Sunday, 19 April 2015


At the end of March we went on our first ever trip to Turkey with our friends Will and Annelies. We spent just over a week at Jo-Si-To's campsite in Geyikbayiri which is just inland from Antalya. Unfortunately it rained most days of the trip but luckily the walk-ins were short and the routes were steep!

Jo-Si-To campsite with Trebenna in the background.

On the first day we headed over to Trebenna to check out the very cool tufa lines it had to offer. Sadly the majority of the routes were seeping and so we walked back down to the campsite and up to a crag called Left Cave. This crag was literally a 2 second walk from the campsite and had some amazing steep lines! We warmed up on a 6c called 'Rocket Man' which was a very pleasant climb with a tricky crux. I then moved on to a a super crimpy 7a called 'Camelita'. I managed to sketch my way through the gnarly crux, totally reading the sequence wrong! To end the day we both sent a bouldery 7b called 'Toxic Gravity'. This climb was fairly straightforward with only a couple of hard moves in the middle...but they were really hard! Neill went for the onsight and came off at the crux. After he found a good sequence he gave me the beta and I managed to flash it and he did it second go.

The next day we walked up to Sarkit...a whole 10 minutes! This was a very nice crag but unfortunately a lot of the lines were wet and so we warmed up on the 6b+ 'Saxafon', Neill swiftly dispatched 'Inner Smile' 7b+ and we moved on to a sector called Mevlana. Here we just tried one 7c called 'Bad boys in town' which was an amazing route with a very interesting crux involving finger jams! Neill went for it first and worked out all the moves. I then went for the flash and got all the way through the crux to just under the chain and then...BAM! My foot popped! We both did the route second go...bloody shawdy footwork!

Bad boys in town 7c

After a rest day we headed back up to Left Cave as it was pretty rainy and this crag stayed fairly dry. We did a nice 6c+ called 'Mission to Mars' which was quite steep and pumpy. We then jumped on one of the only dry routes at the cave 'Junimond'. This was a 7c+ which went right through the roof of the cave and up onto a tricky headwall (which was slightly damp!). My first go was pretty good, getting to the last hard move just before the lip of the roof! Neill did the route super smoothly second go so the pressure was on! I managed to get through the hard lower section which is about 7b and made it to a good rest. After recovering for a bit, I blasted through the roof section all the way to the crazy jump round the lip. I set myself up and lunged for the good hold and somehow managed to hold it! I kept it together for the last tricky bit and clipped the chains on my first 7c+!

Junimond 7c+

Junimond 7c+

The last few days were spent avoiding rain at Alabalik and Right Cave. I did an amazing 6b+ called 'Stalactusaurus' which is aptly named as you have to mount a giant stalactite halfway up the route! After that I did a very cruxy 7b+ second go. It was called 'Sloper Poker' but there were no slopers to be seen...only filthy crimps!

Sloper Poker 7b+

On the last day I managed an unexpected quick redpoint of a veryyyyy bouldery 7c called 'Blockage Orange'. This route had the hardest moves that I have ever done on a route ew timesever! It was basically a boulder problem from the first to third clip and then about 6b to the top. I got it on my 3rd go and even power screamed a few times! It was a great way to end the trip.

We really enjoyed Turkey and will definitely be going back, hopefully to some better weather!

Since getting back from Turkey I have managed to get out a few times in Scotland. I visited Upper Cave crag at Dunkeld and managed to flash 'Hamish Teddies' 7b+ and do 'Silk Teddies' second go! These routes and sooo good, I will hopefully get back up there soon and try Silk Purse!

We have also just returned from a wet and cold week in Glencoe. We stayed in an amazing lodge next to the Clachaig and visited Tunnel wall, Steall Hut and Brin rock. Tunnel wall was unfortunately a little bit too cold as it's in the shade but I still managed to send 'Uncertain Emotions' 7b. I really enjoyed the crimpy style of climbing here and can't wait to try some of the harder routes!

Uncertain Emotions 7b

Brin Rock is just south of Inverness and was defo worth the drive. It was a little warmer and the routes were brilliant! I onsighted the amazing 'One and Only' 7a, one of the best 7as i have ever done! Super techy climbing on lovely rock. I then went on to do 'Whinging Consultants' 7b+ on my second go. This felt pretty stiff for the grade with a really hard boulder problem start! Neill managed the hardest 7b in the world..'Pink wall'. 

The One and Only 7a

At Steall Hut we warmed up on a wet and mossy 6c and then had a play on 'Leopold' 8a. This was a pretty bouldery 8a with a very powerful crux. We both managed all the moves but the send will have to wait until next time! I still think the bridge is scarier than the climbing!

Steall Hut

Our last day in Glencoe was spent doing the Aonach Eagach ridge in the sunshine! It was the best day of the trip and we both finished with tired legs and sunburn!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Costa Blanca

This January we decided to escape the cold and wet weather in Scotland, so we flew over to Spain for some sunny sport climbing! I'd never been away at this time of year before but it was great...super cheap and a nice temperature for climbing. The holiday cost £300 each for flights, hotel(full board) and car hire!

The first day was just a chillaxing day as we arrived in Benidorm at about 2pm, so we went down to the beach and spent the afternoon sunbathing. The next day we met up with our friends Ross and Alan and drove out to Gandia for a milage day in the sun. We started off on a classic 6b+ called 'El Sol'and then moved right along the crag to the steeper sector. Here we both onsighted/flashed 'L'os' 7a, 'Don Diego' 7a+, 'A La Babilla' 7a+ and 'Enya' 7b. These were nice routes all with a similar style, a steep and pumpy start into an easier slabby finish.

Enya 7b

Crag dog...

In the evening we met up with Ross and Alan again and went out for a couple of drinks for their last night. We even ended up at a casino in Benidorm! Luckily I managed not to lose any money and actually came away 10 Euros richer!

We had planned to go to Forada the next day but unfortunately our car broke down in the morning so we had to take it back to Alicante for a replacement. We still headed out to Forada but after getting lost and going around in circles for hours, we ended up making it to the crag at half 4! Oh well, at least we knew how to get there for next time...

Lunch on our search for Forada.

Looks good...wasn't good!

Although Forada looked amazing, we decided to check out Wildside at Sella the next day as it was slightly closer and looked even better! Luckily we managed to find the crag ok thanks to my expert navigation...or maybe it was the Satnav! Anyway, we made the short walk up to the crag and got warmed up on a 6c+ on the right side. This route was ok but got slightly chossy higher up and had a massive run-out whilst climbing through some dodgy blocks. Since there weren't many easier routes we decided to jump on the classic 7c 'Ya somos Olympicos'. Neill went first and had a great onsight attempt, getting just over halfway where there is a tricky section up some tufas. After working out the rest of the moves and giving me some beta Neill lowered down and I had a go. It has a bit of a bouldery start and then a big ledge to recover on before the main route. I climbed fast through the first tufa section and then traversed left to the first tricky tufa. Neill made this bit look really nice by bridging out and knee-barring but being pumped, I just decided to clamp it with my thighs all the way up...not very graceful! After a good rest I blasted through the crux and was relieved to find some jugs to clip the chain. This was my 3rd 7c outdoors and my first 7c flash so I was pretty happy! Neill swiftly dispatched the route on his second go.

Neill on Olympicos 7c

I decided to try something a bit harder and opted for an 8a+ called 'Tirali Valent' as it already had somebody's draws on it. This was a brilliant route, super crimpy and sustained with a really tricky crux! I managed all the moves ok but thought it might take a while to link and so decided that I didn't want to spend too much of the holiday on one route. The guy ended up stripping it anyway and we only had 17 draws between us, silly mistake! I would defo like to try this route again next time though! To finish the day, Neill onsighted 'Oceano' 7b+, what a beast! Oh and on our way back to the car we were chased by a donkey! What an ass!!!

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After a rest day, which was spent relaxing in the sun, we drove back out to Forada with the intention of trying all the classic 7as and bs. This day was the coldest and windiest so far and it turned out to be a bit of a mistake heading to such a high crag that gets no sun! We walked in anyway and went for 'Starman' 7a. Neill manned up and managed to onsight it.....I was a total wimp and dogged my way up with numb hands! We decided to strip the route and head somewhere else. After another hour in the car, we ended up back at Gandia, this time at the El Bovedon cave. Neill managed a quick redpoint of 'Arcadia' 7c, which was a very cool route following a tufa up into the roof of the cave. I tried a 7c round to the left but no success! All the draws were in-situ here and I was a little worried about the state of some of them....

Starman 7a

Loving it...

Our last couple of days were spent at Wildside. We warmed up at a crag near the car park climbing a nice 5+ and a 3 star 6c+ called 'Kashba'. We then drove up to Wildside and both tried to redpoint a 7c+ called 'El Gremio' but unfortunately it didn't go. This was a cool wee route with a pretty easy start and finish and a totally desperate crux in the middle! We also had a wee play on 'Celia' another 7c+ at the crag but neither of us managed it in the end. It was pretty cold on the last couple of days though.....2 degrees, I know...excuses, excuses!

Kashba 6c+

Definitely missing the sun already but we've already booked our next trip away, we are heading out to Turkey at the end of March! Until then we will hopefully get out and do some winter climbing...

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Runnel

On Boxing day we managed to get out and do our first winter climb of the season. We opted for a nice easy day to get into the swing of things and so went for a 3 pitch grade II in Coire an t-sneachda. The route, called The Runnel, was a brilliant climb that followed a gully up Fluted Buttress, topping out through a tricky wee chimney.

We just drove up for the day and so had to leave super early (4am)....I don't think I will ever get used to this, no matter how good the climbing is! After a big can of Red Bull and a very foggy drive we made it to a quiet and dark car park. Stupidly, I had lost my headtorch and so the start of the walk in was interesting....I led us wayyyy off the path and down towards Coire an Lochain!

Once we made it to the bottom of the climb it was nice and sunny and the climb looked in perfect condition. We kitted up and scrambled up to the first belay and Neill took off on pitch one. After seconding up, I set off on my first proper winter lead. It was a very enjoyable pitch up the gully and then I ran out of rope and faffed trying to find a belay and ended up with the most uncomfortable stance ever! However, it didn't dampen my excitement and I had a great time following Neill up the chimney pitch to finish.

After having some leftover x-mas soup at the top, we headed back to the car. It's safe to say that my legs were feeling it! Weak calves! (not baby cows!)