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Invitation to rock climbing in Scotland

Scottish winter climbing is world-famous like Ben Nevis North Face. Then how about (summer) rock climbing?

I had very little idea about that before I moved to Scotland, except for a few stories like Old Man of Hoy and Cuillin. Having experienced (some of) them now, I have to say I am mightily impressed. This post is meant to be an introduction for Scottish rock for southeners to get an idea!

I guess a guy's comment in the UKC-forum discussion about the best xxx routes in the country summarised it well…

Unleash the Beast

A sharp end at am I. The terrain is continuously overhanging, and so is energy sapping. I must move quickly, shutting out the fear for the unpredictability.

With a little momentum I reach for a rounded little bulge above, expecting it to be decent enough at the back to hold. No, it's not! It is too rounded.

Take!

… I investigate what went wrong and what to do as a climber, which may make climbing a little safer as a bonus.

登山家の視点からの『岳 —ガク—』

東宝サイト上の映画『岳 —ガク—』のポスター ©東宝

2011年公開の邦画『岳 —ガク—』を遅まきながら観たので、当サイトの趣旨に沿って、クライマーの目から見たレビューを以下に。 純粋に、登山、クライミング、山岳救助として現実性を述べます。 一方、映画の筋や役者の好演あるいは大根演技などは、批評眼がある方々にお任せします。

以下は内容のネタバレ満載なので、ご注意下さい。 また、原作は読んだことがないので、以下はあくまで映画を観ての感想です。

総評

登山を扱った映画として、個々のシーンに…

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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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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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Force and gravity

Ruler.  (Cropped from the original image by Ejay in http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Steel_ruler_closeup.jpg . License: CC Share Alike 3.0)

In this world, the unit is often the source of confusion. Climbing is no exception. As an example, here is an extract from Andy Kirkpatrick's solo attempt in Troll Wall, where he had a hard time as vividly described in his own words:

[After hand-drilling a hole to place a bolt:]

I slid the bolt onto the hanger, then pushed it into the hole, but found it was a little too big to fit easily, so tapped it in with my hammer. I felt it trying to resist, but eventually felt it begin to give way. Then, after only a centimetre, it started to bend.

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