Category Archives: Matt

SPA Training for Bedouins from the Wadi Rum

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I got back on Sunday from instructing on a week long single pitch style course for the Shabab Sahra Climbing Club who are based in the amazing climbing mecca of Jordan’s Wadi Rum. The invitation was give to us from Al Sutton who works for Operation Mercy Jordan and Experience Jordan. He is currently heading up a number of projects in Wadi Rum and one of them is working to see the Shabab Sahra Climbing Club members continue to develop as climbers and instructors.

 

Matt and I are Mountaineering Instructors and, both having lived and worked in Morocco, love opportunities to see young climbers from the Middle East and North Africa be further equipped with skills need for both personal and professional climbing ventures. We were joined by two excellent staff from Climbat Amma (great climbing wall in the capital). Marwan and Rad were fantastic translators and are both top climbers in the Jordan climbing scene. Many thanks to them for their patience and their input during the week – we couldn’t have delivered the week without them. It was great to see the climbing scene in Jordan is producing top climbing – I belayed Marwan on his 8a project! He is not far off just needs a bit more power/endurance to get the redpoint.

 

 

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We were based north of the capital Amman, in the small town Ajloun for the week where there is some well developed sport climbing. If you are headed that way and are looking for a place to stay and a great local guide to take you on some of the scenic hikes in the area, then look no further than Eisa Muhmoud Dweekat. We stayed at his gite and his hospitality and warm and friendly spirit made the week. Oh and the food was superb… authentic Jordanian food 🙂 I think Matt and I came away from the week with a few extra kilos from all the lovely food!

 

 

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Also, the young guys from the club were a great bunch to teach! We covered a lot of ground during the training week: trad protection, anchor systems, releasable abseils, problem solving on single pitch crags etc.  The guys handled it very well and they got their first trad leads in during the week. The next step for all of them is to get out and do a lot of trad climbing as well as single pitch group days. We are hoping to be out next year some time to give some further training.

 

Here are a few more photos:

 

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Categories: James, Jordan, Matt, Training
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Sport Climbing, France | Les Dentelles de Monmirail

The striking limestone teeth of Les Dentelles de Monmirail

The striking limestone teeth of Les Dentelles de Monmirail

Matt and I headed deep into Provence for my first taste of a crag other than the short, but sweet, St. Montan. Les Dentelles de Monmirail are a parallel series of toothed ridges that rise to the south of Mont Ventoux and provide several hundred quality limestone sport climbs.

 

To our surprise, in the shadow the north aspects, snow lingered from the storm two weeks ago. There had also been recent hard frosts, judging from the frozen ground and ice on small puddles in the carpark. The wind was also blowing, making the ambient temperature of around two to three degrees distinctly unpleasant.

 

We warmed ourselves on the south aspect, which was nicely sheltered from the wind and cold. Ravens circled and swooped in the eddies calling with their characteristic ‘puk, puk’, and it was necessary to strip down to the t-shirt.

 

We ticked three climbs on the beautifully sunny south aspect, a 5b, 5c/6a and a 6a+. All were good climbs, made us think and employ good technique, but as with many of the sport climbs I have done to date, were rather forgettable. In retrospect, the climbs tended to be reduced to the challenge of a couple of moves.

 

In contrast, there is nothing like having a full-on fight on a trad climb or winter line in Scotland to etch an experience in your memory.

 

Our last climb of the day was a multi-pitch on the north aspect (5b, 5c). We were brought back to reality – that it is still definitely winter – by the cold, wind and chill. I lost the feeling in my fingers and we had to rush to get back home, so perhaps didn’t get the best of that part of the crag.

 

A day of many contrasts once again!

 

More photos on the Facebook page.

Categories: Blog, Matt, Personal, Simon, Sport climbing
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To Opposite Extremes

James on La Gravité Abolie 6c

James on La Gravité Abolie 6c

James, Matt and I got out for some sport climbing yesterday. It was the complete opposite of six weeks in the Scottish winter – jeans, t-shirts, sunshine, dry rock!

 

I think we were all pretty rusty, especially me, but pushed ourselves in the time we had. We warmed up on Perlin Pinpin 5c, then Matt and I took it up a level on La Grande Dalle 6a, and the main event was James finishing a mini-project La Gravité Abolie 6c.

 

Two routes each, so not bad for half an afternoon and everyone went home happy.

 

Check out more photos on the Facebook page.

Categories: Blog, James, Matt, Personal, Simon, Sport climbing
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