How to Climb Harder

Posted on: September 18th, 2017 by Lost Earth Adventures

Tips and Techniques for Pushing Your Climbing Grade

Words by Lost Earth Adventures’ Instructor Ruth Jenkins

During the 90’s I was a semi -professional climber, climbing for the British Climbing team and at the time I climbed the hardest route by a British woman. I moved to the Peak District which offers some of the best climbing in the country with a mixture of stunning gritstone edges and steep over hanging limestone cliffs. Around this time, Britain’s 1st big commercial climbing wall opened in Sheffield and people flocked from all over the country to try it out. Since then climbing has changed dramatically and nowadays climbing walls are often people’s first experience of climbing and more recently Bouldering walls have sprung up almost everywhere.

How to Make the Transition from Indoor to Outdoor Climbing

If you climb indoors, you’ll be used to following routes with bolts and big coloured holds and so when you climb outdoors for the first time it can be daunting. In fact, even identifying which route is which is a challenge and then the thing that most people find hardest is route reading (looking at the route and knowing where to go and how to do the moves). Climbing outdoors involves technique that can often only be learned through experience in that environment.

If you have enjoyed your first climbing experience outdoors (and most people love it), you’ll then need to learn how to keep you and your partner safe before you are let loose on your own. Climbing outside involves technical rope work and gear placements that you’ll need to learn if you want to lead climb and even as a second you must feel confident that you can tie your own knots and belay in more complicated scenarios. A couple of sessions with a qualified instructor may be the best approach as you will gain a wealth of knowledge in a short period of time. Climbing clubs are also great places to meet enthusiastic members who can show you the ropes – British Mountaineering Council have a list of clubs in your area and useful advice on their website. You could also try looking for climbing partners at your local climbing wall.

Once you’ve been climbing for a while, it’s easy to plateau, how can you progress?

Once you’ve reached a certain grade it’s hard to progress unless you practice and train – this could be indoors or outdoors. It’s easy to go to the wall and just stick to things you are good at, however, if you really want to progress you’ll need to identify your weaknesses and work on them. Why are you failing on harder routes? Is it because you’re not strong enough? Are you getting too tired? Is it your technique that’s letting you down or maybe it’s your finger strength? Once you’ve identified your weakness, you can then decide the best training – this will depend on the type of climbing you enjoy, the time you have available and the facilities that you have at your disposal. A climbing coach or instructor could help you identify your weaknesses and suggest ways you can improve or even write you a training programme. It’s always good to have a goal, for example a route or boulder problem that you really want to climb; this will help keep you motivated. Above all, keep it enjoyable, maybe find some climbing friends who will offer advice and spur you on with friendly competition. Sometimes improvements come naturally when you are enjoying yourself and having fun.

Find out More

Read about Ruth: You can read about Ruth on our meet the guides page
Get on the rock: Reach new heights on a rock climbing course.

Longest Mountain Bike Descent in the World

Posted on: August 31st, 2017 by Lost Earth Adventures

120km long. 4530m of vertical drop. 3 days of freeriding on the grandest stage of all – the Himalaya. This is The Biggest Descent on the planet.

Hike, bike or helicopter your way to the top of the Thorung La (5,416m) to spend the next three days riding epic lines towards the bottom of the world’s deepest gorge, the Kali Ghandaki. Technical descents, sweeping single track, flowing forest trails and spectacular mountain vistas; this ride is what mountain bikers’ dreams are made of!

Find out how you can join us on the World’s Longest Descent.


Under the Malediction of Makalu

Posted on: August 1st, 2017 by Lost Earth Adventures

Trekking to Makalu Base Camp Blog

Makalu Base Camp
Acclaimed photographer and world traveller Julien Fumard joined our Lost Earth Adventure guide, Tshering, on the Makalu trek. Julien and Tshering were completing a reconnaissance trek for the upcoming season, checking trail conditions and lodges. Julien documents his extraordinary journey to the peak, accompanied by his breath-taking photography.

After being caught by “the virus of the mountains” in 2013 while trekking in the Nepalese Himalayas, I have been dreaming about coming back here. This time I wanted to experience something more adventurous, more remote. Makalu basecamp was high on my list and after a few emails with Lost Earth Adventures, it became reality…

Julien and Tshering Makalu Trek
... but sometimes reality is a b***h, and so this adventure did not start on the right foot. Here I am in Kathmandu airport after 3 flights and countless hours in transit, waiting for my backpack to arrive, in vain. It’s been lost and nobody knows where. I will have to wait 48 hours to finally get it back. In the meantime, I learn that the guide supposed to accompany me to Makalu base camp had a family problem and will not be able to come. Another guide, Tshering, will come with me. So this is with a tight schedule that we plan to reach the base of the 5th highest summit in the world.
Makalu Village Nepal
As we finally get into the already 3 hours' late night bus carrying us to Khadbari, my stress level goes back to normal. But it’s only because I still have no idea that it will take us no less than 24 hours on sometimes dubious mud tracks to reach the little town, plus a 4 hour jeep ride sitting next to boxes filled with smelling chicks. Eventually, we reach the village of Num, on the top of the hill, where the trek starts.
Man Trekking Stairs Makalu Forest
Unlike most of the treks I’ve done, Makalu base camp trek begins with a 700 metre steep descent through thick jungle. On the way, I am delighted to meet different kinds of people, this area being home of various ethnic groups such as Sherpas, Gurung and Rai people, among others.
Nepali Village Culture
After a few days spent in the jungle and through traditional villages we get worried. So far, we’ve barely seen the sun. “It’s like monsoon time” says Tshering, “not good!”. And he is right. We stumble upon a few tourists (a rare sight in this area) and learn that the passes are now closed because of too much snow. The news is devastating but we’ll go anyway. Maybe the passes will be opened meanwhile, we’re not giving up hope!
Nepali Sherpa-Trekking-Makalu
We meet in Tashigaon a group of Sherpas carrying equipment for an expedition. Will this be our chance to reach the base camp? From now on we will follow them in a one of a kind adventure. These guys seem to appreciate that I carry my own gear. “You’re a strong man” one of them says. “Well, my backpack is not even 20kg, yours is over 30, you’re the strong man!” I reply. We laugh. And laughing we will during this adventure, despite all the hardships.
Man Trekking Makalu Snow Fog
The higher we get, the thicker the fog. As we reach Dara Kharka, we can barely see what’s in front of us. It’s so wet that everyone in the dark and tiny tea house smokes as if a fire is burning inside them. But this isn’t clearly enough to keep us warm and we all spend time around the cooking fire to have the sensation of getting drier, somehow. This place is a photographer’s paradise. The lights are perfect and I’ll spend most of my time here photographing my new trekking partners, men and women from 17 to 50, all of them working for the expedition.
Nepali Child
So far, I had no idea of what I would be going through. Quickly, our feet sink into a slushy snow which, after a while, gets up to our knees, and sometimes even hips. Of course, the harder it gets with the snow, the steeper the trails becomes. One foot after another we climb this never-ending mushy hell, and the sight of all these guys wearing plastic boots or tennis shoes and carrying 30kg charges give me the extra strength I need to reach the mountain hut of Khongma Danda, mostly buried into snow.

What a relief! Barely arrived, the women started a fire, cooked some tea and made the place comfortable. One cannot feel anything but admiration towards them. It’s a shame that I’m already engaged as I’ve been proposed in marriage quite a few times during the trek! ;-)

Trekking Makalu Snow Fog
I feel happy that we went further than anyone before us. But the rest of the path remains to be opened. After a good night rest some Sherpas propose to open the track to the base camp. It will take at least a day. With the time we’ve got left, we will never reach it, but the further we go the better we’ll feel. So the next day we join the remaining Sherpas up the hills (a hill is up to 6000m for Nepali standards).

This is our second morning with sunshine, but I wished there was none today. The path is even harder than before and although the view on the mountains (and briefly over Makalu) is fantastic, I can’t feel but fear while seeing where we’re walking. After hours in half-melted snow, as we reach the 4100m high Shipton pass, we decide that it’s better to stop now. The danger of avalanches is too great. Tomorrow we will go back; the trek ends here. After so much efforts and expectations, I feel devastated, but as we say: “a good mountaineer is a living mountaineer”.

The ringing alarm clock brings sleep to a halt. It is 4AM. After a hot tea we leave the hut. My shoes are frozen, the sky is dotted by an infinity of stars and the snow is crunchy. That’s very good news: hard snow means less danger. A stray dog that has been climbing with the Sherpas joins us in the descent. The sun lazily rises, illuminating the mountains with its golden light and as we reach a promontory, the view on Makalu’s curves is unbeatable. I know the way down will be worse than everything we endured so far because of the melted snow, but right now I don’t care, I’m the happiest man on Earth!

To join us on an adventure to Makalu or to find out more about this experience you can visit our Makalu Trek Page.

Man Trekking Makalu Peak Sunrise

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