The Most Significant Live OB since 1960?

It is already being heralded as the most significant live broadcast of a climb since Joe Brown & Chris Bonington were filmed climbing the Old Man of Hoy in the 1960’s.

Its probably been one of the only live outside broadcast of climbing since then! A pure genius quote I thought, i guess one mans meat is another mans poison!.

There is some great background on the live broadcast on the BBC Scotland site – of particular note is the mention of the unenvironmental practice used in the Hoy Broadcast. If you visit the island, you can still see the line up which the BBC dragged tonnes of equipment up the hillside onto the plateaux. Mind you nowadays, all you probably need is a rucsac full of equipment rather than a barn full.

There was of course the other Dave Mac OB from 2008, that was postponed due to weather, so not sure if that counts. Anyway I am being distracted from packing!

The dynamic duo of Tim Emmet and Dave Mac, will be appearing at the Big Rock Climbing Centre in Milton Keynes on the 18th September, as part of the opening events. So if you can navigate your way through the world of roundabout, concrete cows and the biggest Tesco’s on Earth then you’ll be laughing as they be able to help you navigate you way up through the grades, as well as leave your jaw on the floor if you watch Tim’s Para-Alpinism show, because if climbing an alpine wall isn’t risky enough he then throws himself off the top of them.

I spoke to one of the route setter there last night and the wall sounds awesome, and opens today I think? Visit here ( to find out more, about a wall that is a partnership between some local Milton Keynes Climbers and the owners of the Llanberis based Beacon Climbing Centre (imagine that commute!!). I can just see Steve and Gill playing paper, scissor, stone to see who has to head down there to cash up at the end of the week!

Last Few days of Llanberis Madness

My Favourite vew from the top of one of my favourite routes. Sorry no prizes for guessing which route!
My Favourite vew from the top of one of my favourite routes. Sorry no prizes for guessing which route!

Well I set myself a challenge to enjoy the most of my short time left in Llanberis, and the weather obliged and was nice and sunny. So I managed to climb a few of my favourite routes over the last week. Inparticular another ascent of Sunchaser Wall in vivian meant I got to climb Comes the Dervish just one more time before I left.

My life has been pretty hectic, and I have managed to do a fair amount of socialising. The beer garden of the Padarn Lake was lovely on Friday Evening, followed by a BBQ at Huws. Not a good way to warm up for Bunney’s 40th Birthday last night, I had to leave at 11.30 as I was knackered. All the time in between seems to be taken up with washing clothes and trying to pack.

I did have to seam seal the portaledge yesterday, increasing the number of time I have put the ledge up to around 10 times.

Anyway I have two days work next week, and then I am off to Bournemouth to say hello and wave goodbye to my mum, before heading off to Yosemite.

The Great Climb

I have attempted to watch the great climb on the BBC iPlayer the other night. I have to say that looking on UKC and the comments made, the first two hours left me a little under whelmed. Not because the climbing wasn’t good, just the boredom of the whole thing.

I have to say that the crux of the second pitch was immense, however watching Dave then struggle with every runner, then wait as they tried to fill 20 minutes as he took a well needed rest, and then emmett take a whipper and start to jug up a rope was utterly tedious. It reinforced my opinion that one good reason that climbing shouldn’t and probably won’t be an olympic sport is that it is rather dull to watch.

If I remember the early live outside broadcasts like the one at Gogarth featured many teams of climbers all on different routes. Meaning that any dead time was filled with other live action. Rather than back stories and other accumulated footage. I commend anyone who can say that they managed to watch all 5 to 6 hours of the programme. It is neither Dave or Tim fault, they are larger than life, and extremely talented, however to expect to ‘capture’ a live first ascent then the devil is in the detail, and I would expect only the dedicated to persevere.

I thought it was interesting that the route heralded as one of the top 10 routes of its type in the world (what were the other ten?), when for those who have seen the original Al Hughes film Stron Ulladale, that captures a few climbers attempt to climb ground up a new free route on this cliff captured the spirit of climbing far more than this route. I don’t want to get into any arguments about the style of ascent the climbers were very honest about the pre-practice. However, a bit like the films Equilibrium or E11, the ‘Story’ wasn’t the actual ascent of the climb, but the path that lead to it, the mini triumphs and the tragedies that build up to the ascent.

Personally the The Great Climb seemed to lose this, or the story being told vicariously through a team of commentators just didn’t engage me. The ocassionally lame efforts to explain what exactly climbing is about or even the ability to show what trad protect is were to me poor. Given that I have to explain how equipment works to beginners probably made me over critical.

Anyway the 5 hour ‘experience’ is on iPlayer for a few more days. Although I live in hope that they will one day make a ‘Directors Cut’, so I can manage to see the edited highlights. I would be interesting to see the viewer numbers, as compared to even the 30000 hits (Sorry, Jack posted a comment UKC have 700000 hits a month, fuck thats a lot!) a month that UKC has is tiny compared to TV audiences that are measured in Millions rather than thousands.

Maybe I missed the catch in the last three hours, that would have hooked me, and revealed the point of the broadcast. I am not sure whether this will have done a service or not for climbing. Will people be running out to the local wall to follow in Dave and Tim’s footsteps, I don’t know. From what I have heard the climb was completed successfully, and congratulations to both Tim and Dave, it must have been a marathon effort (or a double marathon if the commentators are to be believed), not to mention the added stress of performing infront of the cameras whilst producers are hurraying them along.

Anyway I wonder what they got paid for the ascent? They deserve every penny, but I am under no illusion, these guys are professionals that should be paid for putting themselves through such an ordeal. I just wonder how many people think their TV Licensing fee was put to good use?

Packing Your life into Two Bags

Well I have been a busy boy so far this week. I managed to sell my van that required me to clean it for the first time in three years! I have also managed to enjoy some of this summer weather we are enjoying at the moment. With ascents of Cemetry Gates, Left Wall, Ribstone crack (Twice in as many days as I got some one to lead it on a rock improver course), Elidor and Skylon.

I also managed a quick Slate hit one afternoon as well. In between I have done a bit of work. I worked my last two days for the Brenin this Saturday and Sunday. I had the graveyard shift of the only 5.30 session on the sunday night. I managed to hold in my emotions, as I have worked there as a freelancer for five years, and have been there most weeks. It will seem weird moving on to another centre in another country, but I am looking forward to the change and the challenge.

I have to say that I was quite sad leaving the Brenin on both Sunday and Wednesday, as it is not only the work, but more importantly to me the other instructors and staff at the centre. At the moment I feel like I am leaving my freinds. However the world is a small place, not as small as Llanberis but one thing I know is that however long I am away for the village will hardly change, people will still be going to work, the kids will be going to school or nursery.

I saw my friends kids today, it was some of their firsts days at school, they are all growing up so quickly. I know I am going to miss them as well.

Anyway I must get back to packing, as I have two places to store some stuff, a small place at a friends where my computer and other important stuff can live and stay dry, and another place in a shed, that will house less important stuff. I am toying with the idea of throwing all my clothes away, as some of the t-shirts I have could be carbon dated due to their age.

Anyway, trying to work out what to take with me when I need a rack, rope (one single or two doubles?) and other climbing gear, as well as a some clothes. Any advice on what not to take and what I should consider essential would be greatly appreciated!

On top of all this I am waiting to see the first real copy of my book that should be about late this week or next week.