Climbing Blog

Climbing related posts covering gear, technical, training and Q&A’s. Other posts covering creative writing can be found over at Dark Materials.

14 Nov 17 // Climbing

“Bring More Beaks”

I got into a minor scuffle the other day on Facebook over the fact both I an Vanessa had placed some bird beaks on Mescalito last month, probably about ten in total. This was the around the same time that “Piton’s Pete” also was given a hard time on placing some beaks on Zodiac, and so I was given a bit of a slagging, that I should know better, set a better example etc.First off I guess a.....

Walk on by
13 Nov 2017

Walk on by

A great climber once told me the story of how the first time he came to Yosemite, full of youthful wall dreaming, he’d sought out wall climbers for knowledge there being no technique books or.....

Unsent
10 Nov 2017

Unsent

I stare at the Facebook comment box, open but empty, from me to you. Have we met or are we strangers — I don’t know? Does it matter? I imagine you in that hospital bed — time passing at the.....

Storms
23 Sep 2017

Storms

Hi EveryoneFirst off sorry for big gap in updates!I’ve been in the US for a month and a half and most of it has been far away from the internet. I got down yesterday from an eleven day ascent.....

perfect universe in order
31 Aug 2017

perfect universe in order

As I crept through the dark forest that ringed the lake, my flip flop feet weary of sharp sticks and stones, I caught sight of something small and white laying amongst the pine cones. Although only.....

Life at retail
29 Aug 2017

Life at retail

“I’m going to leave a nut” I said, crouched down, tugging at the rotten rap slings jammed beneath a couch sized boulder, “I don’t trust these slings”. “What! We’ve already lost two.....

Cams - Field repairs
07 Aug 2017

Cams - Field repairs

The following is an extract from my up and coming book Higher Education, the most exhaustive big wall climbing book yet written. On hard, intensive walls, where cams are being placed and.....

Take!
12 Jul 2017

Take!

I once heard a scary story about miscommunication from a French guy I was teaching how to climb big walls.  He was climbing on some big sea cliff and was out of sight of his belayer when he found.....

Bill Gordon
05 Jul 2017

Bill Gordon

In the credits of your life, scrolling slow as you breath your last, who would appear there, writ in your misty mind? Star billing would be reserved for the stars, those you loved the most, those that.....

10 Things
14 Jun 2017

10 Things

... I wished I knew (before heading up Half Dome RNWF)I had a facebook message this week from a guy called Blair about climbing Half Dome. I get a lot of emails like this, this blog some tinder for.....

knot to question why?
12 Jun 2017

knot to question why?

I saw an old post from 2012 by Outside reappear a few weeks ago on Facebook titled “Bye bye bowline”, reigniting a pretty common debate on the knots safety: whether we should stop.....

brother to all climbers
06 Jun 2017

brother to all climbers

Email from me to Alex Honnold dated 14/06/2012Hi AlexMany moons ago I was asked to pick up an award for you at the Kendal Mountain Film festival for your first film.  I can remember watching.....

Going to the bathroom
16 May 2017

Going to the bathroom

My big wall book is coming along well, and with 21 days to go it’s already on 154%, which is amazing.  A few people have asked if Higher Education will be just ‘another big wall.....

Party Tricks
13 May 2017

Party Tricks

While writing Higher Education again and again I come up with problems that in the past had needed solving, then written out what I did to solve them.  One example was how to lower out a super.....

Petzl Grigri +
12 May 2017

Petzl Grigri +

I’m not a sport climber, in fact I suffer from a lack of motivation when I find myself at single pitch sports crag, a mix of not being strong enough, and bolts not offering that scratch to my.....

New Big Wall climbing Book
07 May 2017

New Big Wall climbing Book

So you want to climb a big wall?Do you want to climb a big wall, wake with a start in the dark clipped to a ledge the size of a dustbin lid?Do you have dreams of nailing pin scar cracks a.....

Extra nuts
05 May 2017

Extra nuts

Hi JackFirst off consider how much more experienced you are partners are now, all those routes climbed and epics lived through, how experience and age gives you a steady and clear foresight to.....

Staying dry when wet
08 Apr 2017

Staying dry when wet

Hi TomerThe original softshell idea was modelled on what the Inuits wore for centuries, being a sort of synthetic animal skin, the pile being the fur that holds the warmth both wet and dry, and the.....

Hot Stuff
04 Apr 2017

Hot Stuff

I know I’ve told this story before, even though I’m not sure if it’s true, but The North Face once asked Mick Fowler to design them the ultimate mountaineering pack, Mick a man perhaps more.....

The Water Margin
30 Mar 2017

The Water Margin

HiWhen it comes to climbing big walls one of the killers is water.  Take too much and the weight can crush your climb, take too little and thirst will crush you! The issue of how much.....

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