Sunday, July 30, 2006

Climbing: Peak District July 2006

Yesterday I took a day trip to the Peak District to meet with Lau, Alastair, Nienke and Nick. Lau and I headed to High Tor, a crag we had first visited almost two years ago, ticking the classic E1 Debauchery. Back then we said we'd have to come back to the counterdiagonal E2 Delicatessen, which we did yesterday, what a brilliant route - the line is marked out on the photo, belays at the red dots. Then I started up Flaky Wall, an E4 I've had my eyes on for a while, but it started raining - rats! I was pretty confident too. So after a quick pub break it stopped raining and we headed to Cratcliffe to nip up a quick route or two - or so we thought!

Delicatessen E2 5c, 5b High Tor
I took the first pitch, the ever-reliable Lau the second. Magnificent climbing, not at all polished, with tricky 5c moves both right at the start and right at the end of my pitch; the final moves to reach the belay in particular are exposed, airy, fingery, delicate and just brilliant. The second pitch was a delightful delicate traverse, led confidently and in style by Ian; it's only marred by the fact that it joins the horribly polished HVS, Original Route, to finish off.

Boot Hill E3 5c Cratcliffe
There's no two wasy about it, this route beat me up. I didn't fall, but had to rest twice - although the second was only because I didn't see a good foothold, and gave up early as I knew I'd blown the onsight anyway. A brilliant route but possibly not one to do as your first grit route of the year, on a hot humid evening with very little friction. For my arrogance I deserved to get punished and so I'm not too miffed - actually I'm pretty pleased I got up it at all! With hindsight it is a brilliant route with some wonderful layaway moves off the rounded arete - although those weren't words leaving my mouth as I was halfway up the thing!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Opinion: 'MySpace sucks'

My good mate Richie 'Scuffboy' Astbury has some strong opinions about MySpace. He's right, you know...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean 2

Last night I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I was a fan of the first one and friends who had seen it said 'if you liked that, you'll like this'. By and large they were right, the slapstic moments come thick and fast and several times I was laughing out loud during the film.

However, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley were pretty rubbish like in the previous effort, and while Depp still dazzles as Jack Sparrow it is only really the new character of Davy Jones that really grabs the attention.
The plot ideas aren't really original (anybody who's the played the Monkey Island computer games will feel right at home in some scenes), and at two and half hours the film is 30 minutes too long.

Still it is worth going to see and good way to spend an evening, I will definately be going to see the final part of the trilogy.

Edit: The following night I finally got round to seeing The Shawshank Redemption. Comparing this to POTC is like comparing To Kill a Mocking Bird to Winnie the Pooh.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Climbing: Cloggy, July 2006

Last weekend, me, Lau, Dave and Laura took far too much stuff with us to Cloggy, and wild camped by the lake. It was awesome. Some thoughts on the routes:

The Troach, E2 5b
Hugh Banner led it in the 60s, what an amazing effort. The start of the main pitch is a bold step out before a mantelshelf up to better holds and good gear. The move is actually pretty easy but feels very E2. The technical crux is higher up but there's a good nut to protect it. Kudos to Lau for leading the 3rd (5a) pitch with zero decent gear!

White Slab, E1/2 5b/c
Justifies it's reputation as one of the best routes in the country. I set Lau off up the first pitch cos I'd done it before, and thought he needed to wake up a little! This meant that I had the lasso pitch, but I failed miserably to get the rope anywhere near the spike, which is a) tiny and b) miiiles away. So I free climbed it, 5c and bold, brilliant moves though. We took our time over the 7 pitches (5 hours) but both of us really enjoyed it, what more can you ask for?

Climbing: Gower photos, and Dave Macleod

Click the link to see some photos that Dave J took on my birthday weekend in Gower. We worked on a line at a new crag at Fall Bay. Very bouldery English 6b-ish moves, which none of us managed cleanly. There is small gear but if you fell you'd swing right into the little shelf (see photo right) and probably break your ankles. Shame in a way cos if the landing was nicer you could probably boulder it out with some mats.

Sunday we went bouldering down at Caswell and I showed Lau Dave and Paul my favourite problems. Great fun.

And here's a link to Dave Macleod's blog, the guy is not only a machine, but he seems like a very decent sort of chap to boot.

Here we go!

So, I've finally done it, I've finally got round to entering the big-wide-world of blogging. I figure that the only chance that people are going to read this is if I post some code and google stumbles upon it, which I intend on doing pretty frequently, because I've learned so much from other people doing similar things. I'll also post links to articles, photos, stories, and anything I find interesting - though primarily because it'll remind me of these things in the future. If you do happen to stumble on this blog and have anything to say, then feel free to mail me. If you're particularly lucky, you might even get a coherent reply!