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The Stell Access Update.  A new approach to the The Stell has been negotiated with the Farmer, this has the advantages of better parking and a dry walk in. While is slightly longer it avoids an area where Pheasant and Grouse are fed and nest. If you take your dog to the crag please keep it under control. This is important birds nest on this moor and are vulnerable to both disturbance and being eaten. Both can result in dead chicks. The new parking is adjacent to Debdon Pit Cottage, which is visible just west of the Rothbury - Alnwick road (B6341) OS Map Reference NU073041. Leave the road and follow the track up to the cottage. The parking area is on the right just before the cottage’s enclosure. There is parking for several cars. Do not block the entrance to the cottage, and park in a way that others can park as well. From the parking follow the wall West to a gate in the fence. From here a small diamond shaped rock will be seen on the apparent horizon, about 400m distant. Walk to this. Once at the small cairn, drift slightly right over the gentle ridge and drop down to a track in a shallow valley that leads left and down to the crag. Just over one km, about 15min from the parking. Reported 13 June 2016

Photo by Mark Savage

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Stell Access Update.  A new approach to the The Stell has been negotiated with the Farmer, this has the advantages of better parking and a dry walk in. While is slightly longer it avoids an area where Pheasant and Grouse are fed and nest. If you take your dog to the crag please keep it under control. This is important birds nest on this moor and are vulnerable to both disturbance and being eaten. Both can result in dead chicks. The new parking is adjacent to Debdon Pit Cottage, which is visible just west of the Rothbury - Alnwick road (B6341) OS Map Reference NU073041. Leave the road and follow the track up to the cottage. The parking area is on the right just before the cottage’s enclosure. There is parking for several cars. Do not block the entrance to the cottage, and park in a way that others can park as well. From the parking follow the wall West to a gate in the fence. From here a small diamond shaped rock will be seen on the apparent horizon, about 400m distant. Walk to this. Once at the small cairn, drift slightly right over the gentle ridge and drop down to a track in a shallow valley that leads left and down to the crag. Just over one km, about 15min from the parking. Reported 13 June 2016

Photo by Mark Savage

 

 

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Team Effort - Positive Energy. Dave Stainthorpe has just returned from a two week trip to Terradets where he took on the challenge of attempting his first 7c+. He decided to try Energia Positiva the endurance test piece at Les Bruixes, the one with a big slap for the very last move! Dave describes how he got on "So here I am, tucked in under an orange roof, trying to recover from being an idiot. Back clipped the last draw on the steepest bit, fiddled with it, took it off put it back on - but hey I’m still on. Fairly pumped but still on and feeling strong. Feet, feet, feet, yes left here, right over there on the dish, backside in for the poor sloper, rock up, got the crimps, where does this bloody left foot go? This will have to do, nah here, drop a bit, right hip in and the Gallowgate throw. Shoooot. Fingers brush the air by the jug but all of me is heading down, through the crisp blue Catalan air. No, no, no, I had it, how did I miss, what am I doing here?"  Read the full article here. Reported 15 December 2015

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

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Showtime at Kilnsey! Congratulations to Karin Magog who managed to add another 8b tick to her impressive list of achievements moments before the crucial crux pockets started to seep. Showtime is a 30m long and very crimpy power endurance route with three distinct cruxes. Most of this line had been bolted by Craig Smith but it became an abandoned project. Tony Mitchell and Pete Gomersall took up the challenge and Tony reached Craig's top bolt in July 1989 naming the route The Technician. Shortly afterwards Pete added a wild extension and claimed the right to rename the final route Showtime. "I first looked at Showtime with Steve about 12 years ago but couldn't touch some of the hard moves. In fact I wrote it off as being too reachy for me, so decided just to settle for climbing the first half. This didn't have a lower-off at the time, but is now written up as Half-time (a very tough 7c+ or easy 8a). Since then I've climbed all the routes to its left such as Stolen 8b, Bullet 8a+ and Last Action Hero 8a as well as a couple of variations. However, I was still drawn to Showtime. Last year Steve started to look at it again and I was intrigued. Although my main focus last year was clearing off old baggage I did manage to have a few runs up the route to check it out. Basically the route has three distinct crux sections - a very thin fingery start, a burly middle section involving a big move off an obvious flake and near the top a very big move to the final break off a very small undercut and tiny crimp. I bypassed the start and had a good look at the middle and the top. I managed to unlock a different sequence on the middle crux, which although still a big move at least made it possible. However, I still found the last move at the top ridiculously powerful but by going to the sloper instead of the jug I just managed to do it once or twice, but that was enough to offer a glimmer of hope. This summer I decided to have a proper look at the route. I got some good advice on training from Suzan Dudink, which although I had to drop the campus work early on due to sore elbows and a knackered shoulder, I was able to continue with the core and antagonist work both of which were invaluable. Hazel Findlay gave me some excellent advice on the mental side as I was struggling to commit to the big dynamic moves. The route itself takes a while to dry out so it was mid July before I got stuck into it properly. At first it still seemed miles away but it gradually came together. The move to the top break was a bugger though and I spent 3 days and several red-points dropping this before finally nailing it. Just in the nick of time though as when we went back a couple of days later several crucial holds were wet!". Keith Sharples has interviewed Karin on the Climber Magazine website. Reported 26 August 2015

Karin Magog climbing Showtime 8b at Kilnsey

 

 

 

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Lake District Rock - A Selection of the Very Best Climbs in the Lakes. The Fell and Rock have been publishing rock climbing guides for almost 100 years but this stunning 2015 edition of Lake District Rock by the FRCC is a significantly different beast. It’s 480 full colour A5 pages are crammed with more than 1500 routes spread over 85 crags across the Lake District. You can read about Statement - The Ben Moon Story by Ed Douglas, the latest Eastern Grit by Rockfax and Yorkshire Gritstone Volumne 2 by the Yorkshire Mountaineering Club and all our latest book reviews on our Reviews page. Reported 14 July 2015

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Climbing Chalk and Secret Stuff from Friction Labs is Now Available in the UK.  It's a crowded market place so to be known as the best climbers chalk is not going to be easy but Friction Labs believe quality is king and have backed their claim to be the best with some detailed science (and you can read the reports here). Now I have been climbing rocks for over 40 years and I believe that I train hard but my hands sweat on all but the coldest days and I often feel like they are sliding off slopers. So I began my quest to find the best climbing chalk available and that was when I came across the Friction Labs products... Read our Friction Labs review here. Friction labs stockists: Absolute Snow, BananaFingers, The Climbers Shop, The Climbing Works, The Climbing Depot, Climb Newcastle, Cold Mountain Kit, Highball Climbing Centre, Needle Sports, Rock On (Mile End), Rock + Run. Reported 30 June 2015

Friction Labs chalk in action!

Friction Labs chalk in action!

 

 

 

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Dan Varian takes Two Rest days! The news in Northumberland is that Dan Varian smoothly dispatched his latest project, Star Power (Font 8B/+), up on High Crag in Northumberland. During his rest days Dan took the time to listen to an interesting podcast by  Ben Moon. After his successful ascent Dan had this to say about the difficulty of the problem "Star Power represents a nice break away from the traditional crimpyness and power climbing that much of our 8B and 8B+s in England adhere to, whilst it is still reasonably fingery it is more of a compression and long power test piece being thirteen hard hand and tricky foot moves."  While Star Power ranks with some of his hardest climbs Dan went on to comment "To me it seems harder than Malcolm's Monk Life which is roughly a 7C into a 7C+ move (but sharp so go limiting) but easier than The Rail which felt like it had an 8A+ move on my sequence."  The quality of the climbing is obvious and of course time will tell on the grade. Still full of energy following his smooth ascent Dan also added Second Fiddle (which he graded with more certainty at Font 8A+) which climbs the less steep wall to the left. You can read the full story on the Beastmaker Blog. High Crag is currently on the secret list while development is finalised however a guide to the crag is being produced by Bob Smith and Steve Blake and will be published online by the Northumberland Mountaineering Club soon. Meanwhile during a family trip to Scotland last weekend Dan nipped into Glen Nevis to make a quick ascent of Dave MacLeod's Bear Trap Prow 8A+ on the Pine Alps Boulders and a few things on the Cameron stone. Reported 25 April 2015

Dan Varian on the first ascent of Star Power (Font 8b/+). Photo © Mark Savage

 

 

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Spring Cleaning Time. It's time to tidy up your bookshelves to made space for three brand new climbing guidebooks that have been published already in 2015. Gary Latter has updated Scottish Rock Volume 2 and many useful amendments and additions can be seen. It is worth a close look as it contains enough superb routes for a life time of Highland adventures. North York Moors and East Coast Bouldering by Lee Robinson. Betaguide have published the first dedicated bouldering guide to the whole of the North York Moors and its east coast. Over 2000 problems are clearly described within its 380 glossy pages. Finally Mark Glaister has worked extremely hard at updating Northern Limestone for Rockfax. This latest edition details all the popular limestone sport and trad climbing across Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire. You can read all our latest guidebook reviews on our Reviews page.   Reported 04 January 2015

 

 

You can read all our latest guidebook reviews on our Reviews page

 

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Improved Access to Esklets. Although Esklets is situated on Open Access Land, negotiations have taken place with the land managers to minimise conflicts of usage which have caused issues in the past. The historical approach from Ralph’s Crosses (NZ676020) is very hard going through thick heather and across prime grouse moor. An easier alternative approach has been suggested by the head keeper and is recommended by the BMC. This commences at a green barrier on the left hand side of the road (NZ666045), approximately 1.5 miles from Ralph’s Crosses when heading (NW) towards Westerdale on the unclassified road. There is room to carefully park several cars on the grass verge. Take the very well made “shooters’ road” SSW initially, cutting through the attractive Clough Gill and on to the northern end of Esklets Crag after approximately 2km. The alternative approach from Waites House Farm and along the public right of way, remains available. Reported 27th January 2015

 New improved approach to Esklets                                                             Photo Steve Crowe

 

 

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New Crag on The North York Moors. Throughout 2014 an entirely new crag has been developed overlooking the east coast. The Sumuggler's Terrace comprises of a series of buttresses crowning a large plateau below the Ravenscar Hotel. There are seven buttresses, with the quality of lines vary massively, from poor chossy lines to bullet-hard classics however there are lots of good routes at every grade, with more still to be done. The crag faces east and receives the morning sun only, making it an ideal escape from the heat. It is also protected from westerly winds and can often enjoy a sheltered ‘micro-climate’ when biting westerly’s howl. The crag however dries quickly and the rock is clean despite its ‘lichenous’ appearance. Crack lines and grooves are most susceptible to ‘fern-ing up’. The best time of year to climb appears to be October to May when the bracken is low; however the crag is a true year-round venue. The early development of Sumuggler's Terrace was well publicised and as a result there is a huge list of first ascentionists which includes Chris Woodall who has been climbing first ascents across the North York Moors for over 50 years.  Reported 26th January 2015

Dave Warburton with all the wrong gear run out on the crux of A Plaice Lost in Time E3 5c ***