Archive for el cap

Sweet dreams are made of this.

Posted in Climbing with tags , , on March 4, 2012 by bridbeast

On Saturday I bought a second-hand portaledge. On Sunday I took it out to Bowles Rocks in Sussex for a test.

Portaledge

So what do I do with this then?

Quite easy to put together, on flat ground.

Portaledge, Bowles, UK.

Managing to cope with the exposure.

Portaledgem, Bowles Rock, Sussex.

Lovin' that Nineties shade of purple.

Cosy. Is it supposed to be that bendy?

Conclusions? It’s okay to put up but will need plenty of practice before I can do it in the dark on a hanging belay. I need to suss out how to use the fly properly. I definitely need to spend a night in it this spring. It’s very heavy but surprisingly small. There’s no where to hide on one of those things. Getting on it and imagining living for several days on it reminded me of sitting in the Apollo command module when I was little and we went to Cape Kennedy. That thing was tight!

More to the point, it’s made going to Yosemite and doing a wall feel real rather than just something in my head.

Goals for 2012

Posted in Climbing, ramblings with tags , , , , on January 10, 2012 by bridbeast

It’s that time of year again – putting down in writing a few of the things I hope to achieve this year.

I’m planning a year of two halves. For the first six months, it’s time to get as good at cragging as possible. Pretty much like last year, really, and some of the aims remain the same, ie I didn’t tick them last year:

Sort out niggling shoulder problem.

Get my onsight level up to F6c. I’ve done this a couple of times last year, now I want to be able to do this regularly.

Redpoint lots of F7a (say five to ten routes at this level), mainly at Portland or Cheddar. Try a 7a+ or possibly 7b.

I’m going to the Verdon at Easter, target routes include: Riviere d’argent, Debiloff, Durandal and Le Demande. Given the tough grading, spaced bolting, massive scale and overall in-your-face scariness of the Gorge, I’d be very pleased to get any one of these routes ticked.

Continue to improve at British trad climbing. Climb some classic Pembroke E2s such as Deranged or Silver Shadow, if I get really fit then I’d like to get on one of the E3s there, Pleasure Dome or Space Cadet. On the grit I’d like to do the likes of Billy Whiz or Insanity before attempting a solid E3 crack such as Gates of Mordor, Sentinel Crack or Emerald Crack.

That in itself seems quite a lot. Obviously I don’t think I’ll get it all done but that’s the sort of thing I’m aiming for. Then in July/August I want to go on a road trip to the US. The rough plan at the moment is to climb in the high-up areas during the summer: Rocky Mountain National Park, the Needles, Tuolumne, Lake Tahoe and the High Sierras, working on my crack climbing and getting fitter for long routes, before hitting Yosemite Valley.

In the Valley I want to do some long free routes and beginner walls, such as Leaning Tower, culminating in an ascent of El Cap. I’m flexible over which route: the Nose, Salathe, Zodiac or Tangerine Trip are the main ones I’d be interested in.

So, some big ambitions. Lifetime stuff in fact. I’m not sure how much of this is outside my ability or will be done with some hard work and scary moments. In addition, I want to see if it’s possible to mix an athletic life with a writing one. In 2012 I want to read some of the classics I’ve never got around to, Dickens, George Elliot and so on, and to start work on some of my own stories. That’s a bit vague because I’m not sure exactly what I want to do, and unlike my climbing plans, I feel a need to keep my writing ideas to myself for the moment. They’re too fragile for the scrutiny of the wider world right now! In the meantime, here’s a few photos of El Cap.

 

Headwall of the Salathe

Salathe headwall © Duncan Critchley

 

Climbing on Tangerine Trip

Tangerine Trip, El Capitan © chrisbevins