Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Monk Life gets 15 repeats! In one afternoon..!


This week I witnessed something very special: Micky Page doing laps on Monk Life 8b+!

Micky Page on 'Monk Life' 8b+

Micky and I had been trying to get up to Kyloe-In for a couple of months, but work and the weather seemed to be conspiring against us. It seemed that whenever we were free, it rained. We had arranged to go up this week, and although (once again) it rained overnight we thought we'd head up anyway. After picking up Tom McNally, who had kindly offered to give me a hand with the shoot, we drove up north through heavy showers. Despite not being very optimistic about our chances, we walked in to the crag to find the Bad Company wall in perfect condition.

Micky got warmed up while I got my gear set up, then he got on it and did it first go, making it look easy. Then he did it again, and again.... and again!
I even had him holding the launch holds for a couple of seconds before the crux and he still did it easily. For those that don't know, I should point out that Micky has already done this problem. He made the fourth ascent in January this year. I should also mention that Micky is strong. VERY strong. He's already climbed three problems graded 8c, and has a few more in his sights. His 'to do' list is basically a list of the world's hardest boulder problems!

Micky Page on the launch holds of 'Monk Life' 8b+

...The crux
Lying on the ground underneath it is the only way to truly appreciate how steep this bit of rock is...

Micky Page on the crux of 'Monk Life' 8b+

It continued to shower occasionally during the afternoon and we even had fifteen minutes of snow, but Monk Life stayed dry.

I just couldn't believe how easily Micky was doing this super-hard problem. It was one of the most awesome displays of power I have ever seen. After I pointed out the obvious, that he had it wired, he said "Yeah, I'm going to put it in my circuit", and I couldn't stop laughing!

Thanks to Tom and Alan for your help, especially considering Alan was leaving as we arrived at the crag and Tom made the journey under three bouldering mats and didn't complain.


I went up to Callerhues with Katie Mundy a couple of weeks ago. It was a very wet day (do you see a theme starting here?) and I knew there was no way there was going to be an opportunity for photos. It was difficult to muster any enthusiasm, but we decided to go up to the crag anyway as Katie hadn't been there before and wanted to check it out. The walk in was awful - as wet as I've ever seen it. So was the crag! We had a walk along, looking for anything dry, but it was in very poor condition. It wasn't in vain though. The crag dried out during the rest of the afternoon and we ended up with two dry problems. They were the only dry bits of rock on the whole crag.

Katie Mundy on 'On The Mark' 7a+

Katie Mundy on 'Air' 7a+

Katie Mundy on 'Air' 7a+

Katie didn't get much climbing done, so she headed straight to the wall afterwards and I went home to dry my shoes out. I'm pretty happy with the photos considering the circumstances, but we're going back up there when it's dried out a bit.


A trip to Kyloe gave me the opportunity to photograph Stu Campbell on Northern Territory, Andy Wilson on First Born and Mark Hammonds on Flake Crack.

Stu Campbell on 'Northern Territory' 7c+

Mark Hammonds on 'Flake Crack' S4b

I've got a few photos of First Born, but I wanted to get alongside to the left of the route and see what it looked like from there. I was a bit too close, but that's what happens when you only have one chance. I'll know for next time.

Andy Wilson on 'First Born' E4 6b

Andy Wilson on 'First Born' E4 6b
This photo has the added bonus of the legendary Chris Morrish hiding in the background. 
Can you spot him? 

Just a reminder that I'm on the lookout for people to photograph (the grade you climb at isn't important), so if you're planning a trip to Northumberland and don't mind me tagging along to take photos, please get in touch.