Melting Mam Tor

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!

By Simon Kimber
Web Editor

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Patiently Waiting New 7A at Stanage Plantation

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!

By James Turnbull

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The Outside Winter Climbers Christmas Wishlist

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.

Black Diamond : First Shot £30.00

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.

Petzl : Lynx Crampons £179.00

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.

Outdoor Research : Lodestar Gloves £75.00

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.

Petzl : Laser Speed Light Ice Screw £63.00

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.

Black Diamond : Pecker from £18.00
The only peg you’ll ever need – perfect for iced and crud filled hairline cracks – works where a bulldog won’t. Size 3 is the most useful.

By Jon Winter
Climbing Gear Sales

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The Outside Runners Christmas Wishlist

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?

GarminFenix 2 £359.00

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!

SalomonS-Lab: Advanced Skin Hydro 12 £129.00

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.

Petzl: Tikka RXP £90.00

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.

Salomon: S-Lab Trail Gaiters High £31.00

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.

Smartwool: PhD Hyfi Training Beanie £28.00

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.

By Jez Portman
Footwear and Equipment Buyer

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The Outside Boulderers Christmas Wishlist

Not sure what Christmas gift to buy for a boulderer? Phil Parker (our web sales guy) wrote a letter to Santa. Sorry Phil, I don't think Santa got your letter despite the spiffy Christmas jumper; looks like you're getting a lump of grit, if you're lucky.

Need more inspiration? Check our full collection of Christmas Gifts for Boulderers

Dear Santa,

Aside from the incident that we don’t talk about which wasn’t technically my fault ANYWAY (despite what the policeman and my mother said) I have been a very good boy this year. Please may I have:

A new pair of Anasazi Pinks (£99.00), to improve my footwork and remove one of my few remaining excuses for being rubbish. They’re like a much better version of the Anasazi Verde, with an actual proper heel that fits!

A Lapis Brush (£5.00), the king of bouldering brushes, to gently clean my favourite projects and remove the tickmarks of unscrupulous pebble wrestlers. An excellent tool that no self-respecting boulderer should be without.

One of Mountain Equipment’s nice new Lumin Jackets (£169.00) to keep me warm whilst I’m undertaking the most time-consuming part of any winter bouldering session i.e. standing around watching other people try things first and stealing their beta. Water-resistant down is ideal for when rain stops play and the stitch-through construction means it packs away nice and small for those rare days when it turns out sunny after all.

A nice new belted chalk bag for those long traverses – maybe the Wild Country Grand Illusion (£14.00)? Pink for preference, but anything that makes me look good in photos will be fine. There’s even a handy little zipped pocket in case I manage to get a hands-off rest and need a snack.

Dave Flanagan’s Bouldering Essentials (£20.00) guide, so I can figure out exactly what I’m doing wrong (probably everything) and what I can do to improve (probably anything).

Dave Graham’s finger strength (preferably not still attached to Dave Graham) (priceless).

Thanks awfully,
Phil (aged 35 ¾)

By Phil Parker
Web Customer Service

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The Commute

Living in Sheffield and working in Hathersage, I must have one of the nicest commutes to work going. Always against the prevailing traffic, whether coming or going, and that view of the Hope Valley as you round the corner by Millstone (what's it called again, oh yeah...Surprise View) is rather marvellous. Unfortunately, my inability to get out of bed consistently on time has resulted in Phil refusing to give me a lift to work anymore. Hmmmm. Well it's not too far to run is it? Plus it's the perfect opportunity to convert my pathetic spindly sport-climber legs into the chunky, powerful machines needed for Scottish winter climbing.

Leaving the house at 7am, in the dark, in pouring rain with the temperature around 2°C is not ideal, but at least I won't overheat. Fortunately, the rain stops by the time I intercept James Turnbull halfway up the Limb Valley. We've got a great route, about 11.5km with less than 500m on road.

Simon Kimber running across Houndskirk Moor

Turning off Houndskirk Road towards Burbage

What is about seeing the sunrise that makes me feel so smug? Seeing the streams of traffic piling into the centre of Sheffield just adds to that sense of superiority. I could get used to this. 

James Turnbull in a bog

Crossing the Burbage Valley is wet, really wet. It's not cold enough to freeze the ground yet, but cold enough to make every puddle and bog a real shock to the system. James picks a bad line and ends up thigh-deep in bog complete with rotting methane stench. Cold hands fumble with the camera, and I miss the perfect kodak moment, but James doesn't hesitate to jump back in for a photo. Crazy fool.

Now, if only we had a shower at work...

By Simon Kimber
Web Editor

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The Outside Walkers Christmas Wishlist

What to buy for an avid hillwalker? Rob Turnbull, shop manager at our Hathersage store, gives us his Christmas wishlist. Want more inspiration? Check our full Christmas Gift Finder!

Garmin GPSMAP 64sGarmin : GPSMAP 64s +1:50K UK Discoverer bundle Special Promo only £349.99 (MSRP £399) 

The ultimate Christmas present! Comes with all of GB at 1:50,000 OS mapping and when used in conjunction with the free downloadable Garmin BaseCamp gives you the ability to view the mapping on your PC. There is also a Christmas promo price on these at the moment as well (ends 31st December 2014). This gadget would certainly keep you busy over the Christmas period!

Kahtoola MicrospikesKahtoola : Microspikes £50.00

Very useful, not only for walking to the shops during those slippery winter days but as a lighter, more flexible alternative to a full crampon. You'll be amazed what you can do with a set of Microspikes and a pair of walking poles. They fit over pretty much any footwear, wellys, running shoes, walking boots and climbing boots. You can’t use icy weather as an excuse not to go out any more. Nanospikes are also available for running or occasional use.

Petzl Tikka RXPPetzl : Tikka RXP £90.00

During the winter months my wife jokes about the fact that I permanently walk around the house with my head torch still on my head ready for use, even if I’m taking the rubbish out or going to the car it’s on my head. Everyone should own one for DIY jobs around the house to running at night. With the new reactive lighting they get brighter and lighter, and the USB rechargeable battery will save you a lot of money in the long run! This is actually on my Christmas list as I’m wanting to replace my old Tikka XP with a brighter reactive version!

Smartwool PhD SocksSmartwool : PhD socks From £15.00

I know socks can be seen as a boring present but not these socks! Whether it is the heavy weight for boots or the light for walking shoes the way they hug your foot is just amazing. Certainly not boring, or smelly as they are made of Merino wool which means you can get loads of days use from them (maybe)!

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down JacketMountain Hardwear : Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket From £159 (MSRP £230)

One of the few jackets available that would actually fit in your Christmas Stocking. 800 fill hydrophobic down with a 10 x 7 denier face fabric produces a warm mid layer that weighs less than 200g, good colours too!

By Rob Turnbull
Managing Director

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The Outside Climbers Christmas Wishlist

What to buy for the climber in your life this Christmas? James Turnbull has a few suggestions below, or you can check out the Outside Christmas Gift Finder:

Edelrid Pure SliderEdelrid: Pure Slider £16.00

Simple, light and safe. The Pure Slider is what’s missing from most people's arsenal. It’s a locking krab that works like a normal krab so it can be used on quickdraws and belays. They are mega and even Climb magazine agree with me and voted it gear of the year.

Also, it'll fit in a stocking perfectly!


Edelrid Aramid Cord Sling


Edelrid: Aramid Sling from £10.00

Another Edelrid offering is the amazing Aramid cord sling. I have probably bored you with before but it’s essentially a stiffer sling, it sounds simple and it is but so effective. Threads are easier, knots come undone easier and you can hook spikes from below. Try one, you will want more!


Totem Basic Cam Climbing protectionTotem: Basic Cam £58.00

We have been raving about the innovative Totem Cams for a while now but for Christmas I’ve gone back to basics. Beautiful, narrow headed, flexible and sticky in flared cracks. The red is perfect for peg scars. 





DMM Zenith DaypackDMM: Zenith £39.00

Perfect little 18 litre sack. Great for shoving your gear in your pad for bouldering days. Even better for climbing multi pitch routes, as it's tough and sits high on your back, allowing access to your gear loops and your chalk bag.

Also, amazing colours!



Wild Country climbing harness

Wild Country: Summit Harness £63.00

People never get around to changing their harnesses often enough, so this would make a great present.

It is probably the best all rounder going, great for trad, sport and winter. With the two waist buckles the harness is hugely adjustable in each size so you will more than likely guess right first time (and there will still be space for some Christmas podge). 



Dick and James Turnbull on their traditional Christmas Day ascent of Christmas Crack

James and Dick Turnbull on Christmas Crack at Stanage on Christmas Day

By James Turnbull

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Summer Reminiscing

Weather of late has been poor, the gritstone has been frustratingly damp and proper winter conditions are showing no sign of arriving any time soon, but, as you may remember, the summer was lovely. I keep trying to get out here and make the most of it, but it's so frustrating, especially when you think of just how good it was just a couple of months ago.

Lovely Lake District - Photo by Steve Hartley

Lovely Lake District - Photo by Steve Hartley

The end to the summer was great, and for me included classic Lake District trad and some sunny sport. Bart and I headed to the Lakes for 3 days of classic ticking, highlights included Equus (E2 5c) and Eastern Hammer (E3 6a) up at Gimmer, the incredible Boy Racer (E4 6a) at Raven Crag Threshthwaite Cove, plus Prana (E3 5c) and Grand Alliance (E4 6a) at Black Crag Borrowdale amongst many others. It was simply brilliant to be climbing on mountain crags again.

James Turnbull high on Boy Racer E4 6a at Raven Crag Thresthwaite

James on Boy Racer, E4 6a, Raven Crag Thresthwaite Cove

Bart Shaw on Equus, E2 5c , Gimmer Crag   James Turnbull on Redex E2 5c, Raven Crag

(Left) Bart Shaw on Equus E2 5c, Gimmer Crag; (Right) James  on Redex, E2 5c, Raven Crag

Slightly different was the next trip out of the Peak which took me to Gordale Scar in Yorkshire. We were determined to climb some proper trad but after scruffing my way up a slightly wet Face Route (E3 6a) we couldn't help but be tempted into trying the awesome Cave Route Right (E6 6b/7b+). It was dry and chalked and so we had to try! It certainly didn't quite feel like sport with hard moves above old pegs and small wires, but with the smattering of bolts and fixed gear it was far from a normal trad route too. With some local beta on a knee bar I managed to recover enough to truck on through upper crux and tick another mega classic, happy times.

Just as summer gave up the ghost and the autumn rains arrived I was extremely lucky to attend The North Face Kalymnos climbing festival. Now I've never really been on a proper sport climbing trip before, so this felt very different to our normal wet or cold trips to the Alps in my van.

Kalymnos coast

TNF had invited 5 members of staff from independent shops from around the UK to join them in Kalymnos to check out some of the new season’s clothing and get involved in all the competitions and events over 5 days. 5 days sounds great but with a day travelling to get there each side 3 days went too quickly! 

On day one we just had to head straight to the Grand Grotto area. As you can see the amazing tufas from the road, we needed to get involved. After a few warm up routes we got right into the thick of it and I managed to flash the mega classic "DNA" (7a/6c+), good job too as the pressure was on from the waiting queue! More amazing tufa climbs and then the sun hit the crag, definitely game over. The ever psyched Gus (Technical Sales Rep for The North Face) made us hop on our scooters and led us to the beautiful Pirate Bay. Beers on the beach and a swim, a little different to my usual freezing alpine bivy. 

James Turnbill flashing DNA at Kalymnos

James flashing D.N.A. 7a in the Grand Grotto, Kalymnos

The next 2 days were organised by The North Face and we took part in a friendly competition between all the retailers from Europe invited to the festival. There were around 40 people and we had to pair up and climb as many routes as possible, but you got bonus points per route for difficulty and style i.e. onsight was best. This was perfect as I always like to get as many routes as possible done in a day anyway. Day one was on the island of Telendos and I was paired up with Jack from V12, we started well and I was really keen to get loads done, so Jack, apologies for keeping you from your sandwich but thanks for all the belays. I managed 15 routes up to 7a; awesome! More beers, more swimming. 

The Ghost Kitchen, Kalymnos, dripping with Tufa!

The Ghost Kitchen, Kalymnos, dripping with Tufa!

Day 2 and I teamed up with John from Ireland and went to the incredible Ghost Kitchen area with even more amazing tufas than Grand Grotto. One 30m overhanging 6c+ had 6 hands off rests! Sat on blobs, heads in holes and tufa riding, amazing! Once again I managed to climb another 15 routes including a few 7a's and John did brilliantly and kept on cooking until the end. 

James Turnbull hands off head jam in the Ghost Kitchen, Kalymnos   James Turnbull hands off in the Ghost Kitchen, Kalymnos

Hands Off!

At the awards ceremony that evening we were very pleased to be announced as second, but I'm sure we had the most fun. To finish the trip we headed to the legendary The North Face party and some wise words from Dad stuck in my mind "You may not win the climbing, but make sure you win the drinking!". I think I did from what I remember and the journey home the next day was a real struggle.

What an amazing island and a great event. I'd really like to thank all the guys I met on the trip, we all went alone and were instantly friends. And of course I really want to thank The North Face, especially Gus and Paul for looking after us so well. A great time was had.

James Turnbull Climbing above the sea in Kalymnos


By James Turnbull

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