Magnetic North


This summer we've gravitated north, much further north than we'd normally do. It became obvious that we'd have to start hitting the Northern Limestone one busy day at Shipwreck Cove. Eight-hour round trip from London only to have 3 half-baked attempts at Airshow (8a+), despite being first at the crag and last to leave. People and tides made me think that we'd be better off using those eight hours on the road going up north to the Yorkshire Dales. It's also convenient that I get on with the climbing at Kilnsey, rather than Malham, which made it an easy choice for the summer months.

I love that there's a set of dedicated regulars, a nice familiar sight every time we turn up. Each one of them in their own journey, fighting gravity all in their own ways. And that's what makes you feel part of this weird family, whatever the grade you climb at. That's the nice thing, 9a climbers hanging out with 7b climbers, all one big global family. And there's a lot to be said for their friendliness and welcoming attitude, after only a few weekends we felt like part of the gang. We get considered "locals" in many crags, so it's always amusing to see people's expression when they find out we are actually based in London.

The most important aspect to this big group of committed climbers is that I feed off their psyche. If you are struggling to try hard on your project, all you need to do is go for a walk and you are sure to come across someone giving their absolute everything and get inspired. Specially the older guys and girls, I find them way more inspiring than the younger hot shots. At the moment Viki and I are just punters at the crag, but with time and dedication I could ourselves becoming one of these seasoned crankers.

Ted Kingsnorth, the sign of true dedication. Show up, try hard.

In the last few weeks I've worked my way through the classic 7c's, like Metal Guru, Biological Need, Dominatrix and Comedy. Then I tried The Ashes (7c+) which felt hard as it's not my style. Then I tried Subculture (8a0 and felt that was really more my style I immediately I felt more tuned to that route. Not that I sent it in any fast fashion. It took me 4 full sessions over two weekends, and I really enjoyed the climbing and the process. I'm now working The Bulge, another 8a, which so far I had two sessions on it.

A happy van. Unless the cows come down to lick the Pembroke sea salt off the van at 5am. They like coastal salt, they don't get much up here. Why they do it at 5am and not 9am I'm just not sure, but I don't enjoy running around in my boxer shorts scaring cows away so I can go back to sleep.

I really like this set below of John Lawson on Subculture (F8a):

I had a little blip last weekend and went to Nesscliffe to try and see how I got on with My Piano (E8). Not much to report other than I did it clean a few times on top rope but didn't have the balls to lead it. A fall could have a been likely, I didn't have the route fully wired yet, but didn't want to ruin my trip to Rumney USA because a sprained ankle, or worse. The route will be there next time and I hope to have grown some balls and be less shit at trad/headpointing.

New Hampshire

Linking Stones