Sachi Amma, on 'Cent Patates (7b) at the stunning crag of Ceuse, France.
Sachi Amma warming up on the wonderfully aesthetic, Cent Patates (7b), on the side of Biographie Wall at Ceuse, France. July 2014
Near the mega-crag of Ceuse, Orpierre is justifiably popular with a lot of people for slightly more ameniable grades. Big fun multi-pitches on one side of the valley, the other containing excellent routes of all grades in single-pitch.
Here, Naomi Sturdy on a 6c+. Steep pulling to thin slab finishes.
ex-pat Maurice Liddy on a beautiful 5.11 (6b?) in the Muir Valley at Red River Gorge, Kentucky. The owners of the land, Rick and Liz, have built a climbing wonderland - free access (although they're grateful for any donations), excellent facilities, beautiful rock, wonderful scenery, I was humbled that people would offer up such a place for people to climb. An inspiration to all.
One of those amazing routes of Kilsney in the UK. Al Sarhan here on a redpoint attempt, 2012?
For me, the route went down over three days. Nothing different between the 2nd attempt and the last (had a very good sequence), only a bit of help by getting fired by some not-so-friendly climbers at the bottom of the crag. Just shows it's not all just fitness! 8a or 8a+ (some holds have broken), who knows....
An oldie. Angela Carlin on 'Midnight Cruiser' E1. the early days of digital cameras, this has undergone some heavy editing, and also shows a damaged sensor (the white line on the right).......
One of the many classics hidden up on Ireland's most northerly, and well regarded, crag.
Damien O'Sullivan on one of the lovely problems in Doolin. On top of the sea, the Aran Islands behind, a location hard to beat anywhere worldwide (although the quality of the problems probably doesn't live up the to rest - the local trad crag of Ailladie more than makes up for any shortfalls)
Almost a 'selfie'!
Taken by Naomi after another fun day playing on the boulders of Hampi just before the sun went down and the mad dash to get back to the village.
With lots of wild dogs roaming around the edge of the village, being out after dark on the village fringes never seemed like fun.
Dan McManus on a beautiful 7b+ at the phenomenal crag of Monstant. Never getting as much attention as it's local neighbours of Margalef and Siurana (both probably more popular for easier accommodation and a southerly facing direction which means susceptible to being a sun trap), it's hard to beat for quality, very-long routes.
Conglomerate limestone means a never-ending arm-exploding line of pockets where you're continuously fighting the pump. The wall to the left hosts a trio of amazing lines, 6c - 7a.
Paul on an unknown 21/6b+. Steep climbing through big edges, this small crag near the well-known area of Paynes Ford makes for a nice change of scenery.
Probably one of the coolest campsites is nearby, well worth a visit if ever in the area.
Pepper Stariha on 'Scarface' 5.11 in Indian Creek. After a full year off climbing due to a bad accident, Pepper was a wonderful tour guide for our visit to the Creek.
Three days isn't enough to learn the area and the totally unique style of climbing, but Pepper showed us how it was truly done cruising up numerous routes in style.
Technique wins in the Creek!
Naomi on a final-day redpoint attempt of the ultra-classic 'Chainsaw Massacre' 7b at the Motherlode crag of Red River Gorge, Kentucky, USA.
Steep steep steep steep........ Relentlessly intense routes, punchy climbing, big fun fall potential. Amazing destination, put it on your list.
An attempt at an onsight of 'The Gift' 5.12d/7c. The crux is right at the top, I made it to the last hold of the crux, reached through....and then fell off. Doh!
Incredibly this route was onsight-soloed by John Bachar back in the day.
Photo was taken by Brendan Nicholson who kindly hung off the top of the wall for this shot.
My one and only 'proper' photo. Taken by Brendan Nicholson, a staged shot on a beautiful 8a at Crag X, Red Rocks. Amazing seeing how the lighting is done (everyone on me is from a bunch of remote flash bulbs underneath), Brendan took this from a tree.
Unknown climber on the steepness of 'Anabolica' 8a.
Astounding climbing on small holds.
Situated on the idyllic hideaway of Ton Sai beach, it's hard to get more exotic. Climb until the sun swings around, then fall in the sea for a swim to chill out for the afternoon.
Nicholas Farrayre attempting the well-known 'Asia Shadow Play', 8a+. Non-stop, thin crimping up a 20 degree overhanging headwall leads to the chains hidden in the tufa. Fond memories for me as it was my first grade-8 route. Interestingly, it was also the first time I'd ever trained properly and it showed, taking the route down in only 6 tries over 3 days. It felt easy, being able to shake out on any hold of the route just showing that proper training works!
An oldie, but a favourite of mine. Andy Kelly on 'Barry's Problem' on the back of the Big Jim boulder.
A great simple problem and a good example of the purity of bouldering - all coming down to one explosive move requiring accuracy, timing, technique. And some strength of course.
Messing about on an unknown route at Red Rocks, Nevada. It's hard to believe this is so close to Las Vegas (almost visible in the middle, centre of the photo away in the distance). Amazingly, fun climbing
Naomi on an unknown 5.11c/6c at the 'secret' crag of Mill Creek. Still one of my top-5 crags worldwide, it's probably as much to do with the colours and the wildness of the area.
No guidebook, no proper campsite, beautiful colored rock, what more could you ask for? Oh yeah, the climbing is fantastic too.
Al Sarhan on a 7c, Margalef in Spain. Another stunning wall, this time near Raco de la Finestre sector. This and the 7c to the left are ultra-classics - a never ending line of decent holds on a decent overhang leading to enormous pump!
Brendan Nicholson, this time in front of the lens, cruising up an 5.13b/8a at the Gallery in Red Rocks National Park, Nevada.
I'd watched people cruise up routes of this grade before but Brendan was one of the first people I got to know and chat to about it. Gained a lot of insight.
Myself and Brendan also had the fun adventure of going climbing in deep snow at the 'secret' crag of Mill Creek near Moab, Utah. More famous for it's splitter cracks at Indian Creek, Mill Creek is still one of my most favourite crags, purely just for location and type of rock. Memories of a hanging belay with two down jackets (!) on while Brendan worked his nearby project still live on this day.
Diarmuid Duggan fighting on unknown 7c on Ton Sai Beach.
Sean Marnane on 'Jaws', the fun warm-up of the Blue Mountains. A crag I wished I gotten the opportunity to spend more time at.......
Needs to be seen big-screen to be fully appreciated. Taken with an iPhone!
Mick Walsh topping out on 'Track of the Cat' E4.
A classic line, thin and technical with the major difficulty down low. My first time on this, following a friend 'Squib' up it almost ended up in a bad accident after a hold snapped off, my own memories of doing being heavily clouded when I led it by this experience......around the time I lost interest in a lot of trad climbing. 2008?
I just love the look of concentration in this photo. Unknown climber on an unknown 7a. Pure compression and pure friction.
Naomi Cokell on 'Captain Hook' 7b in the Peak District, UK.
Two years living in the UK and I never really got the opportunity to make the most of the sports in the area due to commitments with work and travel back to Ireland. Still though, I did get to spend some time exploring the fantastic gritstone. Smaller than I expected and thus less inspiring for me personally, but great rock. Really great rock.
A good example having to learn how to climb a style - I couldn't get near doing this on my first attempts. a weekend later and it went almost first go.
Unknown climber feeling for the final holds on the top of the 'Nu Rails.
I love watching the climbers eyes behind and their attention on what's happening.
Just showing climbers enthusiasm for 'one more climb', Tony Stone climbing by moonlight in Monstant.
Just behind Tony is the main serious area, a huge amphitheatre of mega-routes up to 50 metres in length.
Naomi on 'Missing Snow' 6b+ in Thailand.
Naomi's first 'project' and a great example of the intricacies of climbing, subtle moves between edges.
Darragh Sweetnam on 'Hampers Hang' 7a. A good side profile of the typical types of holds of the Peak District and gritstone......
My earliest photo of myself climbing. 2002?
At least I've got a helmet on.....
I was lucky enough to meet Said Belhaj, an extraordinary climber from Sweden (with a touch of Morocco also) in Margalef in 2016. Motivated, generous and with a quiet enthusiasm and energy to boot: he quickly dispatched this 8a+ in Margalef at the end of a long day.
The stunning valley of Chulilla, Spain - west of Valencia. I've been to visit twice now, the venue itself is just astounding, the massive horse-shoe shaped gorge sitting directly in front of the peaceful village that gives it its name.
Here, two climbers on one of the lovely 6a, 6b's.
The community of climbers all willing each other up a climb.
Naomi getting stuck into a tricky boulder in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.
Shot on an iPhone 6S.