Thursday, 12 March 2015

Grit, Sandstone and Scottish Mixed

Its been an interesting last month, climbing classic gritsone arete's, old school offwidths, tehnical sandstone walls and mixed scottish routes.

The last 10 days I've spent up north with my first visit to the quiet county of Northumberland. This is a place I've always been keen to visit and finally got round to going. Its a beautiful area of rolling hills, forests, very few people and stunning sandstone cliffs. 
We checked out 3 of the main cliffs in the area Bowden Doors, Back Bowden and Kyloe in the woods each one with its own unique style.

Bowden doors is the archetypal sandstone crag in the area with great routes and bouldering of all grades. Here we did a bit of the bouldering and some of the classic trad routes up the amazing wave featured wall including The Wave (E5 6a) and The Mantra (E3 6a).

Back Bowden is a hidden away cliffs in a quiet valley with some quality lines on great sandstone. Managed the classic line of The Tube (E4 5c), the steep Lost Cause (E4 6b) and the bold On the Rocks (E7 6c). The latter taking a spicy fall on!

And finally Kyloe, which is a bouldering venue tucked away in a huge forest. Here we managed some great problems.

Narcissus (E6 6b) at Froggat edge

Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy V7 Kyloe in the Woods

On the Rocks (E7 6c) Back Bowden

Kyloe bouldering

Born Lippy V11, Bowden Doors
Kyloe classic

Sentinal crack (E3 5c) at Chatsworth crag

'Use your feet, like your hands' crux of Sentinal

And here's the latest footage! 

And if you missed this check out My feature on Epic TV recently!

After three days in the County I made my way up further north and into Scotland with an organised week with PYB of winter climbing in Glencoe and the Cairngorms. Winter climbing is something I’ve been extremely keen to get into this last year or so and get a load of experience in, so there was no better place to start. I had not been to Scotland in nearly 10 years and it was great to be back to such a beautiful and wild place.

As I arrived I realised there had been a large dump of snow and so knew it was going to be a good week of proper Scottish winter climbing.

The instructor and friend from North Wales days Dave Evans was absolutely brilliant, knowing everything there is to know about winter climbing and the Scottish mountains. 
During the week we climbed 3 classic mixed routes: Scabbard Chimney V, 6 (Glencoe), Pot of Gold V, 6 and The Genie V, 6 (both Cairngorms) all in full winter conditions and on the last day due to poor weather a first experience in Drytooling on the slate quarries in Dunkeld leading some climbs up to M5. It was a week of much watching and learning from the master and am truly inspired to get a lot more done.   

Happy after our ascent of Scabbard Chimney V, 6 in Glen coe

Dave descending snow tracks

Pot of Gold V, 6 belay in Cairngorms 

The Genie V, 6 first pitch in Cairngorms

Northern Corries in Cairngorms

Perfect Winter conditions

Cairngorms walk out

Drytooling in Dunkeld slate guarry

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