Monday, February 06, 2012


Just got back from an amazing trip to Hampi. Its made my mind up that spending winters in the UK is not for me. You can be living on £10 a day in paradise, thinking about nothing else but climbing, eating good food, and drinking the odd cold Kingfisher beer. (Please drink responsibly though kids!)

Hampi isn't all the paradise picture that i paint though. In fact, for me, it was a bit of a love hate relationship. When you are getting up your projects, its fine. When you are not however, you can blame it on any number of things. Terrible conditions, unless up at 6am. Sharp rock. Yep, sharpest rock in have ever experienced. Terrible guide. Takes quite a while to find the problems. (Though this is due to change with a new guide due out soon). Don't even bother buying the glossy guide written my Rohit. Save your money! Then again, climbing wouldn't be half as much fun if everything was easy, would it....

So, the climbing. Well. There is so much rock, i couldn't even begin to describe the vastness. Every direction you look, there is miles and miles and miles of boulders. Not all of them can be climbed. Lack of holds, terrible landings. etc etc. Even if 5% has been/could be climbed, its still the most extensive place for bouldering/potential new problems i have ever been too. I have been to most of the bouldering destinations in the world to base that comment on.

So anyone thinking of going out, here is a top ten of must do problems. Not in any specific order.

1) Goan Corner - 7c
2) Middle Way - 8a/+
3) Double Tap - 7b
4) Kundalini Rising - 7c
5) Surfer Traverse - 7c
6) 90 Degree Arete - 7a
7) The Diamond - 8a
8) Indian Summer - 7c+
9) Mental Mantle - 6c+/7a
10) Sleeping Budda - 7c

Writing this list, i have just though of another 20 that could/should be in the top ten!

I can think of another 20 other problems that are amazing and don't even have names. These problems are just in one small tiny area of Hampi. Times this by 100 and you are starting to get an idea of how much amazing rock there is.

Words can only describe so much. Here are some pictures from my trip.

Classic Warmup
Surfer Traverse - 7c
Cosmic Friction - 7a
Cosmic Arete - 7a+
Mental Mantle - 6c+/7a
Babas in space - 7a+
French Traverse - 7a
Unknown classic 7b
Airplane - 7b
Middleway - 8a/+
Middleway - 8a/+
Middleway - 8a/+

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Road to 8c!

Again, i am sorry for lack of blogging lately. I have left out all my trip to Spain, which i will update my blog with soon! The last month has all been about Unjustified, and climbing my first 8c. This is number one priority. It marks a benchmark that i never thought would be possible. I have improved a grade every year for the last 2 years. 8b, 8b+, and hopefully this year, 8c.

I had a day on the route last year. I linked from the crux to the top on a top rope. My first day on it this year, i lead from the crux to the top. The second day i had lead the route in two halves on a number of occasions. Now i have started redpointing, and falling off at the crux. I think once i do the one move i will have a good chance of getting pretty high, hopefully even doing it reasonably quick.

I have made a personally choice to clip every clip bar the first on every redpoint. A lot of people who have done this route have had it pre clipped up to the crux. This for me is not an option, and reduces the challenge a little.

I have also been training pretty hard the last few weeks at the wall, doing circuits and bouldering in volume. I have reduced my weight a little, and hope i can peak sometime soon. I am hoping day 4 on the route will show the rapid improvement the first three have shown.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I did things differently this year. Instead of going out to cold and wet crags, i was training in doors early. 2 or 3 PE sessions a week early on in the year. I feel i have a head start on last year and my body and how i feel with my climbing confirms that.

I made a quick redpoint of Austrian Oak the other day. This is a tricky little 8b at Malham. I had a day on it last year, but had forgotten all the moves. After a brief day working them out again, i had a quick redpoint. Falling pretty high after a foot pop. I came back a week later and it went 2nd go of the day. Normally routes feel easy on the redpoint, but this didn't. Was a bit of a fight!

Other than that, i have done a few other 8a's in a day at Dinbren. The new crag of choice as an alternate to Malham. Always quiet. Weather is always good. Lots of classics. Still a few hard routes left to do FA's on. (but don't tell anyone)

With this level i have early on, and my trip to Spain next week to really get a jump on the fitness, i feel i should be able to achieve my goal of the year and get my first 8c in the bag! (Whilst holding down a full time job!)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Iron Man Right Hand

I went to Trowbarrow today to finish up Pacman (8a) from the other day. When i arrived though, the starting holds were seeping. They wouldn't dry, so after a rethink, i decided on Iron Man Right Hand. I had already done Iron Man a year or so ago, and had done the new variant on Vitruvian Man. So no new climbing needed, but still a stiff link! And good training for Pacman. 

Here is the footage.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wales - Crafnant

An early start saw a rendezvous outside a Crafnant pub with Chris Davies, our guide for the day, Jordan, Nao and Al Lee. Al is making a new bouldering film, so we were hoping to get some problems done and get get some decent footage. On the walk up the weather was good, but the rock was wet. A little worried we scrambled around looking at the classic problems, and waiting for the sun and wind to dry the rock.

An hour later we were warming up. We started with the classic slopey arete which forms part of Chris's new problem, My private Idaho, 8b. A classic three star warm up. What more can you ask for. After that we hopped on Chris Doyle's classic, Wonderwall. He did this back in the day, and gave it V7, but others think it is harder. There has been a hold breakage which people think might make it harder. Me, Jord and Cookie,(who has just turned up with Emma) all flash the problem. None of us are shy of the crimp and all think V8/7b. Thoughts of others are 7b+ is more fitting. Whatever, its a classic problem. Emma also does it, only needing to get through the crux crimp move once, and styled the top.

After this we jump on Cruella. A Mark Katz problem, also from back in the day. After a few goes, i am falling off the crux, until Jordan comes along and flashes it with a simpler sequence. Typical. I dispatch next go. Another V8/7b?

I go for a look round the corner at the classic V11, special K. Dave Nodder put it up last year. Its a rising traverse line along some impeccable crimps and slopers. A quick flash go See's me pinging off the crux due to a damp hold. More chalking, and a few goes later, i find myself past the crux, and ready to cruise home to victory, when Al, filming decides to try and knock me off the problem by whacking me in the face with a camera! He has it on the end of a boom, and as he is looking at whats going on through a LCD screen, he can't tell how far he is away from the rock. Anyway, he slips, camera boom whacks me in the head, but
i wasn't for letting go and shake my way to the top. Not sure about the grade on this.Took me about 15 mins. I guess V11 traverse is different to V11 bloc, so not sure if its worth the grade, Its def soft, but what is more important is its brilliant, better than Jerrys Roof! Jordan flashes it and Cookie does it shortly after.

(Pic of Special K, Copyright Naomi Buys)

Getting tired, me and Jord still want to do Grasswind. A Danny Cattell problem which he gave V9. We both have some good goes, but don't quite stick the crux throw. Its a bit scary, and we are tired. The rock is also sharp. Anyway, i do it, and then Jordan, inevitably does it next go, not wanting to be out done. ;-)

So a top day had by all, Al got some good footage, we all did some classic problems. I write this sat in the CC hut in Llanberis trying to decide if i should wait out the rain and climb at Porth Ysgo tomorrow, or go home and come back midweek when the weather looks better. I have a project i want to do near Porth Ysgo, which will be a classic 3 star line, somewhere around the V10 range. A little highball though. I also want to have a look at a couple of other classic established problems, Porn makes me horny, V10, Tide of dreams, V10, and a slopey V11 i forget the name of.

What to do. Tempted to go home and get in my own bed. Might go via V12 in Llanberis and pick up the guide i need for Tunnel Walls in Scotland. This is on the list of places i want to visit in the next few months. Hopefully get a visit in before the nasty biting flys arrive!

Out for now.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Scotland trip - Day 2 - Mooching

After the hard day Saturday, it was a leisurely start to the day Sunday. Chatting in the CC hut and taking our time. Plan was to head onto Annoch Mor, which requires a tiny walk in if you get the Gondola up from Nevis Range ski centre. Anyway, on arrival it was windy as hell, and visibility looked bad. We decided to go for a coffee in Fort William and make a decision. We needed to kill time anyway, as if we ended up snowboarding, lift pass gets dirt cheap at mid day.

That is in fact what we end up doing. Visibility looks clearer as we get back to the car park. So we buy our tickets and head up. I am used to European and American resorts, so all the T-bars and poma's are a bit of a shock. Ouch! The other thing i was soon to find out about was all the ice on the runs. Visibility came and went during the day, and so we alternated between staying below the cloud when it was crap, and getting up higher on the clearer periods.

Wasn't a bad day, fun was had by all, and i practiced some jumps. One below is about the best shot, but quite a bit of lens fog and me attempting to fly (What was i doing!?) mean it isn't the best pic. Sums up Scotland snowboarding though!

Friday, February 04, 2011


Right, no one likes a list better than me. What better way to get motivated in these wet and windy times. This year i want to do more trad. I did a bit last year, but want to get some longer trips to pembroke and wales in this year.

So trad list, of the harder stuff i want to do

North Wales
Ressurection E4
Lord E6
Jub Jub Bird E6
E5 that goes under Dreams and screams
Lots of the E5's on main cliff
Wreath of a deadly nightshade (E6/7)
Long Run Direct E6
Strawberries E6/7

Some Scottish ticks from Extreme Rock

Dawes Rides a Shovel Head E8
Hells Wall E6
Bleed In Hell E8
Shere Khan E5
Lost Horizons E5
Bucket City E5
Fast and furious E6