13 Dec 2009

Back to Chatsworth

Two dry days thats all? thick mud, green slime, a bad time to go off piste?, but what the hell! after a night of excess and dancing till two in the morning with the wife, a trip out to Chatsworth with post finger operation Rob, seemed like the perfect cure for a hangover? a trip out after the wet weather....

That Pocket is Mine
Straight to Outside for breakfast, then over to the green lichen covered rock of Chatsworth Crag!!!
This is the home to some most impressive classic routes in the Peak, unfortunatly they don't see enough traffic, even though the is crag easily accessible and is set in an impressive panorama of the peak.

The bouldering is very worthy of a summers night, or a dry cold winter, good hard problems, some quite scary, others very morpho, a good double hand full of problems, entertaining and worth while, Desperot Ben Moons addition looked like it was getting some attention, dispite the crag being green and a bit brittle in places...

Check the greasy holds first

Dangerously Flying Downhill

Good and Hard from Sitting

9 Dec 2009

Finishing Topos and Big Projects

The Tank Boulder
A gap in the weather this weekend, means a trip to Burbage boulders is on the cards, mainly to finish a topo, then maybe try a couple of projects!

The boulders in the valley offer varied climbing on a good scale of grades, the landings are good, plus now its colder, the harder problems will feel just that bit easier!

Topo Sample

A full topo will be available early next year from the betaguides site, with many more topos and circuits to be added once the site is running.

Another big project has begun this week, a DVD journal for 2010, plotting the development of climbing and bouldering in the North Yorkshire Moors, following the progress of a new generation of activists, pushing there limits on all the Moors has to offer.

Anyone who wants to get involved contact me at lee@betaguides.com  

30 Nov 2009

New and Improved Boulder Scotland Website

Another hard session done
If you haven't checked out the bouldering potential in Scotland yet, heres the place to start www.boulderscotland.com. the website has just had a impressive makeover, adding new features that show all the established and potential bouldering, Scotland has to offer, I enjoyed browsing the Google maps to locate areas, video footage of classics, full colour topos to download that are accurate and easy to read.
This website is the place to start if you fancy a bouldering trip to Scotland.

My Scottish Bouldering Bible
A copy of Bouldering in Scotland is essential, the guide will show you around the main explored areas and established circuits such as Dumbarton, The Trossachs, Glen Nevis, Porthlethen, Applecross, Torridon, Reiff..... and many more, giving you a feel of the stunning landscapes and geological diversity Scotland has to offer there is something for everyone, and a must for the adventure boulderer like myself.

PS. New areas are being developed all the time so check the site or email John Watson for details.

26 Nov 2009

Prey for dry weather!

When things get desperate!!!!! Prey to the Golden Boulder to bring sunshine on the boulder fields.

He who believes, will be enlightend

22 Nov 2009

Waiting to Clean up the Green

Sat at home looking through a rain spotted window at a mass of grey and not getting out, is like having an itch you cannot scratch, to make things worse, I got to thinking of the places to go back to when there is a big dry spell!!!

Shepherdskirk Boulders Kyloe woods

Deep damp woods are getting deeper and damper, hidden boulders could end up buried under all the winter fall, rock can vanish without a trace.......

Binky Crags Kielder Forest
Kielder forest Northumberland is one such place this has happened, the forest is vast and has a scattering of small groups of Sandstone edges and Boulders that are slowly disappearing, or being removed by the diggers as they prepare the next wave of trees to be planted, the vast forest surely bears a sandstone oasis?

 A North Yorkshire Moors Intimidating Prow
Closer to home the North Yorkshire Moors is getting greener and a lot less traffic these days, but not forgotten, The stones are just sitting waiting for brighter skies and welcome grooming from the adventure boulderer.

9 Nov 2009

Mission to Moors

The Moors Explorer has had lift off! Investigations into circuits on the North Yorkshire Moors are now well underway, plenty to go at and to clean up, the area has a lot to offer the boulderer and micro-route climber, the sandstone is very friendly to the skin, so shredding is minimal.

Great Autumn colours and moody skys
Whilst exploring we made a flying visit to Luke Hunt's good find, the NOS boulder this proved worthwhile and most enjoyable session dispite the very moody weather.

Steve Ramsden on Boulevard of Broken Dreams F6b
They were some worthwhile straight up problems done, and good hard pumpy traverses, the best being Boulevard of Broken Dreams F6b and the lower traverses, both with a big reach up or down depending on the direction you traverse, Elevator F6b+ left to right and Down Elevator F6b+ right to left, There is a possible lower traverse without using the curved sloping ramp, starting from sit on a vertical rib two metres from the left hand end working into the thin hand crack towards the large pocket (a l-o-n-g way), there is a faint hold inbetween and lower undercuts, hard!!! but someone may find a sequence across?

Locking the finger jam on the drop down to the reverse 
of the lower traverse Down Elevator F6b+ right to left

1 Nov 2009

The Windy Wainstones, Part 1 and 2

Part 1
After gathering a motley crew together, we prepeared an assault on the bouldering potential of the fantastic looking north Yorkshire Moors Wainstones.
Two weekends gave us skin wrecking, arm wrenching, elbow hurting entertainment, The Highlights of first day, captured on video by the mad monster of the moors Steve Ramsden (Aka the Ram Man)

Steve Ramsdens Wainstone Hoolathon Edit
The best problems of the day were For Liechtenstein F7b, The Prow F7a, Frogs Legs F6b, The Fruit Machine F6a, Pebble Climb F6a, Grip or Grovel F6a, Scotch Eggs F6a, names have been given to problems not in the guide but they have probabley been done?  Please Email us if you have done the First ascent!

Steve Ramsden on For Liechtenstein SS F7b

Wainstones Overveiw 
Part 2
The second assault was left to myself and Rob with a surprise appearence from the Moors crew Franco and company.

Rob Lonsdale on Tyrannosaurus Alan SS F6b+ 
We started at the far South end on a two big freestanding slabs, one that looked like a dinosaur, grabbing three lines on these, Tyrannosaurus Alan SS F6b+ tackle the nose direct, a very had mantle!, Alan's Breakfast a morpho 6b from sit straight up past the mouth on small nibs, then Huggy Bear a sit start on the wider block hugging a direct F6c.

Rob Fighting hard on Huggy Bear SS F6c
After that we worked our way back to the 'A' boulder, stumbling upon two blocks up the hill at a 25 degree angle, with what we thought would be a very hard link up on it, so mats down and lets go!
First to fall was the section Fruit of the Gods SS F6a+

Fruit of the Gods F6a+
then the second section, Greek God SS F6b, finally Rob took the link to a *** F6c Body of a Greek God pulling through Crimps, undercuts, Slopers and a crucial Jam!

Jam and Slopers on Body of a Greek God (I wish!) SS F6c 
As the light faded Franco Cookson and company joined us for some entertainment on the 'A' boulder, showing us the way on two great No Hands problems, and getting acsents of the pebble right hand Arete F6b+ (without the crack) and a good looking dyno from Franco, thanks Lads.

A Moonlight Dyno Attempt, Franco Cookson

25 Oct 2009

Wet Cranking in the North Yorkshire Moors

Looking at the weather thinking, don't bother, think again, just go for it, we headed out for the North Yorkshire moors for a two day session, then the rain crapped us out on the saturday, or so we thought, reprieve came by the way of the Ravenswick Quarry! the steep Black wall gave enough problems to entertain us for a good four hour session.

Wet and still Cranking in the Ravenswick Quarry
Unlucky for us the lower platform traverse was not in condition, a brilliant looking maybe F6c+ not in the guide? map below!

A good training venue well worth a visit in any weather! filled with hard forearm hurting traverses and eliminates.

Rob Lonsdale pulling hard and reaching high in the pouring rain!

19 Oct 2009

Av' a Bit, of Yorkshire Grit

Almscliff seems to be the place to go for proper Yorkshire bouldering; the rock is in what Steve Ramsden calls "Perma-nic" always in good condition! Full of great classic problems, new eliminates, hard test pieces and local projects.

Tom Coulthard on Si's Arete
After the Editors gig on Saturday at the O2 Academy in Leeds, everyone was motivated to tick some good problems, pushing that little bit harder.

 Rob Lonsdale on Stu's Left Hand, Tom's Dodgy Photography!
Best ticks of the day were: Little Greeny, Dreamland, Wall Of Horror's Traverse, and the BOLD Bancrofts Roof.

Rob Lonsdale cutting loose without a parachute on Bancroft's Roof

11 Oct 2009

Sunny St Bees

Considering it's not the most inspiring side of the Lake district this is a must destination for the travelling boulderer. There are three areas: the northern section (Apiary Wall, Fisherman's Steps); Fleswick Bay and the south. Head for the northern section to Apiary Wall and Fisherman's Steps, just 300 metres south, for the majority of and the best problems. The descent to these is a tad precarious, using an old knotted climbing rope!

Jen enjoying the precarious descent!
At the base you are faced with a dispersed selection of varied climbing on red iron-rich sandstone, that looks like scattered cindery burning embers, grippy and light as a feather every block looks as enticing as the last.

Rob Lonsdale on Undercooke F6c
There are plenty of problems to go at across all the grades, and I dare say a few project lines left?
We also dabbled on Fleswick Bay, unfortunately the shingle on the beach was low so the starts were a little trickier, this can vary at different times of year depending on the tides.

The Tidal Shingle Problem at Fleswick Bay!
Catch St Bees on a sunny day and it is truly magical, don't forget to take you Speedos or bikini and towel. Check the tides and weather before going. Enjoy!

4 Oct 2009

That Big Mountain Feeling

That is the feeling you get whilst bouldering in the Chew Valley, dramatic, impressive, inspiring, big high edges futuristic lines on high up exposed crags, checkout the Trinnacle on the right, unbelievable!

Joining us on this trip were the Red Tip guys, (www.red-tips.com) young and full of hunger for hard lines on esoteric problems, we had deceided to head for the Ravenstones, a crag full of history and mystery with a giant sloping boulder with an 8a project nobody has claimed, the area has held the attention of the best and pioneering climbers in the UK, such as Chris Hardy and Gary Gibson and many more, so we were hooked, as we approached on our left appeared a jumble of boulders below the Standing Stones "Mmmmmm that looks good" said Liam, and that was it, into the jumble!!!

SS Pinchy the Lobster 7a *** FA Lee Robinson 

Liam on Red Tips 5+** SS

Dredger Left Hand  FA Liam Copley 7a*** Standing Stones
Stumbling across some nice lines, the best being, Pinchy the Lobster 7a***, Red Tips 5+**, also capturing the sharp roof problem, The Moors tiger 6c**, until Liam found left hand crimp giving it a good 6b** still! then heading uphill to Popcorn prow 6a** with a very undignified mantle, to the left of this is a project rocking on to a slopey slab, hard!! then moving on to the crag, Liam added the superb 7a*** start to the three star route Dredger 6b, tackling the enigma of the left hand arete, well done Liam.

The Moors Tiger 6c** SS, FA Lee Robinson without Liam's
left hand crimp, another great day in the undiscovered Peak

28 Sep 2009

The Red Planet

Referring to the red sandstone on the Applecross peninsula, Scotland, (one of my favouritre UK bouldering destinations). There's so much to go at it's like being locked in Harrods at Christmas! The rock is a very smooth red sandstone, the climbing is varied and there is something for all abilities; but most of all the scenery is breathtaking.

Applecross O/S map sample, the dots are boulders
Key areas are the Russell Burn boulders, Kishorn shoreline boulders, both sides of the Belach, Meall Gorm and Sgurr a Chaorachain.

Enjoying Sgurr a Chaorachain
Walking here feels like you are on another planet, passing by layers of terraces, weird shapes, colours and patterns on the red sandstone, you could be on Mars! In this landscape are two impressive boulders in Coire a Chaorachain, that I have only viewed with binoculars! On the other side of Applecross is the MOD cave with the Brae boulders nearby, on which are problems developed by Nic Ward. He has also found new problems near Culduie and Shieldaig. For a sample of these and accompanying map see below:

Nic's follow-through Culduie Applecross
Nic Ward (Pre Head Shear)

Alistair McGregor on Egypt Himself 7a+

Culduie Map
For further info and problems see the Stone Country Guide, Bouldering in Scotland (Watson 2008)

27 Sep 2009

Your Climbing Bench mark

After a four month break due to injury and an indulgent honeymoon holiday, I was wondering if the grade you are think you are climbing is what you are actually achieving? Attempting problems that are not in guides can give you a sense of doubt, so I asked myself what are my benchmark problems?  Pongo 6c+: Dumbarton, Monty Pythons SS 7a: Northumberland, T Crack 7b: Peak District, King of Drunks 6c: Llanberis Pass, nice problems on very different rock. This weekend was a bit of an indian summer so I decided to go somewhere local and test my strength on bench mark problems that I have struggled on in the past! With renewed psyche, I headed to the tranquil Spofforth pinnacles, near Wetherby in Yorkshire to tick some previously visited test pieces, the best of the day being:

Backwards 6c+ SS from a rail to a lefthand
curved groove aim left to a faint crimp and
stretch with difficulty up to the jug, unbelievable!

Stretch Armstrong 6c SS The most direct way up
the arete, the reach is massive, and the foot
sequence to control the swing is brilliant, enjoy!

Crimple 6b+ Using the small undercut crimp
pull up to the sloper, lock off hard on the right
and finish in the sloping pocket to the left, ***

21 Sep 2009

Crafnant Circuit and Projects

During a long overdue return visit to the jumble of boulders in the tranquil Crafnant valley, we were determined to hunt out a good set of problems and were not disappointed. After a two hour jaunt around the dense cluster, it was clear there were lots of problems and projects all around -  so the almighty curcuit began. This included a clutch of the brilliant problems added previously by: Chris Doyle: Break Away SS; Wonderwall Danny Cattell: Grasswind, Mark Katz: Cruella and Sam Cattell: Filthy Hunks; Wonderwall Arete.

                              Candyfloss Sheep SS

Starting in the middle at the bottom of the field, we made our way leftwards ticking off many problems from F5c to 7a. The highlights: Initial warm-ups were taken on the Pyramid block at the bottom left of the field, which I refer to as the Triangular Elephant -right arete from sit is Chocolate Elephant ss 6b. On the left arete including the left block for feet is Elephant Fondue ss 6a. Located on the back of the block to the left of this on a clean sloping face bearing side rails containing the problem (but no use of side walls or the other close blocks) Candyfloss Sheep ss 7a.  Further up the hill on the right-hand side of the Breakaway block is the most photogenic problem of the valley Digital Distruction 6a, which can be extended with a possible but painful quartz-pulling sit start project. Moving over to the right side of the field are a few easier problems, plus an imposing blank block at a 15 degree angle. This has a nice left-hand arete and a very satisfying problem with a reachy standing start, ultimately finishing left on a large spike Reach For The Stars 6c+. The direct finish is is a slopey mantle-climbers dream! ?8a+
All in all around 20 problems were done on the day - knackering hardcore Welsh bouldering.

Some of the problems need 3 mats and at least two good spotters  - well worth the effort though!

If you have already done the problems described or want more info contact: lee@betaguides.com

                                 Digital Destruction

Craigmore Classic - Glasgow Bouldering

Craigmore- The Sun Tzu Dyno from John Watson on Vimeo.
From Glasgow the A809 finally gains open country outside of Bearsden. The road winds out to Drymen and Loch Lomond, but before this, just after the biker-haven of the Carbeth Inn, take the first right along the B821 link-road to Strathblane. After the green hut community of the forest, the crag is on the left, hidden in trees by the fields, just before the West Highland Way. Park carefully in a layby or under the trees further east and walk back. North-east facing, it is best in a dry spell in spring or autumn. Avoid the midge season and don’t go if it’s damp as the mossy old forest retains the moisture. The best of the bouldering can be completed as a Fontainebleau-like circuit, providing a good work-out on varying styles of problem. The Southern section is predominantly bouldering on the main crag buttresses, while the Northern section gives dispersed boulders and walls all the way to the end. The rock is a dimpled basalt which chalks up to good slopers and small crimps. Fingerlocks seem to be the key to many problems, as well as good technique with the feet.

Dobb Edge

Sometimes we need a change, going the same old place, repeating the same problems!

For me, looking through old guides or old books with photos of places long forgotten can be of inspiration for a trip out, so while browsing through the Chatsworth Guide to the Peak, a crag caught my eye, Dobb Edge, not heard of that one Mmmm, so curious of what sort of problems would lurk there, a trip was in order.

And yes we were pleasantly surprised! The bouldering at Dobb Edge is set in the Chatsworth country estate landscape, complete with resident fallow deer, hares and even the odd daredevil flying display visible from the big house around holiday weekends! the circuit is pleasant with grades from font 3 to projects around 7a and up. Most problems are relatively short, though there are a couple of highball projects around. Spotters are needed for some.
the topo will be available soon at www.betaguides.com when the PDF links are sorted, for the meantime feel free to browse the areas as we add them.

                    Photo Rob Lonsdale on a classic arete
                 The Duke SS, Plus free aerial display behind

                       Dobb Edge residents, Fallow Deer

Welcome to Betaguides

Welcome to the Betaguides news feed. This is a blog to accompany the new Betaguides online comprehensive bouldering guide. Our aim is to get people out there to venues all over the UK and Ireland, including those obscure places you never knew existed. 

We also aim to use a more inclusive approach to bouldering guides.
Guides to venues will include extensive routes and descriptions, accurate mapping and photo topos to locate the problems (we all know how tricky this can sometimes be!), plus circuits suited to all abilities.

The Betaguides team consist of a mixed bag of individuals based in various locations around the areas to be covered. We are in possession of a wealth of bouldering experience at all grades and are keen to pass on the information gained.

The guides are PDF-based and will be available for download at a small fee. Some info will be freely-available.

As the guides will be online, they can be constantly edited and updated to keep them fresh, so we would welcome any feedback.

If you have produced a guide and wish to get it to a wider audience via the Betaguides format, please contact us by email.

England and Wales: lee@betaguides.com
Scotland and Ireland:stonecountrypress@btinternet.com