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Made in China: Yangshuo – Tom Newberry

A coach, a plane, a minibus and a sleeper bus took us on the 36 hour journey from Exeter to Yangshuo, China. I’m completely blown away. Yangshuo is a very unique place, unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. The city itself is buzzing and has become a booming tourist attraction for Chinese travellers; hotels, touring services and restaurants number in the hundreds, 95% of them targeting the Chinese traveller, given that the number of westerners visiting is still relatively low. The city has built up in and around a totally surreal landscape of karst towers that stretch as far as that day’s air pollution index will allow the eye to see. Beautiful, limestone pinnacles are a dime-a-dozen around here, ranging from slabs to dramatically overhanging and single pitch to 5 pitch monster outings. Rock climbing in here was first put on the international map in the early 90s when Todd Skinner, Sam Lightner and Mike Tupper established some of the still-standing mega classics, routes like Over the Moon 7c which climb out the incredible Moon Hill formation. Since then the area has seen a number of rebirths and cycles of popularity- most recently influenced by a segment in Dosage 5, visits by Chris Sharma on the Evolv tour and more recently a stop on the Marmot Lead Now Tour. While Yangshuo is an incredible adventure for any level of climber, the amount of difficult climbing here has increased rapidly in the last few years, with a good number of routes in the eighth grade to go at.

Read more about Tom’s trip at climbersblogspot.com

The Art of Waiting – Ben Bransby

The narrow snow gully above me ends at a large chockstone, the walls on either side steep and verglas covered. I make the final few steps up towards the chock and then pass underneath, the view suddenly widening to encompass the ice cap stretching in front of me. The other side of the range is now visible, but as the view widens the full force of the wind hits me and I am forced a few paces back down to find shelter. Bean and Jvan join me and for the 3rd time in this place we stop long enough to smoke a rollie before heading back down to the bivvy boulder and resuming the long wait for the weather to improve…

the Art of Waiting…Bugaboos

 

Read more at www.climbersblogs.blogspot.co.uk

 

A 6 Month Climbing Binge by Tom Newberry

I write this blog on my final rest day, in the dying days of a 6 month climbing binge. Since August last year I have been on a series of spur of the moment trips to all over Europe and Asia. No plans, no ticklists, just climbing, traveling and general bumming around. I vaguely set myself one goal which was to onsight 8a in each country I visited and with the exception of Luxembourg kept to my quota. The travelling, has rekindled my motivation and drive for climbing. I love turning up to a new crag; in fact, as sad as it is, I love the night before when you lie awake in excitement and anticipation with sweaty tips…

Here’s a (very) brief summary of my thoughts on each of the areas I visited:

Berdorf, Luxembourg: I like it here a lot and will defiantly return. Hassle free logistically, plus a nice change climbing on sandstone and it’s not too far from the UK. Perfect to break up a euro road trip! Check it out!

Frankenjura, Germany: Not really my style, but that’s what I like about it. The best thing about Jura is that you can visit up to 4 or more crags in a day if you keen. Pick a mint wall for your warm ups, move on to project 1, then over to project 2, finally finish the day on one of the classic mid-grade route. Perfect! You do need to pick your routes wisely, there are some right heifers. It’s easy to get here from UK, 7 to 8 hours off the ferry, we drove over and still had time to get a couple routes in the day we arrived! Unfortunately, we timed our visit to coincide with a heat wave but still we had fun, and bagged some classy routes.

Magic Wood, Switzerland: Hmmm, amazing but busy, super chalked, greasy grips and unpredictable weather; but sooooo many good problems! I found the problems basic and powerful, but that can be fun too. Amazing setting and you can ice bath in the river at the end of your session! I went in summer, and felt it’s not the time for hard bouldering – it was 30 degrees! Keen to go back in spring/autumn.

 Val de Mello, Italy: Incredible scenery, and possible the best food I have ever had! Epic thunder storms, friendly locals and winding lanes. Good climbing, but I preferred other areas; glad I went but probably won’t return anytime soon. The drive over the Spulgen pass from Swiss is stunning and easily tops the list for bivi spots.

South France: Possible my favourite place to bum around living out of a car. Dirtbag lifestyle at its best.  Great weather, lots of pastries, and tons of top notch crags. Ceuse, Verdon, Boux, St Lege you will have heard of. Baume RouseArdeche, Lourmaran are some others that I equally enjoyed. Canny wait to get back next summer! Psyched.

Catalunya, Spain: Possibly the best sport climbing region in the world. The diversity of crags, each offering top notch routes of the genre, you can see why the world’s greatest climber has moved here. Won’t be long until I return!

Railay, Thailand: I can see why people spend 6 months here. Amazing place to base yourself and climb, there are so many awesome routes to do, I went crazy and did 86 routes in three weeks. The multi pitch stuff hosts some of the best climbing I have ever done. It’s a different vibe to a normal climbing trip but nonetheless amazing. Top rest day tip: take and boat and go snorkelling it’s unreal! Another contender for the best food I have had! It’s been less than a month and I miss it already.

Antalya, Turkey: 5 star climbing, in a 5 star place! I really rate it here, a great place to hang out with high quality climbing across a variety of styles. So peaceful, magnificent views, too many routes to choose from, make this near top of list of perfect winter destinations.

The best things about these trips are the stories, epics and adventures I have heard from other climbers. I now have a long list of new countries and crags to check out, and can’t wait!

Cheers all,

Tom

Wide Open Spaces by Karen Varga

“Anything of importance in a man’s life must take place beneath the open sky” ~ excerpt from the book ‘Game of Thrones’

My body may be back in the UK, but my heart and soul are still at the incredible places that we encountered during our travels, flying free like majestic eagles under the open skies and immense beauty.

It has been both a mental and physical challenge to get back into ‘normal’ life after the incredible 7 months of travelling that I’ve just had. It’s not easy to adjust from being outside 10 or more hours a day, 7 days a week, to being reduced to such limited sky time, especially having come back to winter! It’s meant a change from being out and about every day – either hitting the crags from morning till sundown, or heading off on a long hike surrounded by magical scenery,  or walking our socks off to see all the sites a city has to offer, or even sometimes just chilling on a beach or lying on the grass in a park and reading my book – to sitting in an office 8-10 hours a day, and really feeling the limits on time for sport and outdoor activities.

Spending the day under the open skies is what drew me to climbing way back when, and has kept me climbing for over a decade, and will keep me climbing for many more years I can guarantee you 🙂 I can’t imagine life without these wide open spaces where my soul is free to soar and I feel alive with energy and vitality. I’ve also found that the people I meet and friends I make through climbing (mostly) share this same appreciation for the great outdoors, whether it’s to climb or hike or just soak up the goodness, and this is another big reason why climbing has become such an integral part of my life.

Read more at http://www.climbersblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Boulder UK by Adam Jeeworth

Well it seems winter is upon us.

The rope, quickdraws and harness have now been put in storage for the winter.

The van is stacked with bouldering mats and my body is gettin stronger.  This must mean it’s time to Boulder in the UK.

Over the last 10 month’s it’s been a struggle to get the work/climb balance but recently I have learned that working is good for rest and recovery.  And when I finish work late and can’t climb I now go kickboxing to get fitter and strengthen my body.  When I can climb it rains so that means one thing go to Boulder UK to train.

I have noticed a big difference recently from reducing the amount of time I climb per week. The main thing is that when I climb now, I appreciate it, I appreciate the environment, the rock and make the most of days in and out.

This weekend was fantastic conditions so I headed to Robin Hoods Stride and Cratcliffe with a bunch of highly psyched individuals. At one point our party was about 10 strong.  I warmed up and I flashed 2 classic v8s Jerrys Traverse and T Crack.

I was already happy with climbing for the day. Pete Wilkinson who is a talented boulder and photographer who has come on in the last 2 years smashed up the same doing them second go.  We then headed to Robin Hoods Stride ticking most of the classics, Jerrys Arete v6, Cave Problem v6, v7 and generally had a brilliant time.

T Crack – Cratcliffe


Tying into a rope By Daragh O’Connor

Its strange for me as a boulderer to go sport climbing as often as I do. But as long as I get the chance to go climbing I’m happy to be out. Myself, the majority of the Irish team and coaches went out to the south of France last week for 6 days. Everybody on the trip had their goals and me included, had a hope for the trip.

Ever since I started climbing I have enjoyed bouldering but I still like pushing my limits in routes. This trip my eye was on an 8a I had tried once or twice last year.

When I got to France it was nice to get back to a familiar climbing area as I have been going to all sorts of strange places for comps this summer. So when I got down to climbing it felt nice and natural. The first day, we just went out to build up a bit of outdoor route stamina and refresh our brains on how to climb in Buoux.

Read more at http://www.climbersblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

“Memories are the best thing you’ll ever have” By Jen Wilby

Switzerland 2013

UK -> St Gotthardo -> Chironico -> Cresciano -> Chironico -> St Gotthardo -> Magic Wood -> UK in 3 weeks

Prayer flags in Magic Wood

Memories are a funny thing, each moment passing becoming a memory stored within. We use them to remember good times and bring back nostalgic feelings we wish to re-live. So I guess it’s true; memories are the best thing we will ever have. In September we left for Switzerland for a three week climbing trip and already its a distant memory, a happy one and I have spent the past week day dreaming at my desk, thinking of the road, the woods and the climbing.

We left mega early on the 7th September to head on the Euro tunnel, through France and into Switzerland. Having not left the UK since February, I was more than ready. Ready to leave the stresses of work, the colour coded boundaries and fish bowl feelings behind.

Read more at http://www.climbersblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Grit O’Clock by Adam Jeeworth

I’ve not been out on the Grit for about a year or so (Longridge doesn’t count). However, the last 2 weekends promoting Metolius Crash Pads, Evolv Crash Pads and Evolv shoes has got me keen as mustard again.  I love the social aspect of bouldering and forgot how comforting it can be for climbers/boulderers to share a challenge.  The challenge being to climb a piece of rock!!

The new range of Crash Pads are fantastic.

The design of the Metolius Boss Hog is brilliant, it is light, easy to carry and prevents injury as there are no more voids/gaps between each section the pad due to the new hinge system.  Get investing in these bad boys as soon as possible.


Ruby Looking after the new pads.

The Metolius Recon Pad and its new 3 tier system offers more service area to land on- always a good thing!!! The design is great for carrying and again the hinged design stops voids/gaps between the mat.  My favourite part of the Pad is that the shoulder straps are padded providing comfort and they don’t get wet or covered in dirt, as they are protected by the closure strap once the mat is on the floor.

It seems that the Grit season is almost up on us, so it’s time to get strong now.

Peace Jee

Mind Bloggaling – Gill Peet

So this is my first blog, hence the title! Now I have some actual sponsorship from Prana and Metolius (big thanks to Beyond Hope!), I thought I would join the rest of the athletes and do my share of blogging to update and hopefully entertain fellow climbers, friends and family!This summer I wanted to get fit and get back in to route climbing without the additional pressure of having to train for bouldering comps and instead it has been nice to just ‘go climbing’ and not worry that I haven’t pulled on plastic for a few days. It felt good to work on my overall endurance and climb some classic British routes during the hot spell.In July I entered the British Bouldering Championships and  I was pretty open minded about it and went with a relaxed approach as I knew there was lots of young fresh talent ready to kick my old ass! Surprisingly, I held my own and rolled through to the final, finishing in 5th place (4th Brit) and was pretty chuffed with my best British result to date. Big thanks to Ali & Ian Hydes for their homemade signs and attempts and burning ‘Peet’ in to sausages!

meat

With some new found psyche, I kept up the plastic training ready for the only 2 international comps I had decided to do this year which was the last round of the World Cups in Munich and the European Championships in Eindhoven. My training mainly consisted of loads of core work, pull ups, making up hard blocs, traversing and gardening!

The Munich comp came around pretty quick and in previous years, I was a bag of nerves at comps and usually came out, climbed crap and took the next flight home scratching my head wondering why I had bothered. I knew I had to work on the mental preparation for comps and so with help from my friend Orla, I managed to feel more relaxed and overcome the negative thoughts. This year, was totally different, I knew I wanted to compete and enjoy the climbing, I wanted to represent my country in a sport I love and most of all I wanted to climb well to be a role model for the young people I coach in Preston. Thankfully, I did just that and I was overwhelmed with my 23rd place, missing out on the semi final by 2 places in my group.

munich13
Last weekend was the European Championships in Eindhoven and I went with the same relaxed approach with no expectations. The night before the comp I only managed 4 hours sleep due to a noisy bunch of Dutch people directly above our room who decided to party most of the evening. I couldn’t believe my luck, why me? I woke up at 6.30am to be in isolation for 7am, I was so tired and my lack of sleep turned me in to an angry lady! After a cup of tea and some advice from Ian to get over it and try hard, I managed to compose myself and do just that. The comp was not my favourite, the blocs were too hard and I didn’t top any. I finished my last problem and walked off feeling pretty hacked off at the level of difficulty. Turns out, that not many people topped much either and I was surprised to find myself 11th in my group just from tickling bonuses and so I came 21st overall, missing out on the semi’s for the second week running!

So, all in all it has been a successful summer, I’ve managed to climb outdoors, do loads of routes and perform the best I have at an international level. For now, myself and Ian will be looking forward to an October trip for some more sport climbing action.
Thanks for reading, stayed tuned!

Font Trip August 2013 – Tom Bonnert

Following on from my week of climbing in the peak district, last week saw me head of to Fontainebleau. After a week rest I loaded up the car and drove on down to a friends house near London. We arrived after some dire traffic and stayed there for the night. When I say stayed there for the night, I actually mean we got about 2 hours sleep before getting up at 1:30 to drive to the ferry terminal for our early crossing. Everyone was very thankful to me for booking that ferry…

            Once we got to the ferry terminal we had our next hurdle. Attaching the headlamp deflectors. Not as a easy as I thought it might be so off we went looking at peoples headlamps to find someone who new what they were doing. Effort to that random guy for shedding some light on the situation and helping us out.

            On the ferry everyone was looking pretty shattered so some of us got some sleep and others just chilled out. I couldn’t get to sleep on the ferry so I got some breakfast and chilled. Two hours later and we were in France. My first time driving abroad on the wrong side of the road. As it turned out, it was relatively ok and I had no real problems. The only slightly worrying times were when impatient drivers fly by you at the most inappropriate times. Brilliant. The gite was really nice and as soon as we got checked into it, we headed off straight to the local shop for supplies. After this we were off out to get on some rock.

Read the rest of Tom’s Blog at http://www.climbersblogs.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/font-trip-august-2013-tom-bonnert.html