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British Mountain Marathon Series


January 2017 marks the launch of the first British Mountain Marathon Series and Championship through a new website

The British Mountain Marathon Series and Championship are being supported by Marmot Dark Mountains™, the LAMM and ROC Mountain Marathon™ (formerly known as the Rab Mountain Marathon), and the driving force behind this initiative is Shane Ohly from Ourea Events.

Shane Ohly (right) and Duncan Archer (left) – OMM Elite winners 2016. Read Shane’s account of the OMM. Photo © Richard Else – Adventure Show Productions

Ohly is uniquely placed as the organiser of various Mountain Marathon events, and multiple Elite winner. He said, “Mountain Marathons have been truly rich and life affirming experiences for me and I am passionate about ensuring these events have a vibrant long-term future”. Continuing, “The aim of is to inspire and motivate gre

Iceland - First Ascents on the Volcanic Island


An ice climbing trip to Iceland is like a game of roulette. In February 2016, Albert Leichtfried and Benedikt Purner bet on good conditions and this time they were lucky – Iceland was deep frozen and they managed to sample some new areas and climb several new lines. They did several first ascents, including the first grade 7 icefall in Iceland - 'Troell leikhus' in Austurárdalur.

No matter how well you prepare for an ice climbing trip to Iceland, it really does feel like a game of roulette. The location of this volcanic island, just south of the Arctic Circle, would seem to suggest cold winter temperatures. However, the ever-present warm ocean current of the Gulf Stream brings constant warm air masses from the southwest to Iceland and even during the winter season there are regular periods of extremely warm weather, which usually means that all the ice melts within just a few days. This was to be our third attempt to climb ice in Iceland, and we waited as long as pos

Baffin Island – by fair means


340 km, 29 days, 280 kilos of gear. Professional climber and adventurer Stefan Glowacz crossed one of the most remote Arctic regions of the world together with climbing partner Robert Jasper and photographer Klaus Fengler – using only skis and sledges. Their goal: a first ascent of a big wall in Sam Ford Fjord. Drama and disappointment awaited them - but there were also unexpected moments of happiness. This is a story of the power of nature, the beauty of the moment and the realization that sometimes, the journey is indeed the goal.

Stefan Glowacz, Robert Jasper & Klaus Fengler

Awe, humility, gratitude – and quiet, pure euphoria. Silently we stand in the freezing air as this wave of emotions washes over us. The wall of cloud that had not long before closed in on us and is still looming overhead, suddenly tears open – almost as if it had been waiting for us. The rays of the midnight bathe the landscape 800 meters below us in a mystical light:

Kaabah 8c+ by Jim Pope


17-year-old Jim Pope has ticked his hardest route to date, Kaabah 8c+ at  Raven Tor (Miller's Dale), Derbyshire. Having ticked Mecca 8b+ at the age of 15 and Mecca Extension 8c at 16, Steve McClure's Kaabah - the direct extension to Mecca - seemed like a logical next step. 

A couple of redpoints in the blinding sun on Saturday saw Jim fall from a highpoint on the last hard move. Dubious weather on Sunday morning made a successful redpoint seem unlikely, but fortunately conditions improved for sticking the final hard move and clipping the chains.

Jim told UKC:
'I didn't intend to climb it in the sun, I set off in the shade, then the route came into the sun when I had my best attempt on Saturday and the same thing actually happened on the successful attempt, but I tried a bit harder!' 

He added:
'I wanted to try Kaabah because I already knew Mecca well and liked the length of the route and the crux at the top is really crimpy and technical, which suit

Marmot24™ race report


At the first weekend of August it was time for the 3rd edition of the Marmot24™ hour race in Bowhill, Scottish Borders (UK). Marmot24™ combines the very best elements of the predominantly British mountain marathon phenomenon with the most exciting aspects of the more international, 24-hour rogaining events. The result is a stunning new event format that was launched to widespread acclaim in 2014. With mountain running and navigation at the heart of the event, competitors have up to 24-hours to visit as many checkpoints as possible on a score format course. Competitors are able to compete solo, in teams of two, or in four-person tag teams. Usually the race is characterized by typical British weather, however, this time the weather goods apparently were positively disposed to the event. Race Director Shane Ohly reports about this year’s 24-hour race:

Marmot24™ is one of my favorite events to organize. It is a grassroots mountain marathon event, that attracts experienced and ca

Marmot Frankenjura Climbing Festival 2016


A cool location, an exciting program, creative characters, interesting speakers and a bunch of enthusiastic climbers all keen on celebrating together – these are the ingredients that guaranteed a jam-packed and all-round successful climbing festival!
Following the great success of the Marmot Frankenjura Climbing Festival in 2012 (see here) for an report - in German only) the expectations for the 2nd edition of this unique event were, of course, very high. Four years ago, the evening party at the outdoor swimming pool in Betzenstein was massively popular, with over 1,000 spectators gathering to watch the spectacle of the Deepwater Bouldering Contest, party together and enjoy the evening.
This year, the natural spa town of Koenigstein was the hub of the event, which took place from 26th-29th May 2016. People camped, celebrated and took part in workshops; talks and concerts were held and once again ther

Melloblocco 2016 – Here comes the sun!


The 13th edition of Melloblocco took place at the weekend of 5 to 8 May in Val Masino, Italy. 2,800 registered climbers underline the success of the event which has no other equals in the climbing world.

Melloblocco is an open boulder competition with 13 men’s and women’s boulder problems. However, the event is much more than just a boulder comp! The extensive side programme ranges from presentations, parties, product tests, Italian delicacies to a simply unsurpassable scenery. Sparkling rivers, green meadows and a vast number of blocs are surrounded by impressive rock walls and mountains.

Again, Marmot was part of this great event and is proud to announce that two our their PRO athletes could finish with great results. Congrats to Anna Laitingen (FI) who became second in the women’s ranking and Jorg Verhoeven (NL) who became 6th in the male ranking. Great job!

For a more detailed report on the event see:

Here you

CWIF 2016 review


Last weekend the #CWIF 2016 took place at the world famous Climbing Works. The event is a huge bouldering festival in Sheffield (UK), where hundreds of strong world class climbers take part in three rounds of qualification.

Twenty women and men made it through to semi-finals which took place on Sunday; with Marmot PRO athletes Jim Pope, Leah Crane and Jorg Verhoeven successfully qualifying.

Following an IFSC Boulder World Cup format, an exciting round of competition took place with both Leah and Jorg advancing to finals later that evening.

Opened by a spectacular array of videos and visuals, finals began with Leah and Jimmy Webb climbing first. Leah started with a flash of her first boulder setting a high bar from the off. After four hard boulders and some brilliant route setting the competitors were split with Jorg finishing in 6th place and Leah taking a podium finish, in third. A huge congratulation to both athletes.

In addition to the individual event, Marmot sent a tea

Entries open for Marmot Dark Mountains 2017


Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2016 saw an unprecedented 200 competitors take to the Northern Fells of the Lake District, starting from the event centre in Mungrisedale, in what can only be described as windy and wintery conditions. As Andrew Higgins (competing on the Elite course with Adam Stirk) put it, “…one of the best challenges of sound mountain judgement, endurance and skill that I have ever had the pleasure of competing in. By retiring with windburned eyes after 8.5hrs of pretty full on fun - I think Adam and I passed the test, despite not completing the challenge. We will be back...”.

Marmot Dark Mountains™ follows the usual two-day mountain marathon format but condenses it into one winter’s night. Elite, A, B, C and Score categories set off in pairs on a staggered start, the longer courses followed by the shorter ones, all hoping to converge back at the event centre as dawn breaks. Live GPS tracking enables the organisers, alongside friends, family, and any other k

Exploring the Georgian Winter


Where is Svaneti, please...?

In a corner of the world where you can still experience true freeride adventures. Marmot athletes Flo Hellberg and Peter and Hans Riesch, together with photographer Christian Weiermannshaus, set off for the southernmost part of the Greater Caucasus in northwestern Georgia and tell us of impressive rides, adventurous road trips and the drinking capabilities of the Georgian people.

Our starting point was Mestia, at an altitude of 1,400 meters. Mestia is the most important place in Svaneti; it even has its own airport, which is used only in good weather and by small airplanes. That’s why we chose to go by car along the Black Sea coast, a five-hour ride on a road that was pretty adventurous in parts, like the stretch along the reservoir by the 270 meter high Enguri Dam. Mestia is framed by 4,000 to 5,000 meter high mountains and is a place of stark contrasts. The futuristic glass airport tower lies in the midst of partly ruined fortified towers from the 11th and 12th centuries. At the modern 4-seater chairlift there is parking for about ten cars. For visitors to Georgia, an ability to hold your drink is an important requirement! Chacha - a traditional Georgian brandy which is obtained from residues of wine production and contains 70% alcohol - is dispensed in liberal measures.

Because of the vast size of the area and the little-developed infrastructure, the approach to most of the mountains is very lengthy. We were supported by Flory Kern Heliski and could comfortably shorten the access to our projects by using their helicopter. On the first day after our arrival, we started first thing in the morning in the Gvala Range, a chain of mountains running directly from Mestia, framed by Ushba and Elbrus on one side and Tetnuldi on the other. After an approach in the helicopter we climbed to the summit of Banguriani at an altitude of 3838 meters. The sky was so clear that we could look over the entire Caucasus to Mount Kazbek, 150km away. On the descent through alpine terrain, we found perfect powder down into the valley of Mestia. The next day we went for our biggest project of the trip, the summit of Tetnuldi (4858 m) and the descent via the west flank. Again, we used the helicopter to shorten the approach, which would have taken nearly two days on foot.

The ascent to the summit was more draining than we’d imagined, as the height and scale of the mountain became evident. Unfortunately, only Christian Weiermannshaus and Florian Hellberg made the summit as the rest of the team was weakened due to illness. The steep descent from the shoulder of the peak at about 4,600 meters onto the west face was spectacular, with a 50° slope and around 600 meters of vertical drop. The conditions were good though and following a 25m abseil over an icy section, Florian Hellberg succeeded in making what was probably the first ski descent of Tetnuldi’s west face. Thereafter the line led us through the huge crevasse zones and constrictions of the Kasebi Glacier down to 2300m. A great ride with a total of 2300 meters of descent and a length of 7km.

The second part of the trip took us to Ushguli, a small town at the end of Enguri Gorge. It took us fours hours by jeep for the 40-kilometer journey from Mestia, and that was in good conditions. We all agreed that we wouldn’t want to drive that road in bad conditions. It leads through narrow gorges with loose rock and must be cleared of mudslides after every rainfall. Ushguli lies at almost 2,200 meters above sea level at the foot of Shkhara, which at 5,200 meters is the highest mountain in Georgia. It is known for its fortified towers and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. Every house here has its own tower, which once protected the people from inter-clan blood feuds or from attacks by outside enemies. From here we set off to ski summits with lesser-known names but with unique scenery. Below us lay Ushguli with its towers up to 30m high and its 12th century monastery chapel. In the background, the fog lifted and opened up a view of the impressive south ridge of Shkhara – a magical moment which left a lasting impression on our minds.

Text by Florian Hellberg

Pictues by Christian Weiermann

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