THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013

Everest Celebrations

©Les Haines

Mount Everest has been in the public eye like never before in the last few weeks. People all over the world have been finding ways of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of the world's highest mountain by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Here at Outside we've been doing our own Everest themed activities, and as you might expect we've done things a bit differently.

To kick things off we had the idea of doing a '60 for 60' challenge, bravely climbing one ***, classic, quality, fun (maybe with the exception of The Vice) local gritstone route for every year since the first ascent. Sadly like a true Himalayan expedition a combination of: weather conditions, injuries and altitude sickness (aka laziness) meant they didn't quite all get done in time. But a special mention should go to James, to whom the ticklist was like a red rag to a bull. He ticked all 60 (VDiff to E5) with over a week to spare!

Rob on Great North Road

We tried to gather photographic evidence of every route being done, but sadly some ascents took place away from prying eyes and others have yet to be collected. A gallery of as many as can be mustered will be put together shortly. Watch this space!

Crag Route Grade Challenger Photos
Stanage The Vice E1 5b Alex
Stanage Surgeon's Saunter HVS 5b  
Stanage The Lamia E2 5b, 5c James, Alex
Stanage Terazza Crack HVS 5b  
Stanage Goosey Goosey Gander E5 6a James
Stanage Right Hand Tower HVS 5b Steve
Stanage Kelly's Overhang HVS 5b  
Stanage Quietus E2 5c Drew
Stanage High Neb Buttress VS 4c Hannah
Stanage Count's Buttress E2 5c  
Stanage Count's Crack VS 4c John W
Stanage Fern Crack VS 5a    
Stanage Wall End Slab VS 5a Dick  
Stanage Goliath's Groove HVS 5a Dick
Stanage Tower Crack HVS 5a Dick
Stanage Tower Chimney E1 5b Dick
Stanage Calvary E4 6a Alex
Stanage Left Unconquerable E1 5b Steve
Stanage Right Unconquerable HVS 5a Phil P
Stanage B.A.W.'s Crawl HVS 5a Phil P
Stanage The Scoop HVS 5a John  
Stanage Martello Buttress HS 4b Hannah
Stanage Hell Crack VS 4c Paul  
Stanage Heaven Crack VDiff Luke  
Stanage The Link E1 5b John W
Stanage Mississippi Buttress Direct VS 4c Jez  
Stanage The Asp E3 6a Drew
Stanage Inverted V VS 4c Hannah
Stanage Hargreave's Original Route VS 4c Dan
Stanage April Crack HS 4b Tim
Stanage Queersville HVS 5a Dan  
Stanage Flying Buttress Direct E1 5b Drew
Stanage The Dangler E2 5c Alex  
Stanage The Tippler E1 5b Drew  
Burbage North The Knight's Move HVS 5a Rob
Burbage North Amazon Crack HS 4a Paul
Burbage South Brook's Crack HVS 5a  
Burbage South Byne's Crack VS 4b Tim
Higgar Tor The File VS 4c Paul
Higgar Tor The Rasp E2 5b James
Millstone Plexity HVS 5a Dick
Millstone Great North Road HVS 5a Rob
Millstone Bond Street HVS 5a Rob
Millstone Great Portland Street HVS 5b John W
Millstone Regent Street E2 5c James
Lawrencefield Great Harry VS 4c Dan
Lawrencefield Billy Whizz E2 5c Alex
Froggatt Valkyrie HVS 5a, 5a  
Froggatt Brown's Eliminate E2 5b  
Froggatt The Big Crack E2 5b  
Froggatt Chequer's Buttress HVS 5b Jez
Cratcliffe Fern Hill E2 5c Gabriel
Cratcliffe Five Finger Exercise E2 5c Gabriel
Cratcliffe Suicide Wall HVS 5b Steve
Curbar P.M.C. 1 HS 4a Tim  
Curbar Elder Crack E2 5b Chris
Curbar Green Crack HVS 5b  
Curbar Maupassant HVS 5a  
Curbar L'Horla E1 5b Steve
Curbar The Peapod HVS 5b  

Then on the anniversary itself a cake of Himalayan proportions showed up at the shop. The monster chocolate sponge took the form of a topographical relief map of the Everest massif with enough ground covered to plot out the 1953 route. A mightily impressive 135 eggs went into its construction and a van belonging to a member of staff had to be requisitioned to transport it. Amazingly it was all the work of Emily who works at our Hathersage café, some of you may remeber her awesome gingerbread version of the Hathersage shop from Christmas.

The cake was intact for a matter of hours before it was demolished for the benefit of hungry shoppers (and staff). There may still be some left if you pop in any time in the next 9 months.

On the same day on the other side of the world, mountain renaissance man Tom Richardson was taking part in 'the world's highest marathon'. The full marathon distance takes the runners from Everest base camp down to Namche Bazaar. We've been eagerly refreshing the results page on the website to see how he got on, but no news yet unfortunately.

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013
By Simon Kimber
Web Editor

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Simon Kimber
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Fred Whitton

Fred Whitton, an innocuous, northern sounding name really, but one that strikes fear and dread into the heart of cyclists.

The Fred Whitton is one of the original UK Sportives, which are ostensibly non-competitive cycling challenges that can be undertaken by a broad spectrum of people. However, there are timing chips and results pages, so not everybody is entirely taken in by the non-competitive façade. The facts of this particular horror are simple: 1700 entrants, 112 miles, 4000m of climbing over 5 big passes and quite a few smaller ones.

There was no getting away from it, the weather forecast was poor, and due to get worse later on, which is how I found myself turning the pedals over the start line at the ungodly hour of 6.30am. The route pulls no punches, and after less than a mile rises steeply up over Hawkshead Hill. I am sure that many participants find it worrying that after such a short time they are already grovelling in their lowest gear, and on an unsung hill too. I had done the event a couple of times previously though, so I knew the score and was expecting the pain in my sleepy, porridge filled legs. As such I was also relatively sure about completing the course, but I was very, very keen to get round in under 7 hours having failed to do so previously.

Leading the pack at Matterdale End

Our little peloton of 8 Sheffield climbers-turned-roadies worked reasonably well together, over Kirkstone Pass, Matterdale End and along the perma-headwind of the A6 into Keswick. The first casualty dropped out here as Miles punctured, and in the true spirit of the road nobody even blinked as he forlornly pulled over and shouted ‘I’ll catch you up later…’.

After the steep part on Honister (September 2009)

Next out the back door was Waljit, snapping a chain on the evil start to Honister Pass (the very same chain that he snapped on the Etape du Dales last year apparently, what are the chances…?). Then Andy punctured on the steep, fast descent from the Honister Pass slate mine. Our numbers were dwindling fast and I had a sneaking suspicion that domestiques might be very useful in the coming miles, especially over Cold Fell, into the strong westerly that had been evident all day.

Newlands Pass (September 2009)

We skipped the first feed station entirely, knowing that about 100m after the sandwiches, tea and cake of Buttermere YHA the road turned right and steeply up over Newlands Pass, no place for a full belly. Next was Whinlatter, probably my least favourite of all the passes, maybe because of the gradient changes, or maybe just because on the Whitton it's the gateway to the forgotten section, the 30km or so to Calder Bridge. There are no named passes, but there are not many flat bits either, and the invitingly named Fang Brow and Cold Fell are bleak places at the best of times but now the rain was pouring out of the sky, and the wind was blasting it straight into our faces. By now there was only myself and Rich left out front, and his Mountain Guide manliness was of far more use in these conditions than my warm Majorcan training miles. We worked together, soaked to the skin, over the fell and down to the second feed. This time we did stop, albeit briefly, to grab a sandwich and refill a bottle before heading off to the finale of Hardknott and Wrynose. Looking at the timing sheets later it seems that many people either spent a long time at that feed station trying in vain to warm up and dry off, or simply abandoned all together.

The middle section of Hardknott

Top of Hardknott (September 2009)

By the time we reached the phone box and the rather intimidating 30% sign at the bottom of Hardknott Rich had pulled away from me a little, and we slogged, ground, fought and winched our way upward in our own cold, damp world. I was carefully measuring out the force I was pushing down on the pedals with; enough to keep moving but not enough to induce the cramp that was circling my legs ready to pounce at any moment.  There was no relaxing on the rain slick, gravelly descent either and cold, tired hands worked over time on the brakes just to get down safely. This was to be the scene of many crashes later in the day apparently. Although I could see Rich up ahead all the way up the valley to Wrynose I only made small inroads into his lead and he topped out well ahead of me with about 6.30 hours showing on my computer. We knew that it was 30 minutes or so from the top of Wrynose to the finish, so sub 7 hours was a definite possibility. As I raced towards the finish line I kept looking down at the numbers on my Garmin, trying to guess exactly how long we had spent in the feed station, how much time I really had in hand.

Wrynose with Hardknott descent behind (September 2009)

The marshall at the finish line had to fumble under my wet sleeves to reach my timing chip, as I was in no state to do it myself, and in fact both legs cramped tight the moment I stopped pedalling, which along with the uncontrollable shivering no doubt made me a pretty pathetic sight. All was forgotten however as she handed me an innocuous little chit of paper. 6:59:48.

Tim works at Outside

By Tim Russon
Climbing & Clothing Buyer

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Tim Russon
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FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013

60 for 60

©Les Haines

As some of you may have noticed we are approaching a big anniversary of the first ascent of Everest and lots of people are celebrating in lots of different ways. So we have racked our brains to see how we could have some fun related to the 60 years that have passed, the 8848 metres/29,029 feet above sea level, or indeed any other tenuous statistic.

29,029 feet worth of routes climbed on Stanage? Too many belays to set up
8848 metre run? Too precise
1953 mile team run? Too late to start
60 minute run? Too short
60 mile run? Too far
60 routes in a day? Ron Fawcett doesn't work for Outside
60 routes as a team? Not too bad
60 routes on local grit crags as a team? Sounds good
60 classic routes on local grit crags as a team before May 29th? Perfect

So possibly with fun as more of a priority than epic suffering, a list has been drawn up of some of the best routes that our local crags have to offer. The 60 routes from VDiff to E5, taking in Stanage, Burbage North, Burbage South, Higgar Tor, Millstone, Lawrencefield, Froggatt, Curbar and Cratcliffe, have been divied up between everyone here.

We plan to get through them all before the anniversary, otherwise no one is allowed to get stuck into a very special topographically correct cake of the Everest massif. There will be more on the cake later, but it will be from the same creator as the amazing gingerbread Outside so we are expecting big (literally) things.

You can read more about Emily's amazing creation here

A special mention should be made about a certain member of staff who is aiming to have them all done himself before the anniversary. James is already steaming his way through them and will probably be done by next week, although he will have to wait for the cake like everyone else.

James taking the challenge very seriously on Left Unconquerable

Another special mention should go to Tom Richardson who is running the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, 'probably the most adventurous trail run in the world' in his 60th year. The race will take place on the day of the 60th anniversary and cover the standard 26.09 miles from Everest Base Camp down to Namche Bazaar, losing almost 2km of altitude along the way.

More updates coming soon!

FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013
By Simon Kimber
Web Editor

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Simon Kimber
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