Costa Del LPT

Well the weather was so bad yesterday that a shgort wall session was all I could get inspired to do. Something to do with a hangover from hell! Today was different, although not very impressive in the vale of Llanberis, the traffic cams were showing blue skies and sunshine, and with a low tide at 10.30am LPT was on the cards.

Headed over there with Simon, and his missus, who took to sunbathing well. Whilst we did a few routes. Inparticualr simon lead Under the Board Walk, a pokey F6c at the left hand end, this has always been impossible for me, just like Cafe Facet, I think I have a mental block. We then tried Face Race a thin and technical F7a.

I was up first and went for it on lead, something that I have been struggling to do recently. Fortunately all the bolts were ‘easy’ to clip compared to many on the sport slate routes I have been on. All was going well until the crux, and I missed a hold, that makes it possible. So missed out on the flash.

I did Top Rope it after that, and I think I now know how to do it clean. Was good to get pumped again.

Want to Climb Harder?

Whatever level you climb at, you can always climb harder or at the very least better. There are a couple of ways you can improve, one is to buy “How to Climb Harder” by Instructor and Climbing Coach Mark Reeves. It encompasses over 14 years experience teaching people how to rock climb, and brings together some of the latest thoughts and ideas on coaching people good movement technique.

The second and even better way to improve is to come on a “How to Climb Harder” course with the author and mountaineering instructor. These courses include:

  • An Analysis of your Strength and weakness
  • observation and analysis of your climbing technique
  • Technique workshop on Boulders and routes
  • Reading routes
  • Coping with Anxiety
  • Planning and tactics of ascent
  • Putting it together on Sport Climbs
  • Putting it together on Trad Climbs

These courses are run on a one to two ratio or one to four ratio and are priced at (£100 per day for 1:2 and £75 per day for 1:4)

HtCH Course Dates

3 day HTCH course 1:2 ratio 4th to 6th July £300 per person

2 day HTCH course 1:4 ratio 16th to 17th July £150 per person

2 day HTCH course 1:4 ratio 30th to 31th July £150 per person

Other Climbing Courses

2 day Rope Rescue Skills for Climbers 9th/10th July £150 pp

3 day Sea Cliff Climbing 11th/12th/13th July £300 pp

4 day Guided Classic Rock Snowdonia 20th   – 23rd June £400 pp

4 day Guided Classic Rock Snowdonia 18th/19th/20th/21st July £400 pp

2 day How to Big Wall Course 16th/17th July £150 pp

cromlech session

Spent the evening at the cromlech boulders. It always seems hectic as knowing the problems and trying to fit climbing in after my friends finish work we seem to run round like madmen.

Its almost like we feel that there is only 1 hour left to boulder before the world ends. All good though although trying to climb for longer than that hour is impossible as you are totally spent.

Finished up and headed to the Heights which is under new management. It has been open a week, but its the first time i had been in there. Its very nice and the cleanest i have seen it for years. Beers not cheap, but its not cheap anywhere!

I think a few of us are going to start heading there every thursday. To try and support what was once the centre of the Llanberis climbing universe.

BBC tonight: Blind climber seeing with his tongue!

Just saw this on the web and thought it worth flagging up for people who like climbing and or technological advancement. It involves a blind climber who with the help of a interface between a realtime camera attached to his belt and a stimulator on his tongue has learnt to see the world in a unique way.

Interestingly the route they are climbing is a classic route on Castleton Tower in Utah. LLion and I got thunder stormed off it a couple of years back. The whole programme is on Inside the Human Body: Building the Brain. I will have to iPlayer it, as I am heading out for a climb and a beer in the revamped Hieghts Hotel, which is under new management. Will blog on that as well later!

The programme is on BBC 1 at 9pm, the link above has a great preview of the climb.

Online Climbing

Alan James - UKC and Rockfax editor in cheif.

I had a call yesterday morning from Jack Geldard from UKC, he was in town for the first time in what seemed like years, as I hadn’t seen him since before I went away to the Americas. He was heading out to the slate with a group of climbing website owners from around the world, as UKC was hosting a small Online Climbing community gathering. I am sure they’ll be somethng on UKC about the event.

Anyway we headed up to The Rainbow Slab, and climbed all the routes on Bella Lugosi Slab, followed by a team ascending Pull my Daisy. After that we all headed to the Cig-arete level, and tried a few things up there. Sarah, Jack’s Girlfriend and an editor from a german online climbing site, made a rapid ascent of Cig-Arete, Pete BEal from an american site made short work of Sleight of Hand, and after I failed miserably on Taken over by department C, a few of the czech guys and I think Pete made quick work of that route.

I was inspired to have a pop on Cig-Arete on a rope, I wasn’t hoping for much as I found it really hard the last time I was on it, and was completely shut down. Feeling weaker, I had previous climbed Taken over by department C, when I was shut down of Cig-arete. A great thng happened though, I managed to climb the route, only falling off as I missed a blind hold. So good news is I did it very swiftly, the bad news is of course I have to go back for the red point!

Hope you like the pictures.

Alan James high on Horse latitudes
Alan James on Pull My Daisy
Alan James on Pull My Daisy
Sarah goes to tag the arete on on Cig-arete
Sarah Burmeister on Cig-Arete
Mark Gliaster on makes the Sleight of Hand move

Alan James Horsing around on horse latitudes
Fingers and sky on Cig-Arete
Jack Geldard heading up Cig-Arete

Looning around the quarries

Well it was another rather pants day with regards the weather, I put off going out until this afternoon. Even then when we headed up to Australia, I couldn’t face another day in the more shelter Vivian Quarry! So we went upstairs to Australia where the rock was still damp and seeping.

The driest route was Goose Creature, so we nipped up that, then a quick top rope of Swan Hunter. We were fairly uninspired at this point, and nearly went home, but we had a go on Gaddafi Duck the start was a bit damp, well it all was, but I managed to clip stick up to the second bolt and then climb it clean. After which Rich lead it with the second bolt clipped.

It was trying to rain on us, with very light drissle in the air so we cut our losses, and headed for home!

Its Definitely Slate Season!

Ben chills out on the last few easy moves on Manimal F6b - Vivian Quarry

Well, I have mainly been on the Slate recently, there are two reasons for this the first being that we now seem to be suffering from April’s showers, whereas in April we had mays sun. So Slate has been great between the showers, and I have been trying to tick the few decent obscure routes that I have yet tio do.

Today was just another day revisit old ground and trying a little of something new. I headed out with Simon and Michelle, back into Vivian. As I remebered a few routes that I wanted to have a go at again, as well as a route I hadn’t done before. We had decided against the upper quarries as the weather was quiet bleak and thought  we’d get some shelter from the wind in Vivian.

Climbing in Vivian isn’t as straight forwards as possible anymore, ever since they introduced a £4 park fee in The Padarn Car Parks, it means finding somewhere to park in the village that doesn’t have parking restriction and then walking over there. As to me £4 is a little on teh steep side for parking there, its like a climbing tax!

Anyway we walked up to the Night of the Hot knives Level, and Simon lead manimal a great little F6b+, which is pleasant enought for most of it, but requires a stiff pull of a tiny hold if your short. I then manned up and tackled the route ‘Night of the Hot Knives’, a pokey littel E3 that climbs up a rather bitty ramp/flake, the gear was fairly poor in places and the last move to get an obvious jug was quite goey. I had though pre-placed a sling over the top, and thank god I did as the top out is hideous.

We then went up a level to The Ritter Sport Level, and Simon was instantly taken by the Truffle Hunter’s Roof, a rare and interest roof on slate. He dispatched that, and I followed, I forgot how good it was to cut loose on those jugs!

Final Simon climbed The Madness the classic littel E1 hidden up here. Ben who features in my book was climbing as well, and I took a few snaps of him as he followed us up the manimal and truffle hunters roof.

Simon going for the Clip above the lip of Truffle Hunter's Roof - F6c Vivian Quarry
Ben having made the awkward Mantel on the ledge above the lip of Truffle Hunter's Roof.
Simon Lake on the hidden gem - The Madness E1 5c vivian quarry

More Slate….

Well I headed out this morning with Rich, not climbed with him before so always interesting ‘breaking in’ a new partner. I know that the Universoty of wales Bangor has been doing some interesting work on the effect of perception of belayer. I know that I climb best with just a few people, that over the years I have formed very strong level of trust with, and it was nice to climb with someone new, and realise that I can climb reasonably hard with somebody else hold the ropes.

We had a good day and I took Rich to do a few routes he hadn’t done before in Vivian, as it was our best hope of shelter. We climb Mentil Lentils, Psychotherapy. I then dogged up Weetabix Connection with my new clip stick. Have I told you how awesome it is yet? Anyway they still have a truck load in V12!

I have to say that I don’t think I would have climbed the route ground up putting in the clips as the bolts are in the wrong place for a man of my stature. I sent it on the first redpoint attempt, and it felt good, a couple of throws for good holds, although I was shaking like a shitting dog the moment my waste got above the bolt, I must remember those breathing exercises and relaxation that I use of trad climbs when on sport. I do find the transistion hard though.

After that we did Last Tango, and Rich lead the Dervish. It was his second time, I have forgotten how many times I have done it probably up to 4 to 5 times this year! He did well, as I would have been psyched out after the american lass who hit the floor moments before, well I say hit the floor, more like hit a passing climber who brtoke her fall well! Fair play to her, as I offered to clip the first good runner for her, and she went on and led it. Hope she got it clean.

I then left Rich and met up with Llion and Katie. The plan was to repeat a 50m E3/4 that goes up California Wall. I know the guy who put it up and he must be taller than LLion and I, as well as being really strong. As I thought the run out between the first and second bolts was worth E5, as Llion backed off from above the first bolt, down climbed and jumped and was closer to the ground than you would want to be.

Out came the Clip Stick, and with a bit of scrambling up to teh side we clipped the second bolt, and up Llion went. All was going well till it rained, the second time we have been rained off this wall with him on the lead! It eventualy dried and he continued on, only to find the route joined Central Sadness before the beefy hand crack, and he hadn’t taken small cams, so he well and truly manned up and lead onto the top. Where he ran out of rope, so more like a 60m pitch!

Now don’t get me wrong here, the route is good, but it is not E3/4, more E4/5, I would say E5, as it is way harder, more sustained and more run out than Central Sadness that gets E5. Although it gets the grade as the gear is rather janky. It is though to a certain extent a rather pointless by-pass to the best E5 on Slate, that being Central Sadness. It is a nice route though Barni, probably worth a star or two, although don’t blow the seocnd clip!

We have to apologise to the team that was on that, as at one point there was six people sharing the top pitch of Central Sadness. We all survived and we all seemed to enjoy the safety in a numbers!

New Theme

I have for a while been looking at getting a new theme for the site. This is a more indepth process than you’d think, as although I want it simple you still need to consider the general design. Questions like two or three columns, I decide to go back to two columns as it seems less hectic.

I also decided to go to black on white, rather than white on black. The main reason for this is I heard Rab Carrington talk at LLAMFF, and he found it hard to read the programme when it was white text on a black background. Although I doubt he reads this blog, it did make me think about the best most clear way to present the blog.

Hopefully you like the new layout and design, I hope to get all the widgets back up soon. With a bit of time on my hands this month I’d thought I’d experiment with the design a bit, any feedback please comment below or email me.