Chamonix CC & Birthday Skiing

Last week we were visiting Chamonix for a week of winter sports. We weren’t sure the skiing would be up to much as this year as there has been very little snow. So we had prepared for what might be ideal alpine winter climbing conditions. However, as it turned out there was a large dump of snow over the first weekend of our trip, and there is nothing that beats skiing fresh powder! More “Chamonix CC & Birthday Skiing”

Helm Crag Circuit

Saturday’s lovely wall-to-wall sunshine was a perfect invite to get us out of the house and get further down Laetitia’s road back to full fitness. We went from Grasmere up Steel Fell, over Calf Crag, Gibson Knott, and finished at Helm Crag.

It feels like the rock climbing season is just around the corner with this kind of weather. It’s always a shame not get out for some fine Scottish winter climbing, but I’m happy to miss winter out of the calendar altogether if we can zoom straight in to spring…

Costa Blanca ’16/’17

Just back in the UK from a ace extended week in the Costa Blanca. There was a massive gang of people there over the New Year period and so we were lucky enough to snag a doss with our friends Steve & Sandra! 😀

Here are a few pictures from the trip…

El Diamante
El Diamante follows the pillar in the centre just right of the pale yellow area in six pitches. Although I managed to spurn the 6a+ pitch thinking it looked too easy! What a fool. Ah well, I climbed a nice 6c pitch instead! 😉
El Diamante
Steve figuring out the line of the penultimate pitch of El Diamante
El Diamante
Steve happy back on the ground after El Diamante, and with no stuck ropes after all the abseils!
Magical Mystery Tour
Clair on the abseil approach to Magical Mystery Tour – the ladders are a relic of fishing (or perhaps smuggling given the theme of the route names hereabouts). They are VERY unsafe, dropping some 40 metres attached to the rock with nothing more than electrical flex in places!
Magical Mystery Tour
Clair on one of the easy traverse pitches of Magical Mystery Tour
Magical Mystery Tour
Looking back to the belay on the penultimate pitch of Magical Mystery Tour – Clair led the last crux pitch – good job!
A select gang enjoying a more traditional Spanish dinner at a tiny local restaurant in Calpe
Vuelo del Aguila
Steve starting the second 6a+ pitch of Vuelo del Aguila in the Mascart Gorge, a tricky chimney carried on above Steve
Vuelo del Aguila
The top of Vuelo del Aguila with the Penon and Calpe beyond
Laetitia walking on New Years day – on the way to take a peek at the Barranc de l’Infern
Barranc de l'Infern
The waterway scenery below of the technical section of the Barranc de l’Infern
Barranc de l'Infern
The supposed “duck” at the end of the technical sections of the Barranc de l’Infern – how deep does the water have to be to make this in to a duck?!
Crowded scenes at the climbers gathering bar, the Arenal
The stunning abseil in to the Parle sea cave
Steve climbing out of the awesome (a word that is used too often, but in this case correct) Parle sea cave
Toix West
Pete, Keith, Fiona, and Steve at Toix West – enjoying a chat, the sun, and then some more routes!
The gang at the new crag De L’Atzúvia (not in the Rockfax guidebook). Many of the routes were not properly shown on our poor topo, and most were graded “approximately” – anyway I did a great 6c route to finish my trip on! 🙂


1.markerworld-linkEl Diamante
5.markerworld-linkMagical Mystery Tour
6.markerworld-linkVuelo del Aguila
7.markerworld-linkDe L'Atzúvia
8.markerworld-linkBarranc de l'Infern

Another Dry Lakeland Bank Holiday

After an amazing start to the summer weather in May and early June, July and August have been quite disappointing really. More wet, grey, and disappointing weather days than the proper summer sunshine we had hoped for. 🙁 However, despite that we’ve been out and about on the Lakeland crags a fair bit. 🙂 Then, as luck would have it, the August bank holiday was again (mostly) dry and sunny. Unfortunately we’ve both been ill so this held back adventures somewhat, but not completely… More “Another Dry Lakeland Bank Holiday”

Amazing Lakeland Bank Holiday Weather

The weather this past bank holiday has been amazing in the Lake District. In fact the whole of the North West has been enjoying a prolonged period of settled sunny weather. 😀 Especially nice that, in an unusual turn around of the normal way of things, the South East has been getting rained on. 😉 More “Amazing Lakeland Bank Holiday Weather”

Management Training

This week I was lucky enough to get to help out running a day of outdoor management training tasks at High Trenhouse. (By the way, High Trenhouse is a beautiful venue, highly recommended!) My friend Joe has been working with them for some years and this week they needed two groups supervising so Joe asked me to help. What fun…

My group discussing their strategy for the game "Discourse" - based on the famous Tower of Hanoi game
My group discussing their strategy for the game “Discourse”
This game is based on the famous Tower of Hanoi which interestingly was the basis for my recursive programming work at university (which, by the way, led on to my building a recursive descent natural language parser :geek: )

The last time I was on a management training course the shoe was on the other foot! It was strange for me being on the other end of one of these days. No longer was it me learning that diving in without a strategy, plan, good communications, etc. was a recipe for failure. Instead I got to observe the results of how a particular set of communications and a rush into action worked out. There were some very funny moments too! 😀

As it turns out I think everyone that goes on a management training event and has to take part in any kind of team based outdoor activity would also do well from running a similar activity. Then perhaps, as in my case, they might even learn more than when participating. Why’s that? Well I found that running the games was an amazing learning experience. Not only did it give me a grandstand position to observe just what happens when people rush in to a task or have weak communications, most crucially I had time to consider the paradigm that the tasks were trying to reflect. For example, how a repetitive task can lead to mistakes or how a stretched resource can lead to errors…