Para Climbing Championships

I have to say rather ashamedly that I never knew there was a para climbing championship in the UK let alone the world. Until UKC ran this video on the British Champion. I know a  local guy Nik Royale who has cerebal pawsey trained to be a climbing wall award holder and succeeded in qualifying. Similarly Jamie Andrews a quadraple amputy has passed his Mountain Leader Award.

This video is great though and shows how Fran Brown a wheelchair user who partially lost the use of her legs in an accident has taken to climbing. I have just read her blog, and she is going to be part of the Para Olympics opening ceremony tonight. She can also perform one armers, I an already jealous of that strength!

What I think is really interesting is it shows that climbing is an inclusive sport for everyone. Given the debate around climbing as an Olympic Sport. It can only count in our favour that we also have Parallel competition climbing.

Echoes by Nick Bullock

Nick for a while was an enigma to me, and unfinished jigsaw with some of the parts missing. A great climber and freindly chap who keeps himself to himself and has the drive and determination that very few people possess. It lead him to become on of the worlds leading alpinist and rock climbers, and certainly a man with a passion for out and out adventure.

Then a few years ago Nick published an article on UKC, it was good, really good it was called Echoes and as I read it some of the peices of the jigsaw seemed to appear from under the couch. It was raw and heart felt writing. It reminded me of the early paul pritchard articles in OTE that eventually made up Deep Play.

Nick has been pulling together those thoughts into what I can only guess will be a great book about his very interesting life in the mountains and serving as a prison officer. He has just put another excert on UKC and another from the chapter called Devotion on his blog.

His book is due out 3rd September from Vertebrate Publishing.

Sea Cliff Climbing Weekend

I have offered a sea cliff climbing course for some time, and I regularly take my clients to sea cliffs on other course. This was perhaps one of the first dedicated courses to Sea Cliffs that I ran, and what a course. Despite an awful forecast for Saturday we headed out praying that the weatherman was wrong, and yet again he was as Castell helen which was a little damp from the overnight rain turned out to be a lovely sunny day with a good swell by the end to add to the atmosphere.

Valdek and I climbed Light House Arete, Rap, something around the Blanco area and the first pitch of Atlantis and the last pitch of Rap again. Interspresed with some coffee at the south stack cafe.

With a better forecast for Sunday I lead Valdek across the amazing adventure that is Dream of White Horse, with a last pitch that was a little damp. We were there early and beat the crowds by a couple of pitches, although it was typical gridlock on the slab as teams climbed loads of routes from Dream.., Concrete Chimney, Dde and Wen.

After that we headed down and climbed Britomartis another classic Gogarth route, steep but littered with Jugs, I managed to get Valdek pumped. Whilst there a couple were climbing Toiler on the Sea a great rising traverse line that makes its way across the lip of the arch. That route looks very cool. It is now on my list for the next 100 routes to climb at Gogarth. There was also about 4 teams on North Stack Wall and I could just see a team in Easter Island Gully. A great day on the island and a busy one at the Big G!

We didn’t have enough time to do another route so headed back to Mont Cappucino. I think Valdek enjoyed the 30th birthday present his girlfriend and brought for him.

If you’d like to find out more about my Sea Cliff Climbing Courses in North Wales and elsewhere, then visit the link. I am running a coupel fo Sports Climbign Weekends in Portland in the October half term and a Sport/Trad week on the swanage sea cliff during the week.

A Cool bit of code

I have been trying to right a small bit of code that basically creates a list of all the post made in the last 24 hours from a list of around 100 blogs. This will hopefully feature as part of iCoach climbing very soon, but I am trialling it on my Snowdonia Mountain Guides webite. My last post was a test to see if it was working right.

It seems to be updating OK, although I think I have some problems in my code for deleting the post that are older than 24 hours. The code runs every hour so will be up-to-date and as close to real time as being at the crag. At present I am stripping all HTML (images, videos, etc… from the code) and only taking the first 100 words. If you like it is a portal to lead you onto other sites where the latests news is being written often by the first ascentionist and climbers involved. The code is expandible and if you have a blog that you think is really important and should be included I am very interested toadd it to the list of online rss and atom feeds the code visits on an hourly basis.

Very keen to here peoples thoughts on this small program. I obvious need to work on the presentation side a bit, but other than that I think it works really well. Anyway time to code up some more iCoach Climbing features

The 100 Club or the Gogarth Centurion

Enjoying one of Gogarths Worst Belays last Aug 1st, the day the bird ban was lifted.

I have over the past few years kept tally on the number of routes I have climbed from the 1986 CC Gogarth Guide Graded List. I had been in the 90’s for a while as I ran out of easier routes to do. I then recounted early this year and realised I was on 99. I had planned on making the 100th a special occasion, unfortunately I accidentally made it to the 100 Club a couple of weeks ago when I agreed to follow Dave Evans up Television Route on Red Walls.

I had completely forgotten about the 100 club until last night when someone asked how I was going on the the challenge that has spanned the last 17 years. I said I was on 99, but then remember I hadn’t added Television route to the total. So there you have it, I am now a Gogarth Centurion.

There were no fanfares, no fireworks just another day on the Big G. What have I got to look forward to now? Maybe another 100 before I retire, but like everything in life it has been more about the Journey than the destination and the fact that I walked over the finish line without realising illustrates that perfectly.

My first route at Gogarth was either Light House Arete or Britomartis. Both I have climbed probably nearly one hundred times since. The hardest route I have climbed was Angel Dust in Blacksmith Zawn. The most amazing route is hard to pin down but the E2/3 are my favourite grade and amoungst them my favourites are The Moon, Wendigo, Mousetrap, Red Walls, T Rex and Flytrap. The hardest route I lead was probably the second ptich of Positron. The most emotionally draining was Cannibal or Outside the Asylum/Pagan. The most wildly overhanging was following a good friend Will up the first pitch of The Cow or alternative following Dave up Free Stone Henge. My favourite route though is a total cliche as its The Concrete Dream, the combination of the main pitch of Concrete Chimney and the last amazing pitch of Dream of White Horses. One of the most under rated routes is Cordon Bleau. The most strenuous was the Winking Crack Off-width.

More important than all those routes are the freindships that have been forged on those cliffs. From my first climbing partner at university Tom Luddington through to Llion and Katie who have accompanied me on many of the more recent routes. Right through to Pete Robins, Baby Dave and Caff who have essentially guided my up some of the hardest routes, the type of experience that money simply can’t buy. There are simply too many people to remember at once, but as I look through the list I can just about remember those first trips here with Charlie, Craig and Tom, my Red Wall adventures with Dave and Ug and other experiences that span the last 17 years.

My advice for anyone trying to get into climbing at gogarth is get a 100 metre abseil rope, it will be your best friend on some of teh approaches and your worst enemy on the walk ins or outs. Get a big rack and consider doubling up on everything. If you like more advice then i also run sea cliff climbing courses.

Moroccan Adventure Climbing Holiday

Simon Lake Trad Climbing in Trafoute, Morocco

About ten years ago this year me and seven freinds went on a climbing holiday to Morocco. We climbed in two great areas Tafroute and Todra. It was a place I would love to head back to so when one of those friends from that trip came up with a idea, I had to get behind it 100%, so much so we are now going to offer guided adventure climbing holidays to Morocco this winter season.

So if you would like something different from the usual sports climbing holiday for around the same price of travelling and acommodation, then we have got a course for you. Aimed at climbers with some trad or sports climbing experience we aim to give you an amazing adventure as well as share with you some great climbing and experiences along the way.

This course is being run by Snowdonia Mountain Guides and North Wales Climbing. Both Mark and Simon Lake are highly experience mountaineering instructors and climbing coaches based in North Wales. More details of the course can be found on either Snowdonia Mountain Guides or North Wales Climbing.

I have a video, I will dig out and post next week, for the time being I also wrote a brief post a couple of years ago as well. A Morrocan Adventure can be found on my blog.

Snowdonia Mountain Guides Courses

Snowdonia Mountain Guides is a small business I run to try and make a living out of my life in the vertical. Snowdonia Mountain Guides offer a variety of instructional, coaching and guiding courses through Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. Whilst we specialise in teaching and coaching rock climbing to all levels and abilities we also offer courses in hillwalking, navigation, scrambling and winter mountain skills as well as a limited range of continuing professional development courses for rock climbing and mountain instructors.

Rock Climbing

We offer a complete variety fo rock climbing courses from beginners courses to advance lead climbin coaching. We also have a selection of skills courses from how to climb a big wall through to learning all the skills you might need should you have to rescue yourself or other climber from a accident. We also offer specific sports climbing courses and sea cliff climbing courses, as well as the amazing ‘How to Climb Harder Course‘ that is based on the lesson from Snowdonia Mountain Guides owner book of the same name.

Winter Mountain

We offer a variety of skills based courses that use the same advanced teaching techniques that all our courses run to help to quick develop robust winter skills like using crampons and ice axes to keep yourself safe. We offer these course both in Snowdonia North Wales and across Scotland to suit your needs.

CPD Courses

Call on 17 years experience as a rock climbing instructor and the theoritcal underpins of a masters level degree in Effective coaching, Sports Psychology and Performance physiology we offer a series of CPD workshops in coaching climbing and navigation. In aparticular we have effective coaching workshops, coaching climbing movements, Young Climber development workshops and mental skills workshops for climbing instructors and coaches. We also offer a part-time fast track instructor course and instructor mentoring programme.

TV & Film Location Safety and Scouting

We offer a variety of TV and Film location safety and scouting solutions. Having worked with the BBC, Lime Street Production (Hollyoaks) and many more smaller production compnaies to make both films and television programmes we know how to help you achieve the best results, in the quickest times and help you stay on budget.

Sorry for all my usual readers for this blatant advert, but I have to pay the bills somehow!