Sunday 25 September 2011

Five new things in our shop

While I was away last week Claire uploaded five new products to the webshop which we think you’ll like. Here’s a quick run through:
Alpinist issue 35 - We have the latest issue of Alpinist, as ever a beautiful publication. Articles in this issue include Sonnie Trotter showing us around Squamish, perspectives on soloing with Alex Honnold and other nice mountaineering feature by Barry Blanchard, Kyle Dempster and others. It’s here.
The Munros in Winter - Martin Moran’s book telling his story of the first traverse of the Munros in winter in a single season in 1985 was one of the first books I read about climbing when I’d just discovered the Scottish mountains at 15. It inspired me and intrigued me about the locations and awakened a desire to go and do some exploring of my own. It’s been out of print for some time and has just been republished. Whether you go into the mountains to walk, climb fish or whatever, this book will strike a chord with anyone into mountains and mountaineering challenges. It’s here. 
The Mountain Marathon Book - speaking of mountain challenges, mountain marathons are more popular than ever and the growth of organised races around the UK and the world has meant that the general standard of hill runners appears to have raised my some measure. To get anywhere, it’s pretty essential to get all of the basic tactics and techniques right, and to know a fair bit about how to plan your training. As always there is tons of information online, but you have to be already fairly expert to be able to spot the wheat from the chaff. This is the first comprehensive instructional book for hill runners covering all aspects of preparation for events - events, tactics, equipment, training, nutrition strategy and more. It’s here.
The Scene DVD - Chuck Fryberger’s latest climbing flick from the hottest climbing destinations around the world. Hard trad, 9b sport from Sharma, hardcore bouldering with Nalle Hukkataival and even more hardcore climbing comp action. New psyche for your own training! I wrote a full review here and it’s in the shop here.

Northern Beats DVD - A new school film by Bernd Zangerl combining artistically shot bouldering on a tour around Norway with good music. Full review on the way, meanwhile, it’s in the shop here.

Preparation for the good conditions season

Alex on ‘Boeing 747’ 7c, Monsterveggen, Stavanger
I’ve been quite enjoying a little time without any project focus in particular except training for the season of cold weather and holding onto small holds again. The Scottish autumn deluge has been not frustratingly bad, so no chances to get on my sport project. But at least absence makes the heart more psyched. Last week, an enforced  week of no climbing due to a bit of film work helped even more to make me super restless to climb. I’m just home from that and will be hitting my board as soon as this post is written.
I had a lovely weekend back in Norway doing a fun day of coaching clinics and a lecture in Stavanger. The day afterwards we took a little drive around and pointed at almost countless new route, nay, new crag possibilities in abundance here. Like Scotland though, good weather was not in abundance and I fought my way up a rather damp 8a+ to clear my hangover.

It's also a great time of year for me to do some work which fits quite nicely (well OK, acceptably) around training. This weekend I'm working on Lukasz Warsecha's climbing photography workshop in Wales (there are 2 spaces left on the course I hear). Later this month I'm doing a lot of lectures around the country so I might see some of you. For the first time in my climbing life I'm starting to think a little more in advance about what I might do next summer, and make some plans son for travelling to some cool projects. 

A small trip is getting close now to look at another steep sport project I’ve been told about but not seen in the flesh. We don’t have much time to climb it, but I’m pretty sure when we see it we’ll be keen to pull out the stops and try our level best. Better go train...

Review: The Scene DVD

Chuck Fryberger has been on a mission to inject some style into climbing and climbing films. I enjoyed some of the mega footage from his last film Core and was eager to see his latest climbing flick ‘The Scene’. Chuck has based himself in various modern centres where the world’s best climbers seem to be gathering right now such as Innsbruck, Catalunya, Boulder and various other areas around the USA. There are some quite nice interviews with the best climbers of the moment talking about what fires them up and why they have chosen their particular path within climbing and settled in their chosen area.
The climbing: We kick off with some nice trad crack climbing around Moab with Steph Davis among others. This was my least favourite part of the film although friends I watched it with thought it was great. A blaze of excellent bouldering sequences around the US follow - very inspiring. Nalle Hukkataival reminds us just how strong the human body can be with a few muscly genes and a life of travelling about between world class boulders. It was also great to see more of Dave Graham, still clearly a powerhouse of enthusiasm. Before we leave the US, there is a nice chapter on trad headpointing and a really nice 8b trad ascent by MAtt Wilder which I enjoyed watching a lot.
Then we go to Innsbruck and get a glimpse into the Red Bull fulled and funded life of Kilian Fischuber and friends on the boulder comp scene. Lots of flashing lights, cool people, cool music and impressive displays of plastic crushing strength. A branch of climbing that is clearly becoming further and further removed from it’s old-school roots. The leading competition section is led by a profile of the machine that is Ramonet. The climbing sequences make it fairly obvious why he’s exerting his dominance over everyone, even Ondra in the comp world right now. He looks like he’d be a world class athlete in whatever sport he chose.
Finally we are back in the ever thriving scene of the Catalunya sport crags with Dani Andrada, Daila Ojeda smoothly dispatching an excellent 8c and Chris Sharma, just as impressive as ever trying and completing a monster 9b pitch at Oliana. 
A subtle education of the current direction of climbing, and a great pre-training session flick of psyche. Already watched it three times since my stock of DVDs arrived last week. It’s avaible in the webshop right here.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Arnaud's E10

Excellent video below of Arnaud Petit climbing Black Bean (8b) at Ceuse on trad gear to give an E10 7a. What a lovely looking route. I was wondering if there would ever be a movement towards doing some harder trad on the big famous limestone cliffs in Europe. Toni Arbones always told me that folk told him he was crazy for trying it on Montsant etc. The next level I guess would be to do something like this as a a first ascent of a new line at a high grade without any bolts being in place. I reckon somebody will do it soon.

Saturday 3 September 2011

Centre Court 8b/+ video

The final video clip from the Gore-Tex Experience Tour trip in Norway is now up. My new route at the Tunga boulder, Ersfjord - Centre Court 8b/+. Mega route. I also bolted an extended start to Piercing (8b/+) which shares the same finish as this route, but since we put our time into Bongo Bar on Blamann, I didn’t get a chance to finish it. So it’s there as a project for some keen locals or visitors. Would be around 8c. Go to it! And if you don’t get it, I might just come back sometime soon and do it myself.

Longhope fine art prints

Along with Lukasz Warzecha we are producing a limited edition of 100 fine art prints of his great image above  showing the first ascent of The Longhope route, E10/11, Orkney.  We thought it really grabs you as an inspiring climbing image of a special route, so it would be nice to make a print available.  I have signed and numbered each print. The prints are A3, unframed with a white border and are printed on Ilford Pearl paper and are £75 (shipping worldwide as always). The actual print is not watermarked with the LWimages text. The prints are available in the webshop right here. 
If you’re into your climbing photography Lukasz is running a weekend  photography workshop in North Wales Sept 30th-Oct 2nd. I’m going along to do be in front of the camera (hopefully doing some good climbs!). There a few spaces left. Details on Lukasz’ site.