Monthly Archives: November 2012

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/

Posted in Drytooling, Events, KSP Publications

Nov 19th: It’s started…

With five weeks to go before Chrimball, the blue skies and crisp ground frost on Sunday morning signalled that the weather had definitely turned and that the 2012/13 grit season was on us. And for most folks it’s not a moment to soon given the lousy wet summer we’ve just had to endure…

The fabled minty conditions were wide-spread in the Peak yesterday and hence the car-parks and crags were (not surprisingly) pretty busy by mid-morning. In search of a bit of solitude as well as some early season, confidence-boosting, never-done-before ticks, I headed for The Walnut below Baslow Edge. I’d been wanting to get there for ages but it had never quite happened. The bouldering bible (Peak Bouldering by Vertebrate Publishing) warns of a difficult approach through bracken to get to The Walnut. Boy, they’re not wrong! Thrashing through (at times) chest high undergrowth my legs were soaked by the time I’d got there – not quite the start to the day I’d planned but not the worst thing that had ever happened to me. Next time I’ll read the guide a bit more closely, that way I’ll stand a fighting chance of finding the path on the walk-in.

  

There’s only 15 odd problems at The Walnut but most are well worth doing. The Walnut is in fact two boulders scrunched up close together giving the impression that it’s a single bloc.  The easier problems are on the (then) sunny south-facing side of the southern bloc with The Walnut (Font 6c) taking the best-in-class prize. It’s something of a gift at that grade – but let’s not tell Ru that or he’ll knock the grade back in the next guide! All the other problems on this face are straight-ups – typically from sitters. The rock is as rough as it gets too so if you’re popping for holds aim well. The hardest problem on this face, Whip Me, Whip Me (Font 6c+) from Mark (Zippy) Pretty starts by tunnelling in right underneath the hanging groove. The hardest part of this problem TBH seems to be keeping your ar*e off the floor whilst swinging around on sloping shelves and it’s definitely NOT a gift at this grade. And don’t worry, I will be having a word with Ru about this one when I see him next.

The north-facing side of The Walnut houses predominately harder problems – up to Font 7c+ – and it climbs quite different too. Little Richard (Font 7a) is short, hard and surprisingly snatchy and a great little problem. The harder stuff on that face all involve slopers and small crimps and needed way more skin than I had left. Least that was my excuse for leaving for an early bath. Surprisingly, two other teams rocked-up whilst I was there so it’s obvious that The Walnut is more popular than I’d thought. Satisfied that I’d got a few ticks and clicks, I headed home as the sun started to sink. I felt I’d gotten my grit season off to a half decent start and hope you did too…

 

Looking north from The WalnutThere is a path in there somewhereNutjob (Font 6a) #01Nutjob (Font 6a) #02Nutjob (Font 6a) #03The Eliminates Area, Curbar

Posted in Bouldering

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

Posted in Caving, Photography, Published

Nov 17th: For Peat’s Sake…

Anyone out and about in the Peak District recently might well have noticed some rather strange activity going on. Never in the 35+ years that I’ve lived close-by and visited the Peak do I recall seeing anything quite like it…

I’m talking about the excavators and dozens of monster white ‘lifting bags’ scattered like confetti on some of the Dark Peak moors. The latest locale I’ve seen them is on Burbage and Houndkirk Moor just east of Burbage North. A couple of weeks back they were on Big Moor just by the Barbrook Reservoir west of Owler Bar. On occasion, you even see a helicopter buzzing about lifting the bags to a collection point.

So just what is going on? Turns out, according to the sign nailed to an adjacent fencepost, its environmental works which is transplanting heather from the lush lowland moors (sic…) to the bleakness that is Kinder. The work, which is sponsored by United Utilities, Natural England and the National Trust, is aiming to help stabilise eroding areas up on Kinder. The idea is that the heather brash will be spread over the bare peat and will act as a mulch to allow grasses to grow. Seeds from the cut heather will help re-establish heather. Paradoxically, the donor moors will also benefit given that the diversity will be increased as young heathers grow which will benefit the wildlife; a so-called win-win.

So does the end justify the means? Well I guess that depends on you viewpoint. For sure it looks pretty odd seeing big excavators sat in the midst of the moor and hundreds of white bags everywhere but at least we know what is going on and that there’s a good cause behind it all…

Burbage and Hondkirk Moor Heather Works #01Burbage and Hondkirk Moor Heather Works #02

Posted in Environmental, General

Belay Bunny Turned Bad wins the fifth ‘Be in My Calendar’ Competion

The fifth ‘Be in My Calendar’ Competition went live on UKClimbing portal back in the summer and the emails started coming in straight away…

Belay Bunny Turned Bad, a.k.a. Becky Lounds was the winner and she brought Tim, her husband, along for the photo shoot in Llanberis Pass.

For the full story behind the day’s activities click through here and see the gallery below…

Becky Lounds starting up the slate classic, Pull My Daisy (E2 5c)Becky Lounds well into her stride on Pull My Daisy (E2 5c)Becky Lounds putting on the style on Pull My Daisy (E2 5c)Becky Lounds on the tough initial moves on German Schoolgirl (E2 5c)Becky Lounds settling into the middle section on German Schoolgirl (E2 5c)Becky Lounds well into the groove on German Schoolgirl (E2 5c)Becky Lounds pulling through the final moves on German Schoolgirl (E2 5c)Tim Lounds getting involved with Manatese (E4 6a)Tim Lounds pulling the steep mid-section on Manatese (E4 6a)Tim Lounds scoping-out the final section of Manatese (E4 6a)Tim Lounds heading for home on Manatese (E4 6a)Llanberris Pass from the slate quarriesTim Lounds sans Fear of a Slopey Planet (Font 7a)Llanberris Pass from Llyn Peris

Posted in Be in My Calendar Competition, KSP Publications, Photography

Nov 4th: Climbing 2013 is now shipping…

Yep it’s official, Climbing 2013 – my 9th climbing calendar – was back from the printers mid last week and is now shipping…

As I said in an earlier blog about the calendar, this year feels like it’s been something of a long haul on account of the lousy weather. However, seeing all the calendar boxes piled up is definitely exciting, finally all that effort has produced tangible results. As an aside, not only do the calendars physically occupy a surprising amount of space but they also have something of a pungent smell! Bundling them into packages and shipping them out is a tactile and a cathartic experience – the final leg of the long haul.

I’ll include a link to the calendar images and pages later in this post but I’d like to give you the full griff first. I was really pleased with the redesign for last year’s calendar but, as with many things, further modifications come to hand during the year. Firstly, I’ve gone with a snazzy glossy laminate on the cover on Climbing 2013. Secondly, I‘ve shot landscape images only – as opposed to a mix of landscape and portrait – this year and during the pre-press work in the design studio we figured that they just begged to be run with full bleed, ie no border. And whilst I’m talking about images, the bulk of them have been shot on my new D800 and I think that the increased dynamic range and resolution of Nikon’s flagship hi res DSLR has given a noticeable boost in the image quality. To complement the images I’ve included longer captions again. And finally, the date grids have been re-gigged so that the weeks run Monday to Sunday so that plans for the all-important weekends can be kept together. All small mods for sure, but important ones nevertheless which I think have given Climbing 2013 a real boost.

The aforementioned lousy weather played havoc with my intended photographic coverage but I’ve tried to stay as true as possible to the usual and deliberately eclectic mix of venues, routes, climbers and rock types. Once again the ‘Be in my Calendar’ competition winner, who this year is Becky Lounds, headlines on the front cover of Climbing 2013 climbing Pull My Daisy (E2 5c). Becky also features climbing German Schoolgirl (E2 5c) in March. Both are in the Rainbow Slab area in Llanberis slate quarries, Snowdonia. As usual, Climbing 2013 features plenty of grit action with shots of the uber classic that is Eastwood Traverse as well as Brimstone at Millstone and Goliath at Burbage South. Limestone action isn’t ignored either – that would have been rude – so Raven Tor, Two Tier – Chee Dale and Kilnsey complete the role-call from the Pennines.

Further up north, as they say, the Lake District is well-represented with shots at Little Font in Kentmere and Bowderstone Crag. Off the beaten track shots – as it were – come in from the Blueies (ie Blue Mountains) down-under in Oz, Dry-Tooling in North Wales and British Bouldering action from Cliffhanger.

So as I said – Climbing 2013 is now shipping and copies will be winging their way to climbing walls/shops across the county forthwith. However, if you want you copy direct from the calendar stash in KSP HQ then you can order your copy – postage and packaging included – from the KSP e-shop right here. And if you want copies of the Climbing 2013 Year Planner/Poster then you can get them from the KSP e-shop too.

Finally, to see the images in Climbing 2013 click here or to see the pages click through here

Posted in KSP Publications, Photography