Sunday, 25 September 2011

New video of old stuff

Finally got round to up loading a vid to vimeo as we've now got proper internet.

It's of my last week in the Lakes and shows Langdale + the Bowderstone.

I've still got another to finish editing from St Bees as well, i need to get my finger out.

Friday, 16 September 2011

High mountain bouldering

Imagine a place with over 600 boulder problems. Now imagine it's set half way up the highest mountain in the area, which is 1800 metres a.s.l. Now imagine there is a car park right in front of it so you don't even have to walk up the mountain to get to it. Now imagine me, there having fun while you are getting rained on in England.

In case you are having trouble imagining here are some pics.

Problem number 1

There are loads of amazing slab problems- including the hands free one on the bottom pic.

I tried this a couple of times but it finishes up the flake i've got my left hand on in the last photo. It's about 5 metres high and i can't scope the top out so i wimped out and will wait for a spotter.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

El Torcalita & Spanish ethics

Is a bouldering area just outside Malaga. It's described as steep and thuggy and it does what it says in the tin. There are 2 small caves, one of which has routes coming out of it, and the other has been dug down to provide more height and steepness.

I was remarking to the guy you can see in the pic above that the one vertical wall was chipped all over the place. He replied it was, some by him, and that it was 'only for training' so it didn't matter. I guess they have that much climbable rock it doesn't matter as much to them.

This is a pic of the dug out cave. The coloured section of the photo shows a newly constructed tufa. It was still wet, as i found out when i stuck my finger in it and got shouted at. How to make new friends eh ?

Lower down there are stuck on pebbles, old wall holds and all sorts of shennanigans going on. Again they see it as a training area so you can always eliminate the fake stuff to make it harder as you progress i guess.

I had a really nice evening climbing with the 3 guys there and got invited back again next week - nice of them as i didn't realise it was their crag ;0) I have to take my harness and do the 7a+ mad steep route in the right cave supposedly.

Showing off my 'farmers tan'. Brown arms and calves, white everywhere else.


No not my van, that's Santiago btw my trusty Spanish banger, but all the turds that were all around the parking spot. FFS why do people do it. I can vouch for the fact that all the Spanish houses i've been in have flushing toilets. There is even a garage with toilets where you come off the main road for this place so why do they crap in the car park ? I find this at a lot of Spanish crags and the worst thing is having to pull shitty toilet paper out of Alfie's mouth as he loves the stuff.

On a happier note i am off on the hunt tomorrow morning to find some other boulders i have been told about. Supposed to be over 600 problems at this spot. Just got to find it. That'll mean i have places to go. Torcalits is awesome for fitness with lots of traverses, up and down probs and good for burl. the other spot should sort out technique and variety. Now i just need to get a partner or 3.

This weekend should bear fruit in that direction as i put a plan in action. Failing that i'll bug the guys at Torcalita.

Friday, 2 September 2011

By 'eck it's hot

With afternoon temps hitting 46 celsius early ( ish ) visits to the crag were in order and even Alfie had to wear his sun hat.

While Mario was over a great time was had visiting a couple of local crags and getting some mileage in. This is my local crag - Villanueva de Cauche, or Sector Yugoslavia. About 50 odd routes all told from 5 to 8b. Plenty to be going at and despite what it says in rock fax even in August it was climbable into the afternoon.

The upper cave shown hereis being developed as a dry tooling area. There doesn't seem to be the same ethic stance here - more of which later actually. However there is an awesome looking 5 pitch HVS/E1 round the corner, but that was too sunny to try this time.

At one point it got so hot Mario had to borrow Alfie's hat.

I started the week in an awful way with no head for roped climbing at all and certainly no route reading ability. A few months of bouldering working hard, steep lines left me very un prepared for on-sighting steep slabs and vertical lines. Quite obvious really but it came as a shock to me how poor i was. I hit rock bottom having to cry take on a 5+ and that gave me the impetus to get my arse in gear. By the end i was much happier above bolts but still very hesitant. I wasn't getting pumped but taking ages to make decisions. Anyway a very quick 6c redpoint ( 1 top rope the day before and then led first time the next day ) gave me some confidence and some 6b+ on-sights followed.

I started to get a bit poorly after that with a chesty cough and feeling weak. Air con is the culprit and it took a week to feel well again.

Still need to find some partners.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

It's time to get back to it

Well i've been in Spain a month now and things are finally settling down. Only one box stands between us and un packing freedom and we finally have a car. The internet is the last thing to sort but at least we have it at home now even if it is via a very expensive dongle - 4 euros a day.

So far 2 companies have said they can get us broadband only to tell us a week later they can't. We need satellite internet as getting a phone line where we are can take months. To pay for this i need to get a spanish bank account. To do this i need a certificate from the police station to say i am who i say i am and that i am resident in Spain. The way that i prove this is to go to the police station and say: " I am living in Spain can i have a certificate to say so." Show them my passport and then 2 weeks later they will give me a piece of paper i could have printed off the computer myself. It'll all come together in time.

Meanwhile in lieu of any climbing related fun here are some pics of the awesome wildlife to see round here.

A Booted Eagle

Loads of these round here in the Montes de Malaga. One day when it was really windy we saw about 20 all circling together. Seems to be the Andalucian equivalent of buzzards - but cooler cos it's an eagle.

A cheeky weasel was spied at Sector Yugoslavia. We scared him off but he came back for a second look - cheeky little fella. I may start seeing if i can get him to take food.

Loads of other birds such as bee eater ( beautiful iridescent green, blue & orange ) and hoopoes which have a cool crest of feathers on their heads.

However the top spot so far has to be....

The Andalucian Funnel Web spider

Andalusian funnel web spider (Macrothele calpeiana)

Loads of these bad boys about. Trying to do my 'Dad' job and show the kids there is nothing to be scared of and i poked the entrance with a piece of grass to entice the friendly little guy out so we could have a look. To my surprise something about 1/2 the size of a tarantula ran out bloody quickly, stood on its back legs and hissed at me. This caused me to fall over from my crouched position and roll away in panic as i envisaged some sort of scene from Arachnaphobia with the spider leaping up at me and attaching itself to my face. After that brave display the kids now know not to go anywhere near them. Job done !!!

One creature i've not found yet is the brown reclusive spider. Hides in your house, comes out at night and is more poisonous than the black widow. Has the strength to penetrate human skin and causes necrosis of the flesh. Often mis-diagnosed and or ignored as the bite is not that painful and often occurs when you're asleep in bed and you touch the spider that is walking over you while you sleep. The other time it gets you is when you're stumbling through the house going to the loo in the middle of the night with nothing on your feet. I didn't sleep properly for 2 nights.