My Book and Other things


I have over the last week been trying to read my book Hanging By A Thread: The Science History, Technology and Culture of Rock Climbing. I have of course read it many times before but always via my computor screen or iPad. I have managed to create a print on demand version. This basically means that very soon if you want a physical book you will be able to order it on amazon and by the wonders of modern technology the book will be printed out, bound and posted to you. You will I think also be able to buy a dual copy ion physical form and ebook.

It was really great to get a copy in my hands as it really does feel like I have achieved something with this book other than an electronic foot print. This along with the North Wales Climbs that is due out real soon from Rock Fax brings my book count to around 5 titles, three of which are self published the others of which are through other publishers.

On top of this I have also taken up surfing, something that I have avoided for years as I hate could water. However a friend loaned me a xcel infiniti wetsuit which was so toasty that I relented and have been spending far too much time driving over to anglesey and  back look for surf. What I have found is that id really compliments my indoor climbing and even after 3 hours in the sea, I still manage to get a good evenings climb in.


What to do when someone rips off your website?

I was cruising the interweb and somehow found a link to a website I visited it out of curiosity and somehow the course text seemed strangely familiar. In fact so familiar the person in question has essentially cut and paste my website text.

So any legal people know my rights? I know copying is the best form of flattery, but this is taking the piss. I will not link to the site from here, but if you want to look write a comment and I’ll email you the link.

UPDATE: It appears the email I sent him worked and he is removing all copied parts from his website. He was actually shocked as he had paid someone to write the site for him. So in answer to my question email with a threat of legal action.

Tick’s Groove

Caff on the awesome ticks groove. It is much wetter than it looks!
Caff on the awesome ticks groove. It is much wetter than it looks!

Years ago now I was out exploring the slate for some new routes up in Lost Worlds, I was still at University the first time round. The internet was still dial up connections and bulletin boards. Web 2.0 was probably only just being invented, whatever that is. On that one walk I saw two figures moving slowly up to a prominent groove over seriously loose terrain. I recognised them as Martin Crook and Ray Kay two legends on the slate. I later learnt it was ticks groove, the sun was out so I sat down and watched. Martin moved at a snails pace and they eventually abseiled off.

The line is named after the late great Paul Williams who’s nickname I think was the tick. As he had an insatiable appetite for ticking routes and recording them. He produced a selective guide book to now wales that was my bible in Uni. I’d like to think he’d the latest offering for North Wales selective guides that I have been working on.

Anyway Tick saw the line in the 1980s after he got hooked on the slate, after initially dissing it. The line has been know of since then as Tick’s Groove, a ground up project as there are holds and gear all the way up it.

Yesterday I knocked together a few webpages for James McHaffie for the coaching awards he is a provider for and James asked if I’d like to come along for an attempt today. Looking the routes looked a little damp. Caff was undeterred so Alex Mason lead the first pitch of E3 5b looseness, where you navigate fridge sized blocks to get to a small ledge below the main groove, that thankfully has a short steep wall offering some protection for falling rocks.

Caff heads up and on, we can see from here that the rock isn’t just damp but running with water and any normal person would have backed off. But caff just kept forging on upwards. Apologising for his slow pace but on reflection, well based on me having to french free the pitch, seem positive quick. The fact he managed to make upward movement left me somewhat perturb. It felt technical 6b and quite sustain today, maybe easier in the dry but I am not sure  the crack would ever be moisture free, a extreme version of cloggy’s drainpipe crack. Caff then nipped up the final 6a pitch having hauled Alex and I up the main pitch.

Looking around Mordor and the Lost World I almost forgot that I have climbed on seven first ascents in the area over the years. This was one of the more out there experiences second only to my ascent of the Coolridge Effect, which was a route at my limit at the time.

Anyway it was great to be part of the first ascent team on this long standing project and even better to see caff perform in suboptimal conditions.

Caff and Alex at the top of the first pitch, which was a spicy E3 5b.
Caff and Alex at the top of the first pitch, which was a spicy E3 5b.
Alex making quick work of the first pitch. Avoiding the fridge sized blocks
Alex making quick work of the first pitch. Avoiding the fridge sized blocks
Martin and Ray's high point retreat
Martin and Ray’s high point retreat
Mark Dicken posing for images on his route up there.
Mark Dicken posing for images on his route up there.

North Wales Climbs goes to the printers

I have been on call so to say for the last few days, just in case there were any last minute questions from the Rockfax team as they put the finishing touches to the guide. Lots of PDF checking and re-checking from me and a small army of helpers, authors, editors and designers. I got the message today that it has gone to the printers and I have to say as with all the book projects I have been involved with there is a heady combination of emotions.

Relief, because all the hard work is over; pride because I tend to try and put everything into the things that I do, and lastly sadness that the project has come to an end. Whilst the first two are expected it is always the third that I think people looking in struggle to understand. For the last 6 months all my spare time has been working on this book to bring it together, before that there was a few months work on both the slate and gogarth chapters. I knew what I was going to be doing if the weather was bad (writing) and if it was good (checking out routes). Tomorrow there is nothing I have to do, I am free and unchained and it is that part that always scares me.

Right now I am sat in front of my computor and for the first time in a long time there is nothing pending. I have a few ideas or mini projects that will sustain me through the rapidally approaching winter months, but having completed two books this year (NWC and Hanging By a Thread) and started doing a house up this year I feel like I need a holiday and there is one on the cards I just need to earn a little bit more money to fund it, not to mention train for it!

Anyway, I have to say a massive thanks to the whole rockfax North Wales Climbs team of Alan, Stephen, Mark G and Jack G. It has been great working for you. Also to all my friends who have been dragged around the classic routes of North Wales during the spectacular summer checking as many routes as possible as we went.

Print on Demand version of Hanging By A thread coming soon

I have spent far too much time trying to get a print on demand version of hanging by a thread up and running. Hopefully I managed it last night. I just need to wait for a few days to check a proofing copy and then it will hopefully be on sale within a week or so.

This is my latest book that is available for iPad and Kindle at present. I will hopefully get some advertising up and running when it is finally available. In the mean time you can alway get the ebook versions.

DIY, Rockfaxing, Route setting and running

It has been a busy time here. I spent a few days laying a new oak floor in my house. It makes a massive difference compared to the concrete that was getting rather boring and I am sure it sucked the heat out of the place. I also have laid underneath it some pipework for underfloor heating along with 16mm of polystyrene insulation, although it will be a while until I get heating. The house already feels warmer, although it might be an optical illusion.

I have also been trying to help in the finishing stages of North Wales Climbs that will hopefully get to the printers in time for it to make it to the shops for christmas. All very exciting and nerve wracking to be honest.

I then spent yesterday problem setting for the new Beacon aggregate, I set 9 or 10 problems, I can’t be sure as I was so knackered by the end of setting and then trying to check these another 30 odd problems. I left at about 7pm and was totally rinsed of all energy. I could barely grade a V0 by the end as it all felt hard/impossible.

Today I was still knackered but needing some activity I decided to try and go for a run. My initial idea as it has been to run up the flat side of the lake as far as I felt happy with and return. I got to the lake and felt fine, I was less than 1km into my first run for 2 years, so decided to head up fachwen, with the idea of turn round before too long. Then a tune I like came onto my iPhone and I was feeling good. So I decided to head round the lake.

I won’t say how long it took, but I was pretty goosed when I past llanberis and the run back was torture. It is hopefully the start of some training for a possible trip I am planning later this year.