Friday, 23 February 2007

Brother's work

Seeing as i've posted some of my drawings, I thought I might as well pop some of my brother's up too. These three are some of my favourite sketchs of his that I have.
When we were kids my strange mother used to throw away all his drawings because see considered them 'unwholesome'or the work of the devil or something. It got to the point where Matt would draw something (he loved to draw) and then screw it up and throw it in the bin, most times without ever showing anyone. i managed to salvage a handful of these and kept them in a well hidden folder. I'm really glad I did! shame I don't have much of his more recent work.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

A nine to fiver's lot

This is a reply I posted on Dobbin's blog . I thought I might as well stick it up here too given that it took long enought to write. It's written in response to Dob's musings about the difference in performance between full time climbers and full time workers:

I tend to agree that training around work is a serious limiting factor unless you have very flexible work with low hours. Being a full timer or on an extended trip means you can climb often, when you feel energised and when conditions are good, rather than trying to cram five days worth of training into two shortish high intensity evening sessions, then do as much as the weather allows on the weekend.

My year away did result in a personal jump in standards (not sure i'd class as great!). The more time you spend climbing the more time on rock your body learns to take. Once you can tolerate a higher volume you can effectively do more training
[ By training I mean all climbing which acts to improve a persons climbing ability] per week so you improve past your normal plateau. As climbing is more of a constant pressure on your system rather than a short spike of activity every couple of days you don't risk injury by pulling harder, as much as you do by increasing intensity without upping the volume. Nine to fivers basically have to binge climb in the time available.

On top of that you have more chance to travel and take advantage of conditions so you get super psyched for things you wouldn't risk wasted effort on as weekend efforts. I think this motivation boost is almost, if not as important, as the physical side. Climbing around a full time job is a delicate balance and I personally tend to avoid projecting boulder probs which might take ages without certain success. Too many confounding factors mean you could just end up empty handed, frustrated and demotivated. As a result I pretty much stick to projects I can do in day.

On the upside things are much more predictable as far as sport climbing goes. Due to crags being dry in the rain and daylight allowing after work sessions during the summer months, it is actually worth putting in the effort on projects. I think weekenders can compete on a slightly more even playing field when it comes to bolt clipping.

Anyway, rambling aside, I reckon you'd benefit by and nodoubt really enjoy a big trip. Do it asap if at all possible before you get anymore rooted in place my mortages, babies, job etc. You're a young chap with the sort of job that I imagine you could easily take a chunk of time out of without any negative consequence. Do it, do it, do it. HM can be your roady!

Weekenders on tour

Saturday, 10 February 2007

A couple more scribbles

I don't often get round to drawing. Had an unusually productive spell of it a few years back now and here's a couple from around then.

You'd look pretty bemused if your boat was gone too.

And a laydee.

Friday, 9 February 2007

The mighty Titan

Manage to wangle a sneak trip down the UK's (relatively) newly unearthed biggest cave. By biggest I mean the biggest vertical drop in a single cavern. Titan beats it's nearest rival Gaping Ghyll by a waping 44m and resoundingly steals the flag from the dales cavers.

This isn't my pic BTW, I didn't want to risk my camera getting wet.

The top of the cave is a big scoop in the middle of a field with a bunch of scaffold over a gated shaft. The locked gate leads to the first abseil pitch which is a 2m by 40m tunnel dug straight down into the solid rock of the hill by the digging team. Going down this you get a real insight into the vast amount of effort, ingenuity and resource this dig must have taken. This shaft leaves you at the junction of a stooping passage. One branch leads to the site of further explorations, the other way lead for about 15m through a small muddy pool to a window into the main chamber. Pearing over the lip of the pool you are faced with the dizzying view seen in the picture above. Photos do not do the place justice, this thing is massive and very gob smacking. To discover something of this grandeur is on a par with stumbling upon Malham Cove, it really is that spectacular. If these rock faces were exposed outside they would be the best limestone crag in the country. Huge flakes, arete and sheets of flowstone all around.

From the pool the bottom is two abseils away, one of 80m to a slopey ledge know as the event horizon and one of 65m from here to the boulder choked floor. Strangley I found an un-opened sachet of brown sauce at the event horizon and an un-open sachet of red source at the floor, what can it all mean?

We lingered for a while at the bottom watching the waterfall cascade down the back of the chamber. After a cup of coffee (cheers Mr Crome) and a slug of sloe gin (cheers Mr Beekeeper), we set about the huge jumaring slog back up. With two on a rope to save time this is a very strenuous and uncomfortable business!

Exited the cave to a perfect clear night and frosted fields. A good trip all round. If you get a chance go take a look it's one of the peak's most impressive sights! I'm keen to go back but this time do a long trip either finishing up Titan or preferable going down the big one and popping out of JH, Peak or Speedwell.