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Best Places to Boulder in the Peak

Bouldering overhang at Burbage SouthWith winter setting in and the nights drawing close, I think it’s time to consider bouldering as an outdoor option that eats less time and helps you to avoid frostbite in the chilly weather.  Here are our Peak District Top Tips:

Best Peak Bouldering venues

1.  Curbar //  Top Tier // Right Hand Side

Forty ish problems graded 3-5 – perfect for beginners.  Around 15 minute walk-in.  Parking available in bays nearby – does get busy in summer.

Mountain Hardwear // Medusa Glove: Review

Mountain Hardwear Glove Review02Love: the waterproofness.

What I would change: Need to have women’s sizes.

Best for: Wet Scottish winter climbing, walking and mountaineering.

Description:  Inner and outer glove – Inner is a windproof soft-shell with palm grippers, which covers the hand snugly.  Outer is a separate super-waterproof glove, with  high gaiter, nose-wipe thumb panel, easy function gaiter-tightener and arm-hangers.

Mountain Hardwear Glove Review01

Fit:  I bought a men’s small and they fit very well.  They don’t come in women’s sizes (yawn).  I have rather large hands for a small woman, so usually buy men’s gloves anyway.  I doubt very much that those with small hands would have the same luck.


Mountain Equipment // DriLite Ultra Jacket: Review

Mountain Equipment Super lightweight Jacket2Having searched high and low on the internet for this jacket to get an idea of how much they now cost I have been unable to find it – it is now 2 years old.  So, you may think why the review?  Well, I really like this jacket and it has served me well.  Mountain Equipment still use this fabric and I really rate it, so… find DriLite Ultra and you will find the same properties that this jacket has! 

Suntan Lotion: Review

In 2011, I went to South Africa for two months (in their summer), and I knew I would be outside all day so when looking for a suntan lotion I knew I would have to get something heavy duty.  If you're planning on In the past...

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Multi-Pitch Sport climbing in Ailefroide – Top tips to stay safe when climbing

Ailefroide climbing 217Multi-pitch climbing in mountains has more risks than single pitch routes, for obvious reasons – you’ll be out longer, at the mercy of the weather, carrying your kit, whilst trying to find your route up the route and off.  There are more things that can go wrong, simply because you’re doing more and spending more time than you do on a single pitch route.  We’ve put together a few tips to help you stay safe in the mountains.

An overnight train to the Alps

Ailefroide climbing 105Ailefroide is a small village situated in the Hautes Alpes in France about 35 minutes’ drive from Briancon and only a stone’s throw on the map from Alp D’Huez and Argentiere.  I recently visited with my daughter and around thirty members of our mountaineering club – KMC.   This is one in a series of blog posts about how to get there and what to do when you do.

Ailefroide – what’s there to do?

Ailefroide climbing 31

Ailefroide is a very small village in the Hautes Alpes in France.  It is situated in a valley at around 1500m.  We went there to climb and others of our group went for mountaineering on the surrounding high mountains and glaciers of 3000-4000m.
What I loved about this area was that there was a really good mix of things to do and it felt like it was a far cry from regular tourist places. I had expected fewer local facilities and was really heartened to find a Sherpa supermarket with freshly baked bread, croissants and pains au chocolat every day, as well as cheeses, hams, tartes, fresh yoghurt and jams.

Kilnworx Climbing Centre Stoke – Review

Kilnworx Stoke10

I recently had an email from a man called Jin, inviting us to Kilnworx Climbing Centre in Stoke for their new Women’s Club.  We were very excited and went along to see what they have to offer at their inaugural Women’s Club Night.  Here’s what we found out:

Kilnworx is a Social Enterprise.  What this means is that it’s essentially not for profit.

Kilnworx Stoke 12

It has a great feel and we could see from talking to Jin and the other staff and volunteers that they have big ideas for this place and they’re passionate about it.

It’s set in a church and some of the features (which you won’t be able to see yet, as it’s still under construction) are truly magnificent.

Climbing in the Alps – Ailefroide

Information about climbing near to Ailefroide in France:

Ailefroide climbing 208Guidebooks

You can buy a local crag guidebook for €11 at the shop in Ailefroide.

Ailefroide climbing 211

The rock type is granite and the majority of the easy access routes are slabs.  The climbs are all about smearing and footwork.  If you’re used to climbing with your arms, then get practicing without any handholds!

The Core Challenge

Towards the end of last year and into this year I was working quite hard at improving my climbing – technique, skills and knowledge.  I picked people’s brains and worked on areas I thought would help.  I started to improve, and what I mean by...

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Core Exercise Ideas for Climbing

If you're not sure what exercises to do to improve your core muscles, here are a few suggestions, with demos I've found on the internet: Sit Ups http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fbU_MkV7NE Crunches http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyd_fa5zoEU Reverse Crunch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyv14e2QDq0 Left and Right crunches http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwVXJKqWGpg The Plank http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz0oFaVGuh4 Russian Twist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeAtimSCxsY V-Sits http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_1KGrBx2T4 I've been doing a mix of these,...

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Stanage Review

Stanage climbing women4Guest Post by Linda Wales: Stanage End, Peak District, UK

What I liked most: I’ve climbed here before and you get a multitude of different grades so whatever grade you’re at, however you’re feeling that day, there will be something to climb.  The other people climbing there are always friendly so you can take advice, offer advice, or just chat and there are no cliques or funny attitudes.

What could be better: nothing.  It’s great.  Really enjoy my time climbing there.

What is ‘Footwork’

This is the first in the 'Footwork' series - aimed to demystify the terminology, help you think about your footwork and ultimately help make you a better climber. So what do people mean by footwork? When people talk about footwork they mean things like: How you place your...

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Beth…On Indoor Lead Climbing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have just lead my first 7a+. I still can’t quite believe it, but luckily I had a witness – the lovely Emma Timmis from Womenclimb, who led it after me.  This post is a reflection of my own personal climbing journey and includes the things that were most helpful to me and made the most difference to my climbing.  During this period I had 1-2-1 training with Libby Peter, from whom I got some of these tips. Finally, please note I refer to everything in terms of indoor climbing!

Inspiring Woman Shauna Coxsey

If you don't know Shauna, you should definitely watch this: a.did.as/ZeqUEK. It's a good intro to a strong, powerful woman. Get strong, women.     Next in Shauna's Series: Footwork Sign up for the Womenclimb newsletter  ...

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Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe Review

Score for the Evolv Elektra…Five Stars

Evolv Elektra Shoe - 3It was kind of accidental that I ended up with these boots but I’m very grateful that I did.  I had sent of my previous boot to the manufacturer due to a fault and quickly needed to buy a replacement pair but was a little short of cash.  I searched on ebay for a second hand pair of boots and these were available in one size only and unused.

Evolv Elektra Shoe - 4

Evolv Geshido Climbing Shoe Review

Score for the Evolv Geshido…Five Stars

Evolv Geshido Rock Shoe4Verdict

Love: the fit

Would like to see: them available in small sizes for women to buy easily

Evolv Geshido Rock Shoe1

I love these rock shoes.  These are the most recent shoes I’ve bought, which came to me by default as a colleague bought them thinking that you need to go smaller, but with the Geshido you definitely don’t! 

Film Review // Push It // Jen Randall

“Push it” by Jen Randall. 34 mins, Lightshed productions. This is a short film about Jen’s dream of climbing El Cap in Yosemite. It is very much a film that makes you feel good about women climbing and has a definite “girl power” feel to it. Featuring among...

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A Tale of Woe with the Shewee Extreme

Scottish winter skills course1The background to my purchase of the Shewee Extreme was a 14-hr epic mountain day in Scotland this winter with three men, during which time I had to perch on a snow ledge sandwiched between two men with their eyes closed while I crouched for a wee, with another man ascending up to the stance at the same time.  The ascending male had to be asked to hold on for fear of receiving a face full of warm yellow liquid.  An interesting tale, but not an experience that I particularly wanted to repeat after that journey.  I’m sure the men would rather it weren’t repeated too.

How to improve at bouldering – Ten ways to get better

Following on from the last blog post here are some practical things you can do right now to improve your skills for bouldering:

Learning bouldering1) Watch

Watch someone who looks like they boulder well. If you watch, you can probably learn something. Look at their hands, how they hold the holds, where and how they place their feet, what are they doing with their weight, their knees, are their feet always on the holds?
Boreal Krypto Rock Shoe Review

Score for the Boreal Krypto…
Four Stars


Boreal Rock Boot side picture

My first introduction to the Boreal Krypto rock shoes was a member of staff at a climbing shop referring to them as the krapto. Despite this dizzying introduction, I tried them on and decided that the price and the good fit for my bunioned feet suited me just fine.

I’ve been wearing these rock shoes for about six months now, giving them a few runs up the wall between once and three times a week.  I climb about 6b+ on top rope and 6a leading, just to give an idea of what my climbing is like.  They seem to be fairly durable – no signs of them getting holes yet.  That is perhaps down to recently improved footwork as well.

Talon 44 Backpack Review

Osprey Talon 44 backpack review

In 2011 I went walking around Ben Nevis and realised that it was to invest in a backpack to accompany my multifarious mountain pursuits – single and multi-pitch climbing, mountain walking and winter mountaineering.  My first port of call was Manchester Oxford Road Cotswolds, as they are stalwarts in reliability and good customer service. Being a clearance store they didn’t have a full range so, instead I went to the Manchester Deansgate branch.

Osprey Talon 44 Backpack review6

At first glance I thought that buying a pack would offer a straightforward choice, but I was, firstly, dazzled with the array of packs available, and then very quickly became suitably disappointed by the very few packs from which I eventually had to choose.  Why? I am small. When I say small I mean 5ft tall (155cm) and with a waist of about 28 inches. The staff member in the shop was brilliant, helping to work out the best fit using realistic weights and assessing my needs. My resulting purchase was the Osprey Talon 44 in Indigo blue.  So, more than a year in, here’s my review of the bag…