October 13th, 2017 by Matthew Phillips

We were very lucky this year to have two World Paraclimbing Cups in the UK. The first was in Edinburgh two weeks ago and in Sheffield last weekend. Both were run alongside other competitions which I think is a good thing as it provides more exposure for Paraclimbing.

The World Paraclimbing Cup in Edinburgh was run alongside the World Cup for able-bodied climbers. The ticketed event was sold out and allowed Paraclimbing to be showcased to a lot of people whom it would not of otherwise been. The competition consisted of 2 qualifying top-ropes and a final top rope. Coming 2nd to the German Kevin Bartake taking Silver.

The second World Paraclimbing Cup was in Sheffield at Awesome Walls This was run alongside the British Lead Climbing Competitions and agin brought a wider audience. This time taking Gold topping out my first route and beating Kevin Bartake on both the second qualifier and the finals.

After the Sheffield competition the Paraclimbing team stayed on in the Peak District for a couple more days to allow for some filming to be done with the team, Epic TV and BMC TV. The first day was spent at Stanage Edge where the team went trad climbing and finishing off on the Flying Buttress. In the evening a spot of night bouldering at Stanage Plantation where multiple attempts were made on Deliverance.

The Tuesday saw the team rained off the Grit and so a visit to Climbing Works was the alternative. Thank you very much to Climbing Works who opened just for the team when we arrived as they were not due to open for another 2 hours. A great time was had by all the team and more filming buy the BMC TV crew.

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May 1st, 2017 by Matthew Phillips

Easter weekend saw my dad and I take to the road and head south west towards Dartmoor. It was the first opportunity I had had to get outside and hit the rocks this year. With the car loaded to the roof with boulder pads we had a quick and uneventful trip down to Exeter. Leaving the main roads we took the narrow and winding Devonshire lanes and made our way across Dartmoor to Widecombe-on-the-Moor and our destination Bonehill Rocks. 

We had arranged to meet up with paraclimber’s Georgia Pilkington and Mikey Cleverdon, this is one of the thing I love about the climbing community there is always a friend or friends to join you for a climb. After meeting up we started on some easier boulders to warm up. Perfect conditions to boulder, cloudy but not to warm but most importantly dry. 

We started on the Cube, unfortunately Georgia had to go but Mikey and I continued and a fair bit of time exploring the The Bridge V1 and Under the Bridge V6. Moving on to play on The Dark Side and finishing the day trying to crack the Slopey Traverse V5. It was the last climb at the end of the day that I managed, much to my delight to send it. 

After a great first day we made our way to our hotel to a well earned dinner and bed before setting out in the morning to see what Hound Tor would bring.

Day 2 saw us struggling to find a car park space at a busy Hound Tor, made famous by Sherlock Holmes in Hound of the Baskerville. Finally we found a grass verge up the lane and parked up and walked up to the Tor with boulder mats on our backs and rucksacks on our fronts in true climber style.

A few hours trying various boulders and making notes to return to tackle others, such as Shark Fin and projected Cream Traverse V7 which perfectly suited my climbing style being on super slopey holds, hope to return to this one soon. We departed late afternoon to join the horrendous bank holiday traffic heading north. A good weekend and a good start to what I hope are many more trips this year.

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January 22nd, 2017 by Matthew Phillips

Oakwood Climbing Centre

I was thrilled to be invited to attend the filming of a Promo Video for the new climbing centre Oakwood near Wokingham in Berkshire recently. I have been following the progress of this centre for a while and now to have the chance to try it out before I opens was amazing. I was also interested to see if it lived up to all the hype. Well I wasn’t disappointed.

From the moment you drive into the car park you know it’s different to most other climbing centres. There is plenty of parking for climbers for a start. The centre were still having finishing touches installed and built but even that did not detract from the bright and clean look of the climbing area. There are so many features packed into this centre it has top-out boulders, auto-belays, top-rope and lead, campus boards, circuits, lattice boards and woody. It has also catered for the younger guests with a mini-climbing area, traverse and even a slide.

They haven’t forgotten the non-climber either with a lovely viewing area with large viewing window and under floor heating. Comfortable arm chairs and sofa make this area luxury compared to most centres. The cafe facilities had not yet been installed but I am sure will be up to the same standard.

All in all the centre is amazing and I can’t wait to come back when it opens. I am sure it’s going to be a huge success and look forward to being a regular user.

Oakwood Climbing Centre website can be found here

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November 26th, 2016 by Matthew Phillips

?James Downer Photography

Font is known as one of the great bouldering area’s. The vast expanse of the forest means that multiple trips are a necessity.

I got my first experience of Font was, a few weeks ago, when I headed off with some of the Surrey Summit squad for a week under the coaching of Robin O’leary and Freddie Nash. The first day was travelling to Font on the Eurotunnel in the back of Robin’s dad’s very spacious van alongside Sam Jenner. On arrival at our holiday cottage, better referred to as a Gite, we all took some time to enjoy the quite luxurious games room and enjoy some Disney movies suggested by Sam Croft before heading out to go on a walk at Apremont to have a look at some of the boulders. We then returned to the Gite for a meal specially prepared by Freddie the chef and then we went to the Gite that the older kids were staying in which wasn’t quite as nice. After a bit of fooling around we turned in at about 1am after our first day in font.

The next day the weather was grim. So we headed instead to Arkose, a massive indoor bouldering wall for a bit of a coaching session. Where we also ran across Andrew “yorkie” York and some of the Vauxwall squad also on a trip to Font. We proceeded to have a few coaching workshops and then headed back to the Gite. happy.

The next day the weather look much better and so we headed to 92.5 where the boulders looked to be the driest. After a fun warmup I got my first taste of Font sandstone which I found was great fun. A few easier problems were tackled that day but the only thing of real note is Le P’tit Toit (6b) a fun traverse on slopers on the edge of a roof made famous by the video “worlds angriest boulderer”. I am happy to say it went second go.

The next day we went to Roche Aux sabotage. Where I did my first 7a!!! After a few other problems we left for the day..

The next day was a rest day where we went into the town and to the Palace.

The final day we went to Apremont. Where we all had a go on science friction an absolute classic. After that I tried a few more 7a’s then we left hopefully to return one day.

A short bit of climbing in the morning before we left for the euro tunnel. After a long trip home we got back very tired but happy with a good week day.

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