11 December 2011

Hseven - Inca to Amazon

Mark and Carrie Ruddock intrepid travellers recently, spent 2 weeks in November doing the Inca trail and lazing around on the Amazon river. Hseven was proud to be on board with this adventure.  From a maximum altitude point:2,650 m (8,692 ft) to the low flat hot, humid, lazy Amazon. The Hoodies were 'really warm and confortable' and there were loads of remarks about our Logo.Mark and Carrie Ruddock intrepid travellers recently, spent 2 weeks in November doing the Inca trail and lazing around on the Amazon river. Hseven was proud to be on board with this adventure.  From a maximum altitude point:2,650 m (8,692 ft) to the low flat hot, humid, lazy Amazon. The Hoodies were 'really warm and confortable' and there were loads of remarks about our Logo.

Thanks for the great pictures you guys. Enjoy your trip to South Africa this December.



13 November 2011

Hseven's First sponsored event - Sibl -The Arch climbing wall in London


Wow what an awesome day !!!! Small beginning are the best because there is so much to see and learn, although this will never end. Just mixing with the climbers, meeting up with our sponsored climbers and  generally having a good time building relationships with people. Chatting and more chatting !! A really relaxed atmosphere has always characterised SIBL with competitors encouraging eah other on, a far cry form the tense international comps. SIBL is about good climbing, good friends and a good time with good prozes of course.
 

There are so many lessons to learn but those rare moments when you see a dream come true, floor you and make it all worth while.

















There was a climb off because of tie places. I was sitting and watching the guys and girls duke it out in spectacular athletic style. I looked up at the Hseven banner, watched the climbers, listened to the crowds and had the realisation of a dream come true. So long ago I had the dream of seeing exactly that, my company banner up as sponsors of a climbing event. The best part was handing out the prizes to the winners and runners up .... Such a brief hard won moment but worth every inch of ground won.

How amazing and stunning those moments are. The best bit is that I will have them for the rest of my life as I dream and trust and work hard to see things unfold with Hseven. They will also get bigger and better ...What an awesome privilege !!!!


Thanks to Mark, Rachael and Jonathan for thier support and being an awseome good looking buch of guys always ready to help and serve..... but make no mistake, we had a good time with loads of naughtiness and laughter.


Feb round 'the Reach' here we we come !!!

19 October 2011

3 days in the Lakes - Scafell Pike

If you cast your mind back a bit you will remember the first 2 parts of this story by Jon Hymus. 
Here is the finale.

Three days in the Lakes



4 October 2011

Old Man of Hoy - Sam Johnson

I'm always keen on a bit of adventure climbing, in fact its a major factor in choosing my rock climbing destinations. Weather its driving to Switzerland to experience the fantastic wild bouldering of Magic Wood or searching out the local chalk cliffs looking for a line that shows a little promise of not falling down as you climb it. But climbing adventures are very much a personal experience, with everyone having their own favourite climbing destinations or climbs. And then you find a climb that smacks you in the face, a must do route, a special climb. For me, this climb was the Old Man of Hoy in the Orkneys.

The Old Man of Hoy is possibly the most famous route in the UK first climbed in 1966 by Chris Bonnington, Rusty Ballie and Tom Patey. The following July, an all star cast of Joe Brown, Ian McNaught-Davis, Peter Crew, Dougal Haston, Tom Patey and Chris Bonnington subsequently repeated the route for a live BBC broadcast. They were backed up by climbing camera teams comprising Hamish Macinnes, Ian Clough, John Cleare and Rusty Ballie along with a dozen climbing sherpas, around fifty camera technicians and a platoon of Scots Guards!! The show was a huge success and the climbing teams gave the Old Man of Hoy the lot. Over the broadcast, a new route up the South face was climbed by Joe Brown and Ian McNaught-Davis, artificial climbing and bolting happened on the South East Route by Dougal Haston and Peter Crew and Tom Patey and Chris Bonnington performed high trapeze acrobatics as well as a bivouac half way up the Old Man!


In my early days of climbing back in the middle nineties, The Old Man of Hoy was quickly ingrained in my head as a route with almost mythical status. Now iconic photos of Tom Patey, cigarette in mouth, doing the crux moves on the second pitch filled me with fear and a strange attraction to the route. Situated on the Isle of Hoy, the second largest of the seventy Orkney Islands and quite possibly the most beautiful, the Old Man stands on the West coast of the Island, close to Britain's third highest sea cliff, St John's Head.



For me the adventure began the moment I left the front door of my cottage in Broadstairs, Kent. Its a full 875 miles, or 15 hours worth of driving, from my home town to John O Groats, the most northernly point in the UK. After driving throughout the night we arrived at Gills Head just West of John O'Groats to catch the ferry over to mainland Orkney. From here its a twenty minute drive around the Island to catch another, smaller ferry, over to the Isle of Hoy. As the little blue ferry makes its way across Scarpa Flow and then the Hoy Sound, it navigates its way around the wrecks of hundreds of warships before bumping up against the small concrete jetty at Hoy. Following the German defeat in WW1 Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter sunk 50 German ships in this area to prevent them from falling into British Hands. Stepping off the ferry onto the Isle of Hoy itself is like stepping back into time, a time when community spirit came first with everyone helping their neighbours. The large majority of the 300 population live on the sheltered East side of the island, with the exception being our destination of Ratwick. In the 1900's there were 80 residents but today only seven people live here all year round. Ratwick is just a tiny scattering of stone crofts overlooking as stunning beach littered with the most amazing coloured boulders and stones.

Our home for the week was a stone bothy owned by the Hoy National Trust who permit free use to climbers, walkers and adventures alike. It sits right on the shore line and has stood the test of time , its stone covered roof bearing testament to just how stormy the area can be. The bothy has running water, albeit pumped straight from the river behind and requires boiling to make it safe, a sit down loo and plenty of room to sleep and cook. It easily caters for all of your basic needs but if the wind stops and your treated to a still day be prepared for the hoards of midges that will descend!!


The first evening we were treated to a beautiful sunset over Ratwick Bay with a still, calm night and an impressive display from the millions of stars above your head. Spirits were high as we thought we might of hit the jackpot with the weather as calm sunning days are a bit of rarity during September. We slept well that night with our alarms waking us at 6.00am to check the weather and to see if it was game on for the climb. Unfortunately not! The wind had rose dramatically during the night and the full force coming off of the sea was now bearing down on Ratwick Bay. We decided we would head over anyway, even if it was just to check out the 3 mile walk in and to get our first real glance of the Old Man of Hoy itself. The path to the Hoy climbs steadliy up the hill on the North side of Ratwick Bay, joining onto a recently revamped path that runs along the coast. You don’t get to see the Old Man of Hoy until you round the bend at the top of the hill, its full stature not apparent until your looking at it from the cliffs. Its summit is a good deal higher than the mainland cliffs but it was only in the early 19thcentury did it become a sea stack. The stack itself is only 400 years old and many people have pointed at the fact that it may not get much older. It seems the only reason it is still standing is because it sits on a granite plinth which takes the full force of the extreme weather that rolls in off of the sea.

On maps drawn between 1600-1750 the area is shown as a headland, with the painter William Daniell sketching it as a sea stack in 1817, with a wider column and a smaller top section with an arch at its base from which it gains its name. At some point in the early 19th century, a storm battered the area and washed away one of legs, collapsing the arch and leaving the stack detached from the land.  The remains of the arch are still there today and its a good job too. Thanks to the massive boulders at the base of the cliffs the sea is kept at bay and the Old Man can be reach during any state in the tide, meaning no need to get your feet wet.

Descent to the base of cliffs is via a treacherous, steep and narrow grass track, an adventure in its own right. Take extreme care here, a slip in the wrong place could sea you end up with the seal's below.  At the bottom of the descent your faced with the remains of the old arch which leads to the start of the first pitch. By this point the winds had got even stronger and the rain had begun. We huddled under a large boulder and contemplated what to do next. Im not quite sure what happened, but the next thing I remember is leading up the first pitch in what must have been the worst climbing conditions I have ever encountered in the UK. This lead was by far the hardest 4b id ever done. The climbing was easy with the crux being just trying to stay on the damn rock. As winds of over 60 miles an hour stormed round the stack I knew in my heart that today we weren’t going to get much further than the first pitch. Huddled on the first large ledge that marks the end of pitch one, I brought Mark up and we decided that enough was enough for today. The weather had beaten us but as we abbed off in the driving rain I knew that it wouldn’t be long before we were back for more, weather permitting. 

The next day dawned miserable and moody, grey skies flooding in off the sea. I spent the day propped up in the window bay of the bothy reading my book, watching the rain drenching everything outside. Its not very often that I get to just do nothing. In fact I cant remember the last time id sat down and read a book. Normal life is just too damn busy for small pleasures like this and although I  knew I couldn’t climb today, I was secretly quite happy to just do nothing. We'd managed to get word from one of the locals to say that tomorrow was looking better for climbing, with winds dropping and only the chance of showers. That night we sat down to fresh sea trout, caught from the river 50 yards behind the bothy, and slept content, alarms ready to wake us at 6am.

True enough to our local weatherman, the morning dawned clear of clouds, save for a few low lying   ones covering the hill tops surrounding Ratwick Bay. We set off, hopeful that today might just be the day that we get a long enough window in the weather to get to the top. It soon became apparent though when we rounded the cliff top looking over to the Old Man that the winds had been hiding from us during our walk over. As we descended the steep grassy track down to the Old Man the winds grew in strength until, huddling under one of the huge boulders at the base of the Old Man, we could barely talk to each other over the wind gusts. As we sat there wondering what to do and contemplating walking back out, we got a break in the weather. We decided it was on! Unfortunately that break lasted till the top of pitch one. The wind had now got back to full strength and the sky threatened rain. We decided to see if we could climb the crux pitch, with the plan being to leave a rope in place so should the weather improve, we could shoot back up through the harder parts in no time.


I settled myself down on the ledge in the best position I could to enable me to see Mark for as long as possible. I watched him disconcertingly disappear down the start of pitch two and start the traverse across to the main crack thats leads the way through the overhangs above. This first section is hard to protect and is best down with a deep breath and cool head. The climbing is relatively easy save for one move mid way along the traverse but safety is found at the end where a small cam comes in handy. Just remember to place a long sling on any runners here to avoid the killer rope drag was you pass the crux above. The last I saw of Mark he was making the fantastic moves rightwards onto a wall that teeters above the sea. After these moves a dark and damp chimney is gained and ascended by using the trusted 'back and footing' method leading you into the crux moves on the bottomless off width baring down above your head. The next moves out of the chimney is the crux and not for the faint hearted. A single good hold can be found just round the roof and then its a wild move out from the safety of the chimney onto a flat wall with precarious smears for your feet. At this point your fully committed to the above sequence, the sound of the booming waves 140ft under your feet trying to distract you but a cool head and a long reach up to a small ledge will bring you to safety and good cam placements. From here is another 50ft romp to the belay. If the crux moves prove to hard it would be quite easy to aid this section using size three and four cams.

While Mark lead the pitch the weather had quickly got worse and by the time mark clipped the belay at the top of pitch two I was truly soaked to the skin. Rain pored down the back of my coat and quite literary out of the arms. We decided that we had done enough for today and retreated in increasing gales to the relative safety of the boulders below.

Undeterred we awoke a 4am the next morning and had made the walk in and descent to the base of the Old Man by 6.30am. At just gone seven I started up the first pitch quickly gaining the large belay ledge. We decided that I shouldn’t wait for Mark but just get on and start up the ropes from yesterday up pitch two. Shunt fixed I made the moves across the traverse and into the crack system. By 9am both Mark and myself were sitting at the top of pitch two with the main climbing difficulties behind us. The next lead was mine. The route wanders over easy ledges, covered in guano and slime. The climbing is easy but care is needed due to the continual slippery nature of this pitch. Your also need to keep your eyes out for Fulmers who regularly nest here. Get too close and they project a foul smelling vomit as a defence mechanism, aiming for the eyes. Luckily we didn’t see any but I'm told that it smells worse than anything on earth! The next pitch is easy but on better rock, this is a pitch to enjoy your surroundings on and appreciate the climbing. It ends on a good ledge below the final corner crack. This is a superb pitch and maybe even one of the best pitches in Scotland, were good bridging technique will come in handy. 

We arrived on the top around 1pm to a round of applause from a group of walkers on the mainland. We spent over an hour on top, relaxing in the sun that had just broken through the clouds. The view stretches over miles of open sea, as as I sat their admiring the view of the seals and birds below I finally realised that all the hard work was worth it. It must be one of most beautiful and inaccessible summits anywhere in the UK. The I remember, the challenge is only half finished, as everyone knows, what goes up must come down. The abseil descents to the ground require care and concentration as the anchors are often rotten, albeit plentiful. Taking your time here pay dividends as stuck ropes are common, especially on the abseil down the crux pitch thanks to an ominous looking crack.

 
As we walked back full of excitement at what we had achieved, I realised that a personal long standing adventure had been completed. The Old Man had been ticked and boy did it feel good. The climb is often dirty, full of old tat at the belays and discarded ropes, most of the climbing is easy and you run the risk of birds vomiting on you. But if you get the chance or you been thinking of doing it – you wont regret it. The Old Man of Hoy stands proud and speaks for itself, just like all adventurous climbs in remote places should do.




11 September 2011

Photo shoot number 3

September the 11th marks the 3rd Hseven Photoshoot for our web site. A huge thanks to Tim, Sarah and Rachael for bieng our models. Slowly, slowly Hseven is getting there. Each step is hard work but make no mistake we love what we do. Here is our usual sneak peak of some behind the scenes footage.

video

Enjoy !!! Ali

Being a Climbing Model - by Mark Biddlecombe

Thanks to Mark Biddlecombe for his article on his first experience of being a climbing model. It made his his mummy so proud !!!

On Sunday 4th August six brave men and women ventured to 'Revolution' in Broadstairs. The primary purpose of this trip was a photo shoot for Ali's new company Hseven, on the cameras we had; Jonathon Lockwood, Francois Joubert and Mark Franks, the director/coordinator was Alistair Campbell and those being photographed; Rachel McCabe and myself.
 
Though the focus of this trip was the photographs we also went there to get in as much climbing as we possibly could, so after a quick trip to McDonalds for sustenance (possibly the worst place you could go before climbing!) we were ready to get geared up and on those walls! It had been Rachel, Mark F's and Francois' first time at revolution and you could see the excitement in their eyes as they entered. Rachel took naturally to the walls as she has had lots of experience in gymnastics and dance she was able to learn the techniques quickly and showed a lot of strength.
As we casually climbed any route that took our fancy the camera men started to take pictures from all angles, getting their eyes in for the best positions. They had a significant amount to  take into account, for example; the lighting, whether or not the logo could be clearly seen, whether the shot looked better from height or from below, the colour of the tops against the colour of the walls etc. The photographers then began mercilessly requesting the hardest of poses! from hangs to dinos to heel hooking before getting simple standing still catalogue style photographs at the end of the afternoon (to the relief of Rachel and myself and our arms!).
Francois and Jonathon then took to the ropes. Francois got into position on the high wall (in line with the lead climbing ceiling)  to take the best possible pictures looking down from height whilst Jonathon belayed those going up. After lots of shots were taken on the high wall and many thoughts and ideas thrown around between the cameramen and  Ali our feet finally found themselves back to the ground. Whilst Francois and Jonathon packed up the ropes the rest of us headed back to bouldering were we took on  some of the tougher routes such as the overhangs to see how many we could successfully complete and how many positions we could get ourselves into that would look good on camera.
The afternoon was an array of first times, Mark Franks, having never been to revolution previously, left feeling excited about the prospect of taking his children there and learning to belay them up the walls. Whilst Rachel tackled and conquered Revolutions overhangs and Francois showed emphatic leg strength having climbed for the first time up the highwall in bare feet only to rest around 15ft up for the best part of 45 minutes taking pictures from different angles.
There were many laughs during this trip particularly when Rachel and I found it difficult to remain serious for the catalogue style photographs. But, after many 'thoughtful' poses and having being quickly reprimanded for making silly gestures to Rachel from behind the camera as she posed, the last camera clicked and the last photo was taken.
As the guys were packing up a few of us headed over to an overhang that had been giving us trouble and one by one we all conquered it falling on each other plenty of times along the way.

Personally I really enjoyed the whole experience. Having always bouldered I have little experience of what it feels like to lead climb and so it was great to finally get on the ceiling and get a feel of the difficulty level involved in that type of move (all the while trying to keep my face straight for the camera). On the trip back I could definitely feel the strain of a good climb in my arms and fingers as I struggled to complete even the simplest of tasks like pulling down the sun visor much the the amusement of Mark Franks!

All in all the whole afternoon was fantastic! It was great to see three more guys get in to climbing and to see all that it has to offer, not only in terms of the enjoyment you get out of it but also the physical challenges it brings to each climber.

4 September 2011

Hseven Photo shoot at revolution climbing centre

Well, here is the promised part A of our new photo shoots. Spent the afternon with photographers Jonathan Lockwood and Francois Joubert.  I have yet to see the pix but they are really going to be brilliant. These pix are to replace the old Halo 7 ones. Rachael McCabe and Mark Biddlecombe were our models and complimented each other amazingly well. It is awseome when you give someone a chance to shine and they step up to the challenge. A big thank you to Mark Franks for pitching in.




This was Francois's first climbing shoot and provided the perfect opportunity to hang him up in the rafters to practise his art. We really just had fun and it was awesome to spend time together. After all that is what Hseven is all about, relationships and fun. 

Keep tuned in as next sunday we have part two of the Photo shoot. More fun in the Sun and awesome pix.   Here is a bit of behind the scenes footage ..

video

Enjoy !!! Ali

31 August 2011

Introducing time out sessions - Yosemite National park STUNNING !!!


I thought it would be a good idea to introduce some time out sessions. This will be really high quality stunning footage you kust gotta watch.

However the rules are:

1) Take a time out
2) Sit back where ever you are and put on your chilling frame of mind
3) Switch off to the world and get lost in the footage 
4) Appreciate the videography, sights & sounds & class of artist

Easy !!

Here is a stunning clip of a photographer called Jimmy Chin doing a piece on climbing in Yosemite for National graphic ... You know this is top notch and out of this world ...


Enjoy, Ali !!!

29 August 2011

And then some days !!!!

Yes Yes I know mountains and all that ... I must be honest I got completely side swiped the other day watching 'Surf'sUp' a childrens movie about a surfing penguine with my oldest boy and man did the nostalgia hit hard. My mind running back to Cape Town especially long beach ... Dawn patrols with that African sun peaking over the horizon with a gazillion spectacular colours and feeling the warmth hit you !!! You close your eyes and just lie on your board, sea sun, waves. In moments like that you want to just stay there forever. One of my friends in Florida put up on face book a couple of weeks ago that he was taking his son out on his first dawn patrol ... What an awesome experience dad and son ... first dawn patrol. I cant wait til my boys are up for it !!!


Enjoy !!! Ali

15 August 2011

No Nonsense Everest footage from Kenton Cool

HI Al. Here is some no nonsense footage of Kenton Up everest. This is not hyped up stuff just bare bones and really great stuff. Makes you appreciate what this kind of thing is all about.

Enjoy ... Ali

7 August 2011

World Championship Bouldering Vail Colorado 2011


For all of you aspiring climbers and boulderers, dont worry this is easy !!!!! NOT.
This is some awesome climbing.

Enjoy
Ali


1 August 2011

Been some time !!!

Well been some time since I last posted. This is one of those work behind the scenes times.
Much to be revealed soon. The web site is just about done, and some news about H7 sponsoring the Revolution climbing team with Sam Johnson at the helm.

Dont forget 95% grit 5% Glory !!!

Oh also finally got a decent camera so will be taking even more pic's for the web site.

Keep yall posted !!

13 July 2011

Three days in the Lakes - Part two

Three days in the Lakes
Part 2 – Helvellyn via Striding Edge
Tuesday 10th May 2011
 
On the morning of our second day the weather forecast was for rain with it brightening later so we used the opportunity to go into Keswick and purchase a pair of replacement boots for me from the world famous George Fisher shop. On the way up to Keswick we stopped off and took a look at the Bowder Stone, a famous Lake District land mark. The Bowder stone is a 30ft high, 2000 ton rock that was deposited in the Borrowdale valley by a glacier. It has a set of steps that allow you to climb onto the top and it's base is used by climbers for bouldering, the handholds on its it's sheltered underside dusted chalk with climbing chalk. The stone was deserted, probably due to the heavy rains that stayed with us into Keswick and down to our start point at Glenridding.
 
Starting in the main car park in Glenridding we followed the road out of the village, up past a camp site and youth hostel and up into onto the fells. The first part of the walk is a steep, dull ascent up onto Birkhouse Moor. The walk up was punctuated with frequent breaks and the view back out over Ulleswater was very impressive. Fortunately our interpretation of the weather forecast appeared to be excellent with us reaching Birkhouse Moor in glorious sunshine.
I was surprised by the lack of walkers making the ascent, we had been warned that Helvellyn was a very popular destination and that it was likely to be very crowded, however we met very few people on the entire walk. We trekked across Birkhouse Moor and up onto Grisedale Brow, where we stopped for some lunch and to fortify ourselves for the forthcoming crossing of Striding Edge, sheltering from the wind under the rocks of 'hole in the wall', which the start of Striding Edge.

The approach to Helvellyn via Striding Edge was spectacular and the crossing was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my walking career so far. The wind had whipped up and were walking on the ridge line in a near constant south-easterly blow. Several years ago Scott & myself had found ourselves on a misty Crib Gocht on Snowden and this was a similar experience, but at a lower height, with a greater sense of safety. The ridge itself was excellent with great views on either side, a solid and obvious path, but with great thrills, without ever being in any real danger of coming off the ridge. There are one or two medium difficulty scrambles up and down various rock chimneys, onto the final steep assent up onto the top of Helvellyn.

We met a group on the way down, who looked decidedly uncomfortable and appeared to have had quite a bit of trouble finding the way, so much so that they missed out Striding Edge but taking one of the lower, easier paths below the scarp, a real shame, but given the strong winds a sensible decision as they appeared to be unhappy with the climb down. We followed the crampon scarred rock path up onto Helvellyn onto a very blustery summit and made for the multi-sided shelter at the top. There we rested our weary legs, impressed with ourselves at having tackled such an exciting & exhilarating scramble to the top.
The views from the top of Helvellyn are awesome and we managed to find a couple of similarly wind swept walkers to record our moment of triumph. We took a southerly route down and right onto Swirral Edge. This route down was similar, but less taxing than Striding Edge, but the views were just as good. It was sad to think that only 6 months before a walker had slipped and fallen to his death on this route, and this knowledge focused our minds on making a cautious decent down Swirral Edge and onto the path down to Red Tarn.
Stopping for a few minutes at Red Tarn and looking back up to to the summit of Helvellyn and looking across to Striding Edge, it was easy to see why this is one of the UK's most favorite walks. The walk down and round Birkhouse Moor to Glenridding was uneventful, but very picturesque and was an excellent counter to our adrenalin filled ascent, allowed Scott and I to catch up on conversation that had not been possible over the previous lung busting day and a half. We finished our walk with a well deserved pint in a pub in Glenridding and it was then back to the youth hostel for some funky dinner.

Thanks to Jon Hymus for his second of three articles.


12 July 2011

H7 Info and events

Slack line - High line
30th July will see Ross attempt his Highline walk. Keep this date free to join us for a picknick and to support Ross.

Sam Johnson Interview
Rev Climbing team leader, BMC SE regional representative, passsionate climber and Revolution climbing wall manager. Keep watching for our First H7 interview with Sam.

Monthly indoor wall climbing
First Sunday of every month - Afternon trip to Revolution clkimbing wall in Broadstairs
Every second wednesday night climbing at Arethusa in the evenings

Upcoming trips

Snowdon
We will be heading to Snowdon mid wnter for some winter skills training ICe axes and crampons to the rescue- Dates to be announced

Elbrus
We are currently looking into the viability of a summer trip to climb Elbrus July next year. More info as soon as we have it.

Stay tuned for loads more to come !!!!

2 July 2011

Melloblocco 2011 - Largest Bouldering comp in the world - Official video

I did an article some time back about Melloblocco. In ITaly it is the largest bouldering competition on the world. Here is the official comp video. 14 min worth so get a brew, chilax and wrap your head around this.It is not just another climbing video. Sit back, take in the experience and get a feel of what this is all about.



Enjoy !!!

29 June 2011

Climbing in Swanage

I had the awesome priviledge to spend a weekend away with some friends down in Swanage. The guys had not climbed before and had only done similar things at school ie abseiling. A windy rainy start to the weekend at Tom's Field campsite just outside ofg Swanage. The closest climbing  routes walls were the quarry - Dancing Ledge.  A huge mixture of climbs from higher 5's to 7C's mainly lead routes. We opted for much simpler routes as you can imagine just to get the guys going and enjoying themselves. Saturday was a washout but we did the walk to the climbing walls. Sunday was excellent. We hit the walls early and got the guys up and down for ages which they really enjoyed.

Challenge:

When last did you do something that you really enjoy and that is just for yourself. Remember it is important to have some time to yourself. We can get so caught up in life and family and miss things purely because we are at the coal face. Take some time do something you rememebr that you really enjoyed.  
Just breathe, and have fun !!!!

What we got up to...

video






19 June 2011

Ueli Steck - Cholatse - Himalaya Speed 2 Video

I have covered some of Ueli Stecks climbs and seriously hard core adventures on his quest to conquer the Himalaya's at speed. This footage is titled 'Himalaya Speed 2' which is about Ueli's climb up Cholatse (also known as Jobo Lhaptshan) a mountain in the Khumbu region of the Nepalese Himalaya.

Enjoy !!

Slacklining in Yosemite

Here is a bit of footage of a slackliner in Yosemite. Note the extreme exposure.
Ok Ross's slack line wont be quite so high, none the less your mind gets messed with and it is all about confidence overcoming the thoughts of falling and pure focus.

Enjoy the clip

11 June 2011

H7 Summer project - Slacklining with Ross Mundell

H7 Whilst a growing adventure clothing company is dedicated to supporting local talent and climbing related climbing projects. We at H7 have decided to start of 2011 projects with slacklining as our focus.

We have sponsored a local climber and slacklining lover , Ross Mundell. We will be following him in the coming months as he prepares for a 'highline walk' at High Rocks, a well known climbing area in Kent.  Ross trains on weekends with the culmination of this years summer training his first highline walk, in August 2011. (Date to be confirmed shortly) 

Follow our coverage of this event on our blog and on face book. Perhaps you could join us and see what this crazy sport is all about.



Slacklining - The history, courtesy of Slacklining.com

'Yosemite Valley was discovered by modern man in 1851 and soon after it was found, it became a sacred place. As the sport of climbing developed, many people from around the world came to this beautiful setting to be among the revered rocks and striking precipices that make up the now very popular national park. From short hikes, to multi-pitch traditional routes, to multi-day epics on popular features such as Half Dome, El Capitan and countless others, climbers and adventurers make regular pilgrimages to Yosemite. It is said by some that camp 4, a popular campground in the park, became the center of rock climbing development in the middle of the 20th century. With some people staying there many months at a time, it became a regular community of thrill seekers pursuing the rapidly growing sport of climbing.

 It was in this place that the sport of slacklining came into existence. After the long days of jugging, hammering, scoping, bolting, cleaning, smearing, crimping, jamming, bleeding, taping, sending and summiting, people would flock back to camp 4 for the evening. Just as new routes were being created on a daily basis, so were new ways to spend down-time. The inhabitants of camp 4 could be found walking parking lot chains, hand railings, and even ropes strung up between the trees. In the mid to late 70’s this type of hobby became increasingly popular, as local hotshots and visitors alike were seen balancing on the rope. It appeared to have positive effects in honing balance for climbing, and strengthening the legs and core.

While tightrope walking has been around for many centuries, this new pastime was different in many ways. The climbing rope being walked was loose and not nearly as taught as the steel cable walked by circus performers. In this way it was clearly more of a challenge. Soon, individuals started to walk on flat webbing, and this is slacklining as it is known today.'

What climbing is all about !!



It is always fascinating to watch awesome climbers who make it all look effortless.  I have added this footage to give those who would not ordinarily see awesome climbing of this calibur, the chance to spend 10 min gaining a fresh respect and insight into this awesome amazing sport. It's about mind, confidence, training, technique and perseverance.

This is called 'The insiders' by Big up productions 


30 May 2011

Ueli Steck Turns around 1 Hour from the top of everest.

Well done to the 'Swiss Machine' For his first attempt at Everest

Taken direct from Ueli's Blog:  Himalaya speed, Project Himalaya

'Despite my down suit and the continuos movements I do not feel hot. I like the climbing, although it has not much to do with climbing. I would rather say its walking. In the ridge I go over bands to the First Step. Here I have to climb shortly. I do not climb up the fixe ropes. I don’t know how well they are fixed. I rather climb by myself, so I can see where I can hold myself. Now the famous Second Step. A steep 30 meter rock wall assured by a ladder. Once I reached the top I see the first alpinists in front of me. They are quite slow and I overtake them. Finally it gets dawn. I hope the sun can warm me a little bit. Still I cannot feel any difference. My feet have been numb for a while now. I can feel my heels get cold and without feeling. Not a good sign. I move on to the Third Step. A Sherpa tells me that I would need max. 1 hour to the summit. Shall I…? Shall I not…? It’s not long. But my feet. I am on another mountain, without oxygen. I have to accept that. I turn down. As fast as I can down. I do not want to sacrifice any of my toes for Everest. I am totally fit, I do move on fast and at around 9 am I am back at camp 2. The same day Don and I reach ABC.



The adventure Everest is over. Pity, I was doing well. I imagined that I would only suffer up there. Not at all. I am happy about that. I had a great feeling, I moved on, that’s what I am looking for, although I turned back 100 meters from summit. Of course I would have been nice to stand on top. For a moment I have thought to ask a sherpa if I could breathe 10 minutes of oxygen. Then I would have had again warm feet. But then I would have stood on another peak. So better to go down. Everest will stay and I can come back!'

24 May 2011

Smart phones, bouldering and the rat race


A strage combination to be sure but what on earth do smart phones, bouldering and the rat race, as we know it, have in common, if anything ? A few thoughts have occurred to me in the last weeks and left quite a lasting impression and desire to make changes for the better.

Bouldering, for those not in the know, is the sport of free climbing large rock boulders and working out the boulders ‘problems’  or climable routes to get to the top. Strenuous, focussed, passionate and imaginative are some of the words used to describe boulderers as they search for the thrill of  solving the problems almost bodhisattva style. Areas around the world such as Fontain Bleau in Fance, Joshua Tree and Yosemite in the US and Melloblocco in the Valmasino valley in Italy, all host some of the most fabled and awesome bouldering venues in the world.  I read an article this month stating that in May, Melloblocco hosted the largest bouldering competition in the world. Some 2600 climbers from 22 countries registered over a 3 day period with a further 10 000  non climbing friends and families attending.  They descended in quiet, orderly fashion to enjoy nature, and just as much  the climbing. Of course also the desire to be a part of something truly grand in every sense. That is an astounding amount of people to gather in one place for a  little known but growing sport such as bouldering. I think I could safely say there is something here worth investigating a bit further.

Our own home grown Kenton Cool, mountaineering expert bar none, has become the first person in history  to both climb Everest  nine times and make the worlds first 3G phone call to his wife on summiting.  Techology never ceases to astound me. Smart phones rule the mobile communication air waves and there is practically no where on earth you cant take a picture of yourself, attach the story of your adventures and then in minutes post both on your favourite social nerwok page for all the world to see and comment on. This leads me on to my next point. Where do the limits lie for everything we do as human beings . The world celebrated when Edmund Hillary first summited  Everest, alpine peaks that used to take 4 days to climb are now being conquered almost matter of factly in sub 4 hrs. Calling your Missus to discuss whats for tea when on the top of Everest… where does it end.?

The majority of us in the UK live the nine to five life style of  work, doing the boss proud in our ever  constant quest for more money, better houses and of course the latest smart phone for the kids, who truth be told, often know more about  and can often better use technology than our selves . We do our adventuring on the weekends ocassionally, and if very fortunate will get to fulfill our dream of the bagging that summit or travelling the globe to conquer that once in a life time opportunity that has been sat in picture form on your desk at work for what seems to be a million years. Just as many bragging conversations to those work mates who just smile and nod in agreement thinking yeah whatever !!! . As fast as the world is changing, and technology making things easier for us, people are seeking out to discover new horizons in the outdoors.

Most of the world lies conquered by the elite. The highest points on the earth, the deepest jungles, longest rivers and the list goes on. True adventure  lies in our own personal discoveries and we need to put aside the achievements of others yet keeping in mond what we can achieve. They merely point, compass like, affirming the way to the realms of possibilities of achievement. Perhaps we feel like second rate citizens following in the foot steps of those ‘God’s’ gone before, but in the end it is what we have as memories and our own personal achievements that is our reward.

Clearly, more people are desiring  what lies outside.  Forrests, mountains, rivers, enjoyment  of  nature and embracing the challenges that are offered in this environemnt. We test out mind, will, limits and physical endurance which makes us feel alive and clear headed.  It brings a measure of peace  and meaning to our lives.  Perhaps it is time to more fully challenge our personal thinking as to how we live our lives and why we do what we do.  Adesire for more out of life is clearly on the increase all over the world attested to by Melloblocco. As  I said there must be something here worth further investigating !!!

18 May 2011

Three days in the Lake district

My thanks to Jon for his 3 part series on his trip to the lake district. I have personally not been up there but seeing the pictures makes me think I should make the effort and do some routes while I am there.

Three days in the Lakes

Part 1 - Haystacks, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth & Greyknotts

Monday 9th May 2011

Our first walk started from the National Trust car park at Honister Pass, we headed off to Haystacks with it's Innominate Tarn via Dubs Quarry. The first part was fairly tough on un-tested legs and involved a long slow incline up to Dubs, then following a simple trail up to the top of Haystacks. I was pleased that our first 'Wainwright' was the one most favoured by the great man himself and it gave some great views of the surrounding fells and valleys. We descended into the Ennerdale valley, overshadowed by the dark, brooding Pillar (one for another day!) and up past the remote Black Sail Hut which must be a fantastic place to stay.

We followed the river for a bit, then took a sharp right up Black Sail Pass towards Kirk Fell, a fairly steep path took us up the pass and we then decided to add some adventure and check out a cut into the side of the fell, which we later discovered to be 'Baysoar Slack', and see if we could get to the top of Kirk Fell via this route. Baysoar Slack was awesome and many minutes of exciting scrambling (combined with a number of rests!) brought us thankfully to the top of the gully!

We lunched at the top of the Slack and then summited Kirk Fell, with excellent viability and a view Great Gable to die for!

As we walked down off of Kirk Fell the winds really picked up and a combination of this, fatigue and watching a group having great difficulty descending Great Gable made me greatly uncertain about ascending this great English peak!

My valour however prevailed and with some encouragement form Scott we began to pick our way up the east side of Great Gable, via an uncertain and unclear path. It was much easier than it looked and whilst we were inconvenienced by a hail storm we made good progress and even managed to stop for some foot care and the discovery that one of the soles of my brand new boots was falling off! Reaching the top of Great Gable was a massive high after my earlier concerns and the views of the surrounding peaks were awesome.

After spending some time at the top we made our way down towards Green Gable and with a sudden change for the worst in the weather forcing us to take cover for a time and don our waterproof gear. One lasting impression of the Lake District will be it's forever changeable weather!

In order to get to Green Gable we had to cross the aptly named 'Windy Gap' and given the driving wind and horizontal rain this was not a fun experience. We watched one poor guy climb up Aaron Slack to Windy Gap, seeming to continually take two steps forward, then one step back the entire time. Climbing up to the top of Green Gable being buffeted by winds was rather how I imagined that this would be walking on the surface of Mars – tough, but not entirely un-enjoyable.

Our trip back to the car off of Green Gable and over Brandreth & Greyknotts was uneventful and overshadowed by more poor weather, with the decent down to the Honister Pass via Greyknotts seeming to take forever. My car has never looked so good and then it was a quick change and a trip down the hill to our base at the YHA Borrowdale. Our first walk in the Lakes was about 9 miles and took in 6 Wainwrights, not bad for a pair of Southerners, and one completing the have the trip with a broken boot!

17 May 2011

Super Sherpa V Kenton Cool

A 51-year-old Nepali mountaineer, nicknamed "Super Sherpa", climbed Mount Everest for a record 21st time on Wednesday, breaking his own record for the most summits of the world's highest mountain, hiking officials said.

Apa Sherpa, who lives in the United States, reached the 8,850-metre (29,035-foot) peak of the mountain along the Southeast Ridge route, pioneered by New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who were the first to reach the top of the world in 1953.


Kenton has a way to go yet howeven he said wathc out for number 10 summit next year.

10 May 2011

9th Everest Sumit for Kenton Cool

Can you believe it. Kenton Cool UK cimber extrodinaire has summited everest for the 9th Time.
Where does the limit lie these days? Some people set summiting Everest once in a life time as a goal. This guy does it before lunch. To top that he is the first man in history to make a 3G mobile phone call to the Mrs to say 'hi I might be late for supper'. No kidding he was sponsored by Samsung and the made the highest telephone call in history.

Well done Kenton.

2 May 2011

251 climbers to attempt Mt Everest this spring

KATHMANDU, Nepal - The spring 2011 mountaineering season has begun, and 26 expeditions consisting of 251 climbers have already headed towards Mt. Everest (8,848m) in a bid to scale the highest peak on earth.
The actual climbing will start from mid-May, and the mountaineers will spend time on the lower reaches of the Himalaya to acclimatize themselves.
According to the industry division of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, it has issued 704 climbing permits to 83 expeditions for different peaks in the Himalaya as of Friday.
Last spring, there were more than 661 applicants for climbing permits with 347 climbers making it to the top of the 8,848 m peak before the climbing season ended on May 25. Among the summiteers, 157 were foreigners and 190 Nepalis.
“We are still receiving applications, and this momentum will probably continue for two more weeks,” said L.B. Basnet, an official at the industry division.
The spring mountaineering season attracts the largest number of mountaineers. The government collects more than US$ 3.5 million in mountaineering royalties during the period.  eturbo news

The 8000m Mountains of the World

I thought I would start with some of the basics. Working my way down from top to bottom if you like relating to the other 8000m peaks. Obviously the 7 most well known summits stand out as icons and trophies worthly of collection. This in itself is a life time achievement for the truly inspired (and wealthy or fortunate sponsorship collectors) and just part of the job for the select few that live and breathe high altitude mountaineering. Just 5 countries hold all of these treasures.
NAME
HEIGHT
LOCATION
FIRST ASCENT
Everest
8,850m
29,035ft
Nepal/Tibet
1953; Sir E. Hillary, T. Norgay
K2
8,611m
28,250ft
Pakistan
1954; A. Compagnoni, L. Lacedelli
Kangchenjunga
8,586m
28,169ft
Nepal/India
1955; G. Band, J. Brown
Lhotse
8,516m
27,940ft
Nepal/Tibet
1956; F. Luchsinger, E. Reiss
Makalu
8,463m
27,766ft
Nepal
1955; J. Couzy, L. Terrary
Cho-Oyu
8,201m
26,906ft
Nepal/Tibet
1954; S. Joechler, H. Tichy, P. Dawa Lama
Dhaulagiri
8,167m
26,795ft
Nepal
1960; K. Diemberger, P. Diener, M. Dorji, E.  Forrer, N. Dorji, A. Schelbert
Manaslu
8,156m
26,758ft
Nepal
1956; T. Imanishi, G. Norbu
Nanga Parbat
8,125m
26,660ft
Pakistan
1953; H. Buhl
Annapurna
8,091m
26,545ft
Nepal
1950; M. Herzog, L. Lachenal
Gasherbrum I
8,068m
26,470ft
Pakistan/China
1958; A. Kaufman, P. Schoening
Broad Peak
8,047m
26,400ft
Pakistan/China
1957; H. Buhl, K. Diemberger, M. Schmuck, F. Witerstellar
Gasherbrum II
8,035m
26,360ft
Pakistan/China
1956; S. Larch, F. Moravec,
H. Willenpart
Shishapangma
8,013m
26,291ft
China/Tibet
1964; H. Ching & nine climbers