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.

22 Mar 17 6 Minute Read time // Q&A

Alpine Rice Cakes

A normal calorie intake for a man is 2500kcal and for a woman it’s 2000kcal, but that’s a normal person going about a sedate and low activity life.  Add in cold and you can increase that by 50%, and again for heavy exercise over hours and days (a marathon may be over in 4 hours, but a big climb could take a week or more from dawn till dusk).  On a big alpine climb in cold weather I.....

Andy Fanshawe
11 Mar 2017

Andy Fanshawe

Dear AndyWe haven’t met.I was one of Andy Fanshawe’s regular climbing partners. It is sadly 25 years since he died next Tuesday 14th March.I was just doing some research on the net.....

Eyelet Question
10 Mar 2017

Eyelet Question

Eyelets are always an issue on all boots, especially hooks or anything with moving parts, as climbing is very destructive (one reason why it’s vital to always wear gaiters with such boots).  One.....

Vanessa on the Swing
08 Mar 2017

Vanessa on the Swing

I found some movie files on my computer the other night, taken on our winter climb of the Nose last year.  In there was the footage of Vanessa doing the King Swing, perhaps the most famous pitch.....

Missing Out
01 Mar 2017

Missing Out

Hi WillYosemite big walls - and by Yosemite I mean El Cap, which is THE big wall to climb - can be roughly broken down into three types:- Pure free climbing (West Face, Free rider, El Nino etc) -.....

Portaledge Tie-ins
01 Mar 2017

Portaledge Tie-ins

Hi DanielA lot of people stress about this leading up to their first big wall, having the idea they need a tight belay point at all times (“What if I fall out of bed?”), but once on the.....

UK Nose Training
17 Feb 2017

UK Nose Training

Hi RossI’ve climbed a lot of walls with people who were either novice big wall climbers or simply novice climbers so I really understand where you’re at.  When I climbed the Nose last March.....

Avoiding the Canvas
16 Feb 2017

Avoiding the Canvas

Hi ScottI’ve often had the same problem in the past.  I’d go hard at training for an upcoming trip (usually due to leaving it late to get fit), but be blazing after two or three weeks,.....

Scrambling self belay
15 Feb 2017

Scrambling self belay

Hi PeteThe second you go from walking, which I would generalise as being medium to low angled ground (which can zip zag up to medium to steep terrain), to actually climbing (that’s moving using.....

Jedynka
01 Feb 2017

Jedynka

I seem to have a lot of pegs, A LOT of pegs, big pegs, small pegs, smaller pegs, and pegs so small I might not even have any anymore.  I’ve got pegs for big walls, alpine routes, winter routes:.....

Winter Huts
31 Jan 2017

Winter Huts

Hi MattMost alpine huts have a winter room, designed to save anyone who finds themselves caught out.  These can vary from just a room with some blankets and some bunk beds, to one that has a.....

A crying girl
30 Jan 2017

A crying girl

Tears roll down her face as I write, about things of no real importance, her one table away, this girl crying.  She sits opposite her boyfriend, white cups held tight in their hands, held tight.....

Bivvy Bag/Mat question
29 Jan 2017

Bivvy Bag/Mat question

Hi AntHope this answer’s not too long and rambling!When breathable bivvy bags first appeared in the 1980’s (before that there had been nylon, silk and cotton bags), they were made from.....

Rope Cutting Death
24 Jan 2017

Rope Cutting Death

Hi DanielEvery climber knows about John Harlin’s rope breaking as he jumared up it on the Eiger direct, the image of him falling and falling stuck in your head as you jug!  I guess it’s for.....

Ultimate MTN Phone
23 Jan 2017

Ultimate MTN Phone

I once ended up sitting next to an ex Royal Marine at corporate gig, a big guy who’d fought in the Falklands war.  I’m not sure what unit he’d been in, but he seemed to have spent most of.....

Pied d’elephant
16 Jan 2017

Pied d’elephant

Hi TomA PD (Pied d’elephant) is one of those pieces of gear that sounds amazing, half a sleeping bag matched up with a down jacket replace a sleeping bag, half the weight of a standard bag,.....

Sportiva TX4
13 Jan 2017

Sportiva TX4

When I was child my mum had a lot of issues with my footwear, not due to me having strange feet (although I do), but due to the rate at which I wore out my shoes (and everything else I wore). .....

Training Diary
12 Jan 2017

Training Diary

Well it’s been a while since I’ve done any real training, I guess it would be back June before Yosemite, the time spent in between: away on trips, climbing at home, but like most people, just.....

Angelo
11 Jan 2017

Angelo

Someone said the other day that they had no idea I took so many pictures, how my Flickr account seemed to hold a lot of untold tales.  To be honest my Flickr page was like the Myspace account I.....

Winter Novice Kit
10 Jan 2017

Winter Novice Kit

HiThis is a very common question and one that gets asked by most climbers.  The issue of what to get when you’re starting out as a winter/alpine climber is very different from that of what.....

Rope Drag
16 Nov 2016

Rope Drag

Rope drag is one of the critical components of safe, efficient and effective roped climbing, following close behind lead protection and belaying.  In the past, runners (gear placed on lead) were.....

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