/ NEW PHOTO ESSAY: BMC International Meet 2008 by Alex Messenger

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Alex Messenger is the Editor of Summit Magazine and one of the most talented climbing photographers in the world.

Here he has put together a stunning collection of photographs from the recent BMC International Meet.

...They've come to experience the oddity that is British trad: to fiddle in nuts, to get gripped at Gogarth, to marvel at Cloggy. And in return for taking this gamble with the British weather, they'll end up having one of the best week's climbing of their lives. For waiting for them when they step out of the minibus is a hapless meet organiser, whose only mission in life is to pair them up with any one of an equal number of British hosts (from VS cruisers to E9 bruisers), to show them to the best crags in Snowdonia and to generally ensure that they have A Very Good Time....

View The Photo's and Article: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=1034
Tyler - on 02 Jun 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Great article and pictures. I'd always believed Stefan Glowacz (sp?) had on-sighted Strawberries so whats the story there?
Jon Read - on 02 Jun 2008
In reply to Tyler:
You and me must have read the same mags -- I was thinking that. Perhaps it was only a 'flash'?

Really good pictures -- as always, Alex. Sickening.
Mark Stevenson - on 02 Jun 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Nice summary of the meet and a great few photos by Alex. Nico and Sean were amazing dudes to watch climbing.

I even made it into one of the pictures as an onlooker...
Michael Ryan - on 02 Jun 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

I'm in awe of Alex's skill as a photographer and without a doubt the amount of effort it must have took to get in position to take these photographs.

Mick gives it 'two thumbs up"

Thanks Alex.

Mick
John Cooke - on 02 Jun 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Great work Alex, excellent as always.
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Great stuff and wonderful pictures, but as we have been slagging off the editing of Climb on another thread, I have to point out two things: 1) that fins are what sharks have, a Finn is someone who is Finnish and 2) "They've come to experience the oddity that is British trad" is pretty silly as a number of the countries you mention in the list, let alone others not mentioned, have strong trad climbing traditions. If you think French and Spanish sun-rock makes up "foreign" when it comes to world climbing, as many Brits seem to, then perhaps trad seems particularly British, but there are loads of other climbing traditions around the world that are trad just like we are. We should try being a little less parochial.
Michael Ryan - on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)

> We should try being a little less parochial.

Part of being British, Toby? Being parochial!

Morgan Woods - on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC) 2) "They've come to experience the oddity that is British trad" is pretty silly as a number of the countries you mention in the list, let alone others not mentioned, have strong trad climbing traditions.

yes but on any given weekend in the UK i reckon 60% would be doing trad with the other 40% sport and bouldering....i'm not sure any other european county would come close to that...certainly not France or Spain.

Anyway, great article.
Henry Iddon - on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> I'm in awe of Alex's skill as a photographer and without a doubt the amount of effort it must have took to get in position to take these photographs.
>
> Mick gives it 'two thumbs up"
>
> Thanks Alex.
>
> Mick

Indeed. Being consistant is what sets the best from the rest.

duncan - on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Excellent article and pictures.

(It's Purr-spire direct and E6 6b </pedant>)
fimm on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

If we're being pedantic... "photos" not "photo's"

> the amount of effort it must have took

"must have taken", surely?
Michael Ryan - on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to fimm:

Wadda ya lik?
In reply to Morgan Woods:

> yes but on any given weekend in the UK i reckon 60% would be doing trad with the other 40% sport and bouldering....i'm not sure any other european county would come close to that...certainly not France or Spain.

But Morgan - that was exactly my point France and Spain aren't the rest of the world, they just often seem like to British climbers.

Tell the Norwegians, or the Americans, or the Australians, or the Finns that they don't know anything about trad, and you'll get laughed at.


Alun - on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to TobyA:
> Tell the Norwegians, or the Americans, or the Australians, or the Finns that they don't know anything about trad, and you'll get laughed at.

I have been consistently impressed with the trad abilities of all the people I've been lucky enough to climb with on the meets. Swedish, Belgian, Norwegian, Polish, Portugese, Catalan etc. They've all been more than competent.

However, you *do* get the odd trad-novice - there was one visitor this year who could redpoint 8a but had never placed a nut (ever), never created a belay, and never even belayed on double ropes!
In reply to TobyA: I think you're putting words in Alex's mouth!

He says - 'to experience the oddity that is British trad'

British trad is an oddity, especially at the crags mentioned like Gogarth: Hanging blocks of rubble protected by old bolt stubs and hammered in ice screws. Not standard climbing. Slate - trad climbing on run-out bolts!

And it is true that some of the climbers who come literally do learn how to place nuts on their first day.

So come on Toby, we know that we aren't the only trad climbers out there, but Alex never says that we are.

Fantastic article Alex. Nice one.

Jack



craig d - on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to Tyler:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> Great article and pictures. I'd always believed Stefan Glowacz (sp?) had on-sighted Strawberries so whats the story there?

Just had a quick look in "Rocks around the World" and it says on-sight in there. Can anyone clarify this?
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

I don't want to put words in Alex's mouth, I just wanted to point out that many British climbers see an 'us against them' (trad/sport) division, because unsurprisingly their first port of call outside of the UK is likely to be France or Spain where sport climbing _does_ predominate. But that's not all there is. The UK ha unique landscapes, seascapes, mini-mountains and climbing history. That is what differentiates and makes it special. All I mean is that trad isn't as odd as some think.

> British trad is an oddity, especially at the crags mentioned like Gogarth: Hanging blocks of rubble protected by old bolt stubs and hammered in ice screws. Not standard climbing. Slate - trad climbing on run-out bolts!

Is that so different from American desert towers? So their impressive rubble is sandstone and our isn't, but dodgy bolts and hammered in bit'n'bobs all seem part of that game as well from what I've read. With slate you could argue that it's uniqueness is that in many other parts of the world with more rock, they would look on the British as a bit desperate having to climb in industrial litter-filled and collapsing quarries! :-) Of course, that would be their loss because slate is cool even if weird!
Dr Fran on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
Great pictures Alex, but I think the article places too much emphasis on the elite side of the meet. There were several International superstars there but not all the guests were the best climbers in their country. Much fun was had by those experiencing British trad for the first time in the lower to middle grades, not as newsworthy, not as dramatic but certainly felt as much on the edge to those guests.
The BMC has been known to struggle for hosts and portraying the meet only as an elite E pot noodle extreme fest won't encourage ordinary punters to volunteer in the future.
:-)
alex - on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to...

Cheers, glad the pictures went down well! Apologies for any errors in the article (misspelling natives of Finland etc) - my fault.

As for the "oddity" that is British trad. I wasn't trying to make any particular point here - just implying that for most visitors it would have been a different experience to their usual haunts. Whether that's because of the weather, the rock, the double ropes, the sea or the sheep...

And as for concentrating on the elite - guilty I guess. I'd have liked to take photos of everyone, but was only there for 3 days, so had to make decisions and follow the action. I did take quite a few shots of things like Last Tango in Paris, Comes the Dervish, Pull My Daisy, Bela Lugosi is Dead etc in the slate, plus Vector at Tremadog, but they didn't make the final selection.

So yep, for the record, meets are definately for "ordinary punters" too. (like me.)

Cheers

HeMa on 03 Jun 2008
In reply to alex:
> In reply to...
>
> Cheers, glad the pictures went down well! Apologies for any errors in the article (misspelling natives of Finland etc) - my fault.

To be complitely honest... you were somewhat correct... I know for a fact that at least one Finn took part in the meet...
catt on 19 Jun 2008
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> [...]
>
> yes but on any given weekend in the UK i reckon 60% would be doing trad with the other 40% sport and bouldering....

Morgan 'Hang on a sec while I pull some numbers out my ass' Woods ;-)

Still, would be interesting to know, from a stato geek point of view. I suspect the trad number could be significantly higher?

Great photos btw. Very inspiring.
martin heywood - on 19 Jun 2008
In reply to Tyler:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> Great article and pictures. I'd always believed Stefan Glowacz (sp?) had on-sighted Strawberries so whats the story there?

He didnt put the gear in himself.
In reply to martin heywood:Hi Martin,

Do you know much about this ascent? If you do could I possibly chat with you about it?

You have an email through the UKC email service.

Jack
martin heywood - on 19 Jun 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: As long as you reply to the Email I sent you yesterday

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