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Memoir of the path to Sugar Cane Country

There is a weird relationship between climbers and grades: love, hate, obsession, indifference, or whatever. Having finally achieved the next higher grade after years of continuous failures, I am here looking back at what pushing the grade has meant to me. …

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Review of "Make or Break: Don't Let Climbing Injuries Dictate Your Success" by Dave MacLeod

Photo of the front cover of 'Make or Break'

Review of the recently published book by Dave MacLeod: "Make or Break". It is specialised on the injuries commonly seen among climbers — what they are like, how to prevent, treat, mitigate, and rehabilitate.

Is climbing a sport?

It used to be not in the old days. It wasn't sophisticated like modern sports. Climbing is at its heart an adventure. Training? What's that? Men just go out climbing as often as they can! What else would you need?

Things have changed since. Or at least, if you want to be good at climbing, that is not the case any more. Why? Because…

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Equipment to start Scottish winter-climbing

Photos of winter gear

Now, you want to start winter climbing in Scotland (or North Wales or Lake District when the conditions are suitable). What do you need for the equipment? Here is a list for a day Scottish winter-climbing. Mind you, it is just a brief summary — I could write an entire post per item… But hopefully this would give you an idea of what you would need, as a starting point.

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Angels and Demons first ascent

Report of our first ascent of Angels and Demons (IV, 4), An Garbh Choire, Braeriach.

Southern Cairngorms — one of the most remote places in the Scottish wilderness. I remember when I first had a look at a map of the area years ago, I was impressed how far some places were. An attraction of outdoor activities is to go somewhere other people would not, or even could not, go or reach. It is I think a major element in mountaineering, and it certainly is […]

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Masa's perspective of Banana Wall (XII/12)

Greg Boswell made the first ascent of his yet hardest Scottish winter route, Banana Wall, Coire an Lochain, Cairngorms on 25th February 2015, as reported in his own blog post. It can well be the hardest Scottish winter route (grade XII, 12) or even the world, for the trad-protected mixed route. Here is my perspective as the belayer, climbing partner and witness of his feat.

Risk by Dan Gardner

Simon Perry casually posing on a steep cliff

We are all wired to be a stone-age human!
So we react to the risk as wired as our ancestors who run on the savannah in Africa, fleeing away from predator beasts, avoiding poisonous or harmful things like particular plants and something polluted to maximise the chance of survival.

It might be all good as long as one lives such a life alone, relying thoroughly on their instinct, or so called Gut. But we don't. Modern lives are far more complicated.

In this post I summarise, from a climber's perspective, some interesting facts taken from the brilliant book: Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear by Dan Gardner (2009).

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Required strength of belay anchors

A rigging example by Nick Bullock [©Will Sim (2014)]

There was a fatal accident in Yosemite — the circumstantial evidence implies the party placed 4 pieces of gear for the belay, then the leader took a factor-2 fall on the belay, all the gear of which ripped, and as a result the entire party was perished. In that particular case, clearly the belay was not strong enough despite 4 pieces of gear…

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