Category Archives: climbing

Fontainebleau – what the forest teaches?

Fontainebleau – what the forest teaches?
Every time I return from a bouldering trip to the forest of Fontainebleau, I feel like I am a better climber. Physical strength is important in climbing as is the mental side, but ‘Font’ seems to demand other elements too, elements that as climbers we often underestimate.

Paradise Regained: Deep Water Soloing in Mallorca

I have just returned from a Deep Water Soloing trip to Mallorca. The idea is that you climb the wonderful limestone cliffs, up to 15 metres high, without ropes and the sea is your safety net. It seemed de riguer to fall or jump in each day, just to get used to it. I must admit, I spent the first couple of days not falling in. It just seemed wrong!

‘On The Edge’ – 5 reasons I Love Ridge Climbs

I’ve always enjoyed reaching the summit of a mountain via a ridge climb. Whether working as a leader on a well-worn classic route or trying a first ascent, a good ridge lingers long in the memory. But what makes them so special?

The first day climbing – staying calm under pressure

Being a mountain guide is about being a leader, finding the way and making big decisions. But it is also about being a mentor, enabling others to be the best they can be.

One element I have always enjoyed is coaching people to rock climb. Sometimes people have climbed a lot and want to improve so they can realise a particular ambition, for others it is a completely new experience.

Lessons from Mont Blanc: How Europe’s highest peak taught me to deal with change.

One of the biggest challenges we face in life is dealing with change. It’s the same in the mountains.

To avoid accidents you need to see the world clearly, see the changes happening and then change your behaviour. When you are a novice just starting out, there is so much new information to interpret that it is hard to fully understand each situation.

Snow conditions and weather represent the two biggest elements of change in the mountains. In order to survive as an Alpinist, you need to gain enough experience to clearly interpret these.

5 Valuable things climbing on gritstone taught me!

I gave a speech at the Royal Geographical Society in London last month and I started by saying how the foundation of my climbing began on gritstone.

I always feel lucky that I learnt to climb on the gritstone edges of Derbyshire and Yorkshire. There is no better place to test yourself as a leader. People can be disparaging about the modest height of Stanage or Froggat Edge (20 metres or so, max) , but ironically that is what makes them so serious. On relatively small cliffs the ground is always close by, meaning even a short fall could end by smashing into the ground. And the ground beneath gritstone cliffs is not kind and often littered with sharp boulders.