I love my job, working with climbers, selling climbing gear to climbers, its mega. Usually I’m pleased for mid week days off too - quiet crags. But recently there has been a team of climbers who all head out on cold winter days and stack the pads high to climb safely the routes we would never dare to without. It may not be ethical but it sure is fun. This always happens at weekends when I’m always working. Now most of the time I’m ok with it, but when pictures and videos came on Facebook of every man and his dog climbing and falling off Narcissus (E6 6B without pads or highball Font 7A with) at Froggatt, my jealousy levels were very high. How can I get enough pads together on a wet week day? There just aren't enough people free and certainly not willing, or are there?
Last Thursday was not a nice day, super windy, cold and pretty wet, but I can be persuasive! I managed to convince Jamie and Nick that the crag would be dry and it would be fun. Oddly, they agreed. Drew (who now works for Beta Climbing Designs) was next on my list. He, of course, was meant to be at work but as he now supplies Snap Pads I somehow talked him into it being a product testing/photo day. It was game on! I am very thankful to all these guys who didn’t even really fancy the route, especially Jamie who ran back to get the camera I had left in the van, oops! Thanks Jamie.
We warmed up, this was easier said than done in the crazy wind and odd sleet shower. I went up Oedipus, Ring Your Mother (E4 6b or Highball Font 6B+) first, which felt great with a tonne of pads. Nick went up next but with his bad circulation simply couldn't cope with not feeling his hands as the snow hammered across us. BBBBRRRR!!
Finally we decided to get on with it, then my heart sank, it chucked it down and all of Narcissus was soaked. I thought I was going to miss it again, it was about 2.45pm, everyone thought it must be game over and started packing up. I had to get persuasive again, I’m really pretty optimistic but this was pushing it. I said “give it 20 minutes it will be dry”. 25 minutes later it was about dry so we stacked the pads and set about it. My thoughts were of Bancroft, climbing this pad-less in the 70’s, MASSIVE balls! Having seen the videos I had a fair bit of beta and on my first proper go I was on the finishing jug very high above the sea of pads, but I felt too stretched. As normal I’d lanked it. I was off. The air rushes pretty fast at that height and speed, wallop. The Snap Wrap takes full impact, nothing hurts. That pad is amazing!
The others had a play but had way more sense. I had another go and the same happens. I’m getting nervous now, I’ve convinced these guys to carry all these pads for me and the sun is nearly setting, tick tock. I wait for my heart to calm down and then set off knowing it would probably be my last go. I carefully place my feet this time knowing where i need to be. Third time lucky. Pulling on to the ledge with the sun setting at the end of a tiring day felt awesome. I thought I’d missed the boat but instead the guys helped me join the send train.
As they say “you get by with a little helps from your friends”. Thanks so much boys. Here’s to the next Grit Pad Party!
Snow's here, and no the Kinder Downfall is definitely not 'in' so don't even bother asking. It's all about Mam Tor anyway, that chossy pile of rubble that suddenly looks quite appealing with its winter coat on. Unfortunately this is the shop's busiest time of year, we're all in work, and the temperature is due to rise imminently. So it's out the door before 7 and straight up Winnats Pass for a look.
Mam Tor - thawing rapidly even before dawn
It's a balmy 4 degrees in the valley, and with the Tor shrouded in insulating cloud it doesn't look good. But there's a small patch of snow clinging to the left wall of the gully. If you want to climb something, we'd recommend heading over to Back Tor, it faces north and should have held the snow better, although we didn't have time to check it out.
No need for crampons, just kick into the snow, one axe to steady yourself and watch out for rubble!
Topping out into the mist
And the run back to the car, just as the sun rises. Looks like another awesome day in the Peak!
Here is the video of "Patiently Waiting" 7A at Stanage Plantation.
This was my first ever first ascent and I'm pretty pleased with it. I guessed it must have been climbed before but apparently not, mega. My ascent was fairly scrappy (as normal for me), very much due to lack of core strength, sloppy technique and lots of scrittle. Its now cleaner and watching stronger people climb it with nice sequences, its clearly even better than I first thought! Great work Kyle on a quick second ascent and nice video. To quote Mr Climbing himself Rob Greenwood "Great little problem, should become a modern classic at the grade".
Link to ukc logbook for all you tickers: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=348118
Here's Kyle climbing it in daylight:
Head to it, it's great!
Outside's resident winter climbing expert, the aptly named Jon Winter, takes us through his top selection of Christmas Gifts for Perverts Winter Climbers.
Need more inspiration? Check our full Gift Guide
Petzl : Lim Ice £62.50
Sharpening your ice screws is a fiddly job. Get the angles wrong and you may as well not bother. Unfortunately, fickle UK ice conditions means bottoming out is easily done. The Petzl Lim Ice is brilliantly simple and works on all standard diameter screws. Portable enough to start up every route with razor sharp screws.
If you’re rapping off multiple Abalakov threads, this clever jig makes sure your holes are aligned, and comes with a threader to make it easy to poke your tat through with a sharp serrated edge to cut it to length.
Probably the best crampons in the world. Definitely the most versatile, you can set them up as monos or dual points (with the points long, short or offset) and they come with both a wire toe bail and a flexible front binding so they should fit almost any mountaineering boot.
It's pretty standard to get through at least one pair of gloves in a season, either by shredding them or dropping one, so a new pair is always appreciated. These aren't the warmest by any means, but they are incredibly dextrous and dry out quickly. The leather palm is aggressively curved for gripping your shaft. Our top glove for the serious mixed climber.
An aluminium tube saves a lot of weight over a steel ice screw, these are around 30% lighter than the standard Laser Speed. The business end is still steel though, so it'll bite into the ice and can be re-sharpened.
Jez has been running rings around the Peak for years - here's his list of the best Christmas presents for the runner in your life. If you need more choices, why not check out the full Gift Guide for Runners?
Let’s start with the big one. I’ve been lucky enough to have been loaned a Fenix 2 to run with this summer. It is a phenomenal piece of equipment, and I’ve only used a small proportion of its capabilities. Although it is large, it is light and fits securely, so even on my skinny wrist it was comfortable. The main screen gives you all the info you need at a glance and when you get home and plug in, Garmin Connect gives you enormous amounts of data to digest – linking it to a heart rate monitor would be even better.
In summary; expensive but brilliant!
I bought mine 2 years ago and it has been a perfect purchase. It does everything you could want; it is superbly comfortable and stable, it holds a lot of kit, the 2 x 500ml soft flasks are perfectly positioned and work really well and it’s still in good condition.
I would choose to wear this for virtually any length of run where I need to take clothing, food and drink – it has no downside that I can see.
Whilst the RXP doesn’t have the power of the latest Petzl Nao, this is more than adequate for most running activities. What it does share with the Nao is the reactive lighting, the programmability and the rechargeable L-ion battery. The 6 different lighting modes (3 x reactive and 3 x constant plus red) cover all options and are more than adequate for moving quickly over rough ground. Although all the weight is at the front, the split rear headband works really well at keeping the torch steady and is very easy to adjust on the move. For longer events, taking a spare rechargeable battery (£20.50) is worth it as well.
A running gaiter is easy to overlook but on longer runs and events, it is well worth it. It will stop the vast majority of grit, stones, vegetation, snow and sand from getting into your shoes and causing inevitable discomfort or damage. Your ankle bones also get some protection and some insulation. These are neat and well fitted and will make a difference.
Most beanies are fine for running but this one has had a lot more thought put into it. The crown has a nylon shell to increase wind resistance and has a stretch fit, whilst the headband is Merino wool with a small amount of stretch, so you stay warm and can hear everything you need to. It also drops low over the ears and the nape of the neck. It’s light, warm and breathable but never too hot – really well designed.
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