Monday, 16 May 2011

And there's more...

I told you! Blogs are like buses, you wait for ages and two come along at once, etc...

The June issue of 'Climb' magazine is out and you should all go and buy it because Micky's on the cover! He features in the 'Bloc Masters' article by Percy Bishton which is about Britain's strongest boulderers. Also included in the article are another two climbers who have made their mark in Northumberland, Malcolm Smith and Dan Varian. There's an interview with Micky, as well as Malcolm's thoughts on 'the next level'. And guess who that is..?

Obviously, the photo on the cover is a belter...

Climb Magazine. Cover by the Page/Savage dream team...

I'd also like to give Dan a man-hug (who wouldn't?) for finally getting his 8b+ project nailed. I know he's been working this for a while, and I'm looking forward to seeing him on it for photos.
Check out the 'Dandelion Mind' video here:

Last week, Chris Graham invited me along to the ASBO 11 competition at Climb Newcastle to take photos. If you want to have a look through some of those, they're here:
Sidonie Graham in the Womens' Final, ASBO11

Ok, so let's get on with the Northumberland round-up.
As I said last time, I've been out quite a bit recently as we've had some settled weather. Lots of bouldering though. I feel like I've been neglecting routes a bit, so I need to get on top of that. I've been practising throwing the camera in the air to get lucky photos. Like this:

Jimmy Hunter on 'Devil's Edge', HVS 5a, Kyloe
Also from Kyloe, here's Megan showing her dad how it's done:

Megan Hunter on 'Conifer Direct', S4b, Kyloe

Over at Bowden I hooked up with Richard and Jill on another quiet day.

Richard Gage, 'Tiger's Wall', VS 5a, Bowden

We went over the hill to Raven's where Danka was working Low Level Traverse. The sunset was a non-event, and I had packed up to leave, but the sky suddenly changed and I got a few photos.

Danka Kudlacik on 'Low Level Traverse', 6b, Raven's Crag

Whenever my motivation starts wavering, all I need to do is get in touch with Rob Fielding. He's super-psyched for The County and has an inspiring tick list. Nic Ward and I went to meet Rob at Callerhues. Rob warmed up on The Mall which is an under-rated HVS (that's Callerhues HVS which is probably E2/E3) with some great moves. He cleaned up the direct start and climbed it that way, without using the block in the chimney. So it's definately not the 5a way of doing it...

Rob Fielding on 'The Mall', HVS 5a, Callerhues

Rob Fielding on 'The Mall', HVS 5a, Callerhues

Rob also spent a bit of time on Stu Campbell's 'Scar Tissue' which is the boulder problem start to 'The Thoroughbred'. It's a fantastic problem, and a bit steep... I've put it down here as 8a, but Stu reckons it's soft and might be 7c+. Rob's keen to get back on it though.

Rob Fielding on 'Scar Tissue', 8a, Callerhues

Rob Fielding on 'Scar Tissue', 8a, Callerhues

Nic and Rob did all the routes on the detached wall.

Nic Ward on 'Footpath', E1 5b, Callerhues

Rob Fielding on 'Paving' MVS 5a, Callerhues

Staying on the detached wall, Nic had a few goes at 'The Eyes of Silence' before we left.

Nic Ward on 'The Eyes of Silence', 7c+, Callerhues

Nic Ward on 'The Eyes of Silence', 7c+, Callerhues

Next blog I should have some exciting news (and photos) from Callerhues, but for the moment I'll just leave it at that.

It was a nice surprise to bump into Paul Carruthers at Shaftoe, and he got on one of the scariest problems there. Two moves into the traverse around The Punchbowl boulder and you're 30ft above a horrible landing. I've wanted to photograph this problem for ages, and although this isn't the right time of year (the sun's setting in the wrong place), Paul was happy to get on it.

Paul Carruthers on the 6c traverse of The Punchbowl, Shaftoe. Scary!

Paul Carruthers on a hard direct start to 'Sloper Masterclass', Shaftoe
Getting back to the subject of motivation, Steve Blake is an inspiration! If he's not out scouting the potential of new bouldering venues, he's out cleaning and putting up new problems. He's a mine of knowledge and a great person to be around.
I was invited to his latest 'Crag X' to get some photos of the first ascents of some of the problems up there. There are a few left to be done before it's made public. but it's a beautiful, quiet place with some cracking looking problems.

Steve Blake on 'Constant Sorrow', 7a+, Crag X...
We also went up to Caller. Steve has been cleaning up and re-climbing the problems there. It's a venue that really deserves more traffic as some of the blocs and lines are amazing.
We'll definately get back up there as it was way too windy. Here are a few photos:

The view from Caller

Steve Blake on 'Indian Summer', 7a+, Caller. Incredible boulder, awesome line, three star problem...

Steve Blake on 'Cowboy Up', 7a, Caller

Steep problem through the roof to the left of the crag.
Steve also frightened me with stories from Baffin of falling through crevasses and cutting steps with a peg hammer whilst wearing EBs on the final snow slopes to the summit of Mt Asgard. Terrifying.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

It's been a while...

Sorry I haven't updated for a couple of months, but that means I've got lots of photos to share with you. Work has been getting in the way a bit, but I've still been managing to get out as often as possible.
A couple of weeks ago it was a beautiful Sunday. Perfect weather, so I decided to drive up north and see what was going on. I went to Kyloe first and there were no cars, so I decided to head over to Bowden taking the back road so I could enjoy the views. There were no cars at Kyloe-In or Back Bowden and only one car at Bowden! I wonder how many people were queuing at Stanage that day?
The climbers at Bowden were two friendly guys from Scotland, Duncan and Ewan, enjoying the sunshine and getting the classics ticked.

Duncan on 'Overhanging Crack' E2 5c

Duncan on 'Canada Crack' HVS 5a

I've been up to Callerhues a couple of times recently. It's in great condition at the moment, but despite the non-stop sunshine we've had recently, it's a crag that has its own weather system...

A wet day at Callerhues

I took Jimmy Hunter up to Redheugh for some photos. It's always good to hang out with Jimmy and talk about the good old days when we were both a bit stronger...

Here's Jimmy on a highball 6b+

Jimmy on 'Easier' 6a
It's a pity Redheugh isn't a bit closer to the road, but it makes up for that by having great views out over The Cheviots.
Next up is a rare trip out by the legendary Peter Tinmouth. Peter is famous for his awesome, back-breaking fall from the top of Peak Technique. If you haven't seen the video, count yourself lucky...

Peter Tinmouth on 'Bottomless Crack', Raven's Crag, HVS 5b

Also at Raven's Crag, here's Katie...

Katie Mundy on 'LH Hole' 6b

Shaftoe gets pretty popular on these longer evenings. All the locals know it's a fantastic mid-grade bouldering venue. I'm surprised (but thankful) that more people don't travel here from further away. 

Nicole McGregor bouldering at Salter's Nick

Nicole McGregor bouldering at Salter's Nick

Andy Sandercock on 'Incipient Crack' 6a

Chris Morrish on 'Surprising Solution' 7a

Super-strong Joanne Quinan on 'Surprising Solution' 7a

Danka and I spent an evening at Gimmerknowe and we were joined by some inquisitive sheep...

Danka Kudlacik on 'Leaning Wall' 5+

I'll be updating the blog in the next couple of days, so check back very, very soon...