We've just returned from a nice long journey through Spain, meeting up with lots of great friends and climbing in some ace places.
However, I'd like to mention some truly inspiring news from the UK climbing scene, which Stu Littlefair summed up so perfectly on Facebook by posting something like this:
"Everybody stop what you're doing. Ben Moon has just climbed Rainshadow. Now, carry on."
Most climbers will understand the significance of this news, but non-climbers will need some help. We are talking about a 48 year old bloke succeeding in climbing one of the hardest climbs in Britain. The climb is graded 9a. Ben did his last and only 9a (which has since turned out to be the first climb to be given that grade anywhere in the world) 25 years ago. Ben was the fourth person to climb Rainshadow yesterday. So, there you go. A really amazing achievement by one of the sports legends throughout the last 4 decades. Well done Ben Moon.
Rainshadow is the long extension to the classic Raindogs, which is a very popular and slippery 8a above the Catwalk at Malham Cove (which I did about 50 times before leaving Britain in 1999). I think I'm right in stating that it was originally equipped and tried by Mark Leach in the early '90's. Several years later Steve McClure took up the challenge and finally climbed it in 2003.
|The view on a very cold March day from Ager.|
|Ben and Caryl looking so happy after a year travelling and going back to the UK with loads of wonderful memories (photo by Elaine Owen).|
|A bright and crisp morning at Ager, wonderful and totally FREE! (photo by Elaine Owen).|
|All the flowers were coming out towards the end of March.|
|Ruff experiencing some difficulty whilst trying to train Dave and Rhian Cross.|
|Meeting up with old mates is always great fun, even if they're Porky and the Colonel!|
|Falling asleep with a pine cone in my mouth and my mum is trying to give me the squeaky ball!|
|2 photos of Guillaume Bouloumie on his own route, the brilliant Naranga, 8a+ at Super Devotas.|
|Steve Crowe on Peril Jaune, a very steep 7c+ at Super Devotas.|
|Me at (more or less) the same place as Steve in the previous photo (photo by Steve Crowe).|
|Lowering off after a successful red point, Super Devotas is really steep (photo by Elaine Owen).|