A Hawaiian Pizza

I am usually a total pepperami fan when it comes to my pizza’s sadly Tesco’s only had two left and to make use of the 3 for 2 deal I had to go for either Margarita or a Hawaiian. So I went for the Hawaiian, and tonight I sat down to eat it and started to think, now its hasn’t been a too streeful day so I am in day dreaming mode.

Anyway, it has to be either the most ironically named pizza or a total oxymoron. For those who don’t know what an Hawaiian Pizza is, surely this must number only three people in the entire world, then it is a pizza with Ham and Pineapple.

Firstly theres the Ham, now I am not sure that it originated in Hawaii as the word is said to come from Germany, and of course there are many places more famous for Ham than Hawaii, Parma, serano and whiltshire being just three.

Now you would of course be forgiven for thinking that Pineapples came from Hawaii, but you’d be wrong. The originate out of South America. So what exactly made the Hawaiian, well Hawaiian?

The one last once of hope I had was that the first Hawaiian pizzas were made, in well, Hawaii, and again if you though that then you’d also be wrong. It was first made in the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario in 1962 by Sam Panopoulos. After the success of the pizza the imaginative brothers from the restaurant went on to create a speciality burger, it came with pineapple and you guessed was called the Hawaiian Burger.

My last and only hope was that it was the most popular pizza in Hawaii, but no that particular claim goes to those crazy Australians, where it racks up a mind boggling 15% of all pizza sales.

So after my lengthy google investigation, I feel I can safely say that the Hawaiian Pizza is an out and out fraud; the topping comes from anywhere but Hawaii, it was made in Canada (get oot of here!) and its most liked by the Ozzy’s.

Anyway I hope that wasted as much as your time as

Hangover and Boulder

No, not a hangover, but the route Hangover in Llanberis Pass. I have had a hate, Hate relationship with this route ever since I first climbed it. The first time I thought is was hard for E1 and awkward, the second time I thought it was just awkward, and yesterday the third time I have climbed it and the first time since it was upgraded to E2, I still found it awkward, certainly not the best E2 in the pass or on teh Crouchan for that matter.

Llion lead the first pitch that was wet and horrible, and then I had the delights of the top two grooves. Stepping round the corner the gapping abyss below, I fiddled in a wire from  the ledge and went to move up and round to a better hold and another wee ledge and the gear falls out. Next time I should remember not to place those wires blind!

This of course inspired me with confidence, so preceeded to shake my way up the crack to the ledge. Then move left into the base of the hanging top groove, at least this time I got the right wire first time! Anyway, I battle my way up and got to the belay. I have to say that I was probaby still feeling the effects of the weekend of partying, but I was also filled with dread from when the words ‘Hangover” came through on the text from Llion, and I am pretty sure I was climbing defensively because of it.

Anyway I borrowed a crash pad last night, so went to go bouldering today. I managed a quick Cromlech circuit, but I left my chalk bag at home so came back when I started greasing off even big handholds. The weather looks like I moght turn dramatic later, as black clouds seemed to be lined up

Birthday and Hangover

Well I celebrated my birthday at the weekend, i have to say that in recent years I have not been keen to really celebrate, as at 36 its just another year, and to be honest I may have been born on that day all those years ago but it seems not a major achievement, I have afterall managed to make through 35 other birthdays, which is a much bigger achievement. I also kind of went to Hoy as part of my birthday present to myself.

I had a nice time though, a lovely meal in the Heights Hotel, and I can confirm that the food is as good as it looks. Followed by what seemed like a never ending supply of beer. I had to switch to safety bottles of beer, as I simply could keep up. It ended in a drunken mess round a friends house, and I basically recovered from the hangover yesterday. Which included finishing off ‘Band of Brothers’ which is an excellent story, looking forward to starting ‘The Pacific’. Although I was quite bored by the evening so put some hours in writing the RockFax chapter I am doing.

I did more of the same today, and before the end of the week, I am pretty sure I will have the first draft ready to show the team. I hope they like there are a couple of sections that I have taken topo shots for, and all I can say is think landscape!


Performance Coaching Course

For the last two days I have been out climbing with Rob and Martin, who have come up from London for some Performance Climbing Coaching. These are always really good courses to work on, as they require me to gauge where the guys are at and then hand pick rotues that will help them develop there climbing. Mix this in with teh weather the last couples of days and I really had my work cut out.

That said we managed to get loads of climbing and coaching done. I got the impression that the guys really enjoyed it. Hopefully they will enjoy the rest of the weekend. Although tomorrow morning is looking like a total washout.

It was great to hear that they felt the course offered very bespoke and individualised advice on thier climbing, and I gave them a few things to go away and concerntrate on. As for teh rotues, we nipped up Rio so I could see them climb, they then lead Yogi. They then lead the first pitch of Grim Wall and the second of Grim Wall Direct, before we finished the day off with them following me up the First Pitch of Grim Wall Direct.

Today we were at Rhoscolyn, and they lead Icarus and Traunt, and another route on the traunt slab. I am all jumared out now, and looking forward to celebrating being 36 tomorrow. Although I suspect I shall start with a small celebration tonight.


Bon Effort to Turner and Macleod

St John's Head - The Home of the Long Hope Route.

Just seen on andy’s blog that they were successful on the Long Hope route, hopefully with Dave’s F8b finish on suspect sandstone. I have to say I am looking forward to the film from Hot Aches already. The Pinnacle managed to get me psyche to try and climb a few of the classic winter routes on the Ben next year.

I have to say, having sailed past the long hope route only last week. I am not sure that any video, no matter how good could possibly get me psyche to climb it. Although Pete did try and tell me the E4 version is emmense!

Anyway. Andy Turner has a new website that James Thacker (PMT) has been working on with ruth. I recommend looking at it if you don’t know much about Andy, although you’d have to have your head stuck in the sand if you know nothing. He offered guiding and lecturing, so if you want to know how scary X10 is or want to know how to mix climb then he is definitely your man!

2nd Annual Rhoscolyn Father’s Day Meet


Traunt a spectacular VS climb in Fallen Block Zawn - Rhoscolyn



Well, I spent last night and today over at the great campsite in Rhoscolyn with quite a few friends, on what is the second father’s day meet. Obviously I am not there because I am a father, but so I can go climbing with the fathers who get to spend a day over the weekend on the rocks after spending the night before getting off the rocks!

I ended up climbing with Huw, who is also not a father, but there was good team out, and we ticked through the usual Rhoscolyn Classics, although it looked to be quite busy at the main crag so whilst a small team broke off to the main crag. Huw and I abseiled into the very atmospheric Fallen Block Zawn, where a good sea made for booming and crashing waves. Fortunately there was a good ledge high above the breakers!

Anyway after that I took some pictures of Martin on Fanfare, the same route I took pictures of him on before, then we all went and soloed Symphony Crack, before exploring over at the White Arch, where Martin and I got stuck into a rather poor and loose VD.

Sadly Llion had to work, and was goosed so we didn’t get to go out cragging in the evening as we were planning. It will have to wait for a couple of days. Anyway I hope you like the images.


Huw is enjoying the swell and atmosphere Fallen Block Zawn as he climbs up Truant.



Martin space walking up one of the steepest HVS rock climbs ever - The classic Fanfare
Team Solo on Symphony Cracks - The Greatest Sea Cliff Diff in the world?!



Evening in the Pass

It seems like it has been months since I was last climbing in the Pass, the weather has been that bad recently that you just don’t go there. I remember it being sunny a month or so ago but the wind was so strong it would have been howling down the pass. So this evening we headed up there as the sun was dropping out of the sky and head to the Crouchan.

This is one of the most popular crags with after school/work climbing, as it is only minutes from the road and most routes are equipped with abseil point, due in part to the cliff being rather poor quality at the top and the descent being particualrly gnarlly.

So I headed up SS Special, I have to admit to feeling a little rusty on it as it has been several years since I last climbed it, so a bit of an alzhiemers onsight! It went most OK, but I did get spooked out on the spooky wall section, as the holds turn to slopers and you have to run it out a little bit. Fortunately I eventually found a hidden hold and all was good and then I had the crux above, below which I pretty much placed half my rack.

The move round the roof was as good as I remember and then it was time to run it out to the belay, as I had placed my rack below the roof. Anyway good times on the rock, and I forget from time to time how amazing the Llanberis Pass is, and its just up the road!

Stacked Up in Scotland: Yeansby Castle

The South Face route o Yeansby Castle

When I left you last I was celebrating the team ascent of the old man of hoy. That celebration went on until the early hours of the following morning. Outside the Ratwick bothy next to a fire burning dried kelp. The following day was a write off, as we were all well and truly hungover.

I enjoyed my time at the bothy, as there are very few places in the world that I can say that I can sit around and do nothing for a day, but thats what I did. Enjoying the sea air and beauty of the place. The following day we got up early and headed back to Orkney with the plan to head back to the mainland, only to find out that the first ferry back wasn’t until 4.30pm. With a little over 5 hours to spare a plot was hatched to go to Yeansby and see if we could climb this.

We hit the ground nearly running, as the day was going to have us abseil in, swim, tyrolean, climb, abseil, tyrolean back and climb out. All in five hours, tick followed tock followed tick followed tock. Time was no longer with us again.

Huw sat this one out, as we arrived a mad flurry of activity followed as we rigged the abseil in and headed down into the unknown. A breif look at the topo on huws phone was all I had in my mind, as I head down. Llion had decided to take one for the team, and do the swim across, it didn’t look warm, so I arranged so very high runner to get us over the low tide.

Llion Swims out to Yeansby Castle Sea Stack

On the Island I started up the stack, and quickly got off route and pumped, before making the move back right onto the actual line. Tired arms weren’t performing as they should the flash pump putting pay to that, but there was no time to waste, so I carried on up past janky gear and two of the worst pegs I have seen for a long time.

The slopey breaks were getting harder and harder to hold, and then I was face with a small traverse back to good holds that lead to the top. ‘Don’t hestitate Mark’, ‘Just Go for it’, ‘Those holds are massive’ was what my mind was telling me, and for once I listened as I groaned my way across to them, feet covered in sand making the footholds worse. By the top the rope drag was immense but we were there. As I brought the other two up, it looked like we were going to make the ferry.

Abseiling off I had made an initial assessment of the anchor, but as I looked over the edge, I pulled back up and ask Llion to check again for me. ‘Its good’, I told him that he’d appreciate why I ask when he was stood by me, as the rope hung down in space, so all my weight would come onto this lonely spike.

Back at the base Llion and Katie reverse the tyrolean, Llion had gotten wet as the sea had risen with teh incoming tide, and as I removed some of the gear, and tied everything into one wire and the worse rope in the world. I took a deep breadth as I leant back on to the tyrolean. No sooner was my weight on it and pop, the wire went, and I was in the cold sea. As I pulled myself across up to the waste in water, I got out and started to shiver.

Now it was Llion’s turn to get us out before I froze. Up he went and within minutes came the words I wanted to hear. ‘Safe’, ‘On Belay’. At the top I stripped naked, warning the passerby to look away if they don’t want to be offended. Llion lent me his thermals, as I enter the world of the warm again.

It was then back to the ferry, and homeward bound. We stopped in Aveimore overnight, and then headed down through the rain. It had been pleasant on Orkney and Hoy, a testiment to its latitude, as it quite often misses the weather, as it is too far north.

A great few days, with a few great people and we climbed a couple of the best adventure routes in the UK if not the world. Hoy reminded me of being back in the desert a couple of years back and climbing the towers there. But is was better, more adventurous, and of course a Sea Stack!