Thursday, 26 February 2009

I Am

I am 'The Normal'. 
I am White.
I am Middle Class.
I have no body,
Just a voice.
I know, but cannot feel.
I speak, but do not listen.
I am Knowledge
I am Power
I am 'Civil Society'

And I despise it. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Little Gap Concluded!

This last visit to the Little Gap has seen all the obvious lines sent. This last visit saw four final problems sent, two by Olly and two by myself:

Olly's problems were:

Moist Marxism - V0+,  The obvious standing arete at the end of the quarried section of the crag. The top out is always wet, finish at your peril. F.A Olly Birrell 24/02/2008

Pikey President - V0, The arete at the far left of the natural buttress. A project stolen from one university president by another. F.A Olly Birrell  24/02/2008

Jamie sent:

Thorny Autonomy - V1, The left hand crack next to Plunder Economy. It is impossible to describe the top out.  F.A Jamie Maddison 24/01/2008

Imperfect God -V3 The second hardest line on the natural buttress. Take the face dead centre, launching out right to a small finger pocket high up and then another dynamic move to a jug at the top. Another Fontainebleau topout. 

A full PDF file for the crag will be available soon, as will a UKC crag page. Keep checking this space for updates!

One Often Fails when Traditional Climbing

One Often Fails when Traditional Climbing from Jamie Maddison on Vimeo.

North Wales


A shoop is a singular sheep. fact. The phrase originates from old English but was dropped from everyday use circa the start of the great Industrial sheep revolution of 1854. Academics have speculated that the reason the word became lost was because of an exponential growth in the sheep population over this period, which resulted in no shoop ever being on his own, much to the disappointment of the Welsh. Thus the individual, or 'free', shoop declined into the extinction, replaced by a plethora of conforming sheep. 

Nevertheless a recent movement has begun, originating from a piglet, which aims to bring the shoop once more back into the realm of conventual language use. Hence some definitions are in order. The original description of a shoop was "an animal of Ovis Aries species which is geographically separated from other animals of the same species by a clear spacial delineation", for example separated by a wall or other obstructing barrier. 

This definition was criticized by Shoop experts, who argued that behavioral awareness on the part of the shoop was esstential to the classification process. Thus if a shoop is aware of other sheep, for example behind a barrier, then it is no longer a shoop but in fact a sheep. This initial research, lead to the creation of the Post-Shoop movement, who argued that any form of alienation whether through, class, grass, colour of fur, or mental deficiency can cause an otherwise happy sheep to transcend the lexical constraints of his conformist prison and become a 'free shoop'

The debate has sparked many philosophical question on the nature of falling shoop and we expect the research to continue with great abound in the near future. 

A shoop alienated by race

North Wales 

Another fun trip was enjoyed by all up in North Wales this weekend. CUMC went up-market for this trip, staying at a very swanky little hut, adjacent to their usual haunt at Eric barn underneath Tremadog. Eager to get out and about, we packed out stuff, jumped into the bus and positively gunned it to the infamous Slate quarries. It was around this point we found out that the brakes on our minibus didn't work, eeek! So with a lot of shifting down gears and a copious amount of handbraking, we arrived at the car park with hard slate on the mind. A dark gothic atmosphere pervades the senses as we carelessly trudge across the broken slag heaps to Dali's hole. Broken machinery and burnt out houses surround us. Jumping over the gate the group arrives at their first climbing venue; a short imposing quarried face opposing a deep, still pool of brightest blue water. 

Wasting no time, Steve jumps on Launching Pad, E1 whilst the others try there hand at the easy sports routes to the right. He gets to the crux which is a struggle, silence descends. He's got the clip, but is his contorted position going to allow the rope to clip? Everyone is watching... clip! success, the route is soon concluded. Andy then waltzes up the route, leading after Steve. Jamie tries Holy Holy Holy but doesn't trust the blind placements and can't commit to the crux. 20 minutes later he backs off. Aliaksei leads a VS to the left, whilst Lex follows. Sunshine periodically lights up the simmering faces, constantly being scattered by the broken scenery that surrounds us. 

Olly then wants to do California Arete. Jamie Olly Ryan and Mat walk through the old mining tunnels. Water drips down all around and the sound echoes in the hollowed out walls, apart from that, silence. The arete imposes high above us, its shear scale intimidating all but Olly. There is no gear, one slip anywhere on the route and you'll die mate. Death doesn't really matter to Olly.  He pads up to the crux at 20 metres, the rope is slack. The entire quarry is deserted, only this one figure high up on the route. Does he commit?.... No.... Death or glory aren't in store today. He climbs back down. 

A plethora of people- Andy, Steve Flash, Louise Aliaksei and Lex- climb Looning the Tube (E1). They have little difficulty.  A few more routes are climbed as the sun slowly sets and a fierce chill pervades the area. We retreat back home for dinner, more farts, crude jokes and sleep. 

Tomorrow we do the same. 
Later, the brakes fail. 

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Photographs: Little Gap

Continuing on the theme of the Little Gap, Ryan has been kind enough to send me some of the pictures he took whilst we were climbing this Monday. Enjoy!

Plunder Economy:  


Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Little Gap Revisited, Video

Little Gap Revisited from Jamie Maddison on Vimeo.

(Once again click on Vimeo in the bottom right to go see it in high definition)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

More problems at the Little Gap

This is only going to be a short post as I am shattered from a thirty minute campus session and now need to cook tea! I returned to the Little Gap today, this time with Owen Tweedie in tow to tick off a few more problems. Unfortunately, despite the good weather, the main section of the crag was still sopping wet and so once more we had to resort to the natural lines surrounding the crag. Owen ticked a new traverse problem on Traverse Wall called Rise Against (V1) which starts at the far left of the area and traverses until the start of Great-8. A link up (probably called Rise Against the Great-8) can be linked between the two at no change to the grade. 

Next Owen sent Plunder Economy on his third attempt and settled the grade at around V3. However I don't feel too bad as he couldn't do Loner after quite a few tries and the grade of that route has been upped to V4. Kleptocracy was also confirmed at the grade. Lastly a minor problem right of Plunder Economy was onsighted at an Easy V0, called Colonial Rule F.A Jamie Maddison 17/02/2009

There is still plenty of projects remaining, it just needs someone strong.... 

Monday, 16 February 2009

The Little Gap

Without a doubt, today was the best day I have had outdoors this year! The sun has been shining for the past few days in a row and so, brimming with hope and expectation, my friend and fellow filmer Ryan Atkinson and I set off deep into the heart of the Valleys back to my crag, The Little Gap, to try and develop  the remainder of the crag. Unfortunately after a brisk walk up the hill we found that the quarried section of the area was seeping like Mooby's mother on a night out with the Bristol Rugby team, and so had to divert our attention to the natural outcrops found surrounding the quarried area. 

How lucky we did though, as today we found some of the best problems to be sent thus far. We started off for a warm up on the face immediately left of Arriva (v2); a similar problem, which starts under the overhang in the middle-left of the face and travels through a series of medium quality holds until one can scramble for the an awkward Fontainebleau-esk mantle as the top out. After several tries by Ryan and I, the route eventually yielded to my gung-ho h mantling (Ryan apparently doesn't like mantles :)!) and was dubbed:

Kleptocracy - V2+ - F.A Jamie Maddison,  16/08/2008 (Photos will be up shortly!) 

Ryan, a bit put out by this outdoor boulder malarky, had a go at the problem on the arete just left of this  which after a bit of discussion on how the crag is based around a political themed nature dubbed it as Hegemony. Unfortunately, he didn't finish the whole route due to an awkward and slightly wet top out, but I have recorded it here, as the location of the crag must becoming easier and easier to guess and so I have been asked to record it as a project (Yeah yeah I know, how ironic  given my recent controversy on the South Wales project scene) so hands off anybody who might go near it! 

A bit pumped and a bit tired we moved to the upper tier above the Little Gap area, affectionately dubbed the Littler Gap to have a look at the seemingly only problem up there. A shorter route than most, on first appearances it look like an almost Grit stone hand-jamming problem. Upon closer inspection and an hours worth of failed tries its turned out to be a lot more varied, with yet another Fontainebleau top out! After receiving a bit (ok I admit it!) beta from Ryan I finally managed to send the outstanding problem which I dubbed:

Plunder Economy V3-V4 (I'm not too good on the bouldering grading scene, I think for the local area this is an acceptable grade, perhaps more v3 than v4... but hard none the less!) 
F.A Jamie Maddison 16/08/2008

Little Gap from Ryan Atkinson on Vimeo.

Despite the glorious weather egging us on to stay longer, our bodies had pretty much had enough by now so we decided to cap the day with a recky around the area to see if more bouldering was to be had. Who would have known it but there was not just one area but three! We quickly dubbed them for convenience and identification's sake, Traverse Wall Area, Unnamed Bay and for some bizarre reason only know to Ryan, Tomato Buttress Area, all had a huge potential for new routes on them. The Topo, when it is finally  released, will have to be quite large to cover this whole area! 

To cap the day off, Ryan managed his first problem of the morning by onsighting Great-8 (I believe this is the right name?) at the far left of the Traverse Wall Area. He graded this V0. The route included a left to right rising traverse, starting on the outside of the obvious wide corner. Apparently using the chockstone at the end is cheating!

With a good day in the bag we retired back to the train station only to be befriended by a group of 12 year old Valley girls who proceeded to tell me about the amazing climbing at Penwyceiber (The worst crag in the South Wales guide book). When asked where it was, she turned to her friend and asked "Where's that cliff at Penwyceiber?, you know, the one you pushed me off" 
!!!! Classic valley chavs!!!!

And the best bit is, if the weather holds I will be back tomorrow! Keep watching this space for the photo Topos of the routes as well as some cool pictures of me on Kleptocracy.

All credit must be given today to photographer, cameraman, director and editor Ryan for having the good sense to actually bring a camera along and get some footage shot! 

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A Day at the Beach.

Well for once the sun was shining, the air was crisp and there was no rain clouds to be seen over South Wales. This had to mean only one thing... a trip to the Seaside! So my girlfriend and I (for it is Valentines day weekend) jumped in the car and drove to Porthcawl for a bit of a wander and a bit of a boulder. The weather was perfect, almost like a summers day, as we meandered up and down the beach looking at various rockpools (well Emily was) and potential boulder problems (I was). It was not really a hardcore session bouldering on my part, more a peruse up and down some sharp problems in the Balanced Boulder Area. I think I sent a new problem in that area at around V0+/V1 but I am not sure so won't send it in to the South Wales Bouldering Guide.

(The red line marks the new problem, however I think it has probably already been climbed before as it is an obvious looking line)

I also found a superb project problem, just round the corner from this area. Its involves two good holds from sitting to a series of undercuts trying to reach past a blank slab to the top. It doesn't look impossible but a bit out of my league at the present moment. However, As i'm not really bothered about development in this area if anybody else wants to know where it is to have a go, I'll send you a more detailed description (sorry I didn't get a picture!).

That's about all for the moment, however if the weather holds Ill soon have some interesting stories to tell about my sandstone bouldering crag. Will keep you all posted, hoped you all have enjoyed your Valentines day weekend!

J xx

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Encore! Magnifique! 7b+ - The Gap

This video has nothing to do with me but I thought South Wales climbers might be interested to see an ascent of Encore! Magnifique! which I found on YouTube (what a wonderful invention!) For those of you who don't know, this route is one of the most famous and sought after Sandstone ticks; a brilliantly hard and majestic climb. 

Hopefully, one day I will be good enough to lead it!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Absolutely Nothing of Interest.

Its quiet, too quiet. Hmmm.. I wonder like, if anyone has been outside recently? Its pretty boring reading this space at the moment, I mean what the hell is the point of a climbing blog if no climbing is actually being conducted. I mean, just, what is the point?! It is like an underwater helicopter or something; plain stupid. hmmm... Well I suppose I could talk about the WICC but that's a taboo subject, everyone beating me at the bouldering competition and all. Apparently, I'm a pussy who can't competition climb but can still hop on 7a's afterwards. But congratulations to everyone who did well in the competition -except Jonboy who is far too smug by half! ;) Team results will be posted on the university website soon.

Please, please Wales, get sunny and lovely soon as I want to go back to my crag. I also have a big ass bolt gun and lots of resin bolts sitting in my cupboard that need to be used so if anyone has a crag that needs to be bolted just drop me a line!

Has anybody else noted that I've managed to write 182 words on absolutely nothing in particular, thats a skill that is. Well perhaps if some South Walesian people sent me some stuff about their exploits in the area I'd have a bit more too write about!

So, get to it! And I'll go do something productive, yeah right.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Playing In Snow.

Another quick post just to show a fellow climbing movie-makers film. Playing In the Snow by Ryan is a superbly edited, but sadly not very high quality movie about Glamorgan University's trip to Scotland for some winter ice climbing. It was edited on Final Cut Pro, which makes me happy as Ryan gave me a copy yesterday! Maybe in the near future you will see technical editing feats as good this for my own movies! But don't expect anything too soon as I have no idea how to work the blinking thing yet! 

Playing In The Snow from Ryan Atkinson on Vimeo.

Where has all the climbing gone?

My sincerest apologies for having not published in over a week! The trouble has been that it is incredibly hard to write a climbing blog when you haven't actually been climbing! Instead, a series of wild and raving parties has pushed this dear soul to its uppermost limits of climbing apathy. I exaggerate, but only by a little. 

What I have done over this past week when I got the opportunity was to train! Train train train. Boulders recently opened the training section of its wall and needless to say I have been trying to exploit it to its fullest potential. The primary focus of this training onslaught has been the fabled campus board which I still cannot get to the top in one go despite the vast improvements I have made to my upper-body strength in the past few months! However this failure doesn't really seem to matter  too much as the past few session have caused the deepest aches all across my shoulders and core on the next day; a sign it must be working! 

Unfortunately this is all I have done this week climbing-wise. Every day I look out my window its raining, about to rain, already just rained and even snowing! I never realized until I became a climber how wet this pissing little island really is! 

Bring on the Sunshine! Please!