Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Check this out - The Pinnacle Trailer

West is Best.......unless you are a skier.

 Here's a few picture from my trip up to Scotland. I was hoping to climb in the Cairngorms most of the time, but it was really snowy so I headed west.
Great day up on the Ben but the next day it was black in Glencoe, still good conditions high on the Ben but I needed to head to Grantown to get my lift back south. Driving across, leaving behind the beautiful blue skies I hit a wall of snow.

Matt had headed down from Beinn Eighe, where he and Keith had walked in for a hour through deep powder and then decided to bail as they were still only about 1km from the car park.

We both arrived in Grantown and had to dig his van out, 17inches of snow overnight!!

Catrin and Di were skiing out of the front door, in preparation for their forthcoming season as part of the British Ski Mountaineering Team.

The drive south was grim, really snowy and the roads full of people driving badly! Not until we got south of Glasgow did we leave behind the proper snow. There is some down here in the Peak and it's cold, looking through my window here I can see that Kinder Downfall is starting to freeze, give it another week of this weather and it'll definitely be a goer!

Reports from North Wales are looking positive, routes are getting done in Cwm Idwal and on the Black Ladders, check out Baggy's Blog.

Last few hours to be in with a chacne to win that Pinnacle DVD, thanks for the response so far, see The People's Choice entry below.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Didn't Die of Ignorance.......Now updated with photos

The second installment from Andy's mini-break to Scotland........

Today he went climbing with baby faced Tony Stone (who claims to be much older than is possible to believe when you look at him, although his recent trip to Nepal may have added a couple of years.), and they decided to head up to their favourite place Ben Nevis. Now these two have some history of cranking up hard routes up there so I wasn't too surprised when I heard what they were planning to go and have a look at.
That's right Andy had decided to go and "open an account with Don't Die of Ignornce" on Comb Buttress. This Dave Macleod route has yet to have a second ascent and Andy is keen to rectify this. So anyway off they trotted at some ungodly hour of the morning, although probably quite late by some people's standards, and arrived to find the route in climbable conditions - this translates as being definitely winter, white and all that, Andy is a real stickler for all that stuff and has repeatedly walked away from routes that just aren't in nick. And I have heard some good rants on the subject......best not to get him started!

After a couple of go's the boys managed to get out to the arete - which is where there were loads of cool photos of Dave some even before he'd finished it!! But looking up the rest of the pitch there wasn't any of the necessary ice formed, which is exactly what happened to Dave when  he was trying to do it. That and they hadn't taken enough brave pills to bash on regardless!! So they retreated, but Andy was positive and declared that the account was well and truly open! He's going to head back up there at some point although probably not tomorrow.

Once again Matt Stygall and Keith Ball were out climbing and they actually managed to get to the top of thier route Tower Face of the Comb (VI, 6) - they gave it a rave review - apparently 3 *'s.

There were a number of teams out and about but not sure what they were on, although one team lost a rucksack which came hurtling out of Coire na Ciste - feel free to confess to your moment of early season errors here!

Hopefully I'm going to get e-mailed some photos down later when they make it back to civilisation, and I'll upload ASAP.

Andy on Don't Die of Ignorance
By the way - don't forget to get your entry in for the chance to win a copy of The Pinnacle - see The People's Choice post below.

Photo's as promised. Mixed climing and photos from below - never looks great does it?!

Tony Stone reaching the arete.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

And they're off.....the season begins.

That's right the first route of the winter is now under the belt. Andy headed north yesterday on his first pilgrimage of the year leaving me to write the blog in his absence, so here is the first installment:

Today Andy was climbing with Kenny Grant and they decided with the visibility being low to head into Coire an Lochain. Luckily there was a team ahead who had put a track in so progress wasn't too much hardwork. Andy and Kenny headed for Bulgy (VII, 7), which was rather buried but in pretty good condition otherwise. The bottom of the route saw Andy realise that he hadn't sorted his crampons, didn't know what to wear and all those other early season faffs - thanks to Kenny for being patient! The next error was noticed some way up the route where a large cam is necessary - of course they didn't have it - a bit of ingenuity and some stacked hexes later saw them at the top of the route and returning to the carpark by a slightly less than ideal route. Ah bless 'em, I'm sure Andy will be more switched on tomorrow!
Good start to the season and the first outing for the new Nomic 2's.

Also in action were Keith Ball and Matt Stygall on Fallout Corner (VI, 7) and another team of Miles Perkins and friend on Deep Throat (V, 6). Looked like Fallout Corner had already had an ascent so the boys didn't have to get involved in quite as much digging.

No photos yet but I'll load some up when possible.

Monday, 22 November 2010

The People's Choice!

My action packed party week was rounded off with the Kendal Mountain Festival and the World Premier of The Pinnacle  on the friday evening. This was my first viewing of the film and on a big screen too - absolutely brilliant. Diff (Paul Diffley at Hotaches) has done an amazing job of weaving together all the footage of Dave and I climbing with interviews from Jimmy Marshall, Robin Campbell and Ken Crocket to name a few. After the film was shown, Diff, Dave and I hopped up on the stage to answer questions, and I think it went really well, I managed to use complete sentences and make sense for a change!
Irritatingly Ruth was poised to take some photos - see below!

Diff then unleashed a bun fight when he offered DVD's of the film for sale, and we ended up spending ages signing them for people - my one moment of movie stardom!

The rest of the weekend Ruth and I saw a whole bunch of films about all kinds of things! From off-road uni-cycling to big wall suffer-fests. Then all that was left was the awards ceremony - a few tense moments for all filmmakers as the results were being announced. Probably the most prestigious award is the People's Choice Award. This is the film that the festival goers have most enjoyed watching and this was the award picked up by The Pinnacle. The beautiful trophies for all awards were sculpted by artist and climber Andy Parkin. Very happy to have been involved in this venture and think Diff deserves the recognition for doing such a great job and making a film that climbers and non-climbers alike will enjoy.

In hounour of winning this award I am going to give away a DVD copy of The Pinnacle. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to answer the question below. Send you answer along with your name and address to : amac_turner@hotmail.com
The closing date is 30th November 2010.


Which route did Jimmy Marshall and Robin Smith complete the winter first ascent of on 8th February 1960?

Correct answers will be put in a hat and the winner will be drawn out on 1st December.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Scotland hits Grenoble

Following the invitation from Erwan at Petzl I arrived in Grenoble a couple of days before the film festival. So as I had a bit of time to spare there was the chance to either go dry-tooling and try out the new Ergo's or a day sport climbing at Presles. As it was a beautiful day we opted for some bolt clipping. Erwan, Eric and I had a brilliant day out and Erwan clocked up some impressive airmiles.
A view on the main cliff of Presles.
The massive expanse of the Presles valley
This huge gorge is loved by climbers and BASE jumpers alike, Erwan took his rig along so I was hoping to see my first BASE jump, unfortunately it was a too windy. Monday was lashing with rain so I got to go and check out the Petzl Factory and Offices - what an inspiring place to work. As you walk into the building you are surrounded by amazing images, probably every Petzl poster ever printed. The offices are filled with little groups clustered round their Macbooks designing the next bit of super swanky new kit. (Sadly I didn't manage to steal any shiny kit whilst I was there!)

Late afternoon we went to collect the evening's whisky supplies from the local whisky expert, and were given detailed instructions of the best order to drink them in for maximum effect. Next stop was the station to collect some journalists, we then got a bit lost but arrived at the festival venue just in time to don out kilts and jimmy wigs and get serving the whisky.

After the film was shown we (Erwan le Lann, Tony Lamiche, Martial Dumas, Yann Mimet, Mathieu Meynadier and myself) were invited up on stage for a question and answer session. Completely terrifying, 3000 people and I don't speak french! Luckily the host decided that it would probably get lost in translation asking me anything and talked to the others instead!

At the end of the evening everyone who had appeared in the films that night was invited up for a team photo - which meant I got to share the stage with french ice climbing legend Francois Damilano, thankfully by that point we had all decided to get rid of our kilts! I have realised that I don't look good in a skirt and I was jealous of the other boys tanned legs - think I need to spend more time somewhere sunny!

At the aftershow party (rock and roll lifestyle!!) we finished off the whisky. Then when we all got thrown out of the venue headed back to Erwan's house until the early hours. Finding my way back through Grenoble to my hotel proved a challenge and I thought I was going to end up bivvying out in a side street.

A great few days, really good to catch up with the boys again. A massive thank you to Erwan and Petzl for the invite, hopefully see them all back in Scotland again soon.

Next day I dashed back to Manchester to go to Mountain Equipment's 50th anniversary celebration night and product launch. A great film about the history of Mountain Equipment's involvement in mountaineering over the last 50 years made by Brian Hall was shown, followed by a "fashion show" of some key garments over the years, and of course the new range for winter 2011. The star turn being Andy Parkin in his original all in one down suit from the '80's. Next up were Dave Macleod and Paul Diffley introducing The Architect, the short version of the Smith Marshall film. Fun evening and looking forward to some of the bright hardshell suits heading our way next year.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Just around the corner?

Looking out at the dusting of snow on Kinder and getting an update from James Thacker who was on cosy ML camp in Snowdonia (suffer!!), it seems that winter really is on it's way. So I thought I'd share a few photos from last winter's Welsh antics to get psyched. I really hope we get such amazing conditions this season, I've got some lines spied out and can't wait to get stuck into them. And no, I'm not telling you where they are!
Cwm Silyn

Central Ice Fall

Craig y Rhaeadr

Chequered Wall

Cracking Up - photo Ray Wood

Good Luck - and be careful out there, a smack in the mouth from your axe hurts!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Sneaky post

Andy isn't looking so I thought I'd sneak in a picture of him signing a copy of Alpinist!! The perils of being a winter climbing hero!
Article wrttten by Ian Parnell about their ascent of Bruised Violet in 2009, really good article and fab pictures too.

Issue 31 if anyone is interested.

I'm going to be in trouble


Sunday, 7 November 2010

New Mountain Equipment Delivery

Woo hoo, winter appears as does shiny new kit from those lovely people at Mountain Equipment. In the box this year are lots of new products, two of them, pictured below, are jackets to keep me toasty warm in different conditions.

This is the NEW Citadel jacket designed to keep you warm in conditions from Patagonia to Alaska, but will be perfectly at home on those long winter belays in Britain when trying to push new lines. Similar to the Fitzroy, but with twice the insulation. I had a prototype to test last winter and used it whilst filming The Pinnacle, a great week with some cold conditions especially hanging around on belays waiting for cameras to get into position.

Next up is the NEW Arete Jacket (in Bombay Orange - good colour!), having seen this at the product launch last year I could hardly wait for them to go into production and I could get my mitts on one. When it arrived I loved the jacket but I wasn't sure what I was going to use if for (other than looking cool in the pub!), but as Mountain Equipment say it's perfect as an alternative to a mid layer fleece, actually it's even more adaptable being lighter and smaller to pack. So far it's been used out on the grit as a great layer to chuck on in between routes/problems. Or to be stolen by Ruth whilst she takes photos!
More on some of the other products as they get used.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Holland's Highest mountain

Check this out. The last Great Problem. What do you reckon will happen first, getting pumped or getting the fear?

This image cropped up on my Facebook account from a friend in Holland.

It needed to be checked out so found this article Jack Geldard of UKC wrote last year.

I think id be terrified climbing the slab side nevermind the overhang but what an awesome facility, just dont go in high winds I guess.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Grenoble Mountain Film Festival Invite

Film Festival season is coming to it's peak and I'm getting psyched for the premier of The Pinnacle (Smith Marshall Project) at Kendal Film Festival in a couple of weeks. Out of the blue came an invitation from Petzl's Erwan le Lann to go to the Grenoble Mountain Film Festival. They are having a Scottish themed evening and showing the film the Petzl team made a couple of winters ago in Scotland. The boys had originally contacted me to get some information and I ended up acting as their tour guide for the 10 day trip, the highlight being Ueli Steck repeating my route The Secret in about 20 minutes, I almost hung up my rack there and then!
The only prerequisite is that I turn up with a kilt, now searching for both a kilt and a set of Jimmy Wigs for the boys to wear whilst they hand out whisky. Anyone who can help me out with either of those things - please get in touch!!

Les 12èmes Rencontres du cinéma de montagne
Uploaded by maisondelamontagne. - Discover the latest sports and extreme videos.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Sunday dawned damp so as my brother lives about 3 minutes walk from The Depot, we went to check it out.
The British Bouldering Youth Team were there on a training session, looking super strong and putting us to shame!
Lukasz Warzecha made a short film about the team a couple of months ago whilst they were competing up at Ratho - so check it out and get to know them.
Good to see the team getting together and showing some team spirit, would be great to think that we could do something similar for the World Cup Ice Climbing Competitions - maybe sometime in the future, near future?

The BMC presents the British Junior Climbing Team from Lukasz Warzecha - LWimages.co.uk on Vimeo.