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Climbing Frog Belay Glasses // Review

Belay glasses seem to be all the rage at the moment.  They’re a save-all for your neck, according to the manufacturers and thankfully the cost of a pair has reduced dramatically in recent times.  Today we review the Climbing Frog brand of belay glasses, which come in at less than half the price of some premium brands (with 10% off for 10 of our readers, so get in quick).  But… do you get less bang for your buck or are these a winning pair of neck-saving specs?  Beth and Emily from Womenclimb both tried them out independently; it’s time to find out their verdict:

Bosigran, Cornwall // Outdoor Climbing Venue // Review

The West Penwith area in Cornwall is full of solid (mostly!) granite climbing and outstanding scenery. This place is not only packed with top class rock but also beautiful beaches and moorland coastline, making it accessible for families as well as groups of friends and couples. Bosigran has a great reputation for long low and mid-grade climbing and we were not disappointed….

Perfect for… 

Classic multi-pitch routes and incredible views. Sunny afternoon climbing- The main cliff gets the afternoon sun and dries quickly after rain. It is also useful for viewing Commando ridge (aka Bosigran ridge) which is opposite the main cliff.

What I like the most… 

Alderman Rocks, Chew Valley

Having scrambled around Alderman Rocks a couple of times before, I was confident heading there for my first climb of the season outdoors. I’m still fairly new to trad climbing, don’t lead and am still cautious about who I climb with and where. So it was good to go somewhere I felt I knew.

Despite its position high above the Chew Valley in Oldham, Alderman Rocks is a friendly crag with a good variety of easy and harder routes.

Almscliff // Outdoor Climbing Venue // Review

Beth, our very own Womenclimb contributor set out to give you lovely readers a first hand account of the popular Yorkshire climbing venue of Almscliff.

Almscliff is an impressive grit stone crag in the heart of Yorkshire jutting out of a sea of finely combed fields and against a backdrop of distant viaducts and farmlands. The crag lies a few miles north of Leeds and Bradford and the parking is plenty with a 5-10 minute easy walk in on a footpath.  It has an “unmissable” reputation, being a natural crag which is very accessible with a wide range of grades to suit beginners to seasoned trad legends. Read on to see if this venue should be on your ticklist….

Do I love bouldering now?

If you read part 1 last month you will have a good understanding that, while I’m pretty outdoorsy and active, I was completely unaware of the point of bouldering and how it fits with my ambitions of climbing mountains.  I set myself the challenge to give it a go – here’s how I got on.   If you want to find out the challenge I set, and why, you can read my previous blog post Why Should I go Bouldering.  I have no illusions about doing anything as advanced as this:

The amazing Esme Hart bouldering at the 2016 Paraclimbing Championships at Manchester Climbing Centre.

The amazing Esme Hart bouldering at the 2016 Paraclimbing Championships at Manchester Climbing Centre.

People do keep saying that bouldering will help me with my climbing, so I wanted to find out what all the fuss is about.

FrictionLabs Chalk // Review

FrictionLabs is a US based climbing chalk company currently boasting to have manufactured the highest purity of magnesium carbonate chalk on the market. “Why is this so great?!”I hear you ask. Well, chalk is a combination of magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate. The former traps moisture, leaving surfaces dry and the latter attaches water to the outside of the molecule, leaving surfaces moist. It is claimed by the team at FrictionLabs that this makes their chalk last longer, safer to inhale and is less likely to dry out the skin.

We put this fancy new climbing chalk to the test…….

La Sportiva Katana Velcro Rock Shoe // Review

Love…

Comfort and feel. They are a comfort/performance hybrid so edging is really precise but could also wear on long multi-pitch routes. The blue and green show looks great too!

Would like to see…..

Them change the women’s fit from pink to something else! Better durability in the toe

**Overall rating

Criteria Grade
Value for Money 4
Design 4
Comfort & Fit 5
Durability 3
Functionality 4
Total out of 25 20

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 16.20.29

#FridayFilm // Metallica

Weekly film entertainment, this week featuring the incredible Aleksandra ‘Ola’ Taistra, as she takes a step away from her usual sport climbing, on a mountain trip into the Polish Tatra range, bringing a new perspective to her climbing.

Ola Taistra FFA First Female Ascent Metallica Tatra

Ola on ‘Metallica’ in the Polish Tatra Mountains

Indoor Climbing in Brighton

Brighton is a seaside resort on the south east coast of the UK in Sussex.  It has a vibrant climbing community focussed around two climbing centres.  There is also fairly quick access to London, so check out our London guide too.  Also of note are the lively and inclusive women’s climbing group, Vertigirls and the LGBT group Not So Trad, which has a strong female membership.  

#FridayFilm // Bolder

Our regular weekly film recommendation, this week featuring Katie Mundy, as she talks about how to get back into climbing after having a baby.
Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 11.56.59

Climbing after pregnancy is different for everyone.  See what Katie, owner of Eden Rock bouldering wall in Carlisle, tells us about her experience.  

#FridayFilm // Project Ellie

Each week we feature a film to inspire, excite and motivate you to go on an adventure.

Ellie running across gorse in the hills, with a thin layer of snow on the ground.  She is carrying a rucksack and wearing a hat and buff.

Ellie Johnstone out running in the hills in winter

They films are free to watch.  Some feature climbing, while others will showcase other great sports.  If you want to find more films, just click on the ‘Reviews’ tab and scroll down to ‘Film’, where you will find even more awesome films to enjoy.

Indoor Rock Climbing in West Yorkshire

Sandwiched between the Peak District & Yorkshire Dales National Parks, and between the well known climbing areas of Sheffield & Manchester, West Yorkshire might not be the first place you think of for indoor rock climbing but it boasts 6 climbing walls to suit every ability, all within an hour’s drive of one another.  These climbing walls are all close to Leeds, but accessible from other areas in West Yorkshire too.  Hope you enjoy this great six.  Why not visit and write us a review?

Itching to Climb // Barbara James // Book Review

itching to climb Barbara JamesItching to Climb, by Barbara James, is a book unlike any other I’ve read. It’s a non fiction, autobiographical book, a copy of which I found adorning the shelf of a lovely second hand bookshop in Caernarfon whilst visiting on a rainy day of a mountaineering club weekend. The story recounts the progress of this highly adventurous woman through life, talking though her jobs, one of which was as the first and only female civilian instructor with the British army, through her relationships and through family life. 

Emily Allen’s App recommendations

IMG_5581Emily Allen was the youngest female to climb 8a in the UK.  In July 2013 she climbed Aberration at Chee Dale.  If you’ve never heard of her you should read her story – she’s really inspiring, having had a number of setbacks yet still achieving the outstanding performance at the age of only 14 years old.  You can read more about Emily at Stoke Sentinal or on this superb UKC article.  A while back she shared her favourite three mobile apps with us, so we are sharing them with you now: 

Image from the front of the book Savage Summit, by Jennifer Jordan
Savage Summit // Book Review
Savage Summit // Author Jennifer Jordan.   This book is sensational.  For anyone interested in the history of high altitude climbing or in pushing themselves further in any area of life it’s a must read book.  Savage Summit tells the story of K2, the killer mountain, and it’s relationship with the first five women who achieved the accolade of reaching its peak.
Women to summit K2 – first five ascents 
  1. Wanda Rutkiewicz   23. June 1986
  2. Lillian Berrard   23. June 1986
  3. Julie Tullis   10. August 1986
  4. Chantal Maudit   3. August 1992
  5. Alison Hargeaves   13. August 1995

Savage Summit charts the lives of these five remarkable mountaineers.  To say it is compelling is an understatement.  I couldn’t put it down.

Operation Moffat // Film Review

By Emily Thompson // I’ve been hiking up mountains most of my life and as such have a passion for reading and seeing films about other people’s adventures and achievements. Unfortunately these are frequently dominated by men, most of whom are household names and well sponsored, enabling them to carve out careers in mountaineering and climbing.

Women’s Climbing Symposium is back!!

If you’ve never been to WCS this is the year!  Put 17th October 2015 in your diary and book your WCS tickets now, before they all sell out.  This year sees an absolutely stellar line-up at the Women’s Climbing Symposium, which takes place at the Climbing Works in Sheffield on Saturday 17th October.  We have no vested interest in promoting the event, other than it looks like the best collection of female climbers, together, in the same place, in the world, EVER!  And they will be coaching, inspiring, entertaining and supporting you to climb more, to climb better and to dream higher.  You can get your tickets on the Women’s Climbing Symposium website.  If you’re still not convinced check out the line up:

Ladies Climbing Evening // Boulder Central // West Brom.

*Boulder central are running a bi-weekly ladies climbing night – every other Friday from 7pm.  These women’s climbing nights are designed to be fun and sociable, as well as including training by experienced female climbing instructors.  It’s not just instruction that you get.  Boulder Central are rewarding women with a free cuppa and free shoe hire included in the standard entry price.  The centre will be open as usual to men and women, but you can take advantage of these great perks at no extra cost.

Book Review // One Green Bottle // by Elizabeth Coxhead

By Katy Stocks // One Green Bottle is possibly one of the most iconic novels about rock-climbing ever written. The novel’s heroine, 18-year old Cathy Canning, is living and working in the working-class slums of post-War Birkenhead when a chance meeting with a rock-climber leads to her first foray into the mountains of North Wales. Propelled by natural talent, gutsy determination and a fierce love of the mountains, Cathy soon becomes the ‘diva’ of a small community of rock-climbers based around a fictional youth hostel in North Wales.

One Green Bottle

I hate the gym
Boulder problems, campus board and gym equipment at PT Hut Stockport

Boulder problems, campus board and gym equipment at PT Hut Stockport

By Emily Pitts // I’ve only ever been to a gym twice in my life and I hated every moment. I felt like a fish in goldfish bowl and a fish out of water at the same time. I couldn’t get out fast enough. In fact the last time, I actually did a runner out of a class at a Virgin Active gym after 25 minutes, because I felt like my life was seeping away, it was so boring. I hate the gym. Hate hate hate it. I hate the idea of slogging away inside, when the weather is nice outdoors. I hate the idea of ‘working out’ with a bunch of muscle bound men who want to gawp at my sweating, heaving, struggling body, while showing off their massive pecs, as I struggle away picking up a 5kg weight.

Film Review // First Ascent // Katrina Brown

This is a charming film about someone going out for a walk topped of with a little scramble.  What’s really lovely is that the protagonist is only about 2 years old, yet still she manages to get kitted out and prepared all on her own, using a map to walk up a hill and experience the outdoors.

Film Review // Climb Like a Girl // Nicole MacGregor

“That’s a good question.  It doesn’t really matter does it, as long as you enjoy climbing?”

The expression of doing something ‘like a girl’ has become a familiar insult in the UK, usually words spoken by boys and men as a way of belittling each other or others.  This film, by Nicole MacGregor, seeks to challenge and explore what people actually think it means to ‘climb like a girl’.

Film Review // Barre des Ecrins // Laura Simpson

This clearly hand-made film by Laura Simpson gives the viewer a quick glimpse into the higher world of the Ecrins Massif in the Dauphiné Alps in France.  Standing at 4102 metres the Barre des Écrins is the highest point  of the Écrins Massif and is one of the classic 4000ers – peaks over 4000m.

With a couple of soundtracks, fairly low quality sound and wobbly camera shots, the film isn’t a cinematic first in any way, but what the film offers is the first hand experience of a woman mountaineering with two friends at altitude.  It’s about someone putting themselves out there to show that women do mountaineer and showing what you get when you go out into the higher European mountains.