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Pinnacle Ridge: A Superb Day Out

By on Feb 5, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

After months of inactivity, I finally got my arse into gear and went out to brave the fresh air again. Nothing spectacular, by beastmaker standards, just good to get out and go UP once more. Hooking up with some friends at Dunmail raise for a leisurely winter start, we just had a quiet tootle up to Grisedale Tarn and tried to pick out the easiest version of our chosen stupid approach to Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday’s crag. It’s a dead simple, classic little scramble that had the promise of a wee bit of winter plastered all over it. This is definitely the daftest way to approach Pinnacle, but Ian didn’t fancy his chances trying to get to Ullswater via Kirkstone Pass, which is why we took the odd choice. Pinnacle Ridge Approach From Grisedale Tarn Pinnacle Ridge Approach From Grisedale Tarn From Grisedale Tarn a faint path was visible through the snow cover which led towards the col between St Sunday’s and Fairfield so we struck off up it toward a point where we thought it would be worth cutting off and flogging across directly to the base of the crags. Not recommended!! It was a genuine ballache once we got on to the scree covered bits. After a surprisingly long time (nearly 2 hours from Grisedale Tarn), a couple of groin wrecking stumbles and the usual torture of getting used to the great outdoors after too long away; we fetched up at the foot of the route. Pinnacle Ridge Ray Below the Gun Barrel rock Pinnacle Ridge Ray Below the Gun Barrel rock The scramble is a simple classic in summer and a pretty straight forward winter route as well, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking. After the compulsory picnic start and the ritual of fumbling the first crampon attachment of the season, we picked our way up the easy lower rocks until we got onto the more solid slabby bits higher up. Pinnacle Ridge Lower Section Approaching the Slabbier Rocks Pinnacle Ridge Lower Section Approaching the Slabbier Rocks It was pretty speedy, moving up the ridge at this point as you can see from this clip. Pinnacle Ridge Rob Blackwell Belaying with Josef Frank Pinnacle Ridge Rob Blackwell Belaying with Josef Frank The ridge has got a sort of crux (ish) corner where a rock climbing rope comes in handy for most, in these conditions. There’s a very comfy stance for the onlookers. Pinnacle Ridge with Ian bringing up the others on an Italian Hitch from a sling belayed to a solid spike backed up with another solid nut. Pinnacle Ridge with Ian bringing up the others on an Italian Hitch from a sling belayed to a solid spike backed up with another solid nut. Plenty of belays if you do want the rope on these sections. Looking down Pinnacle Ridge to the Gun Barrel Rock from the top of the corner Looking down Pinnacle Ridge to the Gun Barrel Rock from the top of the corner The prominent gun barrel is the ley landmark for locating the ridge from below- and it’s not too sahbby from above either. Pinnacle Ridge with Rob playing the Mixed game Pinnacle Ridge with Rob playing the Mixed game For a minute or two Rob was enjoying his own version of the Hurting 😉 Pinnacle Ridge- The Pinnacle itself gives a tasty few moves of down climbing when it’s got a bit of snow plastered on it. Pinnacle Ridge- The Pinnacle itself gives a tasty few moves of down climbing when it’s got a bit of snow plastered on it. The Pinnacle that gives the route its name. It’s a great situation especially looking back from the next step. Pinnacle Ridge Sunset and a silly long walk out via Fairfield and Seat Sandal Pinnacle Ridge Sunset and a silly long walk out via Fairfield and Seat Sandal It was a stunning day which was perfectly finished off by the spectacular sunset into which we walked. No gnarly hair shirt experience this, just a jolly, amiable giggle with three good mates on a simple classic route on one of winter’s “jewel days”!...

A Lofoten Classic – Vestpillaren of Presten

By on Aug 18, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

After another summer of trying to scratch a living and very little rock climbing fun, I came across this video of one of Lofoten’s classic climbs. Vestpillaren of Presten. Over the years I’ve heard a few people mention this as a classic route – one to do. Overall it appears that the grade is around E1 5b for the cruxy bits, with a few bolt belays on the first 3 or 4 pitches. In total the route is about 470m tall and goes in 12 pitches. It looks as if there is really good quality granite on the route, so that trad ropework should cover everything. Descent is via a scramble off to one side. fetching up on a beach with blueberries!! Not sure who the 2 norwegian lads are but it looks like they had a fantastic day out! 18/08/2011

Petzl Counterfeit Warning

By on May 22, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The whole counterfeit culture affecting high value consumer goods is a pretty familiar problem. There are regular items in news programmes and in the papers pointing out the problems that can cause serious difficulties for manufacturers, distributors and customers. Sadly the problem has moved into the ralm of PPE for climbers and cavers. There have been a few “outbreaks” of counterfeit cancer affecting Petzl gear over the past year, so I just thought I’d fire out a heads up for anyone who happens by this blog. In the last year, Petzl have managed to trace back to sources in China and have had destroyed, moulds and facilities that were producing fake Tikka headlights. Recently though the problem took a more serious turn with these products being discovered as counterfeits. CROLL ascender (B16) CROLL ascender (B16) ASCENSION handled ascender (B17 R) – old, blue right-handed version ASCENSION handled ascender (B17 R) – old, blue right-handed version RESCUE pulley (P50) – old version RESCUE pulley (P50) – old version ATTACHE locking carabiner (M35 SL) ATTACHE locking carabiner (M35 SL) The four items pictured are all out in wild and don’t in any way conform to Petzl’s own stringent quality assurance. The worrying aspect here though is that in Petzl’s own words “…An end-user will not be able to tell the difference between these counterfeits and authentic Petzl products…” To try and reassure and safeguard their end users Petzl have produced a kind of flow chart to identify whether you have genuine Petzl kit. It is downloadable from Is my Petzl product authentic? View the whole of Petzl’s counterfeit alert ....

First Reactions to Ratho Wall

By on Apr 2, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Every spring, no matter how good my training for climbing on the indoor wall’s plastic rock climbing holds; it seems I have to learn how to rock climb all over again. After hearing about the Edinburgh International Climbing Centre at Ratho for several years I finally visited it in the aftermath of a long winter’s day on the Ben. Having trekked up Tower Ridge on the Saturday for the 4th or 5th time and suffered a long hold up at the infamous Tower Gap, my little unfit legs were knackered. I’d have been game to try something outdoors if the weather had been up to much, but a damp and warm February drizzle-sky suggested there were better things to do. So- off we trekked south and east to Edinburgh to sample the delights of the “refurbished quarry” that makes up the Edinburgh International Climbing Centre. I have to say – I was pretty gobsmacked! Especially by the tower on the right wall. This little set of video clips gives a feel of my first impressions. Martin, Charlie, John, Steve and Harmony provide the entertainment....

Assisted Braking Belay Devices

By on Mar 4, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The UKC newsletter popped up in the inbox today and they had an excellent review of the new generation of “smart” belay devices. For years we’ve been used to seeing the good old Grigri at climbing walls, sports crags and instructed venues. It’s quite worrying to think it’s been kicking around for the last 20 odd years. However, a few months ago I met Eddy. Eddy? Who; might you ask, is Eddy? That’d be Eddy le Rid. Edelrid have put a potentially bone breaking device on the market as well. Bone breaker… does that mean it doesn’t work? Not at all: but you wouldn’t want to drop one on a rock shoed toe! Assisted braking belay devices – UKC from UKClimbing.com TV on Vimeo. A couple of the boys at the Foundry have put together a video review of five contenders for the money in your wallet. They have reviewed – complete with “death defying” falls; the new Petzl Grigri 2; The above mentioned Eddy from Eddy le Rid; the Click Up from Climbing Technology; the Smart Belay from Mammut and the Cinch from Trango. These are all belay devices with the auto lock function and they all seem to work, if there’s been no smoke and mirrors in the video production 😉 What is useful in this video is the comparison of the 5 devices and their subtle differences in operation. Take a look and get your wallets ready! You can get the full lowdown at UKC’s Gear Review section....

So How Strong is a Rock Climbing Rope

By on Mar 1, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I came across this little video snippet explaning how strong a rock climbing rope actually is. Funny how the cousins across the pond still insist on working in pounds! There’s a nice little bit of physics tucked in here as well, which explains what those little KN labels across all your load bearing gear mean. 1033941494 In plain English, what that means is that 1KN is the force of (i.e. the weight of) 100kg of stuff. Now I only weigh around 72 Kg in my shreddies, so my weight is well less than a1 KN. A lot of load bearing climbing gear is rated at upwards of 22 KN. For instance my nice shiny new climbing rope is a beal cobra 1/03/2011