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.

23 May 16 // Writing

Drinks & Tips

“What do I write about?” is a question I get asked quite a lot, by people in search of the writing in them.  My answer is usually: “nothing at all”, adding, “but that takes years of practice”.“Read that draft of The Bear Pit” said John, as we stood, a pile of books for me to sign on the table between us, his words as emotionally transparent as the.....

Is 225 grams worth it?
19 May 2016

Is 225 grams worth it?

HiFirst off I’d only ever view the water-resistant shell of a bag as only being ‘food’ or ‘spilt tea’ proof, and not storm proof.  These shells are not taped and are really there to.....

Sinead O’Connor
18 May 2016

Sinead O’Connor

We drive through the midnight canyons, back to the Valley, red wine in our bellies, songs in our ears.  Music starts and stops, killed dead at half a track, killed dead at the first bar, voted.....

Rap and Trail Lines
13 May 2016

Rap and Trail Lines

Rap cords or trail lines have been around a very long time,  as a second skinny rope to a thicker single rope and used primarily for abseiling (and sometimes light hauling).  These ropes.....

Q&A: The Do it all Boot?
10 May 2016

Q&A: The Do it all Boot?

Hi LiamThis is probably one of the more common questions I get, namely how can I get the cheapest boots to do the job, and can I use them in Scotland as well? Unfortunately boots are one of.....

Lifting Shit
06 May 2016

Lifting Shit

I know that Dave Macleod tends not to see the point in weight training or gym style training (if anyone’s not read Dave’s book Nine Out of Ten Climbers, then you should!), but I’d probably.....

The Hurt of Doing
05 May 2016

The Hurt of Doing

HiHave you ever noticed when you run a marathon how you feel when you reach the finishing line, or when you get to the car after a long day on the hill, how that you feel you could not go another.....

Advice for proto Alpinists
02 May 2016

Advice for proto Alpinists

HiFirst off the most important thing to do is too tap into experience, be that a guide or someone who knows the score.  This means both watching everything they do, plus them teaching you.....

Marginal Gains
20 Apr 2016

Marginal Gains

Someone asked me the other day about how to speed up their climbing, looking for one or two major tips that would see them half their climbing time (vital for long routes).  My answer was that.....

When to shit your pants
13 Apr 2016

When to shit your pants

Thanks for your email Matt.  If you’d asked me this twenty years ago, when I first really got into hard climbing, a time when 9mm carabiners often broke in a hard fall, ice axe picks and.....

Draws
11 Apr 2016

Draws

Forums can be great places to discover little jems and jewels from experiences you had, sometimes things that help you on your way next time round, others that just make you laugh.I found this one.....

No Better Knot
03 Apr 2016

No Better Knot

Vanessa woke me, the pre dawn summit light creeping in around my hat, head stuck under the edge of our home made two person sleeping bag, the material damp from our shared breathing and sock smelly.....

Beam Me Up
07 Mar 2016

Beam Me Up

People often ask me ‘what’s the most important piece of gear you need’, which is always a difficult question.  The old answer for winter climbing would be the ice axe, as with it you can.....

Active Layers Question
27 Feb 2016

Active Layers Question

Hi CalumYour ‘active’ layer for alpine climbing is there for two reason, the primarily one to keep you ‘comfortable’ (I’ll address comfort below) and to keep the sun off you. plus look.....

Getting Clean
16 Feb 2016

Getting Clean

Someone emailed me today from Norway, were the three part TV program has just aired about my Antartica trip in 2014. There question was a simple one, but also one that few people actually ask,.....

VBL Socks
20 Jan 2016

VBL Socks

Vapour barrier liner socks or VBL Socks (or just VB) are often seen as being some strange and obscure technique use solely for use by those at the very extreme end of adventure, primarily people.....

Hats
10 Jan 2016

Hats

I was over at the Montane office this week doing a day of design work, talking to the design team (1 guy, 2 woman) about current gear and future designs.  I always enjoy these meetings, even if.....

Normality of tragedy
09 Jan 2016

Normality of tragedy

I clicked onto the Alpinist website on Tuesday night, one of those ‘screensaver’ sites you visits when your mind goes blank and you need something to do, clicking on Tumblr, BBC news or UKclimbing.....

once-in-a-lifetime
06 Jan 2016

once-in-a-lifetime

Wow that’s quite a question!  Thanks for the bullet points. Here’s a list of thoughts:Having the appropriate skill set People often get hung up on not having enough experience but most.....

infinite possibilities
18 Dec 2015

infinite possibilities

I don’t remember the first time I met Steve Bate. It’s often the case with people who become central in your life.  He probably entered as a person someone else knew, in a story they told,.....

On Denali
08 Dec 2015

On Denali

Hi DrewFirst off one big thing I always stress on such trips is to focus on your survivability (lots of blog posts about that), as you’re pretty much on your own if things go south, with no rescue.....

JOIN THE NEWSLETTER