Saturday, 23 July 2016
The victory of Brexit, and the rise of Trump are hard for everybody to understand, but one should look at the poor working class, and those trapped below that level to understand there isn't much hope for them. When hope is taken away from people they will strap the bomb of a suicidal ideology to themselves.
I am an inner city boy despite growing up part of the time on a small island paradise. I will just explain some of the differences between Gozo and London for a child. Gozo was paradise, I had no shoes but never felt poor, I could swim in the sea and never had toys. London was smoke indeed it was nicknamed the Smoke by us east enders. London was alcohol abuse, and many people being out of work, it was real poverty, it was people who where less educated than on my small backward island. How was this so? Because no body cares about the poor. If you are lucky to move up, you try not to look back.
My escape from this merry go round of London depression was to climb. I literally climbed out of the city, the labyrinth of social traps that would at the very best keep me a drone serving the classes above me.
The man I am is not a lazy one, give me work and I will do it, but take away my hope and I will bite back. I have spent time traveling recently and you can see the discontent of the poor, and the fed upness of the those people just above, caught in a hamster cage of work and high tax in France and Italy. Politics should be for all the people, not just for one select group of lucky unscrupulous people. The shit food in most American and European supermarkets is made by 10 to 12 companies, thats all, where's the choice!
I just found a great cliff this week swimming around, its gonna have a dozen easy routes and about 4 really hard routes, steeply overhanging bursting the pump for a real long rope length. I'll put the work in,this cliff will be great, it will be my little contribution to joy. Because if we don't have some of the good old stuff, we will turn into the Mob. My generation of climbers turned into Punks in the Gym, we invented the modern sport of climbing, other people added more joy, but there is a lot of sadness and hopelessness out there. I wish every body more fun and success, but please do not repeat this month, Turkey is taking it a bit far don't you think. Notice nobody is talking about invading Turkey. The UK government is trying to force nuclea ballistic missiles back on the plan, with this money most climbers, and non climbers could have a weeks paid sport for the rest of their lives!
Friday, 22 July 2016
So Grivel have three harness, the Apollo, the Ares, and the Posiedon.
The Apollo is designed as a rock harness more than anything, and the Poseidon is more directed at Alpine and Ice climbing because of it's less absorbent and hydro phobic leg loops. Lets take a look at the Ares which is the in-between harness which I like. Why do I like it, two reasons. First reason is the leg loops are a bit bigger than the Apollo, and despite anything I do, my legs are always a bit bigger than a rock climbers. Second reason is there's is more room for your bits, and I really would like to say I have over large tackle, but I haven't. If you are wearing a bit of a hefty pair of trousers there's often too much material rucking up as well. And girls, don't disregard this advice on any sexist grounds, a misplaced leg loop is not girl friendly either.
The Lynx is a much overlooked bit of kit, I suppose it's very specific, but it can be very useful on 10 pitch routes. It's got a water bladder function, and great racking of gear capability. It is a great seconds pack on day routes, or even for the leader.
There's just enough room for two light weight jackets, a couple of litters of drink, and a bit of food.
There are internal pockets, and an ice axe loop. The shoulder straps can also detach as a double shoulder gear rack, which can be really good if you a have a big trad rack, and have to keep shifting it because of chimneys and cracks.
Anyway there you go, two bits of kit that you might overlook because you really don't understand their slightly specific function. Worth taking a closer look at in my opinion.
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
Screw gates, twist locks, safety niners, they all serve the same function-you want that biner to stay locked. The Grivel twin gate locking niners are very good but we listened to the customer and made one smaller- its now a mini, or a didi, lighter with more clearance. Its a very neat belay binder that also won't revolve thru a Grigri because of a widening bump we added, so it ensures it's never cross loaded and always aligned perfectly. Captive eye at the bottom clips in to your belay loop.
The Tau is brill, its neat its slim and it is a safety binder. It's 55 grams, and it has a very clean nose due to the key lock system. The biner will rotate because the nose is normal size. Its another new safety binder, if you have trouble with the twin gate niners (I don't) you might prefer this new one. I just like its simplicity.
The Grivel Stealth is a good looking, really light, well ventilated helmet. Its a very good price too, check it out. 190 grams !
These poles are simple and great. They come in one piece, two piece and three piece or sections. I love the single piece, but they are impractical to carry or transport especially on planes. Single piece are always very strong and lightest. So for ease of carrying poles are sectioned, but the rub is they get heavier and weaker. Well these are strong. They come with a choice of two different baskets a trail,which is very small and a snow basket.
This is a brill bit of kit, there is not much room on this at all, but enough for things like the Tor de Giants 300km and more hills than you really want to know about! If you find one better than this, tell me. If you are really small or a bit big, it might not fit. Check it for size.
The new Salamander Helmet is your standard dragging and Alpine Helmet,its a really great price very good value. Its got the same fitting cradle as the Stealth Helmet, simple and light. 360 grs.
And to finish, Helmets save lives, you might not see everybody wearing one in photos, but where things get loose or stones might fall, the prudent and wise where helmets or at least tell their kids to wear them!
The Scarpa range of shoes has just been added to by a new king shoe, the Chimera. This shoe fits me like glove, it's common to say this but this is not exaggeration, or hyperbol. My first rule of shoes is, if it doesn't fit you, it won't climb well no matter how expensive or well thought out it is. With this being said, there might be more chance in fitting you than some. This shoe has an interesting lace system that gatheres the shoe bow around your toes nicely. The interesting use of three different kinds of rubber makes the shoe flexible where it should be and flexible and soft in the right places also.
The interesting lacing system shown above really worked for me, people are often two lazy nowadays to appreciate a good lace up, relying more on sticky rubber than technique, but in doing so they loose hight. Even I often favour a slipper over a lace up, especially on a long day or when its hot. But hey you know when your lazy, and anybody that buys this shoe won't be a lazy person they are going to be a rock assassin.
The Chimera is a turned down, high end shoe designed to help you climb. You can see in the above photo the pull under the shoe fixing the heel. The heel is very important for me because I love heel hook of all kinds, and heel scuffs and scums, and heel toes, thee moves require a firm well fitting stable shoe-thats the Chimera!
I was looking at this shoe with Heinz the designer, and he was really proud and enthusiastic. His face as I muscled in my rhino feet looked worried, but then we both new that that heel would never come off, its sticky tactile and is firm, locked on.
Nathan ran me through all the stitching, and very complex things that make this shoe work, which will undoubtedly make it very expensive. The choice with this shoe will be -can you afford not to ware it, not can you pay for it. I had a talk with many old climbers at the show, and we were all agreed that shoes make a huge difference, and the more you wear and climb in good shoes, the better skills you get.
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Mark Cole was a lovely young man, he is no longer here. I remember him at a certain age, like many of my friends, stuck in time, somewhere between passion and growing up. Mark was very kind to me and deserves my thanks, so thank you Mark, thank you very much for your kindness.
Mark had a family and lived and worked in Europe rather than the UK, I offer my condolences to everybody who was touched by him. Mark also was a force within the Edelrid company where he did much good work. I was very sad not to see him at the Summer trade show.
On the back of Marks photo is a little bit of writing from Saint Exupery. I'll just quote a few lines.
"In one of those stars I shall be living
In one of them I shall be laughing….
You will always be my friend
I shall not leave you".
Monday, 18 July 2016
The show was very good, lots of great gear, not just from Grivel, but from others to. I,ll get something together soon. Catching up on sleep, and looking forward to some cliff climbing, and some diving before I go to America in a couple of weeks. Thanks to everybody who made the German show a success.
Saturday, 9 July 2016
Normally I give up climbing at this time of year, and train. This year I might try a bit more. But conveniently I will be working at the summer show in Germany, and at the Grivel factory in Italy for a while. I will however miss the sea.
If people are interested my health is at the moment great, and I put this down to Yoga, eating well (this was a vegan week) and breathing exercises. The breathing exercises are really hard, and although I have done them lots of times, this is still proving, very, very hard.
I managed to squeeze in a couple more climbs with cousin Paul, and expect him to do well this coming year. He managed to do all the moves on an 8a, in conditions where there seemed as much water in the air as on a misty day in North Wales.
When the Underworld is this wet, you get strong, you get seriously strong, your hands start to develop suckers like octopus. Shame you can't develop another hand, or two. I scoped out a few brilliant hard lines to open. I need more Titanium gear!
Don't forget to come and say hi at the Summer trade show.