Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Ticklists again. I love/hate ticklists. Hate the ones that are herd-following obvious commercial Here Is A Book Full Of So-Called Essential Routes this is what you must tick lists. Love the ones that are obscure and quirky and have a distinctive theme and get you going to places you wouldn't otherwise go and doing things you wouldn't otherwise consider.

Something I've know for a long time is that I'm fascinated by different rock types - the aesthetics, the formations, the textures, the feel, the way they lend themselves to climbing, the diversity, the curiosity (especially of "WTF is this"-type rocks). Something I've realised recently is that I'm amassing a fairly respectable ticklist of different rock types, and am still enjoying it as much as ever, climbing on new ones.

In this country we are cursed by the weather and crowded roads, and blessed by the equally the best trad in the world (along with America) and by a phenomenal variety of rock crammed into a fairly accessible area. Just consider North Wales or the Lakes, each of which with a half-dozen major rock types within an hour's drive of each other. So here is my list, in true bumbling non-geologist style, from South-West to North-East:

Limestone (Torbay, also everywhere)

Limestone, Quarried (Torbay, also everywhere)

Shale (Bantham Hand)

Amphibiolite (Lizard)

Granite (West Penwith, many other places)

Granite, Quarried (Cheesewring, etc)

Killas Slate (Carn Kendijack)

Greenstone (St Gurnard's Head, Carn Gowla?)

Pilau Lava (Doyden Point, Pentire Point)

Culm Sandstone (Compass Point, Lower Sharpnose, etc)

Oolitic Limestone (Ham Hill Quarry)

Sandstone, Quarried (South Wales, also Pex, etc)

Arennig Gritstone (Rhinnogs)

Ignimbrite (Craig Y Mwn, also in Lakes?)

Gabbro (Porth Ysgo, Carrock Fell, western scotland etc)

Shale/Sandstone (Craig Doris)

Shale/Arennig Grit (Cilan Head)

Gwyna Melange (Twyn Maer Maen)

Meta-Dolerite (Pen-Y-Cil)

Dolerite (Tremadog)

Felsite (Carreg Hyll Drem, also Falcon Crags??)

Rhyolite (Dinas Cromlech, many other places)

Slate, Quarried (Dinorwic Slate, also Lakes Slate)

Quartzite (Gogarth, Rhoscolyn)

Sandstone (Helsby, also Northumberland and everywhere)

Hornstone (Beacon Hill)

Magnesian Limestone (Harborough, Brassington)

Gritstone (Roaches, Stanage, and everywhere)

Quarried Grit (Wiltons, Millstone, and elsewhere)

Coal Measure Sandstone (Wharncliffe)

Conglomerate (The Hoff)

Andesite (Borrowdale, Lakes in general)

Whinstone (Peel Crag, Crag Lough)

Greywacke (Meikle Ross, Portobello, all Stranraer area)

Micro-Granite (Llagantalluch, Crammag Head)

Basalt (Dumbarton, Central Belt Quarries)

Trachyte (Trapain Law)

Mica Schist (Dunkeld, Substation Crag, Glen Nevis and all Scotland)

Schist (???)

Gneiss (Diabaig, Loch Tolldaih, Sheigra)

Torridon Sandstone (Torridon)

Old Red Sandstone (Am Buchaille)

Anyone got any more for me to try??

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Finest pleasure in life...

...abusing and mocking those people who can't jam, when they struggle on easy crack climbs :).

Monday, 11 May 2009

Bouldering grades

Reasons why V grades are better than Font grades:

1. Visually simple linear scale.

2. More easily combined with English tech grades for crux moves.

3. Simpler and better applied in the lower grades.

4. Not confusable with other grading systems. Font grades are confusable, visually and linguistically, with English tech grades and sport grades. If you're telling someone "I did a 6b today", that could be English 6b, F6b, or Font 6b. If you say "I did a V4 today", that's clearly a V4 boulder problem.

^^^ The last one is perhaps the biggie and most conclusive.

Non-reasons why Font grades are apparently better:

(1.) "More accurate in lower grades." Whilst it's true there are a few more subdivisions, they don't seem to make a significant different and are universally badly applied, especially in Font.

(2.) "British climbing is most similar to Font climbing." Simply not true as both British climbing and Font climbing are very diverse, there's no reason why the Font system is any more applicable than the V system.

Okay, unfortunately it seems Font grades are catching on, for little reason other than fashion, trends, and probably the justifiable popularity of Font. So once again I am fighting a losing battle and will have to give up and learn the sodding messy Font system. But once again I will go down fighting and being RIGHT :P.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Training revisited.

When wet: go indoors to lead walls, lead pumpy routes, push self, do falling practise. In general train for inspiring rock climbing.

When dry: go to local quarried / limestone, onsight some routes, maybe work others, push self. In general train for inspiring rock climbing.

So far, so fun. I had a good wall session the other week - in fact my best indoor leading session since 2007 (pre-injury)! I climbed a few challenging routes, had to pull properly hard (sore fingertips and fingers - on lead!), and got rather pumped a couple of times. This is good. Okay, I got scared and then carried away and didn't do falling practise, but aside from that it was cool. Similarly I had a nice evening down in a Matlock quarry (rapidly becoming my prefered training ground) where I pulled reasonably hard on lead. Sluggish warming up but got into it and into the relaxed bolted vibe. This is all good as it's keeping me fit and keeping me climbing well, or at least climbing okay, so when I can get away to proper places (currently Mid-Wales I'm especially keen for), I should be ready. Of course things - i.e. my deranged and fragile psychology - can still go up and and down, but physical preparation is always helpful.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Spank holiday.

Edit: Week late due to busyness, laziness, and grumpyiness.

Well, not quite a spank holiday but not much of a climbing one either. Another weekend of reasonable weather which I really didn't capitalise on with much decent climbing, although the social side was rather more pleasurable. One of these days I'll get my act together and make the most out of these weekends, but this wasn't that day. Having said that what I did do was kinda fun and had some interest:

This is some route or other at Long John's Stride at Wharncliffe. Very nice bit of the crag, quiet, sheltered, grassy, and some decent routes including the massively overgraded but not at all overrated Autumn Wall. Anyway I did the above arete and the one to the right of it. For both routes the crux of both grades was placing the gear, and quite predictably I had a wobbler whilst doing so. What was notable that through the cloud of swearing and belligerence, once gear was placed and climbing was commenced, I realised I was really rather enjoying it. The grouching was solely related to the gear faff and pretty transitory, and the pure pleasure of climbing was not long obscured. Which is nice :).

Also in this area and of interest is some, well, I shall call it ART. The quality of the work and the sympathy to the surroundings, both rock and woodland, defies the label of "graffiti".

So yeah that was that. Wharncliffe ho hum. This current weekend looks like it's properly toss. I really need to sort myself and my climbing organisation out.

Monday, 4 May 2009



Up down up down up down up down....