Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Upside Down Update!

We are currently in the middle of a trip to Santa Linya, Teradettes, Rodellar. Current Ratho gang Neill Busby, Robbie Phillips, Ally Swinton and myself (Neil McGeachy) have hooked up with ex pats (& ex Ratho regulars) Tom Bolger, Lynne Malcolm and Alan Cassidy.

Since arriving, we have seen a string of hard ascents from all the crew including a first time 7c flash by Neill Busby, frist time 7b+ flash by Ali Swinton and Lynne Malcolm's incredible ascent (hardest to date) of the 7c+/8a "Hombres" in the Santa Linya Cave!!! There seems to be no stopping Lynne as she is rapidly moving through the grades out here in Spain. 8a is just round the corner for her, Im sure! Robbie Philips is making good use of his first week out here also with a swift on-sight of a 7c+/8a at Santa Linya and getting stuck into Rollito Sharma 8b+. He has had a few sessions on the route and is making very impressive links. Looks like it will be dispatched soon!

Tom and Alan are on fire as always, with both of them falling off the final moves on their projects over the last couple days (9a and 8c respectively!). What makes it all the more impressive for these 3 Spanish based Scots (well 1 is an adopted Scot!), is that all 3 work full time as teachers out here and only get a few 2 hour sessions a week and 1 full day at the weekend to climb! Quite impressive to be ticking off these grades without actually having that much time to climb! Can't really see it being that long before both Tom and Alan join the very small list of British climbers to have ticked 9a and for lynne to reach a grade that no other Scottish female has!

The variety of crags out here is quite hard to come to terms with! I was sitting at Teradetts last night looking out at more unclimbed limestone than we have in the whole of the UK! We have also visited a number of less popular crags over the last couple of weeks, which I had never heard of, yet were better quality than any sport crag I have visited in Scotland. It is quite hard to imagine having 2 such varied crags (i.e. Santa Linya and Teradetts) within 10 minutes drive of each over. They are completely different in styles with one being completely horizontal roof climbing and the other offering long sustained tuffa / face climbing. In fact the only other place I have come across this variety at such close quarters is in Ratho (with main wall and new comp wall). However it is a bit warmer out here even if the route setting is not as good as Ratho's!

More updates to come...

Monday, 2 November 2009

Crushing Dunkeld

I spent last Thursday Friday at upper cave climbing on remarkably dry rock, considering it was pouring down both days. I was joined for a sports climbing sessions by super strong British Team Kids - Jonny 'always moaning' Field, Natalie 'Fajita Wrapper' Berry and Robbie 'man sized power scream' Philips. Robby had already ticked everything at the crag, so was psyched to just get some training in on the rock. Nat and Jonny, however both had their eyes on ticking some of the local classics.

As always with these two, I was blown away with how easy they made everything look. Nat climbed here briefly when she was about 2 and a half & Jonny had never tried any of the climbs before! They started off by making light work of Hammish Teds, both flashing (Nat Retro)it with ease. Nat had tried the route about 56 years ago, but could remember nothing about it. They then moved on to the crag classic - Marlena. Nat got very close to flashing this route, cruising the technical crack section only to be denied the flash on the last move across to the chains. She then swiftly dispatched it with ease on her 2nd go. Next was Jonny 's go and he didn't disappoint! He made swift work of the crack section and after some aggressive snatching up the presses near the top he found him self clipping the chains. Not bad effort flashing your first 7c at 15. Especially considering the technical nature of the climb!

The 2nd day was spent on Silk Purse with both Nat and Jonny making good progress. Both look like they will tick the route next time they visit. We then finished off with some bouldering action at the base of the crag.

Finally I was treated to some rather unusual chat on the journey home. The 3 youth spent 50minutes (yes that's 50 minutes!) playing a word game that basically consisted of them speaking, but replacing the first letter of each word with a B. I spent 45 minutes testing my will power as I resisted the temptation to drive in to on coming trucks, just to make them stop! I am sure when I was a teenager, I had more interesting things on my mind than word games!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Interview 2 - Lisandro Defays!

Last Friday myself and Robbie had the fantastic opportunity to interview another of our climbing idols, Lisandro Defays. This modest man is known for his immense strength (especially when crushing boulder problems!) and his massive forearm diameter, as well as his love for mango fingers! What else would we possibly need to know about the Forearm King? We made our way into the boulder room at Ratho armed with mango fingers and a banana in order to delve deeper into the world of Mr Defays. Discover more in this enthralling interview involving pink elephants, bananas, forearm babies and other randomness that can only be found in a Natalie/Robbie interview!

Quick Bio

  • Name: Lisandro Defays

  • Age: 30 something!

  • Country of origin: Argentina

  • Speciality: Crushing everything in his path!

  • Famous for: Crushing Robbie's Blue V7 (as seen on YouTube!)

  • Weakness: Banging his knees (ouch!)

  • Hobbies: Stealing mango fingers!