'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Sunday, 3 October 2010

03 October 2010 Rock Monkey's hit the REAL rock

Three very talented climbers; Carmel, Brett and Danielle...enjoying the day

Cute and Talented!!!!

Rhianne climbed like a little demon....we'll not mention anything about her talking though lol

Roxcool poses all round!

As we drove north the weather didnt seem to be getting any much for the BBC....but they have been wrong in the past!The rain was lashing down on the mini bus windscreen. This however, did not stop the audible excitment building in the back of the bus.

Our plan of heading to Bowden Doors had to be changed and we choose Kylow Crag as a better more sheltered option. The rain continued but this didnt put of the Monkeys, most of which had never climbed on 'REAL' rock before.

The climbing skills and talent of these youngsters never ceases to amaze me. All of the group belayed themselves with the instructors looking in to ensure all was safe.

A rather dirty bunch of Monkeys returned to the Sunderland Wall to meet their parents...all of which had had a very quiet and relaxing day ...I'm sure

Thanks to the instructors on the day Tom, Richy and Liz....Great job Team Roxcool lol

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Single Pitch Award - North Yorkshire

SPA Training Course - North Yorkshire

SPA Training Course 2- Peak District

A smaller group (Group 2) but still having fun!

SPA Training Course 1 - Peak District

Working with Students on an Outdoor Training Programme. As part of this course students are encouraged to take part in numerous NGB awards, The Single Pitch Award being one of them

LLAMFF - North Wales (Schmoolz on Tour(

The Schmoolz boys stopped by LLAMFF (Llanberis Mountain Film Festival) to launch the Schmoolz in their lovely new packaging.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

When Schmool met Cool

On the spur of the moment, hearing about Kenton Cool's lecture at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle, the Schmoolz boys (St.john, Michael and Cliff) decided to put in an attendance and thus getting out of making the tea back at home.

Kenton Cool is renowned as one of Britain's top alpinist and Himalayan guides having been to the top of Everest on seven occasions now. The lecture itself was mainly about his professional working relationship and involvement with Sir Ranulph Feinnes. Apart from discussing Ran's (as Kenton called him) foibles Kenton went into the type of character that has seen Sir Ranulph establish himself as Britain's greatest living explorer.

A few beers after (ok it was one coz I was driving) finished the night off

Monday, 22 February 2010

When it’s just not meant to be!

‘Shit! What the F*@*$? ‘. They were the first words that came to mind when my car died early on Friday evening. We (Jon Denise and me) were on our way to Kinlochleven to spend two days at the FRCC hut (think luxury) and ice climb the place to death. The problem with the car was identified as my fuel pump so that put an end to Scotland. It took nearly five hours to get back home via relay and I was only just North of Alnwick!!!! The conditions in the Lakes were supposed to be good so I arranged for Jon and Denise to pick me up late Saturday tea time, hopefully giving me enough time to get the car sorted, well booked into a garage anyways (I didn’t!).

Making use of Jon’s FRCC membership allowed us to stay at Salving House another ‘hut’ owned by FRCC at the bottom of Borrowdale. This would allow us reasonable easy access to any of the Northern Lakes crags.

An early start (well it would have been if Jon had his act together) saw us hiking up the gully from Dunmail Raise towards Grisedale Tarn and Dollywaggon. The weather forecast seemed to be a little wrong as it promised a 70% chance of clear summits and we were being snowed on! Arriving at the small col between Dollywaggon and the crag (Dollywaggon North) we realised we weren’t going to get the spectacular views of my previous weekend at the same crag. Visibility was down to around 5 metres and the wind was blowing snow everywhere.

While Jon finished off getting sorted I decided to check out the descent which would take us to the foot of the crag. Wind-slab was starting to form but not so much that I was worried, Jon confirming my theory on his descent. The route I wanted to have a go at was one I had spotted the previous weekend (Rescue Groove IV **) and looked to be in good nick. We also planned our next route, Dolly Mixture IV, for our return. The Rescue Groove follows a groove/slabs which in the current conditions were covered in lovely neve, what I wasn’t anticipating was the poor protection. However, my confidence was high and I dispatched the route with no real problems that was until I got to the cornice. The snow which was being blown around was starting to form lovely ice cream whirls at the top of the crag. I excavated a passage through and over, nearly drowning myself as I did. A further 10 minutes of bumbling and pushing through the horrendous soft snow and one almighty mantle shelf saw me on top.

Jon arrived, impressed with my gear placements (not!). We then discussed conditions and wondered what effect the falling snow was having on the already laden slopes. Following a hot drink and a bite to eat I lowered Jon over the edge so he could take a better look and make an informed decision. The decision was made to abandon as we were worried about the upper slope, again just before the cornice. 1330 hrs saw us back to Keswick and drinking tea and eating cakes (very healthy ones J)

When we arrived back down at Dunmail Raise we got talking to a local from Penrith who had just come from Nethermost cove (Further along from where we were). He informed us that he had triggered a small avalanche there. This was good confirmation about our decision to abandon. It’s so very easy to allow self imposed pressure, usually from not wanting to look like a wimp, affect your decision but in this case we were happy. As well as this I have just read of an avalanche on Pinnacle Ridge, St. Sundays that occurred Monday and which injured three people and shook another badly. Further confirmation of our decision.

Funny moment of the day, getting back to the car at the end of the day, Jon jumps in the driver’s seat and tries to turn the engine over….unfortunately Denise had forgot the lights were on and had drained the battery….not just a little bit but a big bit! So much so that it wouldn’t start with a bump. We pushed it down to the next lay-by where the Penrith local kindly accepted our request to jump start it. Of course Jon just forgot about it and never mentioned it anymore that day….did he Denise? Hahahahaha.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Not quite Gnarley enough!!!!

The offer of a weekend climbing in the Lake District with the prospect of good conditions was just too much to resist. Saturday saw us up early and plodding up the gully from Dunmail Raise made slightly easier by the fact we had stayed in the the NMC hut down in the early start wasn't as early as it usually is.

Our aim today was to climb Jogebar Gully III in Nethermost Cove, a route I had waited 26 years to do following my very first winter experiences on a course run by Thurston OEC. We had stayed at Ruthwaite Lodge in Grisedale Valley and the instructors had talked about this gully and how good it was, but did not come into condition very readily. It was well worth the wait as it was in pristine condition and it was a pleasure to climb....I dedicated the route to my Father who passed away recently and shed a little tear away from Craig my partner for the day.

Craig was also keen to get out today, albeit with some trepidation, and get something done following his experiences on Great Gable a few weeks back. Although he wasn't very happy at first by the time we had descended back into Nethermost following out Jogebar ascent and went onto do the icefall that sometimes forms down and to the left of our first route, he found himself elated to be out. A superb bonus which we didn't expect. The route goes at III but felt more like IV with a well protected crux.

An easy 'Glissaded' descent all the way from Dollywaggon down to the final gully at Dunmail Raise ended the day with me and Craig laughing and whooping.

Sunday saw another early ish rise to the day and another drive back to Dunmail Raise. However, today I was partnered by Tom as Craig had decided he needed to touch some rock, opting for the classic Troutdale Pinnacle on Black Crag Borrowdale. I believe Craig thought of himself as a potential 'Gnarly' mountaineer but from his efforts or lack of them to get up to go out on the hill, he has a long way to go :-). We were surprised to be the first car park and considering it was 8.30 wondered why???? Worried actually!

Tom and myself plodded up and up the backside of Dollywaggon to the col where Dollywaggon North Crag is. This high crag offers some good III's and IV's all of which were in very good condition judging from what we had seen the day before.
To our surprise no one else was at the crag and in fact apart from a couple starting at the very end of our day saw no one else climbing at all through the whole day.

Our route of choice was Solo Symphony III which again was hard for III but excellent in character. Worthy of at least 2*. We then descended back into the base of the crag to find a another III but after a bit of a mountaineering exploration give up and ascended an easy grade I gully to the top. Once again Tom and myself made the most of the the good snow to go down but couldn't glissade as the snow had softened with a rise in temperature as the day progressed so on with the waterproof bottoms and although not quite as fast as the glissade still excellent fun.

A few drinks that night put all those concerned in a very happy place in deed :-)

Thanks to the Hairy People (well the not so hairy people now) for a great weekend.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Schmoolz reach Kendal

It was with great pleasure that the Schmoolz team (St.john, Mike and Cliff) took a little journey over to the Kendal wall to hand over 10 sets of Schmoolz to Pete Hill who was running a dry tooling event based from the wall. Pete is well known amongst the mountaineering instructor fraternity, having written numerous books on the subject and a holder of the MIC (Mountaineering Instructor Certificate). Pete's other work includes the running and organising of indoor dry tooling competitions and has the following business:

The tools immediately went down well and with them hardly out of their bags the Wall staff were onto them....Mark (Manager) was really impressed with them, even though he had a few 'pops' off.
The Schmoolz are available by contacting me (until the website is up and going) then direct through the internet.
Happy Schmooling :-)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Roxcool/Schmoolz Holidays - Getting rid of the demons!!!!

Today I was climbing on Great End over in the Lake District.

Following the shocking incident on Gable Crag, which my friend Craig witnessed and helped with, I offered to take him straight out onto the hill in an attempt to get rid of the demons which had been hounding him since Sundays events. Unfortunately at the last minute Craig had to pull out.

Mike one of my Schmoolz colleagues was happy to stand at 05.30 am departure saw me driving in heavy fog towards the Lakes. Mike lives in Newcastle so we arranged to meet at Penrith and travelled the last bit down to Borrowdale together.

The weather forecast wasn't great with rising temperatures (2 degrees) and rain expected. Walking up Grains Gill towards Great End didn't do anything for our confidence and we thought that we'd missed our opportunity. However, upon arriving at the base of the crag it was obvious that it was in good nick....hawed up rocks, firm snow and the ice pitch on Central Gully Left Hand looking awesome! This was our route of choice today....and perfect as one other party on South East Gully had beaten us to the base.

The route was perfect for Mike too, as prior to this experience today, he had not climbed on much ice at all. His winter experience had involved scratching up a few mixed routes!

Most of the day Mike and myself discussed this strange game of risk we play....unbeknown to us we actually were getting rid of the demons too...reflecting on the nasty incident, last weekend, got us trying to put things in perspective. Although I have been out quite a lot already this winter (including a new route) I still found myself today checking everything twice. I love it when I climb confidently and without hinderance, but sometimes I worry I'm getting complacent. It's a fine line! In some respects if anything good did come from the incident it makes us realise accidents do happen, risks are taken, adventure is had and I guess that's why we do what we do....

The route held out and Mike got to try 'real ice'....the walk down went without incident. 7 degrees by the time we got back to the car!!!!!

Funny moment of the day....Mike leaning against the window while I was driving him back to his car at Penrith...He dropped off to sleep and literally fell off the window hahahahaha poor tired puppy!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

CWA Abseil Module and a Busy night at Sunderland Wall

Tonight Iwas at the Sunderland Wall to carry out a Climbing Wall Award (CWA) abseil module which I had to cancel prior to Christmas due to the snows we had.

With me on the course tonight were Dave and Lee. As usual with this module its a full on activity from the moment we start right until the end of the night (4 hours). The guys practiced both self protected abseiling, group abseil set ups and teaching, problem solving, direct and semi direct belays....quite a lot to take on board!

The rest of the wall at Sunderland was extremely busy with what looked like the elite junior climbing team having a climb as well as lots of public punters.

The Schmoolz were out again and tried by quite a few people who seem to be enjoying the experience. Some huffing and puffing a bit from the effort (eh Chris?)! Loads more opportunities to use the Schmoolz will be coming soon.

Friday, 29 January 2010

ROXCOOL 2010 Dates for CWA and SPA

Please go to

Schmoolz are here!!!!!

Well they are here! The Schmoolz!

It wont be long if you are a regular visitor to a climbing wall that you will see these babies in action. Not only do these simulate 'dry tooling' (a component of winter climbing) but they are a new fun way to enjoy climbing in a warm safe environment. Kids will enjoy usining them and I'm sure we will all learn from their unrestricted movements. As well as this they are excellent for both strength and core body development.

If you are interested in getting a set (SRP around £80 a pair) let me know and I can arrange to meet you at a local wall, email me on Alternatively they are available through the website .

More information will follow in due course but keep an eye open for up and coming 'Schmoolz schoolz' and 'Come and try it sessions' at a climbing wall near you!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

The new way to have fun at the climbing wall

Tonight I tried a pair of the new simulated 'dry tooling' tools (Schomools) at the Sunderland Wall. following a few unexpected 'pops' I managed to get the hang of them. The tools will not only apeal to those interested in dry tooling but also to anyone wanting a slightly different experience/work out , as the movement hits right to the core.

More will follow on these tools here