In the last year the BMC has faced a torrid time; the Climb Britain u-turn, and now a potential 40% Sport England funding cut, a proposed Alpine Club Special General Meeting and a guerilla 'vote of no confidence'. Is this a storm in a teacup, is the board "betraying" the members, or are these all just red herrings?
There was a list of four routes on Heather's fridge (the fridge list). Three weren't in condition after the recent storms in Chamonix, so that left one: Etat du Choc on the Petit Clocher du Portalet. My french brain didn't seem to be on form after a long week of work and I'd forgotten that this route translates as State of Shock, and not some sweeter alternative. That said the line, after a good few hours of upward fighting up a 9 pitch off-width was definitely worthy of being on the fridge list, and the north face of the Portalet is quite possibly the best face of granite in region.
There's not much left to say about the quality of climbing at Fairhead festival that hasn't already been said. Perfect weather, perfect rock and perfect company from 500 friends from across the climbing community who came together for a weekend on one of the best crags in the world. After crushing most of the crag, including a flash of The Dark Side (E8 6c), Alex Honnold delivered a sold-out lecture in a cow-shed on the Saturday night.
I'd recommended the line of The Dark Side to Jordan Buys the previous day, and eager to take up the recommendation Jordan threw a rope down the huge 55m pitch as I climbed Jolly Roger on the perpendicular wall. As I was topping out, having plugged my entire rack into the route, I could see my belayer 55m below, slightly distracted by Alex Honnold who was heckling the amount of gear I'd placed and clearly engaging my belayer more than my bumbling about on an E3!
Just over 12 months ago I was doing a route toward the end of an endurance training session at the climbing wall when I popped out for a hold with my left hand. My forearms were already very fatigued and as I caught the hold and pulled through into a deep lock I felt a bursting strain at the elbow end of my forearm and in my wrist.
I'm lucky to climb with some of the best climbing photographers in the UK (if not the world) who take some incredible shots of the climbing and skiing that we get up to together. Here's a selection of some of my favourite photo memories of the last 10 years of climbing in the UK, Alps, Africa, Iran and the Karakoram. Thanks to Alex Messenger, Scott Mackenzie, Lukasz Warczecha and Henry Iddon for many of these photos.
Fresh from another astounding flash ascent of the End of the Affair on Friday I went with a very on form Jordan Buys to Burbage North for him to try and flash The Promise. It’s been 3 years nearly since I climbed the route and putting a top rope on I’d forgotten how technically difficult …
In climbing folklore the 1989 Stanage guide is the real guide to Stanage. Proper grades, proper stars, proper descriptions, proper difficult finding the routes. Rumours of the VS challenge came from my old university housemate who had allegedly climbed it way back when, possibly before 1989 as far as the rumour knew. The VS challenge …