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Deep s*** soloing and a windy whip by Luke Tilley

The last month or so has been a bit sensitive in our house. We mused at the beginning of the year that we were all going to get really strong or really injured well at the moment the house is pretty injured but hopefully things are well on the mend. 2 months ago Ralph broke his wrist from a ground fall when gear failed on a trad route. Jacob finally flirted with his braking point on the board 4 days on, power training and did in a pulley, thankfully not too badly. He has subsequently seriously sprained his ankle doing some recovery climbing on the grit. Ben is feeling the strain on his fingers, I have strained my back on my trip and Jacob Handyside has just gone down with tonsillitis.

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

The Squad welcomes Evolv, Prana & Metolius

Last Friday 7th December, The Squad was pleased to open their boxes with their brand new uniform!

Our kit consists of black shorts (and leggings for the fashion-conscious girls) made by Prana, silver chalk bags by Metolius and the latest models of Evolv footwear. With the Tshirt design competition now over, we expect that in January 2013 we will have the coolest uniform in the whole of the South East region.

We thank Rick and the rest of the cool team at Beyond Hope for their support and encouragement.

Below, Stan couldn’t wait for the BlocFest to try his new Shaman shoes!

San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily – Tesni & Celt Lloyd-Jones

Tesni Awel Lloyd-Jones 13Long time no update! Over the half term my family and I went climbing to Sicily for a good two weeks. We climbed on marble which is a type of limestone; some crags were sharp, yet some were smooth. While we were out in Sicily we climbed many overhangs, caves, a few slabs, but the best routes were on tufas . I love climbing tufas, they are so much fun with their crazy formations! It was a great climbing experience which I would love to go do again. I climbed about sixty routes in total which was good going for two weeks including the rest days.

Winter Wonderland by Adam Jeeworth

Well its official, winter seems to be here.  It’s not snowed yet but it’s cold and crisp, perfect conditions for getting out bouldering.

I’ve had a few good days out recently walking, bouldering and enjoying the fresh air.

I Headed to Trowbarrow last Thursday, bouldering with Vickers.  It took me a while to warm up but ended up having alright session.  I did Pit Problem v8, Pit Problem left start v9, Wheelbarrow v10 and Neds problem v8.  Really enjoyed the climbing on all the problems but did get totally shut down trying a 1 move v9 – The Buccaneer.  Followed the day out by bouldering session at Westview before the boot demo!

This weekend I headed to Caley with Vickers and Gill. I forgot how good this place was!! It’s been 2 years since I was last here and I was really motivated.

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

“Little French beers, pain au chocolats, pain au raisins and some climbing in Fontainebleau By Jen Wilby

The moment had come, it was time to leave Ailefroide and make our penultimate drive to the Foret of Fontainebleau, armed with the 7&8’s book which I felt privileged to own (Thanks to R.C.C’s Christmas Raffle), I was psyched.I’ve been climbing for 7 years and this is my 9th visit to the Forest. Most of these visits have been in October, so I was convinced the weather would be amazing. Therefore it was a surprise to find the whole forest wet…very wet and would continue to be for the first 2 weeks of our visit.

Despite the rain / very hot damp weather (there was no inbetween these two extremes) I managed to get the following done, all of which I had seen other people do on previous trips and vowed to come back and do myself:
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Gorges du Tarn by Ben West

Summer (if that’s what you’d call it). Come the end of August, Heath and I got so fed up of the lousy weather we headed to France in search of some sun, vitamin D and dry rock. After hearing that the Gorge du Tarn had undergone a major re-equipping project and a new guide-book that had just been released, we thought this would be an ideal venue. Situated in the South of France the Tarn host metres and metres of immaculate rock and a beautiful river that cuts its way down through the gorge; we arrived late Saturday evening only to see the dark towering shadows of the gorge. After a good nights sleep we checked into the campsite, picked up a guide and headed out to see what those giant shadows had to offer.

The first few days were spent gaining a bit of mileage and seeking out shade. This took us to a couple of shorter north/east facing crags of the gorge; even in the shade, you would come down from a route dripping with sweat. The 2nd was a good onsight day, I managed  a F7a+,7b,7b+,7c+. T’a Pas Un Nom was the F7a+ and was a great route, good gymnastic moves on pockets. We had a slightly easier day on Tuesday, well in terms of number of routes anyway. After warming up on this really short 7a+ (Microcome consanguin) I managed to tick this sweet little F8a Maree Basse 2nd go. I woke the next day with the psyche.

Life, Loss and the Uncertainty Principle- by Tom Peckitt

(For the full version with videos and pics, please visit http://climbersblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Climbing has nearly always governed what I do and when. It was one of my top priorities. It’s easy to fall into a false sense of security when your main thoughts are “what’s the weather like at the weekend” and “what project is next on my list”. This naivety left me vulnerable to the harsh realities of life.

Then your world turns upside down by a life changing event. My dad said to me a long time ago; “Tom, there’s one thing certain in life…and that’s uncertainty. Change is inevitable – for better or for worse”. Those words never really hit home until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer last June.  A huge reality check slapped me round the face with a vengeance.  I moved back to Cheltenham and spent several months caring for him, which I did not hesitate to do.
The following months were spent undergoing chemotherapy to extend his life and ease his symptoms. I had moved back to Leeds to start a career, after a lucky break, but spent all of my spare time travelling to see him and enjoying the limited time we had left together.
Following a few courses of treatment and some decent quality of life, the tumours returned aggressively and the rapid decline began. He passed away in September after putting up one hell of a fight. It nearly seemed that cancer had met its match with dad. He had an unfathomable enthusiasm and zest for life which he never lost throughout his illness. Even the experts were dumbfounded by his independence and determination to carry on. I hope even one iota of his strength of character has passed to me.
And once again, dad’s words ring true. My life has changed. I have fledged a very interesting career and I’m climbing again. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried to get out when I’ve had some free time during dad’s illness but that time was limited. Climbing was pure therapy for mind, body and soul. It was absolute escapism where all that matters is conquering a piece of rock with mental ability and physical agility. It quashed the pressures of life, if even temporarily. I feel so lucky to have a passion to vent my frustrations and tension.
I somewhat fell off the radar over the last year. Whilst still climbing, I kept a low profile. Beyond Hope have been very understanding, which I wish to thank them for.  I managed to tick a lot of problems at Anston Stones over a few trips during the summer and made a few excursions to some Yorkshire and Lakes venues, ticking some good hard stuff. I was very pleased with the first ascent of One Love (7c) – a highball prow at Brimham, which I blogged about back in March.
I have been back in Leeds, working and climbing for a couple of months now. I started off weak, frustrated and, understandably, a bit fragile. It’s been an absolute joy to get climbing down the wall a couple of times a week and out on the grit at the weekend. I’m not back to full strength but I’m on the way I reckon. I’ve even been on a couple of lamping sessions. Check out the video below of Ilkley Rocky Valley bouldering by torch light
I’ve taken advantage of the good weather of late and went to try an old project of mine at Lord’s Seat on Barden Fell, which has been at the top of my project list for quite some time. Situated in the same bay as the legendary McNab (7b+), the project climbs through a roof via strange body tension moves on twin cracks, up to a vertical wall on tiny holds. Having had a couple sessions last year I returned last weekend and quickly remembered the moves. This weekend I returned once again armed with a rope to suss the top section. This was the first time I had put a rope down it. Before, I had always tried climbing through the crux to try the top. The rope made all the difference and I had all the moves sorted. I composed myself and tried it from the start. One attempt saw me drop the final move and I had to hold back from throwing all my stuff in frustration.
As the light dwindled and the temperature dropped, the last attempt of the day saw me rattle through the start and nervously latch the final hard move. I cannot begin to describe the elation I felt. It’s a stunning line, pretty hard climbing and marks a return to form.  Check out the pics below. The video shows the ascent but doesn’t do the line justice. I always thought it would fall into the 8b category but these things always feel easier when they go. 8a+ seems appropriate but we’ll wait and see what future repeaters think. (Don’t forget people out there that Toe-Fu (8a+) is still unrepeated and screaming for a second ascent).
“The Uncertainty Principle” isn’t my hardest first ascent but it is certainly one of my proudest; not only for the climbing and the stunning line but what I have overcome and experienced over the last year to get here.
So, after all the trials and tribulations of the last 18 months, I feel a stronger person…more mentally than physically at the moment. Life is always changing. Sometimes it deals you a winning hand, sometimes a losing one. One thing is for sure – uncertainty is certain.
NOW…back to my priorities…..what’s the weather like at the weekend? What’s the next project?

I Like Pie by Adam Jeewoth

Last weekend was a cold and crisp so I headed to sunny Wales. A day trip out entailed meeting up with local hero Chris Doyle and questing down to the Llanberis pass for the day.  We also met up with new Llanberis local Adam Bailes.
A decision was made to head to the wave length boulders, a new area to me.  We warmed up slowly on the utopia boulder in freezing cold conditions. Classic ticks include: – the groove V2, utopia central V4, utopia left hand V4/5 and utopia traverse V5/6 (dropped the last move on flash due to being numb in all ways!)
We then headed to the pie shop boulder and tried “Love Pie” V9/10. I did the problem and took V10 tick for it as I was on holiday in sunny Wales and having a nice time.  video link below of the send.  chris doyle and his steady hand on camera duties. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl3M2Yj4_ck&feature=player_embedded
Following this we headed up to the Lotus boulder to be greeted with hail stone and bits of snow.  All of us tried this amazing line but failed mainly down to numb hands, cold limbs and fatigue.  However, we all have key beta for the next trip up there.
On the way down I nipped up King of Drunks a classic V6. It took me a few attempts due to cooling down too much but the climbing was really enjoyable.
Training hard indoors at min as weather is bad but seem to be making progress.
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Fire by Conner Byrne

Why are fire alarms so loud at 3 am. You just have to get up, grab a coat, and some trainers, and go for a wander.  How well trained we are. We were evacuated to the car park for 15mins whilst the fire brigade came, and then allowed back in. I was ready to get back to sleep. Morning came soon and it was time for the BLCCs.  It’s my first year in A age group, we were climbing the same routes as the juniors.  The first route was on the old comp wall which I have found hard before. However, it looked ok and I topped it out along with the 3 other GB members.

Second route was on the hanger wall, this route was good fun with no clipping disasters from me this time.  Only 3 other boys topped this.
Of the 3 that had topped both routes I was the first out of isolation, a tricky looking route up the middle of the hangar wall, all went fine until I messed up by not pressing out of a foot hold enough to hold a volume. I was spat off.  The next climber fell foul of the same move. Then it was a tense wait to watch the last climber, who did not get as far. With the new rules in tie break, as we had both topped the qualifiers, time is looked at. I was the quickest by about a good minute.
Next day I had decided to enter the seniors, just for fun, well we had travelled all the way up to Ratho and it was an opportunity to climb on more comp routes with the seniors!  I was fairly early up on the first route, mini jugs and some crimps on the old comp wall.  I was a bit cross with myself for only touching the final hold.  This put me in joint 7th with 6 others.  The second qualifier was tricky, I watched many climbers fight their way up it. Somehow my brain just gave out on me and I made a mistake.  It was a really good experience to climb with the seniors.

The Salty Dog by Luke Tilley

At the end of a summer centered around competing in the European Youth Cups I had one weekend booked since January that I was really looking forwards to. Alpkit have a holiday every year, they take their Tipi across to Anglesey on the north coast of wales. This was the first year that I have joined them. I had such a good time and got on some great climbs that I can’t wait till next year. I did my first ever deep water solo up the intimidation hanging face of Electric Blue E4 6a along with several great crack climbs on Gogarth and Roscolin. Read all about the weekends successes at – http://luketilley.co.uk/?p=121