Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Shorn Cliff Expedition

Last Saturday the climbing team went to Shorn Cliff (James, Patrik, Ed and yours truly), in the rainforests of the Wye Valley. It was cold, but very sunny. The friction on the rock was excellent, the climbing terrific, and the views down to the Wye River and Tinter Abbey breathtaking. The above picture was taking by Patrik and shows the approach trough the woods.

James's Wars:

James got his warrior gear ready to tackle two big battles: Phoney War, HS 4b (picture), and War of the Worlds, VS, 4c. Both are beautiful climbs on superb rock with excellent protection, really enjoyable. James's victim was Ed, who had to second both climbs in a sometimes struggling style, with a bit of hangdogging here and there. I also tried War of the Worlds and it was my first lead of the day, I have to say that there are some committing moves at the top of this climb, which I cowardly avoided deviating to an easier line, however, James sent the straight line with great confidence, well done man!

Patrik's commitment:

Patrik also had a great climbing day. He flashed Phoney War, his first trad climb! After a lot of hesitation whether to try first some easier climb (like a Vdiff) he finally decided to go for this Hard Severe! He had seconded War of the Worlds previously so this surely felt easy for him, you can see his face full of satisfaction (picture).

Here's the climbing team after Patrik's and James's successfully sent their hard leads. From left to right: Mario, Patrik, Ed and James.

Rain of Tears:

I also had my hard climb of the day: Tigers don't cry, HVS, 5b. This is a beautiful line and a true Wye Valley classic. My first ever 5b trad! The climb follows a strenuous finger crack, and requires a lot of technical bridging onto small footholds. When I finally managed to get to the top I was crying like a baby, but not from fear but from satisfaction! I never thought I would flash a climb like that! A great route to finish a great day.

Good Bye Abbey:

We finished the day knackered but full of satisfaction after our climbing achievements. During our way back to the car park we passed in front of Tintern Abbey, beautifully illuminated and standing out in the dark, a symbol that will be forever linked to Shorn magnificent cliffs.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Yesterday we went for a climbing session at the West Way, to discover, to our horror, that the Great Overhanging Dude had been dismantled. It's sad such a fine climb has passed away. Nonetheless, new and more challenging routes had been set up in its place, so, keep climbing dudes!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Finsbury Park.

This Sunday we settled for a calmed climbing session at Sobell Leisure Centre, near Finsbury Park. It's a small climbing facility, but it has a features wall where sport leading can be practiced, given the novice/intermediate climber a taste for what it is like to climb real rocks. The competition wall is very tall, and it provides more challenging, and scarier routes for the advanced climbers.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Oh my GOD...!

The Great Overhanging Dude (GOD) at the West Way Climbing Wall is a great challenge for any intermedium climber. It is savagely overhanging but with big holds, it's long and sustained, and it's a climb to test your endurance and stamina (F6a+). After three months attempting it, I finally red-pointed it yesterday evening, giving way to one of the most elated feelings I climber can ever have. My climbing partners Patrik and James have also been trying this climb, and they're both very close to red-point it as well ..., go on guys! I will also try to convince my old french partner, Pascal, to give it a try, although he doesn't 'like to try climbs he knows he's going to fall off' and I would also try to convince our Slovakian climber Rastislav to give it a go, although he's so strong I'm sure he can flash it easily, ... go on Rasto!
The climb follows the grey bolt-on ladder that follows the yellow line in the picture above. And below, there I am, very close to the top, in my little moment of glory. Oh my GOD, when I was there I thought I wouldn't do it!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Eridge Green Demolition II

This Sunday we went back to Eridge Green, for another session of remorseless cracks. This time I was better prepared and I covered my hands with athletic tape so they didn't bleed so badly (see my first blog). The highlight of the day was Eridge Tower, with one of the most terrific cracks that can ever be climbed in sandstone 'Battlement Crack' 5a (pic), where appropriate foot jamming technique is needed to top out successfully (I still got to do Coronation Crack at High Rocks). Left of this climb is 'Barbican Buttress' 4b, an elegant corner that finishes with a very polished slab, and right of it is 'Porticulis' 5c, which looks very hard ...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Pascal's new blog!

Well Pascal has decided to start his own blog, this is the french guy that paradoxically introduced me to Brithish climbing. So if you want to see more pics of sandstone climbs go to

Brixton climbers


Slippery Slab!

The highlight of last sunday trip to Stone Farm was Pascal redpoint of 'Pinnacle Buttress' which is supposed to be a 5a slab. We reckon nowdays is probably closer to 5b because the footholds are now extremely polished. The climb itself involves some very technical moves with precarious foot smears and a very crimpy finger hold in the crux sequence. Neither Cristian (who has flashed 6a), nor me nor Patrik (we both climb at around 5b - 5c) could do the climb. Well done Pascal ... !