one of the best climbs I have done…”.  Ondra proved that Steve McClure’s routes could be repeated and now Jordan has shown that it’s possible for a Brit to get in on the action too. Of course, the race is now on for the next repeat in the series! Steve himself is really pleased with Jordan’s ascent although given he’s hard at work on yet another super-route above The Catwalk he’s not taking things easy.

Not surprisingly, Jordan hasn’t been the only top climber in action and enjoying success above The Catwalk at Malham. Since the flag went down to signal the start of the 2013 season there’s been plenty of others trying hard routes. Without being too partisan about it, it seems to be the Sheffield-based climbers that have been putting in the hours and getting the ticks. Ryan Pasqual has taken time out from trying one of Steve McClure’s other super routes, Mutation F9a at Raven Tor, to notch-up quick repeats on both Bat Route F8c and Power Ranger F8b+/c. Joe Cook, a Foundry quiet-man who has been busy pumping-up his scorecard over the last few years, has also gonnen his share of the ticks with Bat Route and Raining Bats and Dogs F8c. Joe’s slowly moving rightwards along The Catwalk – he’s now on Unjustified F8c.

Here’s some snaps – literally grab shots from the deck – of the guys in action…

Jordan on Rainshadow_DSC_8419.lo res.jpgJoe on Unjustified_DSC_8423_lo res.jpgRyan on power Ranger_DSC_8385_lo res.jpg