Gaia E8 6c

Gaia is a climb that evokes fear and embodies my perception of hard Gritstone climbing. It has really tenuous and dropable moves in a position where I didn’t really want to fall.

My intention was to attempt Gaia ground up, the idea was that Mike would have a little look at the moves and let me know how they felt before my burn. On Mikes flash attempt he got passed the hard and powerful start and high up into the groove here he decided not to climb into the precarious position where we had seen so many videos of many top climbers taking the fearsome lob, he climbed down a few moves and he was off. The gear in the bottom of the groove ripped and he took a floor scraping fall.

Mikes fall really spooked me so we both decided to top rope the route first. I had a few goes on the top rope, the bottom crux to a while to work out and I wanted to get the top crux sussed so as not fluff it on the lead.

After working the moves I was ready for the lead. Standing at the bottom I was so “in the zone” that I forgot to don my helmet. The first crux went down smoothly and moving up the rib into the groove was a joy on the ice cold slopers and dishes. As I placed my right foot on the key foot hold out right I realised that my helmet was missing, thinking about my helmet made me loose my concentration momentarily. Up there on those tenuous smears is the last place you want to loose focus. My leg began to shake. I reeled my mind in, moved out to “the sloper”, flicked my toe to the arete and climbed the route to the top. At the top I celebrated my ascent by wiping a tear of relief from my eye.

We finished off the day with a bit of bouldering. The conditions were so good that everything we tried felt pretty easy. The problems we climbed included Non Stick Vicar 7B+ and Route 66 7C.

Mike Goldthorp on Non Stick Vicar 7B+

Mammut Masterclass at The Foundry

Kickstart a new year of climbing with a masterclass from Mammut Pro Team members and Team Mammut UK


Mammut Pro Team climbers, Jakob Schubert and Anna Stöhr are heading to the UK later this month and for a series of masterclasses.  Jakob will be offering tips to lead climbers whilst Anna will be on the bouldering room.  Whether you’ve just started out or are a seasoned climber get in touch to reserve your space!


Check out masterclass times on the Foundry website or their facebook page then call the Foundry to register.  The Foundry will take names up to Tuesday 22nd January then pick the names of those in each masterclass  out of a chalk bag!  There are four spaces in each class and six classes in total.


FREE entry to the Foundry and freebies for masterclass students

Win a place in one of these classes and you’ll get free entry to The Foundry for the day plus a free Mammut goody bag


Spot prizes and giveaways

Mammut will be dishing out random spot prizes and giveaways all afternoon – stickers, pens, toys, beanies!


Cash prize routes

The guys at The Foundry will be setting a couple of fiendishly hard routes – whoever gets the highest gets some cold hard cash!


Harness and belay device demos

We’ll have a range of climbing harnesses and belay kit from Mammut to try out.


Mammut Climbing Challenge

The all-new Mammut climbing challenge will be up and running with prizes a plenty!  Twelve routes both top rope and lead from 5+ to 8b will be set for you to try.


Team Mammut UK on hand form tips and advice

Cailean Harker, Ethan Walker, Jess McCaskey, Nathan Lee and Oli Grounsell will be on hand for advice.


Saturday 26th January from 2.00 – 6.00pm


For more information visit or call The Foundry on 0114 2796331.

Segre 8a Onsight



The second half of our trip was spent exploring many of the amazing crags that Cataluña has to offer. The top three crags we visited were Tres Ponts, Terradets and Siurana.

Tres Ponts

The main wall at Tres ponts is an amazing  and huge  55 meter  overhang which is littered with big flaky jugs, many of which are upside-down. The combination of steep walls and big undercut holds creates an arm blasting, pump inducing delight of a climbing venue. This coupled with its stunning location down by a river and the easy 3 minute walk in come together to produce a brilliant place to climb.

Bruixes Wall

Bruixes wall at Terradets is where we spent much of our time whilst in Spain. We arrived intending to spend 4 day there but left after 15. The beautiful Tufa and jug laden wall as well as the friendly and supportive atmosphere had us returning day after day. Many of the routes at Terradets follow a similar format and style, big rounded skin friendly jugs and huge dripping tufa systems, the routes are around 35 meters long and every route I climbed there was an absolute joy!

Jimmy Sundin on Bon Vitage 8a

Salt De Reina Mora

Siurana village is situated on the very top of the hill with the cliffs working as a magnificent natural defence for the village (I think this is the reason that Siurana was the last Moorish stronghold in Europe). The famous climbing at Siurana is on these cliffs.  I think Siurana is probably the most picturesque place we visited whilst in Spain and it is just a stunning place to climb. The climbing is generally on less steep walls than the other two destinations I have written about. The walls are a lovely orange colour and the predominant hold type is edges, cracks and crimps. The climbing a Siurana reminded me very much of the climbing at home (generally technical moves on small crimps) and was perhaps not quite as downright fun as the other two venues. That being said, the climbing suited me well so I enjoyed my time there.

I think if I had to choose one desert island crag out of every crag we visited it would have to be Terradets, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are wanting to climb routes below 7a+.

After concentrating on onsighting for the first part of the trip I planned to put some effort into redpointing for the last month or so. At Terradets I climbed Golpe de Gas 8b. This route starts off in classic Terradets style, with lots of tufas and big holds for 30 very pumpy meters. The last 5 meters consist of a tricky boulder problem using two very small crimps which would weigh in at about Font 7A. The boulder problem was fairly steady on its own, but coming at it pumped made the final move to a blind pocket tricky to stick. On my first redpoint I fell with my hand in the last hold. The route took me four more days to complete and ended up being an exercise in resting as much as climbing so you arrived at the boulder problem as fresh as possible. In the end it was as much relief as joy and satisfaction to catch the finishing hold.

In Siurana I made fairly quick work of Ramadan 8b managing to haul myself up it 2nd redpoint. I am happy to be feeling steadier at this grade. Ramadan is a spectacular route up an enticing orange streak and is defiantly one of the most beautiful lines I have climbed. Unfortunately I couldn’t make anything harder stick. I came agonisingly close on Renegoide 8b+ dropping the final hold twice but in the end illness and a lack of time thwarted my attempt.

Overall 2012 has been a great year and i cant wait to get 2013 started.

Here are some of my climbing highlights from the last year:

Hole Lotta Love E8 6c? First Ascent

Masters Edge E7 6b ground up

Ramadan 8b

Golpe de Gas 8b

Segre 8a onsight

El Latido del Miedo 8a onsight

The Bridge of Khazared Dum 7C+?

Who do you say I am E5 6c Highball

I have also had my first year being sponsoured by Mammut, it has been a joy to use their quality gear on all of my ascents.

Happy New Year. I hope everyone achieves their goals in 2013.


8a – It’s The Magic Number

There is just something special about this random and fairly meaningless (if your not a climber) number! My life time climbing ambitions was to climb a route rated with this absurd configuration of one number (8) and one letter (a). As my climbing improved my goals changed and I aspired to climb 8a whilst I was still 18, a goal I missed by just two days. After climbing 8a my goal changed again, 8a second go, two 8a’s in one day, 8a flash and finally and 8a onsight.

We have been in the absolutely stunning Catalunya Provence of Spain for one week. There are stunning limestone cliffs covered in tufa’s, crimps and jugs everywhere. For the last week I have concentrated on onsight climbing, with an 8a onsight being the final goal. This area is the perfect place for people wanting to concentrate on onsight climbing because if you fall off one 8a you just pull your rope, move two meters right/left and try again.

After onsighting a few slightly easier routes at Tres Ponts I climbed the stunning route Segre 8a onsight. This route is an incredible 55 meter jug ridden journey through some pretty steep ground. If you climb the route to the first lower off at 35 meters the route is graded 7c+ but if you push on through the pump for the following 20 meters you can reward yourself with the 8a tick.Buzzing with post route psych I jumped on Alt Urgell intending to go for the 7c first lower off, arriving there and feeling fresh I continued on to the top for my second 8a onsight in as many tries!

Segre 8a Onsight

At Terradets I onsighted the classic El Latido Del Miedo 8a. This route is very different to the routes at Tres Ponts. It is a fairly brutal 30 meter affair with a brilliant finale on a beautiful tufa system.

Jimmy Sundin Pulling through the lower crux of El Latido del Miedo 8a

I now feel I have come full circle in my relationship with the meaningless number, 8a!

How do the grades compare to the UK I hear you cry?!

I don’t think the routes out here in Spain are less difficult than other routes in general. I just think they are easier to climb. The sequences are easier to read, the holds are generally bigger but the routes are long, sustained and athletic!

Anyway, enough about grades! Lets go climbing

Road tripping!

I think the road tripping life suites me! The routine is broken down into two distinct sections. Number 1; climbing days, number 2; rest days. Simples. Climbing days usually start at about 7:16 am, I wake up with hand sequences, foot sequences and body positions buzzing through my head from the day before. Drop near here, foot swap there, clip, chalk up, shake out, chalk up and inevitably fall off incredibly pumped. Any way first things first, out comes the newly acquired Kindle, I have read 8 books in the 4 weeks I have been tripping. That’s about as many books as I have read ever before. I read until breakfast. Breakfast is either pancakes, cereal, poached or fried eggs on toast and coffee (tea for Hannah). After breakfast more kindle.

The climbing times are predicted by weather, where we are and how sore the muscles are feeling. At present we are in Buoux and climbing is best in the afternoon. We head to the crag for 12 ish and climb until tired.

So far we have visited Fontainebleau, it was hot which inevitably meant some very early starts to try and find some good conditions. Whilst there I worked on a few long standing projects and visited some new areas. The highlight for me was my first visit to the area of Petit Bois. In my opinion this is a must visit.

Next to Chamonix where we met up with a good friend and chilled out in the Park at Gaillands. Climbed a few routes there including a quick onsight of a 7c which I cant remember the name of.

After Chamonix we drove to Ailfroide near Briancon for some bouldering. Ailfroide is an amazing place. It offers quality bouldering, single and huge multi pitch routes, some big alpine peaks and a brand spanking new really fun Via ferrata up a gorge above the river. I used to live and work pretty close to here so it was nice to revisit, felt like coming home. We played on the boulders for a few days and did the Via ferrata.

Next we visited Ceuse for one whole day! (Disgraceful I know, you will have to ask Hannah about that! I think it had something to do with the approach.) I climbed a few cool routes onsight.

We have also visited Sisteron, Orpierre, Volx and Annot.

Looking forward to Spain. More info to follow.

European Outdoor Film Tour

Check out the European Outdoor Film tour co sponsoured by Mammut.

They will be in Bristol on the 27th of November

Sunday 25th – Manchester

Monday 26th – Glasgow

Wednesday 28th – London check out their website.

Name That Problem!

Name the problems in the photos to show off your bouldering Knowledge!





Shinta Ozawa on the same problem.




Some other photos

First Breakfast in the van

The van of "Dreams"

How good is your French?



Mallorca DWS

So the idea was to have a budget pre trip warm up trip. The team consisted of Mike Goldthorp, Rose, Hannah and I. We found some super cheap flights to the paradise island of Mallorca and instantly thought of psycobloc.

The first night was spent in the airport smoking garden on a lovely soft piece of grass under a tree after eating some delicious grub at Angela’s pizzeria. The next morning we go the bus across the island to the beautiful town of Porto Cristo, from here it was a short taxi ride and a long walk to our home for the next 10 days, Cala Barques. We found a nice place to pitch up on the hillside overlooking the bay and made it into home.

Beautiful Cala Barques

Cova Del Diablo

We whiled away the first few days getting back into the dws mind frame on the classic routes at the Cova, highlights include an onsight of Klem’s erection 7b and the amazing Might of the Stalactite 7a. We also explored the Metrosexual and the Snatch area. In the Metro sexual cave we climbed all of the routes except Homosexual, because that had a pretty bad drop zone. I managed to climb Bandito 7c onsight. This route had a really cool starting sequence with a jump off to small pinches to a flat hold and a hard move right at the top, which nearly saw me off. I then turned my attention to Smash It In 8a, a really steep roof problem leading into the finish of Bandito with its hard final move. After a few splash downs working the sequence I got it on my third go. Get in.

We then visited Cova Del Diablo which is a stunning towering cliff with some amazing routes to be climbed quite a few meters above the sea. I onsighted the classic Afroman 7b which pulls out of a massive roof on jugs but has a spicy sting in the tail. Mike and I took many splash downs from the dyno on Loskot and Two Smoking Barrels but after about 15 goes Mike managed to latch it only to discover the route is by no means over there and he took a good 15 meter fall from the top crux. To get out I climbed the Lobster 6c which was the most terrifying thing I have ever done. I only just managed to pull through the final roof with sweaty hands and shaking legs 18 meters above the drink! I loved the experience so much I went back for another innings with Surfer Dead 6c; this ascent was altogether more relaxed.

Back at Baques we ventured over to the fearsome 22 meter Tarantino cave where we did a not so smooth ascent of Kill Bill Vol 1 7b.

Rehearsing the moves on Kill Bill Vol 1

We managed to climb 9 days in a row. This feat was achieved by only climbing for short sessions, not really more than 3 hours a day and relaxing a lot on the beach or in the sea.


Of great interest and amusement were the tortoises which seemed to really like eating poo!

For me the highlight of the trip was watching a French dude climb his long term project Transversal 7a. He had been trying this route all trip and on his last day with tired arms and sore skin he managed to climb the route just before his departure. This left the whole of Sa Cova buzzing with psych.

Vid to come.

Bring on France

The Empire Strikes Back

Today I climbed The Empire Strikes Back 8a+ at Cheddar gorge. I climbed the route in two short sessions it probably took 5 or 6 redpoint goes. It was really nice to climb this route just before leaving for my European climbing trip because I was under the impression that I was pretty out of shape from all the work/not climbing that I have been doing. Hopefully this ascent will inspire me to greater things on the continent. I look forward to trying the extention to this route  “Death Star” 8c on my return. Ed climbed Homegrown today as well. It was really nice to see some hard routes go down, gets the psych pumping.

Bring on Mallorca

On My Travels

Its been a little while since I posed on there. I have been travelling away with work for the past month or so.

I had a pretty mega long trip to Morocco, spending a month trekking it around the same valley for the whole time. It was hot. At 2500 meters temps were reaching 40 degs, which isn’t great for trekking, or anything else for that matter. For me the trip basically involved cleaning up and dealing with copious amounts of vomit and diarrhoea whilst playing doctor for several weeks. There was some good bits though, beautiful food, nice scenery and friendly people.

At the end of the trip we travelled back to Marrakech  ready for our flight out the next day. I had survived a whole month in Morocco without getting ill, which everyone including myself considered a miracle, but as soon as I got into the hotel room and booted up the air con down to 22 deg my insides started to feel a bit dodgy. To cut a long story short I then lost 1.5 stone in 4 days. Savage.

Which brings me onto climbing (yay), its been a while. You would have thought loosing that much weight and trekking around at 3000 meters for 30 days would make you pretty fit, but not so. The first session back was a bit of a shock, I felt lame and weak. Getting back into it now though.

Last week I was up in Pembroke on a family visit. I spent the days working with my dad helping him out with a few jobs but fortunately it was spring tides so in the evening I managed to get out for a few hours DWS ing. First off we went to Kato Zawn near Penally. There are some lovely routes here. The down climb which is  4+ is delightful and can be climbed in conjunction with the 5 to create a pretty cool circular adventure. The 6a is a little scary above the trench, the 7a was wet and the 7a+ was a strange one with just a few awkward moves.

I had the rockfax deepwater guide with me and in this there is one line described as a project with a very thin move on the headwall. I gave it a go from the bottom, and managed to climbing it to the top, onsight, happy days! The route is more like a boulder problem really, with a some tricky moves a little way above the sea. From the bottom of the cliff you climb up the 5 before venturing up the blank headwall. From jugs and undercuts on the 5 take a small pockety pinch with the right hand, left hand up to very thin crimpy slot, big move with right hand to small flat crimp, run your feet up the wall until easier climbing and the top is reached. After speaking to both Neil Gresham and Mike Robertson I believe this was the first ascent of the route

With regards to the grade it probably weighs in at about 7b or 7b+ but a boulder grade might be more appropriate at 7a ish. For the line see the route marked project in the Deep water guide.

The following evening we popped over to Barrel zawn near St Davids and had a great evening climbing the routes on this funky little wall.

All of this DWS has got me super psyched to do some more, oh wait a minute, I fly to Mallorca for 10 days of DWS fun next Monday. Cannot wait for that.

The van is coming along nicely. it know has a bed, lights, internal power for the laptop and things, almost a kitchen and lots of storage. The big trip is coming up and the van will be ready. Bring it on!