Wide Boyz Crack School Tour 2017 – Big Rock

The Wide Boyz Crack School in association with Wild Country will tour a number of popular UK climbing walls this winter to introduce climbers of all abilities to crack climbing.

The Crack School is a 90 minute course led by two of the world’s top climbers Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, aka the Wide Boyz. Participants will have the opportunity to experience all aspects of this climbing discipline. From how to make a pair of crack gloves to learning and putting into practice the full range of jamming techniques.

Having served a lengthy apprenticeship in crack climbing on the legendary Peak Gritstone and in Tom’s cellar in Sheffield, the Wide Boyz have gone on to test their skills on some of the most formidable lines around the world, including their ongoing Crucifix Project.

Based in the heart of the Peak, Wild Country has long met the needs of climbers, manufacturing gear to contribute to the sum of their knowledge. Wild Country are supporting the Wide Boyz Crack School to help climbers develop new techniques that they can then apply outdoors.

Tom Randall says: “Crack climbing is always perceived as this dark art that is almost impossible to learn quickly and involves quite a lot of suffering. The Crack Schools really prove that both of these are not true! We will have you jamming up parallel cracks in less than 90 minutes and we promise you will have a smile on your face. It is about learning AND having fun.”

Pete Whittaker says: “Most people think of crack climbing as painful, difficult and not useful. Crack School will help to erase all these problems! You will get to practice jamming on new painless volumes. We will show you that it is purely technique based rather than strength (so all abilities are welcome). Finally sneaky jamming can be found everywhere, so whether you want to swim up splitters in Indian creek or pull on tufas in Kalymnos, there will be a jam for you. We’re jamming, we’re jamming, I hope you like jamming too!”

To sign up for the Wide Boyz Crack School follow the direct link to each climbing venue below.

Date: 18th Fe

Milton Keynes Big Rock

Interested parties to self book and notify meet organiser so we can arrange lifts etc. Price includes usage of the wall before / after the event.


IMC Champions Cup 2017

Well done to everyone who competed and to Hannah and Dave from Action Outdoors for the prizes and organising the raffle.

Experienced Category

  • Jeremy Hall – 3879 points
  • Martin Hore – 2879 points
  • Rob Ellam – 2646 points
  • Steve Mace – 1963 points
  • Oli Reynolds – 1897 points
  • Caryn Lofthouse – 1091 points

Intermediate/Beginners Category

  • Teddy Buckley – 1544 points
  • Becky Robinson – 1233 points
  • Andrew Kerrison – 867 points

There are a couple of photos on our Facebook group page

IMC Champions Cup 2016 Results

While preparing for the 2017 completion I found the 2016 results that had not been posted, so here they are!

Expert category

  • Mike Turner – 2167 points
  • Ian Ackerley – 2000 points
  • Jason Porter – 2000 points
  • Steve Mace – 1333 points

Intermediate category

  • Oliver Reynolds – 2000 points
  • Jenny Pummell – 1167 points
  • Sarah Belk – 1167 points
  • John Burns – 833 points

Beginner category (all routes on top rope)

  • Ethan Masterson – 1333 points

Grit weekend : 2-3 Apr 2016

Some of us took the opportunity of a forecast good weather window to make have a quick weekend in the Peak District. Here are a few photos (all my photos are on Flickr, if you click on any image below it will also take you to the photo on Flickr)


The weather didn’t start off as bright as we’d like, so we spent the late morning and early afternoon in cafes.   Below, Jeremy making an early attempt at ‘Blob of the Year’ after the lid fell off the brown sauce bottle.

2016-04-02 10.54.11


We all then went to Froggatt, and eventually it brightened up as shown below in the picture of Ben completing Hawk Nest Direct




The next day, although the day started overcast and rainy, it cleared a lot earlier than Saturday and we went to Bamford Edge.


Above: Andy Hansler with Bamford in the background.


Above: Bamford edge


Above: Jeremy on Brown’s crack


Above: Jason on Bilberry Crack

Below: a few photos of various people climbing Gargoyle Buttress





Flying Buttress Direct (various attempts)

Ever since seeing Flying Buttress Direct at Stanage on my beginner’s weekend with the IMC, I’ve wanted to have a go at it.  I wasn’t brave enough then – it looked too intimidating – but I have seconded/top-roped it since then (in 2013 with Bob Butcher)

This year I wanted to go for lead and was unsuccessful on my first try (on the Friday before the beginner’s weekend in May with Martin Hore).  But in the second attempt I got a bit closer as you can see below.

In July I was heading off to a weekend in Snowdonia with Josh and on the way up we stopped with Adam Gosling in Sheffield.  The next day we spent the morning at Stanage with Adam before heading to Wales.  After a few climbs we ended up at Flying Buttress.  We’d just seen a couple of German climbers climb it as their first climb of the day, which was impressive, even more impressive was that the lead climber reversed the crux whilst trying to find the right line!

We had a chat with them and then I had a go at leading it.

Attempt 1

On my first attempt, I got my finger into the crack on the crux but obviously not well enough as they slipped out pretty quickly.


Working my way up the slab


Placing gear before the crux


The crux (at least for me) move – unfortunately I didn’t last long in this position !

Attempt 2

This time I managed to last long enough at the crux to get some gear in and then get above it, but unfortunately I then struggled above and so ended up sinking back on the gear 🙁


Crux gear

Attempt 3

I left the gear in the crux, which made this attempt easier, and I managed to then complete the route


Just before swinging my legs up


Almost there


And up!

Next . . .

There is still some unfinished business, as I want to lead it cleanly – so maybe this year . . .

IMC Champions Cup 2015 Results

I would add a special thanks to Rich who not only set around half the routes but also prepared all the route cards and the “Rules”. And to thanks Dave Tonks and Action Outdoors for kindly donating the prizes again this year. And of course, thanks to everyone who competed, for fun or for prizes, or contributed as belayers or spectators.

The “podium” places were as follows:

Beginner Class

1st Place – Ethan Masterson –  1391 points
2nd Place – Corey Miller  – 1282 points
3rd Place – John Burns  – 892 points

Intermediate Class

1st Place –  Steve Mace – 1591 points
2nd Place – Richard Williams – 1058 points
3rd Place – Caryn Lofthouse  –  858 points

“Expert” Class

1st Place – Ali O’Connell   – 3260 points
2nd Place – Ian Thurgood – 1900 points
3rd Place – Ian Ackerley – 1543 points

Congratulations to Ethan for being our youngest ever class winner, to Steve M who somehow persuaded the “adjudicator” to allow him to enter as a Beginner but was promoted half way through the evening for being too good for the class – he would have been placed 3rd as an “Expert”! – and to Ali who showed us how to climb Copleston’s two previously un-led problems in style and gained 2000 of his points in the process.

So now it’s onward to the summer season!

Everest Challenge Climb – Feb 2015

A huge thank you to everyone who climbed, supported, made cakes and donated to the Everest Challenge climb at The Cragg, Stowmarket on Sunday.
It was a brilliant occasion and I hope that the aches from climbing numerous routes are beginning to ease!

Thanks Martin H for the great mountain graphics that helped to motivate us all and extra thanks to Jeremy and Ian who got this all organised.

Dan and I are amazed by the results of the event a staggering 14,011m climbed and so far over £3,000 raised for the Evelina Children’s hospital, Down’s syndrome Association and Ronald McDonald Charity Houses. An incredible way to mark our little Issy’s short time with us and we hope that the money will help many other families in the future.

So here are the rough events of the day, when we reached certain heights (some timings are a bit suspect due to teleportation between time zones 😉 and the photos that we took on the day.
09.00 started climbing from sea level
10.05 reached the summit of Ben Nevis – 1,344m we then teleported to Switzerland…..and by
10.10 had reached Zermatt – 1,608m and started our ascent of The Matterhorn (no cable car for us it was climbing all the way)
10.35 we had reached Schwarzsee – 2,538m and the Matterhorn climb began in ernest, by
10.45 the Hornli Hut was reached – 3,260m
10.50 reached the precarious Solvay refuge – 4,003m with the final push taking only a few minutes….
11.00 The Matterhorn was summited – 4,478m Another teleport, to Nepal this time and onto the trek to Everest Base Camp, starting for us at slightly above Dingboche – 4,400m
11.20 Everest Base Camp – 5,364m had been reached and so it was onto Camp 1 – 6,000m and Camp 2 – 6,400m which were quickly reached with no acclimatisation problems…by
12.10 had reached Camp 3 – 7,200m and
12.20 reached Camp 4 – 7,950m…. there was then a quick summit bid by Dan followed by the rest of the climbers…. 12.33 Everest summit reached – 8,848m

Climbing and cake eating continued until 16.30 with an amazing total of 14,011m climbed (that is Everest at 8848m and Cerro Culipata a 5,163m mountain peak near Orcopampa, Arequipa, Peru)

What an incredible day !!

Beginners Meet & Pre-beginners meet – more photos

And a few more pictures from the weekend

Stanage – Friday 16th May

Jeremy leading Mississippi Buttress Direct – approaching the Crux – not too sure that second piece of gear is too solid though. Not quite an on-site due to seconding Mike on Mississippi Variant prior.

Burbage North – Saturday 17th May

Carl attempting to follow Mike up Barry Manilow VS 5a. Belay is protected from the rock face behind and a cam next to Mike to stop him being pulled off the side.