Mick Ryan's Climbing Blog

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Photos Found



When I left the UK I boxed up all my photos: slides, prints, negatives, and left them with my Dad. Pics of Morocco,Spain, France, Wales, Yorkshire, early days climbing in Lancashire, Cornwall etc. Photos taken since I was 18 when my Mum bought me an Olympus SLR.

When I visited my Dad in the UK just over a year ago, he'd just moved house and he couldn't find my photos. We looked high and low. I was dissapointed but erased it from my mind. Only photos I thought, not that important I told myself and thought nothing more of it (well maybe that isn'true).

At this USA climbing forum, Supertopo.com, all the old timers post these wonderful photos of climbing in Yosemite and other places. Not all famous, just great photos of
climbers in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Great too look at and laugh at. It has happened a bit at UKClimbing.com too and when I see these pics I'd get just a little twinge of
sadness that all my old pics were lost. Phew, move on,forget about it.

Anyway. Last couple of weeks have been a bit hectic but fun in a way. I had a couple of jobs to do that were favours for people, no charge, just people I talk to and like, a chap called Ron who is about 70 + and a woman called Lynn Shea who is a similar age. Lynn is always ringing me up and we just chat about life. She always wears too much lipstick when she comes to see me.

I'd been putting these jobs off because I'm so busy. For Lynn I had to scan some of her watercolours, quite big so I had to do several scans and join them
together. Then print them out on heavy art paper and mount them for her. For Ron it was scanning and printing his family pictures, lots of grainy black and whites, greta-great grandparents, some of his kids....about 70 pics in all.

Quite a lot of work and I was having difficulty trying to fit them in. But last week and on Saturday I did. Lynn came up from Schnectady and I had her watercolours ready and she was as happy as a skylark plus we got to talk about her worrying about her 50
year old daughter who is going to NYC on a date with some doctor....."what if he's only after one thing" she worried.

And I did all Ron's pics, scanned, printed at A4 on the best photo paper and everything archived on CD for future generations.

In a book by Lynn Grabhorn that I've just read she says that positive energy attracts positive energy.

I just got this email off my Dad:

"Michael you are going to be as happy as a sand boy. You are going to be over the moon. You are going to think that your dad is the best,and why is this? Now how did this come about well I was in the loft looking for things,and guess what I found your negitives and photographs they are now safe and sound, what do you think about that then."

Above is one of them, Dave Kenyon on the first ascent of Raindogs at Malham Cove in 1986.

Thanks Dad, the Lynns and Ron.

Monday, April 24, 2006





I spent nine years living in California's Sierra Nevada and like all who have enjoyed its natural beauty it will never leave me.

After I left I found myself sketching the distinctive Sierra skyline. I was imagining myself as a Prairie Falcon high above the White Mountains looking over the Owens Valley toward the Sierra Nevada. I drew from memory then looked at some photographs and maps and refined my sketch.

I scanned the sketch and traced it in a drawing package producing vector lines. This I printed out on watercolor paper and then painted using watercolor paints. The watercolor was then scanned and combined with my sketch.

I then added the climbing areas that I know so well and the classic mountain routes of the Sierra.

The final touch was to place some photographs that reflected the Sierra Nevada climbing experience.

Thursday, April 20, 2006



This is the secret cliff. Where I climb mostly.....at the moment. This is a 'before' photo. Before me and my soft brush got very busy last autumn and then the rain came and then it got really cold and snowed. It's a bit different now - the cliff and the weather. The cleaner here, in the red top, is Xavier (age 11). He is very busy doing good work. This cliff is a very peaceful place. You ride your bike out to it. Rest, climb, rest, take in the spirit of the woods and repeat. Finished colourising the Happy Boulders topos today, and nearly completed the Sads. These two areas should be finished by tomorrow night, then its up and onwards with the Buttermilk Country. This work is for the Bishop Bouldering guide that I am working on with Wills Young and Dave Pegg.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

There is a narrow window of opportunity to climb in Upstate New York. It usually lasts about a month between the snows melting and the onslaught of the humidity and the bugs. I think I'm in the middle of it now but because of my workload at UKClimbing.com and trying to get two guidebooks out (there's other stuff as well......a phone interview with BBC Radio 5 gobbled up 2hrs today although it only lasted a minute) I'm not getting out as often as I want, nay need too. For the first time in my life I seem to be gaining a little weight that even regular daily mountain bike rides can't stop. This is a top priority, to eliminate the middle age spread by exercise and a good diet, fish and salad is the first choice but someone keeps buying red meat and leaving cookies about the place.

There's always tomorrow. I shall climb tomorrow and post a picture of my secret cliff.